Notes from the May 6 UFT Exec Board

–       Excessed Teachers at Open Mike
–       UFT taking lead role in MLC demo against Bloomberg
–       Some questions from New Action members
–       Political endorsements
–       Debate on Bangladeshi garment workers resolution
–       2013 Gay Pride March

These are notes, not a full report.

There were four speakers at the open mike, including two excessed teachers (ATRs) – one spoke to ending the combination funding/hiring/transfer/excessing systems that caused the ATR pool to swell. The other spoke against “kidnapping” – the practice where a principal can take an ATR and keep him or her without that teacher’s consent. Michael Mendel spoke about the apparent contradiction (for forced placement or against forced placement). But the “kidnappings” result in temporary, not permanent placements.

During the president’s report, Mulgrew announced that the UFT, as part of the Municipal Labor Council, would be taking the lead role in a June 12 “Fair Contracts for All” demonstration.

Michael Shulman, New Action co-chair, during the question period, asked about ATRs (see separate report). Jonathan Halabi, the other co-chair, brought to the Board his concern that UFT Social Workers are being replaced by private companies are being brought in by the DOE to do their work, and mentioned a list of schools where this has happened. He asked what the UFT is doing, or could do, about this situation. The chair asked for the list. Maria Ramos, in reports from districts, read a thank you letter from some of those affected by the SESIS victory.

The following City Council endorsements were proposed and approved (New Action had been prepared to speak to ensure that Mark Treygor, a teacher, was included; this proved to be unnecessary as not only was Mark endorsed, but Paul Egan compared him to Danny Dromm.)

Borough           Dist      Candidate       Party Affiliation

Manhattan       02       Rosie Mendez              D
Bronx             15        Ritchie Torres             D
Queens                        20        Peter Koo                    D
Queens           22        Costa Constantinides D
Queens                       26        James Van Bramer      D
Queens                       31        Donovan Richards       D
Brooklyn           33        Stephen Levin             D
Brooklyn         35       Laurie Cumbo             D
Brooklyn           39        Brad Lander                 D
Brookly             41        Darlene Mealy            D
Brooklyn         42       Inez Barron                 D
Brooklyn         47       Mark Treygor              D
Staten Island   50       Steven Matteo             R

Sterling Roberson motivated a resolution in “Support of the Labor Rights of Bangladeshi Garment Workers.” The resolution, a response to the factory collapse last month that cost over 400 Bangladeshi workers their lives, called for the AFT, UFT, retailers, and international labor groups to work to improve safety standards and monitoring in Bangladesh. The resolution was generally well received by all members of all caucuses represented on the Board.

However, Abe Levine, a former UFT officer, rose and attempted to add an amendment. It highlighted the plight of US workers, the need for jobs in this country, and the need for free unions. The amendment called on corporations to pull out of countries that produce products for them.

New Action co-chair Michael Shulman took the floor to oppose the amendment. He cited the need for labor solidarity with workers in all countries. The UFT has passed numerous resolutions in support of workers’ struggles in the US as well as with those struggling in oppressive conditions in other countries. The amendment would be myopic and run counterproductive to where the UFT needs to be on international labor solidarity.

UFT Director of Staff Leroy Barr also spoke.  He said that he supporter 99% of what Levine said, but pointed out that it did not have a place with this resolution. He also indicated the amendment needed a thorough discussion at some later date.

The amendment failed, and resolution as whole passed.

There was a reso to support this year’s Gay Pride March, approved with no discussion.

 

by Jonathan Halabi, with Michael Shulman

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