Posts Tagged 'mobilization'

LET’S WORK WITH DE BLASIO TO PUSH OUR PRIORITIES

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: March 2014 Leaflet Front and back

The election of Bill de Blasio and the appointment of Carmen Fariña opens the possibility of correcting 12 years of Bloomberg’s destructive policies.  The damage done cannot all be repaired overnight. However, some important advances can begin now. High on the list is negotiating a good contract with retroactive pay. New Action/UFT proposes some additional priorities.

Abusive, Unqualified, or Both?

New Action has always acknowledged that there are many collaborative and professional administrators. But unqualified principals, often with no or little teaching experience, are running too many of our schools. A principal can avoid a conversation by saying, “I have to run this past Legal” knowing full well that these Bloomberg appointed lawyers tell principals to deny everything. Those with who never were decent teachers, or with inadequate experience can feel threatened by our members’ knowledge, and treat suggestions as insubordinate. Many become petty dictators. Their orders are sometimes arbitrary, sometimes nonsensical. They don’t discuss issues with members, because they cannot. And some target Chapter Leaders.

Work together to resolve issues of abusive admins

IT IS TIME to press this issue with de Blasio and Fariña and modify the behavior of all of these abusive administrators, and long overdue that the Unity leadership demand an end to the harassment of chapter leaders. The leadership has targeted problem principals in schools where the entire chapter is ready to fight back. But this is a drop in the bucket. In most of these schools members are scared, intimidated, not ready to stand up on their own. We must help them at the school, AND bring these cases to the new administration. And we have progress already: Carmen Fariña has announced that all new principals will need to have at least seven years experience.

We can work with Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Fariña, and at the same time help our membership to become active at the school level to tackle these and other issues.

De Blasio Compromise on Co-locations – an Error

On charters and co-locations de Blasio sent a badly mixed message. He declared a moratorium, while he and Fariña examined the 45 proposals that Bloomberg rushed through last fall. But late last month they approved 36 of them, including some charters. This was not what we wanted; this was not what New York City needed. They thought that they could play nice with the private charter operators/ hedgefunders. But Eva Moskowitz, who lost one expansion, and two new schools, organized a demonstration in Albany, where Andrew Cuomo lent his support, and has been blasting de Blasio. His administration has been taking a beating in the media. Compromising with the charter operators was a mistake.

No New School Closings – a big step forward

But there is good on co-locations as well:  this is the first year in memory when there has not been a single school closure. Several charter collocations were denied. We should stand with de Blasio against Moskowitz, and against the NY State Senate’s current proposal to allow charter management companies unfettered, free access to New York City’s school buildings.

Contract?

There is also potential progress on a contract. The UFT’s Negotiating Committee met last Thursday, and while those discussions are confidential, the major media are reporting that there have been real conversations in the last few days. Given our desire to have a contract done by June, it seems that the process is moving at the right time. A hopeful sign: The New York Times reports that chief factfinder, Martin Scheinman, is now acting as a mediator between us and the City.

Mobilization

We need to get our membership involved – getting out there to support those good steps de Blasio and Fariña have taken – and pushing on our contract issues. There are stalwarts, UFTers who come to any rally, anywhere we ask. But to bring the full weight of our union to bear, we need to engage the majority of our members, and that means in school, and in front of school. School-based actions will show how serious we are, and they will give us a stronger, united voice.

MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the January 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: January 2014 Leaflet

MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!

The UFT is waiting for a fact-finding report that is due in two weeks. The question is what kind of contract will the fact-finders come up with? and what can we expect from Mayor Bill de Blasio?

We believe that the new contract must include fair pay, no givebacks, and serious changes to this abysmal evaluation system. New Action calls for a 4%, 4% raise from 2009-1011, as all other unions already received, without givebacks. Retroactive pay must cover all members who worked during the years covered.

The actual package will be shaped by the fact-finders’ report. But what is the union’s strategy to bring a decent contract back to UFT members?

New Action believes that a mobilized and informed membership has an important role to play in securing a decent contract. Monday, January 13, 2014 the UFT Executive Board debated the best way to involve the members.  The Unity leadership claims the UFT will win a fair contract because of the determination of its members. They state that there will be many ways for members to participate, including coming to rallies, signing up to receive the union’s text and e-mail updates about negotiations and reaching out to fellow UFT members.

New Action agrees that members should commit to strong participation in the fight for a contract. HOWEVER, New Action believes that this falls far short of what is needed. Our basic unit of organization, chapters, should be directing this effort at the school level.

On Monday, New Action called for chapter meetings in every school to discuss and plan actions. We called for actions at each school, such as informational picketing before the school day. We called for involvement of parents in the fight for a fair contract. This was rejected by the Unity Caucus-dominated Executive Board. One member derided our proposals by saying that many members are not part of chapters.

Winter “Day of Action”

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the December 2012 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2012 December

New Action proposes citywide mobilizations this winter to address a host of issues in the schools, not least the fact that we have been without a contract since October 2009. Standing with our colleagues at our schools helps build espirit de corp. And at the schools everyone is there – we can involve those members who normally don’t travel.

New Action successfully pushed for a Day of Action this past spring. We now call on the leadership to bring our troops together again. Our issues are varied: fight for basic rights, to stop school closings, against curriculum writing, for a decent contract without givebacks and with retroactivity. But the underlying theme is constant – we need to push back, just to be treated fairly, just to produce a decent environment for teachers to teach and students to learn.


Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
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