We win! No layoffs! (but the war with Bloomberg continues)

June, 28  2011

We won. Yesterday four thousand teachers were wondering how they would pay rent or mortgages this summer. And today they know – their jobs are safe.

We won by demonstrating, by phone banking, by winning over the City Council.

We have won a big battle. But the war with the mayor continues. He will come back at seniority next year. And school closings. And collocations. We are still working under an expired contract.

We need to keep pushing. We need to hammer away at the wasteful contracts. We need to mobilize as we have. But we also need to mobilize in a way that draws more of our members into the fight. New Action continues to call for school-level actions, including meetings and pickets, as appropriate. Picketing is not a panacea, but engagement by the entire membership is crucial.

 ATRs

Today’s agreement has a series of complicated-looking provisions that may help ATRs get regularly appointed. It would be fantastic if this works. But we have had contract language and side agreements designed to help ATRs get positions in the past, and the DoE has ignored or violated them (think about 18D!). We will need to watch how our brothers and sisters in the ATRs are treated very closely. If their conditions and positions do not improve, New Action will introduce a resolution (see reverse) for the next Delegate Assembly in October.

 Focus on conditions in the schools

Schools just had their budgets cut again yesterday. While this cut is not huge (average is under 3%) this is the latest in a series of cuts stretching back several years. The cumulative effect of is over 20% for some schools. Schools are bleeding not from a gash, but from a thousand paper cuts. And our children are losing necessary programs.

We will lose through attrition at least 2500 teachers. Again, this is on top of ten thousand more positions already lost in preceding cuts. Despite the CFE case, the DoE is forcing our students into larger classes.

Mayoral Control

Bloomberg’s brinkmanship over layoffs would not have occurred without the legislation that gives him direct control over the schools. It is time to end mayoral control.

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