The UFT/DOE Bronx Plan is a step in the right direction, but it is not the whole story. Genuine collaboration between chapter leaders and administrators, not just the appearance of it, will be key to creating schools New York’s students, parents, and teachers deserve.Continue Reading...
Archives For January 2019
As New York City gives away billions to Amazon and sits on billions in budget surplus we still have an underfunded and segregated school system, and raises in the recent contract fell behind the pace of inflation.
UFT Members and NYC students deserve better. Join MORE in our fight for:
- Fair funding for all schools
- Reversing the givebacks on health care
- Strong protections against harassment and abuse
- Parity for all titles, including OT/PTs
- More diverse teaching and support staff
- Adequate counselors, social workers and other support staff for students
Here is what educators around the country were able to win by taking action in the street as the wave of teacher rebellions spreads across the country.
- In Washington State, teachers strikes netted raises of up to 10% this fall
- West Virginia teachers and school support workers earned an immediate 5% pay increase statewide
- Arizona teachers won a 19% pay raise after a 5-day strike.
Carranza calls Mulgrew his brother from another mother, the City has a budget surplus, and a teacher strike wave is sweeping the country with massive public support. In the meantime, Paraprofessionals make subsistence wages, and Occupational and Physical Therapists lag behind their colleagues by tens of thousands of dollars. If this is what we get in good times, what happens when we get another Bloomberg or Giuliani? Now is the time to organize and fight for MORE.
Get in Touch with MORE:
Call: (347) 766-7319
What is wrong with the UFT leadership’s strategy and how can we fix it?
The UFT’s longtime strategy has been to cultivate relationships with “friendly politicians,” by supporting them in elections, lobbying on their behalf, and supporting legislation those leaders want. Perhaps most importantly, they guarantee labor peace.
But as a result, the leadership is hesitant to take any action that might upset these politicians, like holding rallies or even going on strike.
The limits of this strategy are apparent in our new contract. We have a Democratic Governor who is eager to show his progressive credentials. Our mayor is the most progressive NYC has had in decades. The city has a surplus of $4 billion. Yet despite all this, we still got wage increases below the rate of inflation and were forced to make givebacks in our healthcare. So even in the best of circumstances, this strategy is limited at best. What will happen if those circumstances change – like say in a recession?
To get better contracts and improve our working and living conditions we need a new strategy that prioritizes building strong chapters at every school so members are organized and ready to take action both at the school and city-wide level.
Well before the expiration of the new contract our union should launch a member-driven campaign to set contract goals and decide on a course of action to win those goals. Borough and city-wide rallies can develop a sense of union solidarity and collective purpose. Finally, as a union we can appeal to various community organizations through joint actions which link our contract campaign to a collective effort to fund our schools and make our city livable again.
Why we need to build independent rank and file organization: Join MORE today!
Only a stronger base of rank-and-file teachers, counselors, paras and all education workers, knit together in a common organization that can share strategies and mobilize our coworkers can push the union leadership to alter its approach, and eventually lead the union in a different direction entirely.
We have seen what a tremendous difference this kind of organization can make in Chicago and Los Angeles. This spring and fall, the teachers rebellion was led by educators building up their rank-and-file networks so they could engage in workplace actions.
United, we are stronger – that’s why you should check out our website and find out how you can help now – www.morecaucusnyc.org. Whether it’s something as simple as passing on a leaflet to an interested coworker in the teachers’ lounge, making a monetary donation, or organizing a solidarity photo for our brothers and sisters in struggle elsewhere in the country, your actions can make a difference.
Unless the LAUSD gives in to key demands of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the 2nd largest school district in the country, with 40,000 educators will be on strike starting Monday, January 14th.
The strike will shut down public schools affecting 480,000 students. The teacher’s demands include higher pay, smaller classes, more support staff like librarians and counselors, fighting corporate backed privatization, and restricting the amount spent by the district on charter schools.
The Union is also rightfully calling out the racism of the city of Los Angeles in chronically underfunding a school system of majority children of color. Just as we have seen in NYC, the superintendent (a former investment banker with no experience in education) and city are claiming that their is no money, when their is a surplus of billions in the city in one of the richest states in the world.
In short, this is huge, and is a continuation of the strike wave that happened last year in “Red” states now crossing over into a major city and will have implications for the entire country. Here are things you can do:
1. Wear Red on Thursday and take a solidarity picture!
Teachers who struck this past spring across the country remarked how much courage and confidence it gave them seeing support from across the country.
Share the picture with us on Facebook and Twitter (@morecaucusnyc), and include the hashtag #RedforEd, #StrikeReady
2. Donate to the Strike Solidarity Fund!
Going on strike is a massive legal and financial risk, as the teachers will not be getting paid, and they may face attempts at criminal charges. They need all the monetary solidarity they can get!
Below are two links you can share among other UFT members, family, friends, and on social media. One is a strike solidarity fund and the other is a Tacos for Teachers fund to help feed the teachers while on the picket line. If your school would like to “adopt a school” in LA to develop a direct solidarity connect please check out this spreadsheet.
3. Follow the Strike and learn more!
Distribute this flyer to your coworkers to educate coworkers about the strike issues and demands. Below are a number of articles to learn more as well as the UTLA website to keep updated.
4. Come to a meeting on Saturday to hear from Los Angeles Strike’s Themselves!!!
Meeting info. below!!
The United Teachers of Los Angeles, have rightly been fighting not just for their rights but for those of their students and families and rightly calling out the underfunding schools as racism in regards to class sizes, funding, school counselors, and librarians. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed on Sunday, Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of United Teachers Los Angeles, the district’s main union, laid out the case the teachers are making:
“The district does not have nearly enough counselors, psychologists or librarians to give students the support they need, and 80% of schools don’t even have full-time nurses. Unnecessary standardized testing is pushing the arts and ethnic studies out of the curriculum.Parents have little say over how funding is spent at their schools. Charter schools, which are operated mostly by corporate chains, have expanded by 287% over the last 10 years, draining more than $600 million from non-charter schools every year. Salaries for educators are low compared to surrounding districts, a significant disadvantage as L.A. Unified tries to recruit and retain teachers during a national shortage.With the vast majority of our students coming from low-income neighborhoods of color, there is no way to describe the persistence of such conditions other than racial discrimination
Saturday, January 12th, 7-9pm Brooklyn: Stand with UTLA Strike Solidarity Event!
- Gillian Russom, longtime UTLA leader and union activist
- Martha Baumgarten, Acero charter school striker and CHI ACTS (Chicago Teachers Union) member
- Oakland Education Association member and wildcat strike participant
- Hannah Huerta, NYC UFT member and member of OTs/PTs for a Fair Contract
Ryan Bruckenthal, DSA member and teacher
Leia Petty, ISO member and school counselor
Co-sponsored by: Movement of Rank and File Educators, NYC ISO, NYC DSA Labor Branch
The teacher’s rebellion that started last year in West Virginia is rolling on into Blue States. Some 34,000 teachers in Los Angeles are preparing for a strike in the second largest public school district in the United States. Their strike follows the wake of the nation’s first Charter School strike in Chicago and a wildcat strike of high school teachers in Oakland, CA.
Union members everywhere have a stake in supporting Los Angeles teachers in their fight against privatization and disinvestment in public schools. A victory for the United Teachers of Los Angeles will be a victory for the entire labor movement, and will continue to raise people’s confidence around the country that if our side fights back, we can win.
Join fellow union members and labor solidarity activists as we discuss the recent educator strikes, and hear from participants and workplace leaders themselves how they organized themselves and their coworkers to win. Union activists in NYC can learn from their struggles, and begin to generalize their lessons in our own organizing work.
The event will feature solidarity greetings from other unions, as well as a beer and wine fundraiser to send money to the Tacos for Teachers solidarity initiative. All proceeds will go to feeding strikers on the picket lines in Los Angeles. Co-sponsoring organizations will have information tables set up for attendees to learn more about their organizing and get involved in activism.