New Action announces a coalition slate with MORE for the 2016 UFT elections

New Action Caucus/UFT is the oldest opposition caucus in the United Federation of Teachers. We have a decades-long history of fighting for social justice, including initiating the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa, moving the UFT to take a position against “stop and frisk,” and winning NYSUT support for the NY DREAM Act for immigrant children.

We also have a long history of struggling for better contracts and working conditions. We have repeatedly spoken out against the new teacher evaluation system based on student test scores. Most recently we have been in the forefront of the fight to defend members from abusive administrators, by building successful demonstrations in front of schools and getting the union to initiate a Principals in Need of Improvement program (PINI). Our focus on mobilizing members goes beyond abusive administrators: in 1995 we led the drive to defeat a zero-zero contract. For the next contract, we led informational picketing in front of many schools, demanding pay parity.

On January 1, 2002, when Bloomberg assumed office, the union was faced with an unprecedented anti-teacher, anti-union administration. Due to these conditions, New Action made an electoral agreement with the leadership’s Unity Caucus to fight those attacks in a bipartisan way, while reserving the right to be critical in areas where we did not agree.

Today the political conditions are different. The new de Blasio administration is not hostile to teachers, our union, and education. It should be easier to improve the conditions in the schools from the miserable state Bloomberg left them in, but the Unity leadership has been ineffective in working to undo Bloomberg’s mess, and unresponsive to the broad needs of our members.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) was formed three years ago. It has taken a leading role in the Opt Out Movement. They have been vocal opponents of Cuomo’s tests and the punishing teacher evaluation scheme.

This agreement has been approved by the New Action Executive Board and the MORE Steering Committee. The MORE membership will vote on it this weekend.

Highlights of the Agreement:

  • This proposal is for a joint, full MORE/New Action slate in the Spring 2016 UFT election. It is not for cross endorsing a few select candidates for officer or exec board positions. It is not for merging our groups. It does not involve other caucuses.
  • Allocation of Slots
    • The allocation of slots, in general should reflect both the relative strength of the caucuses, and the history and significance of the caucuses. The division will be close to 50/50.
    • The presidential candidate will come from MORE’s ranks, and be agreed to by both groups.
  • A joint program is in development.
  • Jointly produced literature will be prepared for distribution … Each group may use joint literature, their own literature, or any combination.

September 16, 2015

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