Notes From the MORE Winter Retreat

January 1, 2013 — 2 Comments

MORE Winter Retreat December 28, 2012

Attendance ~ 50 throughout the day

I. Social Justice Unionism

 

Discussion was wide ranging, starting out with a basic question of how to deal with a wide range of political beliefs amongst our coworkers on social justice issues. There was consensus on the importance of relating to the immediate needs of educators faced with deteriorating working conditions.

 

Action Steps decided on:

The Platform committee will produce two vision documents with specific policies and positions

1)   Specific working conditions issues (Tenure, Evaluations, Paperwork, Danielson, Common Core, Class Size)

2)   Social Justice issues (SLTs, Mayoral Control, Restorative Justice, Testing, Wraparound Service, Curriculum etc.)

General meetings will feature a “Struggle of the month” highlighting one school at each meeting

School Organizing Committee was initiated  – to go beyond the few happy hours that have occurred.  Will create a framework to meet people where they are at. Including Working conditions survey for schools, Study groups on Lois Weiner’s book, Toolkit, School Organizing Teams

Closing Schools Committee –Organizing our response to schools threatened with closing or co-location

II. Dealing with Unity Attacks:

 

Discussion focused on likelihood that the upcoming election campaign will include attacks by the UNITY caucus on MORE because we are in opposition, as they have done to TJC and ICE in the past.  There was consensus on the need for a clear response to these attacks, which refocuses attention on the issues like democracy in the union, job security and class size, as well as preparing our political base for them.

 

Action steps decided on:

A committee will draft a pre-emptive statement from MORE that makes it clear that, unlike the Unity Caucus, MORE welcomes people of all perspectives

Members will develop a proposal for a campaign around class size.

 

III. How to build MORE within the schools

 

This section focused on ideas and strategies in our schools to build MORE.

Ideas included

§  Lunchtime meetings
Study circles around brief articles

§  Happy hours

§  Fightback Fridays around layoffs and budget cuts

§  Emailing literature and articles to coworkers

§  Focusing on developing contacts with ATRs and others who visit many school sites

§  Making lists of key targets in your chapter

§  Finding basic tasks to involve people (e.g. petitioning, phone banking).

IV. Workshops:

A. One-to-One Organizing/Roleplay

 

Participants in this workshop discussed various strategies for talking to coworkers one-to-one, and problems and obstacles in doings so (and did some roleplay practice)

 

What are we asking coworkers to do?

1)   Vote

2)   Joining MORE

3)   Running with MORE

Level Two

1)   Phone Calls

2)   Leaflets

3)   Share discussion with others

 

B. Delegate Assembly

 

Participants in this workshop talked about how to have a more effective approach to the monthly delegate assembly to recruit independents and people interested in MORE

 

Actions decided on:

1.     Phone conference prior to every DA- coordinate a “game plan” (strategy)

2.     Post Da Happy hour at Blarney Stone 1 block west of DA

3.     Distribute fliers/resolutions before DA

4.     Distribute fliers/resolutions after DA

V. Proposals for Steering Committee

Various proposals for an elected steering committee were discussed and a subcommittee was created to draft a proposal for the Steering Committee to present to the January MORE Meeting 

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2 responses to Notes From the MORE Winter Retreat

  1. 

    I wish I had been able to attend! I got back late from NC trip, sorry it just wasnt possible. Will there be some sort of opportunity to kind of replay or sum up what happened and was formulated at this retreat in a group session in the near future? Perhaps there are others like me who would like to get up to speed in this way. Thanks. (Looks like a lot was accomplished!)

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