Archive for April 4th, 2013

MORE’s Hidden Secret

The MORE caucus and the bloggers who write for them want UFT members to believe they are a brand new caucus. The truth is MORE consists of several formations and groups that have a track record. One spokesperson/blogger recently alluded to the record of two of their members when they held seats on the UFT
Executive Board—James Eterno and Jeff Kaufman. This blogger noted the sterling record they had from July 2004 through June 2007.

It is worth looking at the role ICE played on that Board. Certainly we should know their record in order to judge what we can expect of MORE if they were elected again.

During those years they had a record of failure. In the spring of 2010 New Action stated that they (not just James or Jeff) “were an embarrassment and actually hurt the members.”

Today MORE makes claims about what they will do if elected. WHAT DID THEY (ICE) DO THEN? They claimed they would fight for “job rights for ATRs.” How many motions did they make at the UFT Executive Board from 2004-2007 to fight for ATRs? ZERO! What about their claim that they would fight for an end to school closings? How many motions did they make? ZERO!

They claimed they would fight to “Restore and strengthen the right to grieve unfair and inaccurate letters and observations.” How many motions? ZERO! The same for their claim to fight to “end harassment, “ reduce class size,” “win parity for paras and secretaries.” YOU guessed it. ZERO! ZERO! ZERO!

When given the chance to provide leadership, ICE did nothing!

We will repeat what we said in the spring of 2010: “Don’t waste your vote on an opposition” caucus that has produced nothing for the members except empty promises. Don’t waste your vote on a caucus that (STILL) refuses to acknowledge its own leadership failure. Don’t vote for a repeat of 2004-2007.”

They often seemed more concerned with delaying or disrupting proceedings than with promoting the interests of the members.

Don’t waste your vote on MORE which offers more empty rhetoric (and more history than they would care to discuss)

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The Last Ten Years?

The following quotation is prominently featured in MORE’s election literature. And it is an astonishing statement. It shows the apparent lack of knowledge or disregard MORE has for the history of the UFT. Before we all wax ecstatic about the UFT from its founding until 2003, there are some issues we need to make MORE’s candidates aware of.

In the last ten years, in a departure from the roots of our union’s founding, the leadership has failed to organize and mobilize the membership at the time we have needed their leadership the most.” – J. Cavanagh

Working conditions have always been a major issue in the schools. Since the 1970’s members were faced with class size grievances. It was a major concern along with the loss of teaching positions and layoffs. There were numerous challenges that faced the schools. Schools and classes without adequate supplies, the lack of books and uncovered classes were common. Schools went into decline physically. While there is a hiring freeze today, over thirty years ago teachers would not be hired until one or two months after the start of school. In the mid-seventies we witnessed wage freezes. In the mid 1980’s teachers were were excessed mid-year in the high schools. Anyone teaching at that time (and there are not many left) remember the half-class loophole. A common refrain was “just leave it up to Al.”

On the social justice front, the UFT record was against community control. Albert Shanker declared himself a “certified hawk” and a group of teachers formed to oppose the Vietnam war and call for ending that unjust war and diverting military spending to social services. Later the New Action caucus would call on the UFT to demand an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. During 1985, when New Action leader, Mike Shulman, was elected to be the VP for Academic High Schools one of his first actions was to call on the union to divest its pension funds from companies doing business with the Republic of South Africa. Starting in the 1990’s New Action made salary parity a priority issue and pointed out that NYC once had the highest salaries for teachers. It had fallen to one of the lowest paid in the region. Many opposition groups and independents pointed out that union democracy was another major issue in the UFT.

The lack of organizing and mobilizing the membership at the school level has been an ongoing, major concern for many more years then the ten Julie Cavanagh cites.

“The last ten years”???