Archives For January 2019

UFT Elections Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the UFT have elections?
Federal labor law requires union elections- LMRDA Title IV: “Every local labor organization shall elect its officers not less often than once every three years.” UFT is required to adhere to federal labor law.

Why should I vote?
The UFT needs an active membership participation to advocate effectively for the educators, students, and families of New York City! Now more than ever we need to show that we’re ready to bring every member’s voice to the table to fight the well-funded attacks targeting public schools and communities. If you are happy with our union’s direction, then vote for Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus. If you believe we need new leadership, vote for the MORE slate. Either way, we urge you to vote in order to keep our union strong.

What is a caucus?
A caucus is a group of people with shared concerns within a larger organization, similar to a political party. There have been many caucuses in UFT’s history, but Unity caucus has been in uninterrupted control of our union since it began over 50 years ago.

Who is MORE?
The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) was formed in 2012 by a diverse group of active UFT members working in all five boroughs, from kindergarten through 12th grade and adult education. Through their experiences as educators, activists, and advocates for our students, MORE members became frustrated by UFT President Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus allowing our collective strength to deteriorate. Our members come together because we know; “Our working conditions are our student’s learning conditions.” We believe in a educated, engaged,  and mobilized membership that will fight for the schools our members and children deserve.

How Do I Vote?
Ballots will be mailed to your home address on March 25th from the American Arbitration Association. You will need to fill out the ballot, place it in the included prepaid, pre-addressed return envelope, and place it in a mailbox. It needs to arrive at AAA by April 16th at 5:00 p.m.

Will the UFT, my Chapter Leader, Principal or anyone else know how I voted?
No, not unless you tell them.

What if I don’t get a ballot in the mail?
If you do not receive a ballot by mail or if your ballot is damaged or tampered with, contact the American Arbitration Association before April 8th (5 p.m.) at 800-529-5218 or email boswells@adr.org. If you have moved you can notify UFT by going here: https://secure.www.uft.org/health-benefits/update

Do I have to vote for an entire slate, or can I pick and choose from each slate?
A slate is a group of candidates that were nominated by a caucus to run for positions on the ballot. MORE is running one slate. Michael Mulgrew and the current UFT leadership run as Unity. You can vote a “straight ticket/slate” by marking one of the boxes at the top of the ballot next to a slate name. You can also “split your ticket,” by marking boxes next to candidates of any slate. Most members vote for an entire slate by marking an X for one slate. Please keep in mind that if you try to vote for a slate and one or more individual candidates, your ballot will be invalidated.

Can UFT members place campaign materials in staff mailboxes in your school and other public schools?
Yes, You have the right to place union literature in the mailboxes within your school or within any other school, as long as you don’t do it while you are on duty. You can do it before or after school, or during your lunch period. Show the secretary, or any administrator who asks, the Department of Education memorandum which spells out your right to place election literature in the mailboxes. Do not agree to leave the stack with the secretary, the UFT chapter leader, or anyone else. You have a right to put them directly in the mailboxes. Difficulties? Email us at more@morecaucusnyc.org

Are these elections divisive and weakening our union?
No! elections bring many different perspectives to the table. There have been caucuses in the UFT since our founding.  Each caucus has different ideas for how to lead our union and each caucus deserves to have its voice heard. UFT elections are the chance for you to choose your leaders, which is the foundation of any good organization or government. We do not want to live in a country without elections, nor do we want a union leadership that is not democratically elected. UFT elections are healthy, because they allow for you to have a voice and a choice in who leads our union.

How can I help MORE?

  1. Vote and let others in your chapter know that they need to vote too! Host a ballot breakfast, lunch, or after-school party in your school. Email more@morecaucusnyc.org for more info.
  2. Distribute our election literature in your chapter and share with your UFT friends.
  3. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @morecaucusnyc.
  4. Join MORE– for a small donation you can help keep our election campaign strong. We have to design and print fliers, rent space for meetings, and hold election related events- all of which cost money. Go to http://tiny.cc/joinMORE  to get involved!
  5. Sign up for our weekly email list here and text updates.
  6. Get involved, come to an event- check our listings at facebook.com/morecaucusnyc or email us to set up a happy hour or after-school meeting near you!
  7. Share this FAQ with your friends 

Get a printer-friendly version of this FAQ here

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...

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PRINTABLE PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_rTIKQeq2LLMzd2UUc0b3pjNHVNUVh1ZUVrWjc1Y05BTEsw/view?usp=sharing

 

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:

fb.com/MoreCaucusNYC

more@morecaucusnyc.org

@morecaucusnyc

http://morecaucusnyc.org

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.

stand with la teachersUnless 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!!

More information:
https://www.utla.net/

https://splinternews.com/teachers-in-the-nations-second-largest-school-district-1831538735

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

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/01/utla-los-angeles-teachers-strike-privatization

https://socialistworker.org/2019/01/07/were-ready-for-the-fight-of-our-lives-in-la

https://socialistworker.org/2019/01/08/lausds-portfolio-model-gets-an-f
Saturday, January 12th, 7-9pm Brooklyn: Stand with UTLA Strike Solidarity Event!
https://www.facebook.com/events/212327729710852/

Featuring:

  • 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

Co-Facilitated by:
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.