Archive for March, 2010

UFT suit against school closings successful

The UFT suit blocking Chancellor Klein’s 19 school closings next year received a favorable decision today. The judge ruled that the PEP votes were null and void, and that the DoE could not close Jamaica, Columbus, Robeson, Norman Thomas, New Day, Metropolitan, SCRL, MABL, Beach Channel, Maxwell, and 9 other schools.

Teachers have reason to applaud the decision. It is a victory for the teachers and students in those schools. It is a victory for the thousands who attended CEC meetings, PEP meetings, and rallies and demonstrations. It is a victory for the neighborhoods. It is a victory for all of us.

But it is only a first step. The DoE may appeal, or may try again next year. Our suit won because Klein violated his own procedures. Next year may be tougher.

Let’s savor the victory over this break, but let’s return ready to think about how to continue the struggle into next year.

ICE’s Dark, Hidden Secret

New Action has a record of accomplishment.

ICE has a track record that they don’t want you to know about! From July 2004 through June 2007 ICE was on the UFT Executive Board. ICE has kept this fact a secret and out of their literature because in the three years that they were in a leadership position they produced an abysmal record—in reality a record of failure.
They were an embarrassment and actually hurt the members.

If you look at New Action’s and Unity’s campaign literature for Election 2010, you will see both caucuses flaunt their accomplishments urging you to support them. ICE panders for your support but makes it seem as if they were new to UFT politics.

Today ICE claims that they will fight for “job rights for ATRs.” How many motions did they make at the UFT Executive Board from 2004 to 2007 to fight for ATRs? ZERO!

Today ICE claims that they will fight for an “end school closings.” How many motions did they make at the UFT Executive Board from 2004 to 2007 to stop school closings? ZERO!

Today ICE claims that they will fight to “Restore and strengthen the right to grieve unfair and inaccurate letters and observations.” How many motions did they make at the UFT Executive Board from 2004 to 2007 to restore those rights? ZERO!

Today ICE claims that they will fight to “end the longer day,” “end harassment,” “reduce class size,” “hold the line on health care costs,” “improve pensions,” “win parity for paras and secretaries,” etc. How many motions did they make from 2004 to 2007 to address these issues? ZERO! ZERO! ZERO! ZERO! ZERO! ZERO!

Today ICE would have you think that “they have been there on all fronts- supporting teachers, joining with parents, building a movement to fight for public education.” Just the opposite has been true. When given the chance to provide leadership ICE did nothing. They refused to participate in the process of making conditions better for UFT members.

Don’t waste your vote on an “opposition” caucus that has produced nothing for the members except empty promises. Don’t waste you’re your vote on a caucus that refuses to acknowledge its own leadership failures. Don’t vote for a repeat of 2004 to 2007

During the period that New Action served on the UFT Executive Board, we have introduced over 16 resolutions to benefit members and introduced numerous positive action proposals that have been implemented and are now UFT policy!


PO BOX  180574, NO. RICHMOND HILL, NY 11418


  • New Action is the oldest and most responsible opposition caucus in the UFT. We recognize that there is a crisis for our members brought on by the corporate takeover of education. For years New Action has been organizing and mobilizing the membership to fight and win benefits for UFT members
  • New Action is the only independent UFT caucus that has supported and opposed leadership policies. How a policy impacts the members determines New Action support or opposition. The membership is best served when there is constructive criticism and open debate.

VOTE the entire New Action SLATE!


President Michael Mulgrew Wm. Grady HS
Secretary Paul Millstein Canarsie HS, Retired
Assistant Secretary Carol Widom PS 219K
Treasurer Ronald Leung Fort Hamilton HS
Assistant Treasurer Anna Maria Thomas HS of the Arts
VP, at Large Gregory DiStefano Tottenville HS, Retired
VP, Special Education Keith Fessel Fort Hamilton HS
VP, Elementary Cheryl F. Hawkins PS/IS 150K
VP, IS/JHS/MS David Gurowsky IS 98X
VP, Academic HS John McCabe III Tottenville HS
VP, Voc./Tech. HS Bruce Rajswasser Automotive HS


Rachael Bulla
Sharon Greeley-Coughlin
Phylicita Nelson-Walker
Lauren Donner
Karen Halpern
Tracey Pearson
Camile Goldberg
Margaret Longo
Earl Terrill

Diana Buono
Mario Garramone
Peter Rodrigo
Jim Cunningham
Bashir Makshar

Patricia Crispino Graphic Communications HS
Douglas Haynes Canarsie HS
Alan Ettman DeWitt Clinton HS
Danielle Longyear Telecommunications HS
Jonathan Halabi HS of American Stuidies
Greg Lundahl Washington Irving HS

Kenneth Bedell Social Worker
Chaike Grumet School Psychologist
Rose Della Rocca Secretary
Tatiana Khijniakova School Psychologist
Bernadette D’Onofrio Social Worker
Linda Langen Paraprofessional
Nelson Espinal Bilingual Social Worker
Dalia Maxwell School Psychologist
Barbara Falik School Psychologist
Osama Mostafa Guidance Counselor
Jim Ferentino Guidance Counselor
Sidney Pech Social Worker
John Girolamo Guidance Counselor
Anna Resker Paraprofessional

KJ Ahluwalia
Robert Dehler
Jessica Marshall
Carole A. Scheer
Charles Bayor
Paul Feingold
Katherine Martin-Bridge
Samantha Schoeller
Marcia Benjamin
Alan Fried
Ruth McKenzie
Michael Sherwood
Joel Berger
William Goldman
Donald Moran
Valerie Shoenfeld
Fredrick Betz
Regina Gori
Dina Moses
Michael Shulman
Kim Brown
Robert Greenberg
Francisco Peña
Barbara Stensholt
Richard Candia
Mary Jimmerson
Dacio Quintana
Zulma Villalba
Jessica Carter
Mark Karwowski
Maria Ramos
David Widom
Maurice Crooks
David Kaufman
Paul Regenbogen
Angelo D’Angelo
Susan Krasnoff
Bea Robertson
Diane DeBernardo
Jon Leventon
Judy Rosenstein

Meet some of our candidates

Bruce Rajswasser (VP, CTE)
Teaching 20 years, Specialties Entrepreneurship,Robotics.
Active in Robotics in the NYC/NJ Area. National Foundation for Teaching Entreprenuership Teacher of the Year, College of Staten Island Alumni Hall of Fame.
Chapter Leader, Tottenville

Francisco A. Peña (at large)
UFT Ex. Board Member
Former chapter leader at I.S.55 (two terms) Dist.23
Bil./Social Studies Teacher Lic.
Bil./Special Education Teacher Lic.
Field: Law
Currently I.S.61 Queens

Maria Ramos (at large)
Taught middle school, ESL Adult education 1972 victim of the big layoffs.
taught in North Carolina  middle school, bilingual education, migrant farmers and senior citizens..
returned to teach in elementary school in brooklyn.
became a school psychologist in 1996 until present.
Mother of two daughters who attended public schools in district 22 are now in Brown university and Brooklyn College.
exec board member of UFT at large,
delegate School Psychologists/Social Workers

Doug Haynes (high school)
UFT Exec. Bd.
UFT Negotiating Committee
UFT Action Committee
Teaching for 24 years.
Currently teacher of environmental science at Canarsie High School
Canarsie High School Executive Board

David Gurowsky (at large)
Former delegate (seven years) and Chapter Leader (six years) Adlai E. Stevenson High School
UFT Executive Board for three years.
Most important issue: the rights of ATRs.
Currently ATR at Herman Ritter Middle School

Jonathan Halabi (high school)
13 year math teacher
8 year Chapter Leader
former Executive Board, Assoc of Math Teachers of NY State
Current UFT Exec Board
Current Negotiating Committee
Co-Chair New Action Caucus
High School of American Studies at Lehman College

David Kaufman (at large)
35-year JHS/MS teacher of science,
Former 24.5 year Chapter Leader
Currently a member of the UFT Executive Board,
Co-Chair of the UFT Action Committee,a member of the UFT’s Organizing Committee
A co-founder and co-chair of New Action Caucus.
My favorite ice cream flavor…..

Michael Shulman (at large)
36 year high school veteran.
Now retired.
Former UFT VP Academic HS.
Current UFT Exec. Bd. member.
Current member of UFT Negotiation Comm,
UFT Action Comm.,
Co-chair of UFT Organizing Comm.
Co-chair, New Action Caucus



September 2007    New Action challenges the “for profit” merger of GHI/HIP
September 2007    New Action speaks for resolution supporting Jena 6
September 2007    Conducts a New Action survey on problems unique to campus schools contacting 160+ chapter leaders. Brings issue to UFT Action Committee.
September 2007    New Action members continue to work on three bipartisan committees. Each one is co-chaired by a New Action leader (Action, Organizing, Social and Economic Justice).

October 2007    New Action introduces resolution to support “Bring Our Troops Home’ from Iraq rally. The resolution is approved by the UFT Executive Board and DA and becomes UFT policy.

November 2007    The UFT Executive Board passes a New Action resolution to investigate U-rating and Discontinuance appeals. This leads to changes, including DOE providing timely documentation.
November 2007    New Action gets UFT to demand a DOE moratorium on hiring new employees until all excessed members are placed.
November 2007    New Action introduces a plan to modify the behavior of abusive administrators or get rid of them. It is presented and accepted at UFT Action Committee.

December 2007    New Action co-endorsed a DA resolution establishing a Task Force on Civil and Human Rights following the shooting of Sean Bell.
December 2007    The campaign against abusive administrators begins. Weingarten highlights 10 principals to begin with at December DA.

February 2008    New Action calls for UFT reaffirmation regarding school closings. Demands a concurrence of federal, state, DOE accountability systems before any school is closed. Resolution is passed.

March 2008    New Action gets UFT to endorse “River to River” anti-war demonstration.

April 2008    New Action presents UFT Executive Board with resolution to curb using outside consulting firms. The issue was sparked by reports that British firm Cambridge Education was given a 9% increase. The resolution also demanded that the DOE open its books to see what other contracts could be eliminated.

May 2008    New Action successfully introduces resolution in defense of Colombian trade unionists. Opposes the US Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.

June 2008    New Action wins UFT endorsement for Barack Obama for President. Calls on UFT to present endorsement at AFT Convention.

July 2008    New Action opposes TRC Agreement between UFT and DOE.

October 2008    New Action offers concrete plans to support ATRs.
October 2008    New Action members (2) are appointed to Committee to investigate mayoral term limits. Committee calls for any change to go to popular referendum.
October 2008    New Action wins support for two fired Detroit teachers (Conn and Miller). Detroit local expresses appreciation for act of labor solidarity.
October 2008    New Action co-endorses UFT resolution to sign public letter against budget cuts (sponsored by Time Out for Testing, Center for Immigrant Families, Teachers Unite, Working Families Party, NYCoRE, etc.) Demands cuts be made first at Tweed.

November 2008    New Action introduces proposal to campaign against overturning term limits    defeated at UFT Executive Board.
November 2008    New Action supports UFT/DOE Agreement to encourage schools to hire ATRs.
November 2008    New Action introduces resolution to support HR 676 – Single Payer Health Plan    Defeated.

December 2008    New Action co-sponsors the resolution to establish a committee to promote an inclusive and diverse teaching force.
December 2008    New Action co-sponsors resolution to condemn US Senate Republicans shameless efforts to use auto crisis to attack American workers.

February 2009    New Action opposes UFT Governance Task Force recommending continuation of mayoral control.
February 2009    New Action co-sponsors resolution condemning offensive cartoon in NY Post.
February to  June 2009    New Action continues to press leadership on UFT Action Committee to expand abusive administrator campaign into hundreds of schools.

May 2009    New Action endorses Bill Thompson for Mayor.

June 2009    New Action places discussion of charter schools on UFT Executive Board agenda. Makes proposal to address charter school concerns.
June 2009    New Action wins unanimous support from UFT Executive Board and DA for a multi-partisan Negotiation Committee.

August 2009 to Current    New Action Executive Board members serve on UFT Negotiating Committee.

September 2009    New Action facilitates meeting with UFT leadership and visiting Iraqi trade unionists.

October 2009    New Action meets with UFT leadership to discuss several proposals including: expansion of abusive administrator campaign, exploring ways to deal with principal autonomy, improving union democracy, a campaign to “discontinue” Joel Klein, holding the line on tenure, iron– clad commitment to ATRs

November 2009    New Action meets with UFT leadership to discuss: the grievance machinery, problems facing probationary teachers, seniority transfers, Teacher Retention Centers (overwhelmingly teachers of color and senior teachers), the secret caseload for SBST teams – “turning 5’s”.

December 2009    New Action members present action proposals to UFT Action Committee, including Day of Solidarity

February 2010    New Action proposes taking the issue of the recruitment and placement of teachers of color to DOE
February 2010    New Action co-authors resolution opposing DOE’s plan for K–2 standardized testing.

New Action…part of the solution!

New Action… we’re not Unity…

  • Unity failed to endorse Bill Thompson for Mayor.
  • Unity supported mayoral control of education.
  • Unity has failed to unionize charter schools.
  • Unity has failed to challenge hundreds of abusive administrators.
  • Unity failed to create a membership that is involved, militant, and committed.
  • Unity is often slow in reacting and addressing the burning issues in today’s schools.

New Action… we’re not ICE…

  • ICE criticizes everything the UFT does. They oppose all leadership initiatives automatically, in a knee-jerk manner.
  • ICE refuses to unite in the struggle against the UFT’s real enemies — Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein.
  • In three years as members of the UFT Executive Board (2004-2007), they failed the membership, introducing only three resolutions.
  • ICE’s attacks on opponents are often scurrilous, undignified, and personal.

we’re New Action… part of the solution!

  • New Action is the oldest and most responsible opposition caucus in the UFT. We recognize that there is a crisis for our members brought on by the corporate takeover of education. For years New Action has been organizing and mobilizing the membership to fight and win benefits for UFT members
  • New Action is the only independent UFT caucus that has supported and opposed leadership policies. How a policy impacts the members determines New Action support or opposition. The membership is best served when there is constructive criticism and open debate.
  • New Action believes that the membership wants a united UFT to make the best fight to combat the assault at the city and national levels on teacher unions.
  • New Action endorses the election of Mike Mulgrew as UFT President.

New Action will continue to meet with Mulgrew to support our demands for a more effective and productive union.