MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the January 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: January 2014 Leaflet

MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!

The UFT is waiting for a fact-finding report that is due in two weeks. The question is what kind of contract will the fact-finders come up with? and what can we expect from Mayor Bill de Blasio?

We believe that the new contract must include fair pay, no givebacks, and serious changes to this abysmal evaluation system. New Action calls for a 4%, 4% raise from 2009-1011, as all other unions already received, without givebacks. Retroactive pay must cover all members who worked during the years covered.

The actual package will be shaped by the fact-finders’ report. But what is the union’s strategy to bring a decent contract back to UFT members?

New Action believes that a mobilized and informed membership has an important role to play in securing a decent contract. Monday, January 13, 2014 the UFT Executive Board debated the best way to involve the members.  The Unity leadership claims the UFT will win a fair contract because of the determination of its members. They state that there will be many ways for members to participate, including coming to rallies, signing up to receive the union’s text and e-mail updates about negotiations and reaching out to fellow UFT members.

New Action agrees that members should commit to strong participation in the fight for a contract. HOWEVER, New Action believes that this falls far short of what is needed. Our basic unit of organization, chapters, should be directing this effort at the school level.

On Monday, New Action called for chapter meetings in every school to discuss and plan actions. We called for actions at each school, such as informational picketing before the school day. We called for involvement of parents in the fight for a fair contract. This was rejected by the Unity Caucus-dominated Executive Board. One member derided our proposals by saying that many members are not part of chapters.

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1 Response to “MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!”


  1. 1 paulvhogan April 1, 2014 at 11:54 am

    This RTC member appreciates your efforts. However:

    >>>On Monday, New Action called for chapter meetings in every school to discuss and plan actions. We called for actions at each school, such as informational picketing before the school day. We called for involvement of parents in the fight for a fair contract. This was rejected by the Unity Caucus-dominated Executive Board. One member derided our proposals by saying that many members are not part of chapters.>>>>>
    >>>
    I think you betray here a certain naivete’. Lots of schools don’t even have actual chapters anymore.( I define a chapter as an entity over which there is a presiding elected CL, Delegate, monthly consultation committee, at least 6 gen membership meetings per year, as per CBA, and UFT participation on SLT.) They may or may not have something on paper but it isn’t a “chapter” in any real sense.

    People are more frightened than you realize. I go to schools and talk to people. Many are afraid to be seen w. union literature. Few will affix their name to a petition, no matter how innocuous the language or the issue. If they’re not afraid of their building admins… they are afraid of the UFT itself. Many are afraid of *both*.

    Point: you’re not going to get far, imo, w. “chapter meetings in every school.”

    Add to that general paranoia, the recent spate of false arrests of teacher activists ( including a sitting UFT chapter leader) and I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of rank and file mobilization on this issue.

    Re. involving the parents: UFT high command will NEVER go for it. Teachers are fairly EZ to control ( which is why UNITY prospers in the current Orwellian climate) but parents are another matter entirely. The union leadership will resist meaningful parent involvement to the bitter end. Involving parents would imply *sharing*. UFT officers have persuaded themselves… and each other…. that they have an inviolable *right* to the positions they hold, and to the power they wield. That being in a policy-making position in the organization is proof positive of one’s own indispensability. One tinkers with those delicate psychological levers *very* carefully and only with EXTREME caution.

    Solution: do something about the barbed-wire culture these people have managed to create by taking it on *directly*. Not much good is going to be accomplished if people are paralyzed by fear. Getting a raise… or even three years backpay…… pales, for most teachers, in comparison to being u-rated, harassed, and in general being subject to the relentlessly hostile work environments that UFT has allowed most schools to evolve into.

    When people feel secure, they will join the fight for a just contract. Until then…. don’t hold your breath. They are keeping their heads down, and … under the circumstances…. can you really blame them?


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