UFT Delegates say NO to Cease Fire Language in Humanitarian Reso – UFT Delegate Assembly, 11-15, 2023

Quick Summary and Analysis:

Tonight was the second DA of the year. While eventful, this was also the second DA in a row this year in which we failed to debate even one resolution about our own working conditions. NAC released a ‘working conditions’ challenge to encourage delegates to bring working-conditions resolutions to the DA, but Mulgrew did not call any of us to raise the resolution NAC brought to help facilitate this. That resolution sought to increase the question and debate period so that union delegates could have more of a chance to be a part of the decision making process. Instead, we got a 50 minute report from Mulgrew, including several repeated points, and we got no resolutions proposed or debated about our own working conditions. Of the two resolutions that were motivated, one was about supporting a striking union in Oregon. It was ironically motivated by a Unity delegate who spoke previously against UFT fighting for our own right to strike – arguing that it was for people with generational wealth or white privilege. When it comes to our own working conditions or union strategies, UFT tends to either argue against or prevent the discussion from even happening.

New NAC member, Daniel Alicea, asked a question about the upcoming budget cuts that Mayor Adams plans to make to education. He pointed out that when cuts were made under Bloomberg, we rallied in the tens of thousands. Where is our rally now? Mulgrew seemed to agree, noting in the president report that we may have to go to war. Adams is trying to justify cuts to education by scapegoating migrants, but the numbers don’t add up. We don’t have the shortfall he claims – our finances do not justify cuts; in fact, our needs require more educational spending. I’ve been ready to co-present a resolution I wrote on this for some time—it was first on the agenda last month and second on this month’s agenda. That resolution, among other things, would commit us to using our resources to fight the cuts; but we haven’t gotten to that resolution, because over the last two months we’ve only debated single resolutions on what’s going on in Israel and Gaza. We’ve missed out on many other resos too – which is one reason we need to expand the resolution period.

Once again, we spent the entire resolution period contentiously debating what we want to happen in the Middle East. Unity wrote a somewhat controversial humanitarian aid reso, which ended up passing unamended by 73%. Some members thought it didn’t go far enough to condemn Hamas. Others, primarily from MORE (who organized a protest and walkout) wanted to amend the resolution to call for a cease fire, but without explicitly tying that cease fire to Hamas releasing hostages or any other conditions. Many of us were surprised that Mulgrew called on Ryan Bruckenthal (MORE), who was almost certain to motivate this amendment, especially after LeRoy Barr asked that no amendments be proposed. When, after a spirited debate between a few of MORE’s members and some speakers on the phone (including a rabbi),  Bruckenthal’s amendment failed and 20-25 people from MORE walked out – albeit with only 5 minutes left in the DA. There was a rather large gathering outside that had been organized by MORE which protested the DA’s decision not to endorse a cease fire. A smaller and not-so-well publicized counter-protest was also present.

Many NAC members were also outside the DA earlier on in the evening for a different reason – to distribute literature about Tier 6, which NYSUT is now working to resolve, but without any clarity or timeline. Our Tier 6 working group has discovered the problem is much worse than we thought – with a nearly 1.5 million dollar shortfall between Tier 4 and 6 members working for 40 years. Norm Scott wrote up an analysis of what we put out here.

For more information, see the full informal minutes below.


Mulgrew: Let’s start the dialogue. Thanks veterans for Veterans Day. *Applause*

Next Tuesday is SRP recognition day, so make sure you’re doing something at your schools.

Interesting times – will try to shorten. National, state, and City level.

National shouldn’t be that bad – Congress passed bill to keep the government open. This is very important to us. Federal flow of dollars for education, sped, title 1, is all tied into these things. Happy that they were able to do that. AFT did a great job lobbying that stopping education funding in the middle of the year is not a good thing. I watch the news every morning at 5 am, was blown away – we got the challenge and the Burn man steps in and tells idiots to knock it off, then ‘you’re a jerk’ followed by ‘shut up’, then ‘you elbowed me when you passed me’, then ethics complaint, so we now need middle school guidance counselors to go mediate. Followed up by that story was the horrendous story out of Nevada, 8 students jumping another student and pummeling the child, leaving him there in a back alley to die. Other students picked him up and school, but later died. Childs’s father held the son’s hand for days before he died, and just wants to recognize it’s time to recognize and make a better place. The adults are just not behaving well, and this translates into our schools as we always know.  How adults behave has an effect on the classroom. Happy they passed the budget deal, but don’t know what to expect out of DC anymore.

Albany: State of the State speech coming up in January. Every DA for this year. You know we’re going to run a massive campaign on fixing tier 6. I know what the argument is going to be, that we’re still one small group of workers that has access to a defined benefit plan. But I want better for our members. We want our members to be able to retire at the age of 55. This will take some time. We’ve made some changes. I don’t like the average yearly salary, we want it in 3 years not 5. We need to be vigilant on the Tier 6 issue. No member should retire under the original provision of Tier 6.

Budget: Last week the state controller issued a report. The forecast is overcast is what he said. Revenues didn’t come in as bad as they thought, but there are unforeseen expenses. When we hear that, we know that we need to put in extra lobbying effort to our funding for education. This is tied very closely to our class size law. Governor has funded better than any in the history of the state.

Mayoral control sunsets this year – if nothing in Albany it goes away. Doesn’t go to the old school boards. Our position is we need real checks and balances against any mayor. We don’t want to go back to the school boards, legally don’t anyways. But can’t have one person making all the decisions – need checks and balances. For you to all to know, the public hearings that the state education department is required to have, they start in December in the Bronx – all state hearings usually start there and end in Staten Island. The goal here is that every borough has a chance to speak to the current mayoral control system and the changes that we want.

Today, the City put out two press releases. One is that our school system has grown this year – that’s a good thing. The other thing is the City says they are in complete compliance with the class size law. They are – 20% this year – they’re good. I’m glad he talked about it like it’s a good thing, because we know that when we’re in Albany. The law is the law and there will be hell to pay if we move away from it.

Other thing has to do with the change in graduation proposal. Board of Regents now has a proposal that a Regents may no longer be required to graduate from a NYS school. We have schools that like tests and schools that don’t like tests. Now, the position of this union should be, as long as we have a rigorous system in a subject, then we would support it. Mastery of a subject – demo does not have to just be a test. We have schools who use capstone projects. We have schools who use presentation projects – they have to stand up for a number of days. We are going to have to come to grips with this. We’re not here to dumb down the system. That will never be our position. 2002—No Child Left Behind—law was designed to hold all states and schools accountable for every student, based a lot of it on graduation rates. So, majority of states dropped graduation requirements dramatically. Most didn’t have tests – then a lot had it so that you could graduate from high school at a 5th grade reading level. NYS did not do that. We kept our high standards. We paid penalties for that. Our schools were labeled and we were mislabled as low quality ed because we refused to lower our standards. That was the single fact – we chose not to play a game that would hurt our students. We were going to give them the high quality education they deserve. Are we doing right by our standards – the answer is no folks, it’s no. There are many saying that we are trying to dumb down the graduation rates so our members look better – no we want to protect it, but can use different modalities to have kids demonstrate that they have that knowledge. That’s the goal of looking at these requirements. We can understand that as educators, but outside world might not understand. Is everyone ok with that? One clap and quiet – I’m taking it.

Asylum Seekers: Thanks all the folks here at the union who have been doing a lot of work with our schools and teachers. Some folks have visited the shelters. We’re getting the place where there’s tons of federal money – NYC not filing paperwork for reimbursements. We don’t see an effective system – it’s quite ineffective. Our goal now is to bring in our folks, first and foremost have to help kids inside of the classroom. We need resources, multilingual services, etc. We are blue in the face talking about it – it’s a disgrace. Our job always is our folks.

Our nurses (UFT private sector nurses) continue to lead the fight on staffing ratios or the lack of compliance on staffing ratios. It’s a very important fight. You’ll deal with this if you go into a hospital for a loved one because every hospital dealing this. Have flooded Albany with complaints; hospitals don’t like it, because they make money. It’s based into their pricing that nurses are there, you don’t get less of a bill if nurses not there. Minute DOH left, they were back to their bad practices. Give our nurses a round of applause.

Contract: Thank you to chapter leaders who are submitting consultation minutes. We’re running our consultations based on what you submit. Also, please submit within a month that you had the consultation. After that, it’s kinda moot. We have a pattern here at the UFT – breaking the pattern. 9 consultation minutes in June, not good. We get SPED complaints same way, in June, when compliance issue was in September.

D75 problem that DOE has ignored – they’ve sent out guidance. Most assessments require 1:1 – but how do you do in depth 1:1 assessments within a classroom with the rest of the class there. Because of our provision, DOE has to put out guidance. Now, we have documentation that they have practice and it’s a problem. Every group got something in the contract so I want you to hear these things. Thanks CLs for doing first ever SPED compliance meetings.

 Citywide training happened last week or should have – working on that – now that we have actual rules, realizing that there is a SPED problem. This was the whole purpose – identify and make it right. Not out to get principal – want to work with them to get the DOE to do the right thing. Sometimes yes they do the right thing, sometimes no. That’s what all this unearth. It will get messy, but it’s a good thing. Starting process.

New York City: How do I start with the Mayor. Want to thank everyone for participation on election day – won 90 percent of our races. Some of the tough races, we were actually able to get them done. Next, we have the Mayor and we have budget cuts. My phone rings constantly now about the mayor. Whatever that is, it is. What is our job? Our job is we’re the union, we’re all elected, our responsibilities – the foundation of this union – is to protect this profession. That means we protect the communities we work with as well. That’s our job. So, people have throughout the years…things have gotten the way…union has found way to make sure it’s doing that. Reason we have our power is because we have relationships with the community. We fight for the children and for ourselves. The Mayor is going to announce tomorrow that he’s cutting the schools. We’ve dealt with this before, but this time it’s different. We’ve never had a mayoral administration cut schools when reserves were high, basing it off of a fictional expense of having to give housing to asylum seekers for 3 more years, when we all know they’re tossing them all out in the middle of December. This is unprecedented. The reason is no longer valid. The revenues are up – over protection. Reserves are at the highest level ever. There is a real possibility we’re going to war, because we have been through skirmishes, but we really haven’t been at war since Michael Bloomberg. I don’t need to speculate with anyone why he is doing this, because the simple act will have to cause us to react. We have a law at the state – maintenance of effort law. It’s weaker than it used to be, but I’m quite confident that the Mayor can’t cut education funding when revenues are up and reserves are down. I’ve been talking to you for a couple of months that we’d get into some real fights. Different than what we’ve done over the last couple of years. There’s a lot of things that get cut off from this union. When you’re in a fight, the other side isn’t going to fight nice either. It is what it is. But we cannot be the ones who continue to go to the federal government as we have done aggressively the last couple of years to get great funding when we needed it and then go to the state and get record amounts of funding only to come home to the city and have our city screw us. That’s not the UFT – we’ll have our differences, our politics are crazy, but this is going to get real is what my gut is telling me. Too complicated in terms of what’s going on up the street, but that’s not our issue, that’s their issue. Our issue is our community, schools, students, profession – that’s our core issue.

We have to address things – love our politics. Political activists here – we like getting things messy. It’s the history of this union. This is my fourth union – this is the fun one. When it’s time to go, we go, but in our own politics we just lay it out there. So if we pass one reso, that’s group is upset, and that’s been going on for issue. We passed black lives matter, then had to blue lives matter, and every time that happened they came to talk to me. As we move, this is what we have to keep in our focus, because besides that, we have outside entities who have been trying to destroy the UFT. They use any issue you could possibly think of – divide and conquer, divide and conquer. Any issue, all of a sudden there are mailings going out. ‘You don’t believe this, but your union does.’ ‘Give yourself a raise – drop out of the union.’ Sometimes we have to communicate to the members, politics is ugly. Is the candidate good for education—even if not other things—we’re criticized for that, but sometimes you have to keep it simple. Are you going to be there when we need you, but these are the discussions we have to have, because we’re going to war.

I will always support what people want to say. Not democratic union because vote didn’t go your way? Oh ok. It’s a representative body – that’s what we are. You are the elected representatives, everyone here you have a number of people you represent. It’s based off our government.

Had a good meeting about the NYHA – a real dialogue and a plan came out of it. Are we following the resolution that was passed years ago? Yes we are! *people shaking heads.* But line in reso says it has to be a budget net positive, says it must boost the state’s economy, says right there – and it doesn’t. Healthcare is complicated. No way to pay for this without killing on our state’s economy. But we have a plan to deal with elected officials to get some of the changes we need. But if a report from state legislature – says 100-300 billion – says we’ll tax millionaires but only raise 10 billion that way, then we have to fix it. And that was a great meeting. But you can’t just to sit here and yell things – that’s not factually correct. Might as well get this all out – we started.

Said this – we’re all over the board in this union – the political ideologies go the entire spectrum, everywhere. We have really staunch conservatives, left wing liberals, centrists, all over the place. Fine, no problem. You’re a UFT member, we want you to have voice. We know, the vote won’t be democratic if it doesn’t go your way – the Donald Trump way of elections. If you’re working with outside agencies to infiltrate our union, you aren’t the first. Why do we have the target on our back – because we’re the biggest, we’re very powerful. We’re powerful because we stick to our values, and we also make sure we don’t lose the community or any part of community. Read all these things and try to be respectful, but asking people now – because we haven’t been to war in quite some time. If you’re here, fine, but if you want to work with an outside organization to infiltrate the UFT for other political purposes, you can do it, but I know a lot of people aren’t going to allow you to. Because, we know this union’s purpose. Yes, we like to get involved with other things – yes, very diverse politically. Almost every resolution we’ve passed has caused someone to respond in a negative way, but there’s a lot of craziness going on right now. Going back to 5 AM this morning. Fact that our elected officials are acting this way, then children raising problems….No it’s that too many aren’t taking responsibility for their own actions.

People are saying to me all the time….We saw the craziness of the union president about to fight, and Bernie Sanders had to yell – sit down, you’re a US senator. Then the ‘Jerk’ story and ‘shut up.’ Then, supposedly, Kevin McArthy elbowed someone in the kidney, went out to the press; now ethics complaint. This is a disgrace. We’re laughing, but this is our government. So look, what do we do now, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. We have people who are…there is a budget analysis, have people there. But you can see where alarms are telling us where we need to go. We can’t let BS reason to cut schools – especially because we’re the ones who cut all the money.

So go out to the mayoral control hearings. Ask, how does City get more money for education and our funding gets cut? Why do teachers have to stop it? And if we have to shame everyone, we shame them. What else do we do, we prepare for a legislative session – we gotta fix tier 6. So what I need you to do- we go full boar on this in January, take these QR codes, now it’s about educate, advocate, and organize, but bigger fight is the budget cut. That gets tied to mayoral control. We need to make sure Albany knows they need to support forever the class size law that they passed. Never seen a law that was almost unanimous in both houses – why? Because of YOUR advocacy. Buckle up folks.

All enjoy your Thanksgiving. A lot of people moving away from turkey, don’t know why, there’s fake turkey. As long as you enjoy yourselves – it’s been an interesting year to say the least. Our goals have been working. We’ve definitely been implementing our contract. We’ll see what happens when and if we go to war – we’ll see a change in cooperation and then we’ll see from there.

This union is about what? Protecting our profession. Protect members, children, and communities we work with. That is the core value of UFT.

Ends (5:03 PM).

LeRoy Barr: Couple of items; have Xgiving coat drive, Saturday at Central. Make sure kids have brand new coats. So please come and participate with VP Rich Mantel, Nov 18.

First book event at same day, D7, 7 or 8 AM until the evening time, please come by.

African Heritage Committee Kwanza Celebration, December 15 at 5:00 PM at Queens UFT (contact W. Wilson if you want to participate).

Coalition for homeless party is the following day, Dec 16. We bring homeless children here in this space to have dinner, if you have time to experience what that is like.

Veterans day was this past Saturday – salute, thank you for your service.

Next DA is Dec 13.

Happy thanksgiving – and let’s be thankful for the things that we have.

Finally, take packets of fix tier 6 flyers – make sure you get one.

Michael Mulgrew: Diwali is now a state law. It was signed, so that’s done, thank god our calendar is done.

We have just finalized the agreement, for teachers who qualify for a bilingual certificate, they can move now without additional year of probation. It will be 5k this year and forever as long as they stay in a position with that certificate.

Question Period:

Daniel Alicea: Appreciate words about going to war over these budget cuts. I’m hoping we’re not just going to leverage fight for mayoral control – but that we mean it. In 2010, there were rallies, over 20,000 people. We led that, MLC led that, unions got together. And those budget cuts, Bloomberg’s, match these. He had a fiscal cliff, but this is unprecedented. So when do we hit the streets?

Michael Mulgrew: Looking forward to working with colleagues of MLC – was MC at that event. Difference was, he had a fiscal cliff, but this is just made up. The COVID money…But this is just ridiculous.

Name Missed: CL Queens, question in reference to SPED and IEP annual meeting. There should be one regular ed teacher and one sped teacher. Can the principal create a list about which teachers attend from each license?

Mulgrew: Can the principal pre-select? Well if they take a prep away, teacher has to be paid for it. Usually, schools allow to select on their own, and if don’t get signups, principal will get involved. It’s a federal document – the IEP. But a list comes out? File for a coverage.

Name Missed: Can a teacher who is interested and isn’t one of those listed, can they come and get paid a coverage?

Mulgrew: No, we can’t have people say ‘ I want to get a coverage, so I’ll attend an IEP meeting.’ Requirement is one regular ed and one general ed.

Ilona Nanay: Thankful for the union, precedes my question. The chancellor sent out a pretty wild email stating what people can do in and outside of school. Staff are getting targeted and disciplined for supporting Palestinians. So clarity, and how will UFT respond to the Chancellor?

Michael Mulgrew: Look, the chancellor put this thing out and if you saw his words. We said if he goes after anyone, we’ll go after him legally. We deal with a lot of teachers brought up on charges for social media issues. We’re good at protecting them on that, but there are other consequences, and it can get extremely messy. Being an educator has put us in a different position in society, but not naïve that we might protect people, but that there might be consequences they don’t like. Usually other people from inside the workplace that share information from others, which is something I don’t like at all.

Ilona Nanay: So should folks contact….If cl doesn’t work…

Mulgrew: Lawyers shaking heads yes.

Anastasia: With our new contract, we were able to do committees. Not anymore.

Mulgrew: First of all, we formed committees – if principal isn’t willing to engage, then you first and foremost reach out to your DR. Because, these are black and white rules now – we will careful to write committee stuff this way. They do not have a choice in the matter.

Peter Lamphere: Simple question. Do you believe that members in Queens have the right to know and should have an explanation for why a well respected borough rep was removed and reassigned? *applause*

Mulgrew: No, because no member deserves to know personnel information about any member. *also applause*

Seth Gilman: Systemwide, been noticing issues of transfers. Also dean at school, options seem to be guidance, safety, or 10th grade. Uptick in safety transfers for kids really just looking to change schools.  Can we advocate for regular transfers anymore? Have some frustrated parents.

Mulgrew: We know we’re having…talked about the kid who was beaten to death in Nevada …have a problem with overall behavior in safety which goes into our schools. This is part of frustration with mayor cancelling the school safety class. Attrition is enormous, it’s a constant churn. We know that a lot of the behavior happens right outside the school – parent doesn’t care if it happens in or outside, just wants children safe. Were fixing safe corridors problem, but with mayor’s stupidity, I’m sure all of this will go by the wayside. I do believe there should be easier transfers for students. It comes down to whether DOE can figure things out. When the 60 days hits on the shelters, a whole bunch of kids who were in a school, probably won’t be in the school the next day. Don’t know where they’re going to go. There will be no bus if kids are moved from Brooklyn to Bronx. We’re roughly talking about 8 to 10,000 kids. If this happens in December, it’s a real big issue. No kid should be thrown out on the street, period.


Maggie Joyce: Resolution in support of Portland public school teachers. Next month’s agenda.

PAT is the largest district in Oregon, have been bargaining for better part of year, are now entering strike. 70 more districts currently have contracts in negotiation, so this is one where they can’t back down. Main issues are salary, planning time, class size limits, one that really catches my eye, and one is equity of discipline. District is resorting to tough tactics – asking other union members to do work outside; asking to coach/teach them; have grieved because don’t want to be forced to be scabs. Also having legal actions about where they chose to rally. Ask that everybody stand in solidarity, so resolve is that we announce our solidarity.

Jeff Andrusen: Why aren’t we voting on it month? Speaking against because it should be on this month’s agenda. If it’s so important, let’s vote on it right f-ing now.

Vote: Yes, 675, nos 77d online; 250 to 17 in room.  Placed on next month’s agenda.’

Paula Thomas: Motivate advocating for increased staffing for SPED counselors, psychologists, nurses,  and social workers. For next month.

Vote: Yes 689, nos 25 on phone.  Yes 350, no 6 in room.

Mulgrew: Big point last month was to get as quickly as possible to Q status. Only can supply us with a list that was budgeted. There are many more vacancies than those budgeted. If you have a substitute who is working every day, send it to [email protected]


LeRoy Barr: They say that the Chinese symbol for crisis is a combination of two different symbols, danger and opportunity. That’s where we are today. A lot of danger out there. A lot of opportunity and the same holds true for this union. We’re at a place where there’s a crisis – and a dangerous one. This union is a beautiful mosaic of tapestry of interests, faiths, religions, beliefs, and we come together in this hall under one tenth. The question is how do we move forward with difficult issues. I had many conversations with the founders of this union and what I can promise you is we’ll have many events. What we need to do is look forward to the things we have in common. When we move forward together, look for what we have in common, like a ven diagram. You may have a lot of beliefs of what you think should happen, but the question is where do we have common ground. This is what keeps us together binds us together. What do we believe what do we stand on? We believe in humanity, we believe that kids should have good education, we believe that they should be safe as well as their families, we believe they should live free of suffering here and abroad. We believe these things – our core values. Can we come together, even in difficult times like this on the things we need to be true. As important as this topic is at this time – the greater question is how we deal with issues like this. We have an opportunity that we can seize, we have the need to pass this resolution with the middle of the ven diagram, and what I’m asking is that there be no amendments to this. Why? Because it’s the middle of the ven diagram. Does it build our power? Does it make us stronger? Words of Karen Lewis – an AFT vice president; CTU President; before she did anything, were words she said to her people. We can handle difficult issues like this, but have to think of middle of ven diagram. Speaking to leaders in this room and over a thousand on this call. So what’s the ask? I’m asking that when you go back to your buildings – you talk to the members and that you lead, because there are members who don’t feel safe. Celebrate the diversity of your building. Be sure that you teach them the lesson that you teach them – that we look for the things that we have common – that will get us through this event and events in the future. So, vote wholeheartedly for the resolution that’s before you. We want this vote to be unanimous on this one – we want the union to be stronger / better. We want the union to be able to survive well into the future.

Tom Brown: Felt that I needed to get up and I thank LeRoy for this powerful speech. This is a difficult time for all of us. This is the time to put all of our banners down and come together as one union. Thought of Al Hanker. He would be so proud of this resolution and so proud of you LeRoy. Then thoughts went to Sandy Feldman, she would be super proud as well. I urge you to support this resolution – it is the right thing to do at this very difficult time.

Online – Janet Zeisberg: Speak against this resolution. Think it’s written poorly. Where are the Israeli children. It’s not a war against Israel and Palestine, it’s against Israel and Hamas.

Ryan Bruckenthal: Add the following resolve as first resolved: Resolved the UFT joins the growing number of American unions calling for an immediate cease fire and end to the fight in the region.

We don’t want to intervene in an immediate crisis. I cry for October 7th as well as for events right now, about the hospitals and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. So have humanity for everyone. We can keep the ven diagram together. *Much cheering*.

Michael Schirtzer: abstain on amendment and speak for the resolution.

Mulgrew: Parliamentarian says no.

Michael Schirtzer: I’ll pass then.

Alex Jallot: In support of the amendment, as we’ve all been watching, it’s been horrific. It’s been affecting me personally, knowing that people are dying on a daily basis, seeing the charred bodies of children and seeing the destruction that is going on. Want to make clear that it’s imperative that the fighting stops now – it affects us, our teachers, our children, think it’s important for us as human beings to put out an end to the violence.

Daniel Barnett: Concerned about the amendment as well as the entire resolution. It’s polarizing. Many people have different opinions. I think this is divisive. We want cease fire, but other people think that a cease fire may be a victory for a Hamas. There is nothing in this resolution about defeating hamas. That’s an example – there’s different viewpoints here. There are many different viewpoints on this.

Michael Sill: I agree with the last speaker in terms of when he is saying – I rise against the amendment. I think it can further polarize us on this issue. Pains were taken in this resolution to appeal to the broadest base of membership in this union, and it’s not easy. People have asked if we should even be weighing in on this. Some say we didn’t do enough, or that we shouldn’t have passed what we did pass. I think when we talk about an end to the violence, this resolution already speaks to that without using words that could further polarize the issue. Think what people are asking for is already in there if they don’t seek the opportunity to make this more divisive/political.

Lori Feldstein Gardner: I speak against the amendment. With the amendment, this resolution is way too polarizing. I’m a rabbi – putting in that there needs a cease fire adds a layer make so many teachers feel this is antisemetic. Without the amendment, it’s inclusive – it’s about the hostages and the Palestinians, without cease fire.

Israel Soto: Call question on the amendment.

Vote to call the question: Yeses 639, nos 105; room 194, nos 62

Voting on amendment itself:

Yeses: 322, nos 400; yeses 111; nos 153

Amendment does not pass.

Many people leave the room chanting cease fire.

Mulgrew: I take back my thank you.

Someone shouts: stopping a massacre is not …

Janella Hinds: calls debate on all matters before the house.

Call the questionvote:

Online 606 yes, 79 no

Room 217 yes, 12 no

Voting on original resolution :

Yeses: 481

No: 201

Room: 283 yes; 50 no. passes 73%.

Meeting adjourned.

Nick Bacon is a co-chairperson at New Action Caucus. He is also an elected member of the UFT executive board


  • Avatar
    Robert Bonanni

    Many members wish the resolutions were working conditions/school-related rather than resolutions that will go nowhere in the big picture. The Israel and Palestinian situation is critical, but our union needs to stay in its own lane and focus on issues directly impacting our profession. Resolutions should have an end game and be realistic in terms of making a change. These global and even national issues that have nothing to do with teaching do nothing besides anger the majority of members who want our schools to be better.

    • Nick Bacon
      Nick Bacon

      I agree. To think it will be almost winter break before we even get to a single resolution that isn’t geopolitical.

  • Avatar
    Dr Dru

    It almost seems like a plan to take an exorbitant amount of time on issues (though important) that do not really do anything for UFT members or show the least bit of solidarity with other unions. We have spent 2 months of talking about the, “situation” and I am wondering why we needed 2 separate resolutions that needed to be voted on immediately. In the meantime, we put off for a month (for this resolution) about supporting strikers in Portland, over 2 months supporting the UAW and going on a year for supporting the right to strike. We seem to be afraid to even whisper about any sort of worker solidarity. Is the fear of the Taylor Law that great?

    Nick, do you have any idea how the different Tiers for retirement came into being? I do not recall any discussion about Tier 6 or even Tier 5. I came in under Tier 4, before 55/25 option.

    • Nick Bacon
      Nick Bacon

      I agree with you wholeheartedly about the resos. I think two months without a single resolution on working conditions says a lot about our union leadership. Really, it’s 3 months – the DA doesn’t meet in September. It will almost be Christmas Break by the time we even have a chance to hear something on working conditions, and maybe we won’t then either. By the way, it was out of order for that second resolution on the conflict to be first on the agenda. The executive board never confirmed it should be there first, which is against UFT rules. UFT leadership put it there without going through the democratic process.

      On Tiers, Tier 6 came out of Cuomo. I’ve heard UFT leaders say it didn’t have to happen, that there was no outcry about pension funding issues at the time, but that NYS did it anyways. I’ve had other UFT leaders say ‘Tier 6 had to happen so that the pension could be solvent,’ which gives me serious pause, because we’re talking about millions of dollars of difference in net income for Tier 6 and Tier 4 members.

      I think you’re right on about not hearing anything. We hear about COPE all the time, but do we use it for the right things? Do we use it effectively? Did we not really fight tier 6 because it would only hurt FUTURE members? The pension department often claims they did fight – that Tier 6 is better than what almost happened, but I’m skeptical.

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