Posts Tagged 'MORE Caucus'

Jia Lee Endorsed Unanimously by New Action/UFT

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the November 2015 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2015 November

The New Action Executive Board gave a resounding approval to the candidacy of Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of the Earth School for UFT President. Jia has been a leader of the Opt-Out movement. She opposes Race to the Top. She is a staunch opponent of the Teacher Evaluation system, which ties standardized tests to teachers’ ratings.

MORE-New Action Election logo idea 2 (5) (2)In contrast to this forthright opposition, the UFT has called for incremental improvements to the disastrous teacher evaluation system. They have not stood up to support Opt-out. And why didn’t they stand up against Obama’s Race to the Top? When a New Action/UFT member of the UFT Executive Board asked, a leading Unity Caucus member responded, “We were pressured into it.”

Jia Lee does not accept this. She has also been outspoken in her rejection of charter schools and for smaller class sizes (something the Unity leadership has failed to fight for in contract talks. She has no interest in bargaining away our rights, or bowing to “pressure.”

For these and many other reasons New Action/UFT and the MORE Caucus have formed an electoral alliance in the upcoming citywide UFT elections. It is time for a new leadership! We must fight the charter school advocates, the deformers and stand 100% with the rank and file members of the UFT!

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

New Action and MORE representatives met in November

Three representatives of New Action met with three representatives of MORE back on November 27.

MORE brought one agenda item: what was New Action doing in the upcoming election? At that point we were working on an agreement to run a full slate, cross-endorsing Mulgrew and Unity’s high school people, with some cross-endorsements in return. That agreement had not been finalized.

New Action brought 3 items. We asked about having a formal means of communication, when issues came up where the caucuses needed to reach other. That was achieved. We asked about assisting each other where we agreed on an activity (such as the petition campaign against mayoral control; MORE probably would have participated, but we did not have a way of getting each other involved). MORE was not as interested in that discussion, although they agreed in a general way. They were more concerned with the immediately upcoming election, but the discussion was positive. The third was what we would do if a bad contract agreement came down. We discussed a joint effort from almost 20 years ago that helped defeat a bad contract.

Then New Action added an item. We raised with concern the level of hostility from the last election period (2010). Kit Wainer said that MORE planned to attack Unity, not New Action. He thought that New Action would have a hard time campaigning without going after MORE – but we disagreed. Then we asked about the bloggers, we mentioned recent disparaging posts. Kit said he never reads the blogs, and that MORE does not control them. We pointed out that if the blogs support MORE and write outrageous things, and MORE does not dissociate itself from those comments, then it looks like MORE supports those comments. Kit did not respond.

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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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