Archives For Movement of Rank and File Educators

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.

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The Movement of Rank and File Educators is proud to welcome fellow educators from Oaxaca, Mexico to New York City.

The Oaxacan teachers union has been at the center of a broad-based movement for educational and social justice in Mexico.  Last year Oaxaca was the center of violent clashes and police repression as teachers mobilized to resist neoliberal education reforms.  They have long been campaigning against privatization, police repression, corruption among the union leadership.  The organization now finds itself at the forefront of mobilizations for earthquake relief.

We will hear a presentation about the struggles of Oaxaca’s teachers, the situation after the recent earthquakes, and the movement for educational justice in Mexico.  We will be raising funds for local earthquake relief.

This is a public event, all are welcome.
Monday, October 23rd 5:30-7:30
CUNY Graduate Center
Room 5414
New York 10016
ID Needed to Enter

Our Guests:

Rene Gonzalez Pizarro is a member of the Oaxaca teachers union and former delegate to the general assembly. He is a researcher at Oaxaca’s center for indigenous languages (CEDELIO) and a co-founder of the artist collective Colectivo Zape. He writes about the struggle for education in Mexico and his street art is featured in several books about the Oaxaca uprising in 2006.

Afsaneh Moradian is a former UFT member, educator, writer, and is finishing her Phd in Education. Her dissertation is on the Oaxaca teachers union’s opposition to neoliberal education reform.

"MOREUFT Oaxaca Teachers"Oaxaca Teacher Flyer Final Draft

Dan Lupkin
UFT Chapter Leader
PS 58 – Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

What is a union for? Why do we belong to one? In these times of looming national “Right to Work” laws that are likely to impede or cripple the ability of labor unions to sustain themselves financially, it seems like a relevant question to ask ourselves. Is a union for Meet the President dinners? Patronage jobs in exchange for political loyalty? Social media campaigns? What are we getting in exchange for the hard-earned dues we pay to the UFT?

Protecting members from abuse by management is a core function, if not THE core function, of a labor union. If a chapter leader or delegate speaking out and organizing against an abusive administrator is subject to retaliation with impunity, what chance is there for a rank-and-file member to actually exercise their contractual rights? The abuse of staff, students, and parents that has been going on, unchecked, at Central Park East 1, an elementary school in East Harlem, is indicative of a union local decayed to the point of paralysis, and so out of touch with its membership and their concerns that it is approaching complete irrelevance.

Continue Reading…

MORE-UFT stands in support of A628/S579, a bill to help workers collect stolen wages.

As educators and school workers in the New York City public school system, we see the devastating impact that long hours and low wages have on our students’ families and their lives. When parents have to work long hours for low wages, our students sometimes have to go without necessities — adequate meals, warm coats in the winter, even permanent housing. Many children must take greater responsibility in the home for taking care of younger siblings or the elderly and disabled. This can lead to missing school, lack of rest, anxiety, depression, and makes participation in school communities harder. If parents are not even paid wages owed these problems are compounded.

As unionists and members of the United Federation of Teachers we find it outrageous that employers can get away with failing to pay workers wages they are legally owed. If there is no enforced floor in legal working conditions, inequality will increase and working and living conditions for all working people will deteriorate.

As unionists, educators, workers and residents of New York, we will not sit by while exploitative employers refuse to pay people for work they have done. If scofflaw employers can get away with hiding or transferring assets to avoid paying these stolen wages, then workers cannot collect the money they are owed, even if they win an award in court.  A628/S579, Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (“SWEAT”) brings New York law up to the same standard as other states that provide legal tools so that workers can make sure their employers will pay them once they are awarded a judgment in court.

Sincerely,
The Movement of Rank and File Educators-United Federation of Teachers
MORE-UFT

"Pass the SWEAT Bill Now"

"April 5 Rally to Save CPE 1"

Join CPE1 Parents and Teachers as they fight back against abusive principal Monika Garg. MORE-UFT has attempted to rally our union to stand up for the students, parents, and teachers at Central Park East 1, but UFT leadership (Unity caucus) punted. Now it’s up to the community. 

Thursday, April 6th at 4:30pm

Central Park East 1 – 1573 Madison Ave. (106th btw. Park and Madison)

Come to the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE-UFT) General Meeting on Saturday, March 25th from 12-3pm.  We will be making plans for ongoing organizing to Save Our Union from the anti-union agenda of the Trump administration, to protect immigrants’ rights in our schools, distribute our regular newsletter, and defend public schools and educators under attack from their administrators.

When: Saturday, March 25th 12pm-3pm
Where: CUNY Graduate Center Room 5414
*ID Required to enter*
Light refreshments will be served.
"MORE general meeting 3.25.17"

Wednesday, March 22: Delegate Assembly and Panel for Educational Policy

Below find MORE’s Proposed Action Plan for the UFT Delegate Assembly (DA) and Panel for Education Policy (PEP), both of which are happening this Wednesday, March 22. There are two two important issues: Stop the Closing of JHS 145 and Support for the Chapter Leader of Central Park East 1 Elementary School.

DA

At the DA we are gearing up to show support for the JHS 145 community who are faced with having their school closed. MORE/New Action will present a resolution (see below) to be voted on at this Delegate Assembly, calling on public support from the UFT as well as an early adjournment of the DA so that the delegates can attend the PEP. A group of MORE members will leave for the PEP meeting around 5. If you intend to speak at the PEP you need to sign up before 6 – the later you sign up the later you will speak. If you stay for the entire DA, please come to the PEP afterward — wear your MORE T-Shirt!

Additionally, the Chapter Leader (CL) of Central Park East 1 Elementary School (CPE1) is unfairly undergoing a 3020a hearing. Parent leaders may have stickers for UFT members to wear as an additional show of support as some will be showing up outside the DA. Recently almost 100 parents showed up in the hearing room to support Marilyn Martinez.

PEP

Please try to attend the PEP at Fashion Industries HS (225 W 24th St, NYC, between 7th and 8th Avenues). JHS 145 in the Bronx is facing a closure vote. The largely immigrant school community has mobilized to oppose the closing. As unionists committed to defending public education, we must join our voices with those of parents, students and teachers in opposition to this proposed closure. Those who are speaking need to get on line at 5:30.


Resolution on JHS 145

Whereas Junior High School 145 is a school serving a low-income, immigrant community in the Bronx with 20% of the students living in homeless shelters or temporary housing; 21% have learning disabilities, 18% have gone extended periods of their lives without any education at all and over 40% English Language Learners, but has only one full-time ELL teacher.

Whereas JHS 145 was designated a renewal school by NYC DOE two and a half years ago, but has yet to receive all the services its students were promised under that program

Whereas JHS 145 has been forced to give up their classrooms, computer labs and other resources to a Success Academy charter school

Whereas Success Academy charter school has already advertised additional seats for the 2017/18 school year in JHS 145

Whereas there has been no stability in school leadership, with three principals in recent years, including one that plead guilty to attempted grand larceny and paid $21,080.83 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.

Be it resolved that UFT take a public stance against the closing of JHS 145 by organizing and mobilizing with the chapter, parents, and community for a march and rally at DOE headquarters to pressure Chancellor Farina into halting the closure

Be it further resolved that the UFT will adjourn the March 22nd Delegate Assembly at 5:30pm and encourage all delegates to attend the Panel For Education Policy in order to voice our opposition to the closing of JHS 145.