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Join MORE at two important protests!

The first, on Wednesday 2/21, joins school communities facing closings and co-locations to protest the deBlasio administration’s arbitrary actions.

The next, on Saturday, 2/24, unites union members across the city in a protest of the upcoming Janus case being heard in front of the Supreme Court, which threatens to cripple public sector unions by stripping them of the ability to automatically collect fair share fees from workers they represent.  Look for Lisa with the MORE banner at the corner of Worth and Lafayette in front of the Starbucks. Click here to RSVP.

Also – don’t forget to save the date for our MORE Contract Forum on March 14th – click here for a detailed flyer you can distribute to your coworkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Singing “We are Family / We Need Family Leave!” UFT educators march from union headquarters to the DOE, waving signs and banners that demanded paid leave to care for family members as a human right

Check out coverage here on New York One and video from the rally below.

Speakers on the steps of Tweed included recent father Alex Jallot, Gladys Sotomayor, who lost many weeks of pay caring for sick parents, MORE/UFT presidential candidate Jia Lee, and UFT Treasurer Mel Aaronson. Members emphasized that we need family leave that covers care for new children as well as elderly family members, and why such leave should not cost members extra money or losing other benefits.

If you’re interested in getting involved with this issue or another issue, come to the MORE General Meeting, February 10 from 12-3, at CUNY Grad Center. RSVP here.

Thank you to Rosy Clarke, Dan Lupkin, Jia Lee, Peter Lamphere and Norm Scott for the photos and video.

During the week of February 5th-9th, in schools across the country, educators are taking part in a National Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The week of action has three central demands: 1) to end zero tolerance discipline policies and implement restorative justice, 2) to hire more Black teachers, and 3) to mandate Black history and ethnic studies be taught throughout the K-12 curriculum.

The Black Lives Matter Week of Action is part of a long history of teachers standing up for what is right, in our classrooms, in our schools, and in our communities. Most teacher unions agree: The Chicago Teachers Union, the New Jersey Education Association, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the Seattle Education Association and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association are among the growing list of teachers unions that have voted to support this crucial and timely week of anti-racist action in schools. The National Education Association’s Human & Civil Rights Department has even developed a website for teachers to share stories and resources.

Yet at the United Federation of Teachers Delegates Assembly on January 17, 2018, the largest teachers’ local in the country, at the leadership’s suggestion and after only five minutes of debate, voted against supporting the NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action. Delivering the union leadership’s rationale against the resolution, LeRoy Barr, the Assistant Secretary of the UFT and the chair of the ruling Unity caucus, called Black Lives Matter a “divisive” issue. He argued that with the anticipated Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME, which will likely allow public sector workers to receive union representation and benefits without paying union dues, it is crucial to remain “united.”

But united in support of what? The Black Lives Matter week of action is about uniting to support students by implementing restorative justice, hiring Black teachers, and teaching Black history and ethnic studies. These are basic anti-racist demands that any organization of educators should get behind. Furthermore, most of the students we teach and the families we serve in NYC are Black and Latino. No doubt they can unite behind these demands. This week of action is just one of the ways educators can build greater solidarity with the communities we serve. Far from being divisive, this is about unifying and strengthening our union and the communities we serve.

If, in the face of the attack on collective bargaining that Janus represents, we are in fact divided, it is because we have failed to engage and organize the union’s membership. The privatization of schools has disproportionately hurt the careers of Black teachers. As a union, we should know that an injury to one is literally an injury to all. A union that can’t support a movement to make “Black Lives Matter” won’t be able to build the solidarity necessary to overcome Janus and other right-wing attacks on working people.

We have to rebuild our union from the bottom-up and educate ourselves and each other about the problems we face and the steps we can take together to confront them. Grassroots collective actions in our schools—such as the Black Lives Matter Week of Action—can be part of this process. We invite teachers across New York City to join us and other teachers around the country by taking part in February’s Black Lives Matter week of action as a first step to building a school system where Black Lives Matter.

NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action Organizing Committee
Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Steering Committee
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE)

We are asking UFT members and members of the community that support our statement to sign on as an individual. We will release the names of everyone who has signed on after February’s week of action to show the broad support this statement has and encourage UFT leaders and members to support the week of action in the future. If you’d like to sign on as an individual please fill out this form.

While the New York Amsterdam News calls for more diversity in the teaching workforce, the debate about Black Lives Matter within the UFT spilled out into the mainstream media this week: Hear MORE members Jia Lee and Norm Scott explain why the UFT leadership refused to support the National Educators Week of Action from February 5th to 11th.
However, our union leaders’ silence  won’t stop us standing from standing up for justice! Scores of teachers attended the curriculum share today at the Museum of the City of New York and dozens of schools and organizations have signed up as sponsors of the week of action.
Please check out the BLM Week Starter Pack to get curriculum downloads, lesson plans, visuals, tshirts, and more.
Don’t miss the new BLM Week of Action Blog featuring MORE member and UFT HS Executive Board representative Marcus McArthur with his “Message to the Movement”. And of course, please check out FB.com/BLMEdu for continuing updates and resources.
You can check out graphics of the 13 Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter to share with students and on social media here.

 

 UFT is currently in negotiations to get Paid Parental Leave for UFT members. We are so glad that this important right is one that our Union is fighting for, and we want to make sure that our members get the best deal possible.
We also want to make sure our Union doesn’t give back any of our hard won benefits without a fight, we want our colleagues the Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists (PTs and OTs) to get the same coverage as teachers, and we want full, paid, family leave, so that we can take time to care for other members of our families, as well as our children.

 We are holding a Rally for Paid Family Leave on Wednesday, January 31, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. We will meet in front of the UFT offices in Manhattan at 52 Broadway, and march together to City Hall, at 52 Chambers St. We are reminding our Union leadership that we deserve the best deal possible, and then reminding our city government that they should be ashamed of how they are treating their teachers.

We hope you can join us to rally and march, and we need your help!
Here are three things you can do to help us:

FMPR Presidenta Mercedes Martinez, 2016 MORE/UFT Presidential Candidate Jia Lee and MORE member Aixa Rodriguez on a recent solidarity trip to Puerto Rico.

Four months after Hurricane Maria 40% of Puerto Ricans remain without regular access to electrical power.  Puerto Rico’s secretary of education, Julia Keleher, continues on a school closing rampage, with over 300 closed in the last two years and more on the chopping block.
The Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR) – is a leading teachers union on the island and key organizer of the movement against school closures, organizing brigades of teachers and community members to clean schools up and demand their reopening – See interview by MORE member Peter Lamphere here.

Click here for flyer

The FMPR led a successful strike in 2008 which prevented charter schools from being on the island.

Mercedes is also speaking Wednesday 1/17 at CASA in the Bronx and Saturday 1/18 at New York State Nurses Association in Manhattan – follow the links for more details.

2018 Winter-Spring

Dear Concerned School Community Member:  

Closing schools has turned into an epidemic across the United States.  In NYC, school after school has been closed. It is time that students, parents, educators, and community members stand together and fight against this harmful practice.

School closures only happen in low-income communities and disproportionately impact students and families of color. Instead of getting to the root of problems, closure causes harm as it scatters students, pushes veteran teachers out, and hands space over to charter schools which do not serve all students, and often use racist “zero-tolerance” discipline policies. In many cases space and even whole buildings have been handed over to charter schools. Closures damage the school system as a whole, making every school with a majority of families with low incomes fear that their school will be the next one closed.

Mayor De Blasio has continued the closures that Bloomberg started. His Renewal Schoo

l Program claimed to give resources to struggling schools, but the truth is that most of the money was spent on outside consultants, instead of giving the schools the resources they actually need.

We seek to expose the failed policy of closing schools. We demand the city provide adequate resources for all schools, and we bring people together to advocate for finding real solutions to socio-economic problems such as low-wages, homelessness and poverty that affect so many of our students. Many of us are teachers who are members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), a caucus within the United Federation of Teachers.

Some people see this as “a done deal” and do not see the point in fighting. But as long as this policy continues we are all under threat. We need as many school communities as possible to voice opposition to school closings and to advance alternatives. It’s powerful when people from different schools facing possible closure meet and share experiences.   Continue Reading…