The UFT election results will be announced Thursday, April 25. After the ballots are counted, the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) will continue to support and strengthen our union. If we do not win this vote, we will work with the elected UFT leadership when they stand up and fight for educators, students, and parents. We will also continue to challenge the UFT leadership when they don’t. Unfortunately, the corporate education “reform movement” isn’t going away anytime soon. Educators, parents and students who want to defend and improve public education have many battles ahead of us, and MORE intends to be in this fight every step of the way.
MORE had two goals in this election campaign: To build a grassroots movement of educators and school-based workers and to replace the current UFT leadership. Whether or not we succeed in the latter goal, we are confident that we made important strides toward the former. Thanks to those of you who wore our buttons and T-shirts, distributed leaflets, signed petitions, forwarded emails, and promoted us to your colleagues, we have made a bigger splash in this election than we thought possible. Our growing presence on social media is just one indicator: we have more than 700 followers on Twitter, almost 1,000 “likes” on Facebook, nearly 2,000 followers on our blog, and our first election commercial has over 3,000 views. We have distributed our election literature in thousands of schools across all five boroughs. We take these as signs that the Movement of Rank and File Educators is a thriving pro-education group that is ready to lead the battle to save our public schools.
This election gave us the opportunity to meet and collaborate with like-minded educators and activists who believe in building a stronger union from the bottom up. One MORE chapter leader explained that handing out our leaflets led to “developing stronger relationships with the other chapter leaders and UFT members in the building. It will be easier to work together now.” We heard from members who said that talking to their colleagues about our movement created “more discussion among our staff about educational issues and the direction of our union.” One person even shared that there were many members in her school who “were not even aware that there was a UFT election and there were choices other than the current leadership.” until they connected with MORE. Many of our members do not have a history of being involved in union activities or of advocating for public education in larger forums. This election has provided valuable lessons for all of us in how to educate and organize our colleagues to fight for the kind of schools our children deserve and the kind of union that we deserve.
MORE also ran in this election because we wanted to ensure democracy within our union. In order for any organization to properly serve it’s members there must be room for discussion with the dissenting point of view. When we agree with the current leadership, we will proudly stand up and support our leaders. There will be times we have a different vision for a more organized and mobilized membership. In our view, a strong union is one that is member-driven as opposed to the current top-down system. We will continue to press our leadership to recognize the importance of rank and file voice in any decision that affects our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions. Our entrance in this election ensured the presence of democracy within our union and allowed our members to have a choice in this election
For these reasons, the election has already been a victory for MORE. We are proud to have appeared on the ballot of one the largest educator’s unions in America. It is truly an honor to even have the opportunity to represent our UFT brothers and sisters.
MORE will continue to work with our fellow UFT members, parents, student groups, and communities to stop school closings, charter school co-locations, the misuse of standardized tests and the attack on our union rights. You can fully expect that we will continue to hold social events, forums, rally’s, general meetings, have a newly elected steering committee, continue to be a strong presence on social media, offer full support for UFT members being harassed by administrators, demand excessed educators get placed in permanent positions, fight for the services our children need, and the great education our students deserve!