Archive for April, 2023

A Timeline for the UFT Contract: Executive Board Minutes, 4-24-2023

Summary/Analysis: There was some pretty big news tonight on contract. Carl Cambria explained that ideally we’ll have a tentative agreement before Summer. In terms of what’s left, most of what we’re looking at now is workplace-related (negotiations with the DOE). On the City end, the pattern is set, and unless we have givebacks in some other place (e.g. working extra hours), UFT leadership is conceding that we won’t be getting much more than DC37 in terms of wages – if we get more than them at all. As an aside, I’ll just note here that I suspect they’ll set the vote just before summer in part to help obviate the chances of a no vote). So yes, this will not be Los Angeles. Prepare for a paycut, but hopefully our organizing/negotiating efforts get us somewhere on working conditions.

In other news, we heard more about our existential fight on charters, heard from ICs and SPED teachers on the issues they’re dealing. There is also some more info on the DOE new curriculum initiative. For these and many other topics covered tonight, see below in the full minutes.

Informal Minutes Follow.

Open Mic:

Christina Gavin: CL at 754x and librarian, D75 school in D7. PEP unanimously approved charter expansion. Thank you for support, UFT, including J. Hinds, M. Atkinson, A. Klug, and 7 HS exec board members. Highly restrictive environment at our site. A lot of space needed for services. Worried about expansion of middle school into this high school space. Hoping charter will find its own space with your help.

IC from Brooklyn South: Thanks UFT for what have done for now. Noticing that union is saying want to build community. Union hasn’t done anything to bring us together to help hear/see you guys. Unions that are getting voices out there, are having connections with members on a regular basis. Don’t feel like I’m getting that from leadership – don’t want to exhaust CL. Can you help us to build community?

Jessica Roche: Teacher / Cl in E. Harlem. Access to NEST. Been teaching 12:1:1 bridge for many years, etc. School first to host some AST NEST programs. One of the only examples of DOE doing something right. Services students with autism. Feel like applications drop into black holes – not enough staff to process applications, not enough spaces for horizon program. I see parents sue, but we already have the programs, so shouldn’t have to. If we don’t have the ability to support students in these programs, how do we as the UFT make sure students have access to programs and we have access to trainings?

Approval of the Minutes: All passed.

President not here, but other reports.

Janella Hinds: Charter school initiative. Last DA passed a reso in support of what we’re doing (anti-Hochul initiative). Budget was due April 1,  but it’s April 24th. One of the reasons it’s so late is because of this charter school battle, still ongoing in Albany. Calling out legislators in support. Particularly upset about the Zombie charters. Saturday, there was a lively group participating in a rally opposed to Hochul’s proposal, in the Bronx, Roberto Clemente Plaza. Jamal bowman there, parents and community there. One of the speakers was a student expelled from her charter school – a senior with 3 months left. Disgusting situation; this school community forced her and two others out. She spoke about the opportunities taken away from her. We’re working with her so that she can graduate in a district school. These schools often have to pick up the pieces. Christina mentioned a charter expanse in her building – a UFT represented charter school. That school has said they want to be in another site (one that combines both of their schools), and we have been in support of Christina so that the folks in her school have the space. We are waiting for state budget to be finalized – we’ll continue to fight. NYSUT will soon put out some materials.

Michael Sill: January, get a list from DOE of people at risk of being terminated for certification. 3,000 people in January, which is typical. Sometimes they just have to do something quick, the list is now under 600. DOE often cryptic, often just people have to talk to someone. Folks who were on leave until the end of the year are getting emails that they have to let DOE know – we’re calling everyone – there’s a May deadline. Otherwise, deemed resigned.

Mary Vacarro: Quick report on next curriculum project. We met with DOE. Some agreements. Agreement that all chapter leaders in districts will be invited to a meeting before it’s rolled out to anyone else. They’ll be released from school for the day. Also, we have agreement teacher centers which will be district based. Will be working with superintendents in those districts. Bad news – there’s one, May 8, training that will only be done by third party district. Each district will have a field staff person from teacher center. They’ll be coming back here and reporting to the district rep. We will embed a teacher center in any school that is still looking. We’ll interview coaches to make them teacher center, get them ready. Lastly, we will be going to AFT Teach this summer. Their focus will be reading. We’ll embed some of the trainings in those days. Coaches will be invited to that training. One training just for NYC. Also, every CL will get a list of what should be supplied to classrooms, K-5. That should be out within the next 3 weeks.

Leo Gordon: Chip bill. State is working on a semi-conductor curriculum, state-wide. Started with conversation with teachers – what that curriculum should look like. Invited by largest semi-conductor company in country, they loved our curriculum ideas. New York will be at the forefront of this work. Gonna be a training this summer, 3-5 schools this state. We’ll pilot most likely next year, then bring on more schools to the pilot.

Carl Cambria: Negotiation update. Those of you at DA heard Mulgrew talk about the governance meeting that happened that morning. Positive meeting in that City came ready to respond to each of our general demands. Not everything was a yes, some yes, maybe, no, there was a willingness to come out at a quicker pace to head into Spring. Internally, we started in June. In October, we had our big 500 meeting. Subcommittees have been meeting. Had teach in in Jan. In Feb, we passed demands across the table to the DOE (full gen). That’s also when we wore green with DC37. In March, we continued – did we? – yes, grade in. Today, leafletting has begun. There’s been an escalation of intensity. Gone from teaching our own members to going out to the public and showing all the extra work we have to do. Today, began interacting with the community. We do not have time in the workday to get everything done that we have to get done. So now, we’ve created an intense negotiation schedule for May. Exact dates to come. May action as well, increasing intensity. Over course of month, going to try and whittle down as much as possible, so that we’re in a position to get this contract set for ratification ASAP. City is more ready to do that than DOE. They have their pattern and uniform pattern set. That part of the negotiation is now less intense. We’re having some debates on exact amount of value and how that applies to the UFT. The more difficult partner in all of this is the DOE—whatever they’re calling themselves now—getting them to focus/engage with us on topics on the table. That’s what we’re focused on in May. These leafletting campaigns will help get DOE to start to work with us on workplace stuff. Leafletting is at a crucial time, heals of that governance meeting, May intense – we’ll finish that to know if we’ll have an agreement for the summer or not.

Tammy: Lost long time, provider chapter, secretary, executive board member, Dr. Cynthia Reid. Had her funeral service last Friday. Was with us from inception of our chapter. Previously, called us and helped 125 get payment. She is why their pay did not stop. Moment of silence.

LeRoy Barr: Spring conference coming up on May 20th.


Luli: We get reports from districts. We should also get a regular grievance report. We should know how many step 1 were filed, how many were rejected/passed for step 2, how many went to arbitration, how many resolved in our favor. In past, was told that we had reports made here, so we had that info. Can we get that kind of report?

LeRoy Barr: Used to report on different wins.

Mark  Collins: We can give you a report on some numbers and some other things we’ve been

Nick Bacon: Tenure season – which unfortunately also means that it’s discontinuance/denial season. This is a very anxious time for teachers who don’t yet have tenure. It’s especially anxiety provoking for high school teachers, who effectively lose their careers as high school teachers in the DOE if they get discontinued/denied. So, we had a resolution together about the disproportionate impact of discontinuances on high school teachers.. It was nicely motivated by Alex here, then by me and Mike sill at the DA. It passed. So I’m following up on that. After our efforts to date, has the DOE changed their minds?

Mike Sill: Have not changed their minds, but we’ve raised it. Can check in and raise it at the next exec board and see if they’ve changed it. Nick, we can check in on next steps.

Ilona Nanay: When Carl came up about the pattern, it sounded like the pattern is now locked in. Is there any chance, and I know folks have combed through for other value, is there any chance we could break that pattern? Members are always asking about wage increases and salary. Is that a given?

Carl Cambria: So the likelihood of us breaking the pattern is very slim. Never happened in the city’s history. Gone to arbitration and in other places, it’s not broken. We’re not gonna break the pattern. In terms of how high our wage increases will go, you can’t expect them to go much higher than DC37. There is PBA, but it’s a different pattern for uniform. Still stuff to look at there. Is possible if we were to give in to some demands, the value might increase. That would not break the pattern, but might make our final numbers higher, but only from some sort of negotiation on the whole.

Reports from Districts

Alex Jallot: Report on action to save West Side High School, located on UWS, service students who need to fulfill credit requirements, give services like childcare, counseling. Currently, DOE wants to send them to the east side, which would divorce ability to service. Have been rallies. Press. Understanding is that students will be negatively impact, especially in terms of counseling/childcare. What can be done now? Well, call 311 and let Mayor that we want WSHS to stay in same location. If can’t do that, May 1 -May Day-if not on the streets, call in to PEP at 5:30 to speak in support.

Michael Friedman: Denny Wilson, great unionist, member of staff, by coincidence he taught at West Side High School and I agree with your sentiments. He was born at St. Vincent, member of parliament there. Commanding figure. Got unfortunate news that he died on April 7. Attended memorial service. Never met anyone with a bad word to say. Moment of silence.

Seung Lee: Game night for members. D3/D2 already started leafletting. D2 in news. Excellent organizing events, learned more about the contract, one big thing we can do is take back our time. Hope chapters take this as a chance to come together as a staff – on taking back our time.

Joe Usatch: Thanks Michael Friedman. Happy to announce that high school students have been selected for A. Shanker scholarship. We have 195 undergrad students, 10 more than ever given out. Most graduate students, 12 total, usually 8. Saved a few bucks over the pandemic. June 6 event. Thanks many.

LeRoy Barr: We didn’t take wages at one point to make sure that we’re funding that scholarship, so you’re contributing to that whether you know it or not. Thank you for making that possible.

Name Missed (elementary): Happy Eid. Thanks Seung for sharing on game night. D5, we had a principal’s panel. UFT there, 3 principals, teachers, prospective teachers. Lastly, hiring fair in May for D5, May 18th (virtual) and 19th (in person).

Janella Hinds: Invite everyone to high school awards, May 5.



Strikes, charters, contract, and endorsements: UFT Delegate Assembly Summary/Analysis/Minutes,  4-10-2023

Quick Summary/Analysis:

  • Strikes: We now have a pro-strike resolution approved to be on next month’s agenda, which means it’s quite likely to pass at a future DA. Matt Driscoll (MORE) motivated it, and you should take the time to read his full speech in the minutes below. I am thankful that Mulgrew called on Matt, a known opposition figure. I am also glad that, despite Unity having recently argued against our own right to strike, they did not speak out against this resolution. The difference here is that Matt’s resolution had to do with the general right to strike in the U.S., which is distinct from UFT arguing to reform the Taylor Law that prevents us from striking here in New York City. I look forward to hopefully seeing Unity expand its strike support to UFT’s own members in the future. In the meantime, this is a good move forward. Just look at what the mere threat of a strike just did for teachers in L.A.
  • Contract: Mulgrew was a bit vague, but based on things he said today, it does appear that things are moving forward on contract. Might we have a tentative agreement by the end of the school year? I’m starting to think the answer is yes. Whether that contract will be worth the paper it’s printed on will be another story.
  • Charters: We do still need to worry about charter school caps being raised in New York City. That’s still on the table. The High School Executive Board collaborated with Unity on a resolution presented at the end of the DA solidifying our opposition to Hochul’s move. There are other actions also happening. This needs to be on everyone’s radar.
  • Curriculum: Things aren’t looking good on curriculum. I’ve gotta say, this could be a major workplace issue, and one which will hurt teachers and students. Unfortunately, it’s not a subject of collective bargaining, according to Mulgrew. Although, since we’re currently in the middle of negotiations, I do wonder why we don’t move to change that.
  • Endorsements 1: The endorsements part of the DA was a farce, and based on the vote, I think that many members understand that. First, Unity used precious time in the motivation period to move the District Attorney endorsements before City Council. The DA endorsements were always going to be less controversial, which I thought was the purpose, but it turned out that two of the endorsed DA candidates were there. There’s something unsettling about Mulgrew having brought them before the endorsement – can you imagine the egg on face if we’d voted this down or contended it?
  • Endorsements 2: City Council was more contentious. Ryan Bruckenthal introduced an amendment to add a missing name (Tiffany Caban). They responded that she might be in the next round and that she first should go through the process. Of course, the process is heavily flawed, monopolized by one caucus within the UFT, but I wasn’t called on to make this point. With a ‘second round’ of endorsements in mind, I’ll add that it’s not just who was omitted that was the problem. No, many of the candidates who were proposed to be endorsed were far from progressive. Some had voted for budget cuts and at least one was pro charter. A few people were allowed to speak out against and make these points, but not too many, and the Unity response here was that we should stick to the amendment. Then, the question was called for all issues before the house. If you aren’t versed in Robert’s Rules of Order, this means that the entire resolution was now going to be voted on, even though delegates had predominately only spoken about an amendment that Bruckenthal withdrew anyways.  Unity loves calling the question, but it was an odd moment to call it. Based on the results of the later vote, delegates clearly voted to end debate in part because many thought they were only voting to end debate on a withdrawn amendment. When immediately after ending the debate the entire resolution was up for a vote, a full third of delegates voted against the endorsement. This was not at all the unanimous result that Mulgrew probably wanted. Seemingly startled by the low approval, he gave an apologist argument for the ‘mistakes’ that endorsed members made last year.
  • Peloton: A minor point, but UFT is doing a ‘peloton’ event. Do they have any idea how little we make? Pelotons are priced for UFT officers, not teachers. I’m a little lost here and heard from many members who felt it was out of touch. But I digress. The minutes follow.

Informal Minutes

Mulgrew: Introduces Pallotta, who did great work for us on the political side at NYSUT. NYC teacher who is retiring.

Andy Pallotta (Outgoing NYSUT President): Been a UFT member, District Rep. When we work together we do great things. Thanks for your support over the years.

Mulgrew: You will be missed.

Nationally, having conversations on gun control. Not sure what’s gonna have to happen. AFT has spoken to us, contact at NEA. Things are getting jumbled around. Thankfully good people down there.

Supreme Court: Constantly watching. Roe v Wade, what they’re doing on the other issues, overreach. If this unsettlement keeps happening, will be interesting to see what happens nationally. I know you wanted to see the Fox News Trial, but you can afford to lie with such a massive payout. Some more lawsuits.

State: Judges are done. Happy with some appointments. Seems like there’s some sort of bail compromise, but confusing because tied to housing, also important to us – difficult to live here. If we can’t increase housing stock, prices will go up.

Charter fight is not over. Not even sure how you come up with the term Zombie Charters. Not in the law. Same with expansion of charters from k-5 all the way to 12. Big thing is why are we even talking about this? Charters are half empty in NYC. NYC Charter Institute, basically Fox News, talks about waiting lists, but that doesn’t compute when schools are half empty. If you need more charters, backfill the ones you have. We have a class size law now in NY. So why would we put more charters in NYC when we need more space now? Thanks people who activated on Friday night to keep pushing. I know you aren’t hearing a lot about it, but need to understand it. If Albany doesn’t base it on the facts, kids are gonna get hurt.

Class size, three entities: CSA, DOE, UFT, not just about next year. In September, some schools will already get the reductions, based on student need. Moving on issue. Going well.

City Council / Budget Fight: City calling for more cuts. Council digging in heals. Progressive Caucus already saying they won’t approve the budget. Others as well. Appreciate that Albany sent more money to NYC, but the problem is schools still getting cut. Can the state tell the City what to do in terms of budgeting? Yes. If we have a second straight year. City Council Breakfast shortly.

Curriculum project is not going well. Lots of communication issues. Will see where that goes. Keep hearing about outside vendors, and we’re saying no.

Contract: Good governance negotiation this morning. It was constructive, moving. Money is one issue. We’re still playing with everything. Happy with colleagues in La who got 21%, so they can get their top salary up, which will help with recruitment. But, we’re now having a real problem with that too. The other issue that goes across all titles is time being wasted, autonomy being taken away, and being disrespected and having no voice. This is a national problem. Have to have this fight and have it now. When people are saying half of their work time is waste – nothing to do with why hired, that’s a massive problem.

Political landscape around education: We know who the enemies are in general, but some things are being done by us. Data Driven instruction is driving us nuts. They are now assessing the assessments – not kidding. Laughing, but no joke, this is what’s going on. And so disconnected from what’s happening to schools. Chapters just want toner for the printer, because they’re required to print so much. Schools are still submitting per session sheets – why not an app that makes it easier for us? Yesterday, there was a CAT team meeting. We’re finalizing the survey results – they’re strong. People are fed up with everything. Next week, we want a week of action of informational leafletting. ‘50% of my time is not me working for your child. The assessments are causing morale issues.’ So on Monday, we’ll send everything out to CAT teams. We’ll do a run of pre-printed leaflets. Then, from Tuesday to Friday, we want the leafletting, and we want NYC to understand that enough is enough. We want the city to understand we’re being made to waste our time. Borough Reps will pick some schools to distribute. I’ll be with the press. Money was the number one priority for members, we knew that, but this was close behind. There’s traction to move right now. So we have to move.

Secretary’s Report:

LeRoy Barr: Academic high schools awards on Friday, May 5th. Doors open at 4:00 PM. UFT pedal pushers a virtual team Peleton riding group, April 25th, reach out to Team High Schools (Peleton). Aids walk, Sunday May 31st. 10th annual 5k run, Saturday June 10th at Coney Island.

Questions Period:

Name Missed: Question about curriculum. Y

Mulgrew: Right now it will be 15 of the school districts. All but 2 would be using HMH. We’re trying to work this out with them. This the tough part of the union. We know it’s in our interest to work with them, because it won’t work out if left to just them. But we get frustrated hearing the agendas, etc. We’ve had planning sessions, but we’re adamant on a couple of things, but we don’t have collective bargaining rights on it. We want teachers to work with teachers, masters teachers, teacher centers, career ladder – and that’s where we’re stuck. The DOE tells us they have no money, but in ten minutes I could slash millions of dollars of contracts out of the DOE – stuff that is a joke, works for no one. We also know as teachers we need to engage our students. The literacy/comprehension parts are solid, but we want to be able to fill in the other pieces. Culturally responsive instruction: we have 200 cultures we teach to NY. DOE doesn’t even seem to grasp that. Love that we live in the most diverse city in the planet, but we know that to engage our students we need to work out how we will support them. A little more positive last month than I am this month. But worth aggravation if we can get somewhere.

Jessica LaBarbera: Principal preference for possibly working remotely on curriculum days? All of the math/science depts are being told to come into the building to do virtual training.

Mulgrew: Our position is clear that it’s a waste of your time. City has said no longer support virtual work, but if you go to DOE on a Friday you see everyone is working virtually. If you really want people, treat them as professionals.

Christine Joseph: Open Market season is here. Most of my school’s teachers want to go on open market for many reasons. Are principals able to see when staff goes on open market?

Mulgrew: They can’t see it, but a principal can always call another principal. A lot of positions not there because of budget. City needs budget from state to put out their budget.

Name Missed: What is happening with the upcoming calendar for 2023-2024.

Mulgrew: Plan is it will be out by the end of this week. Or so we always hear. Keeps changing. Calendar is always tight, because the most diverse city has the most holidays. We are in one of those years where Passover and Easter are nowhere near each other. We feel we have a proposal making everyone happy – well we try, UFT has strong opinions. This has only happened twice in the last 50 years. I was around for the last one – and we had to tell everyone to love they brother and sister.

Name Missed (retiree): Last week there was a retired teachers meeting, but many of us were locked out with a glitch. We received a letter saying thank you for attending and then would be another one scheduled?

Mulgrew: Yes, another meeting is scheduled. There will need to be a series of specific meetings dealing with everything.

Matt Driscoll: For next month. Thanks LeRoy for making copies.

The resolution I’m motivating was written by Workers Strike Back and is part of a nation-wide push to demand the Supreme Court protects the right to strike.

For decades big-business has waged an unrelenting war on organized labor, Starting with the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948.  We saw state after state enact “right to work” laws designed to cripple labor unions, companies and political leaders have worked to destroy union after union,and courts continually side with corporations and bosses over workers. In 2018, the Supreme Court launched an unprecedented attack on public sector workers by reversing the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education precedent that allowed unions to require all public sector workers represented by unions in negotiations to pay dues or agency fees. In Janus v. AFSME all public sector unions in the country effectively fell under right to work rule in a blatant attempt to defund organized labor and shrink our numbers. In 2017 I worked in the UFT’s member organizing institute, knocking on the doors of hundreds of UFT members to talk about what it means to be a member of a strong union. Almost every single member I spoke to recommitted to the UFT. In the wake of this organization, and because of the hard work of rank and file, our membership actually increased after the disastrous Janus decision!

I am grateful to have a union with so many dedicated members, but the attacks I just spoke of have continued, and we need to continue to fight back. In January the Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in Glacier Northwest, Inc v International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Glacier NW is suing Teamsters Local 174 for alleged financial damages from a 2017 strike. In the 1959 San Diego Building Trades Council v Garmon Supreme Court case,  the court set the precedent that a strike protected by the NLRA preempts a company’s claims of financial loss. Glacier NW is the most aggressive anti-labor attack since Janus

Corporate bosses understand that the ability to strike is the strongest weapon workers in trade unions have in the struggle to maintain fair pay and safe working conditions. Glacier NW is nothing short of a direct attack on workers’ right to strike. 

Resolutions calling for national action to defend the right to strike like this have been pushed in other unions nationally, including dozens of unions and labor organizations in Seattle like UAW Local 4121, IATSE Local 15, AFGE Local 3197, and others. A similar resolution in the MLK County Labor Council, which represents more than 100,000 union members in King County, Washington, passed with 97 percent support. I call on the UFT to support our union siblings across the country in demanding that the court affirm the precedent set in 1959 protecting this basic right. We must affirm that the strike is labor’s most powerful tool in fighting against abusive bosses and a system that seeks to exploit workers for the sake of capital. 

As the resolution states “Unions are crucial bulwarks against racism, sexism, transphobia and other attacks on workers.” The right to strike is critical in maintaining the hard fought victories that protect workers from these attacks. I ask that every delegate and chapter leader here join me in standing in support of our union siblings in Teamsters Local 174.

No one speaks against. Matt asks a quick question and Mulgrew treats hostilely, saying he reminds him of an old administrator he used to have.  

Motion passes. 88% vote yes, on next month’s agenda.

Lamar Hughes: Change resolution to change 2 to 1 (district attorneys instead of city councils).

Mulgrew: Understand what you’re doing, but up to body.

78% yes.

District Attorneys:

Mary Atkinson: In support. Good candidates. For instance, Katz helped with schools who were in trailers (getting removed). Has worked with UFT. McMahon has done a lot to combat opioid crisis. Etc, etc.


Then several DAs come up.

DA Clark: Thanks teachers. I wouldn’t be who I am without you. You shape lives each and every day. Losing a generation to violence. Need safe environments for our kids. Will continue to go to any career day. I will always be here. Will continue to fight to keep schools safe.

DA Katz: There have been three district attorneys in history of NYC. Heard the nominations before we walked in. Have been there for many fights around schools. Believe my job is to keep this borough safe. Put money into programs so that students know we care. Want our kids not to end up in court rooms to begin with. You are a huge part of that. Partnership that we feel with the UFT.

Resolution 2: City Council

Liz Perez: Moving City Council Endorsements.

Ryan Bruckenthal: Adds Tiffany Caban. She was out there trying not to cut money schools.

Mulgrew: Did she go through the process?

Name Missed: Name is not in this round, but will be in the next. We have 51 council members. What we did in this round is we took people with big primary races. Then we took  it to political action teams. Next round of endorsements in this next round.

Mulgrew: We have a process, Tiffany hasn’t been through the process.

Ryan: Still like to keep this on the floor.

Matthew Z: Speak against. I don’t know all the names. Not sure why we’re supporting those members who voted to defund schools. Feels wrong to do blanket endorsement for all of them.

LeRoy Barr: Against amendment. Don’t want to speak against Tiffany, but don’t want to disenfranchise the people in the district who went through the process. There’s a process. We heard her name is going forward.

Anthony Harmon: Rise to speak against the amendment. Trust the process. Don’t want to usurp .

Maritna Meijer: Question of why we are supporting members who are in support of charter schools. Why are we in support?

Anthony Harmon: Should only talk to the amendment at hand.

A delegate then calls question on all matters before the house, before there’s a chance to debate the resolution itself (not just the amendment). A big majority votes in favor of ending debate, but it’s clear from people talking in the room that there isn’t clarity that we’ve just ended debate for the entire resolution.

66% yes. Motion passes..

Mulgrew: Last year was a learning curve for City Council. Some voted for budget cuts, but wanted to do away with them. So it’s up to the committees to do the endorsements. Cuts.

AGENDA ITEM #3 – RESOLUTION ON MOBILIZING UFT MEMBERS FOR ACTION DURING THE WEEK OF EARTH DAY, APRIL 22, 2023 – Endorsed by Ryan Bruckenthal. (Copy available in agenda sent out by LeRoy Barr).

Item 4: Resolution in Opposition to Gov. Hochul’s 2023 Charter School Proposal motivated by Janella Hinds with Ilona Nanay. We know their proposal will be harmful to New York City. Invite to meet up in Bronx on Saturday to continue to rally. Copy available at bottom of minutes here.


Los Angeles Teachers Get 21% Raises – Without Even Having to Strike

UTLA has announced a tentative deal with the City of Los Angeles that includes 21% in raises over just three years. The signatures are still pending, but I don’t expect a no-vote on this one.

Not only do the raises put our dismal pattern to shame; they aren’t even the only economic gains. There are also special additional pay increases for hard-to-staff titles like nurses ($20,000) and special education teachers ($2,500), among others. Contractual class size reductions, which UFC supports outright but Unity Caucus usually rejects for financial reasons, are also part of the LA deal. So we’re talking about what would be a dream deal in New York. Oh yeah, and did I mention there aren’t any healthcare givebacks either?

The best part? Los Angeles teachers didn’t even have to strike. The City knew they were strike ready, as they had already ‘pre-struck‘ for three days earlier this year in solidarity with SEIU-99. This goes to show that it’s not necessarily striking itself, but even merely showing a willingness and capability to do so, that shocks municipalities into signing good contracts with labor unions.

None of this is a surprise. All the data suggests that it’s the strike threat, and almost entirely the strike threat, which is helping labor make gains right now. It’s why many of us in the left-opposition were so shocked to see LeRoy Barr and other UFT leaders speak out against lobbying to reform the Taylor Law so that we would have the right to strike ourselves.

All this is critical, because the right to strike is in jeopardy right now. The Supreme Court is primed to make a decision that could allow companies to sue labor unions for strike-related losses to their bottom line. It goes without saying, that this would have a massive chilling effect for labor. In this terrifying moment for workers, some members of the opposition are planning to put forward a resolution for today’s DA to join the national fight for the right to strike. Now, whether Mulgrew calls on anyone to actually raise that resolution is another story. But, I hope Unity reverses course and does the right thing. We deserve the right to strike. And we aren’t getting the contract we need without showing the City that UFT leadership plans to seek it out.

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April 2023