MORE Statement on UFT August 19 Press Conference
We welcome UFT President Mulgrew’s stated—though delayed—consideration of using job actions to prevent an unsafe and underfunded reopening of schools. We appreciate that he echoed many of the demands we have been articulating since May and are proud that our advocacy helped push UFT leadership to take a stronger stance against the Mayor’s inequitable, unsafe plan. We believe that failing to mention the budget cuts being imposed on public schools right now by Governor Cuomo as part of this announcement is a massive oversight. If the UFT is serious about demanding an eventual safe reopening and protecting their members, Mulgrew should use the full force of our membership to demand the immediate passage of taxes on the ultra-rich to fund public schools.
We urge our union to make a clear plan of action. Mayor de Blasio has clearly doubled down on his reckless rush to reopen, with Chancellor Carranza angrily dismissing hours of impassioned testimony of educators and families at the Panel for Education policy. UFT leadership should be organizing UFT members NOW for job actions if the Mayor does not pause, reevaluate and delay school building reopening. If the UFT does not follow through on its promise to stop schools from reopening unsafely, then the rank and file will take action to protect students and their families.
The UFT should also be working overtime to include and empower rank and file members to have a voice in the reopening process by building rank and file safety committees at each school, and in the creation of a Memorandum of Agreement for remote learning. It’s time to stop wasting time on a reopening plan that will fail, and instead focus energy in making remote instruction as effective and equitable as possible and invest in COVID-safe programming and resources (such as laptops) for students that meet students and families’ needs.