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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.