Where do we go from here?

New Action/UFT…a caucus of the United Federation of Teachers
PO Box 180574  North Richmond Hill,NY11418
newaction.wordpress.com / [email protected]
                                                                                                June 2011

 Lay-offs  –  Down to the Wire
Where Do We Go From Here?

The media is citing an “obscure” municipal union health care fund that could be used to avert teacher lay offs and prevent fire houses from closing. Whether this happens or not, we just don’t know. Anything short of contract concessions, pension give- backs, or having UFT members pay for their own jobs, would be a welcome solution to this horrific situation. We hope it can work.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY:  how does our union position itself so that our members are never put in this untenable situation again?

New Action has been proposing, in this current period (and we have stated it publicly over many years) that the membership MUST be prepared to take any and all reasonable actions. We believe the membership has not been prepared to meet this challenge. Since last December we have been calling for mobilizations and actions at every school. In January, we called for a week of membership meetings at every school followed by schools doing informational picketing against lay offs and budget cuts. Others have called for borough wide membership meetings. New Action has called for activities at every school.  New Action members on the UFT Action Committee have called for this several times this year alone. In April, we urged the Action Committee once again to employ this strategy. In May, we met with President Mulgrew and proposed a concrete date for school wide membership meetings, followed by a week of picketing at schools. At the June meeting of the Action Committee we called for actions to take place at every school on June 21, 2011. Picketing is not a panacea, but engagement by the entire membership is a critical factor.

The demonstrations, rallies, texting and faxing elected officials have been without precedent by our union. UFT members have turned out at borough hall rallies, picketing of enemies of our union, like Marty Golden, marches, and car caravans; we should be proud to have participated in so many events. Yet, the overwhelming number of our members have not been drawn into the fight. Only when the City administration knows that tens of thousands of union members are expressing themselves will we have the clout to produce a contract or prevent lay offs.

Finally, New Action believes it is time to end mayoral control of our schools—a mistake of major proportions. 

United we will win!

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