Thursday, May 15, 2014

MORE In the Media: Lupkin, Wainer and Cavanagh in The Chief

“While there were clear efforts made in this contract about improving communication and collaboration, too much has been left on the table,” Ms. Cavanagh said. “I stand up with my chapter as we continue to urge the UFT and the city to go back to that table.”


A couple of days before about 2,000 delegates voted May 7 to recommend for ratification the United Federation of Teachers’s proposed labor contract, the specifics hadn’t yet filtered to a stretch of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Claims Teachers 'Let Down'
On Carroll Street, Dan Lupkin, a fourth- and fifth-grade special-education Teacher, was watching as kids streamed out of P.S. 58. He expected, correctly, that the UFT delegate assembly would approve the contract, but he wasn’t happy about it. He said Teachers were “let down” by their leaders and contested many parts of the deal as a step backwards, including delayed retroactive pay and few plans for creating smaller classrooms. As a UFT delegate, he said, he would vote against the tentative contract announced May 1.The package offers an 18-percent pay raise over nine years, dating back to 2009, with the two 4-percent raises for 2009-2011 to be implemented retroactively in installments from 2015 through 2020. The top-earning Teacher now making $100,049 would be earning $119,565 as of May 2018, according to the UFT.
“The money part of it is not great, but if we gave up the money for some real improvements in working conditions and improvements for the students, I would be willing to make that trade-off,” the nine-year Teacher said.Some rank-and-file members interviewed last week were still uncertain about various aspects of the bargain.

Dissidents Call UFT Terms Inadequate

MORE Caucus: Pact is Less of Same

1 imageThe Chief-Leader/Michel Friang
‘TALKING BEYOND THE DELEGATES’: Social studies Teacher Kit Wainer was one of several Movement of Rank and File Educators members protesting the May 7 vote by United Federation of Teachers delegates to recommend that members ratify a proposed contract. Ballots will be counted early next month.
By DAN ROSENBLUM | Posted 3 days ago
It was a far smaller crowd than inside the New York Hilton ballroom, where thousands of United Federation of Teachers delegates voted to recommend that its members ratify a tentative Teachers’ contract, but a collection of disaffected members of an opposition caucus hoped their voices resonated with their colleagues.
After the May 7 vote, about 20 representatives of the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus lined the Avenue of the Americas outside the hotel to list their objections to the deal.
Kit Wainer, a former UFT presidential candidate, objected to the proposed 18-percent raise spread over nine years, saying an average 2-percent annual pay increase would not keep up with the cost of living.
‘Disaffected, Disconnected’
“We’ve already got a membership that’s disaffected and disconnected, and now we have a union leadership that’s telling people that they should be thankful because by 2018, they will have raises that will almost catch up to inflation,” said Mr. Wainer, a UFT Chapter Leader at Leon M. Goldstein High School.
MORE, which bills itself as the social-justice caucus within the union, opposes an emphasis on standardized testing, teacher evaluations and the Common Core.
It wasn’t immediately clear when ballots would be mailed to the UFT’s membership, but the union projected it would have the results by early next month. MORE members said they had scheduled emergency meetings through that period.
‘A Missed Opportunity’
Julie Cavanagh, a Teacher at P.S. 15 in Brooklyn and also a former UFT presidential candidate, called the contract a “missed opportunity.” She listed a series of irritations with the accord that included extending retroactive payments two years beyond its lifespan and creating a two-tier teaching system by adding “Teacher Leadership Positions.” She said voting delegates had little time to read the full Memorandum of Agreement.
“While there were clear efforts made in this contract about improving communication and collaboration, too much has been left on the table,” Ms. Cavanagh said. “I stand up with my chapter as we continue to urge the UFT and the city to go back to that table.” 


  1. There is so much to be concerned about in the context of this contract I see no useful point to pitting teachers with high end salaries, earned presumably on the basis of seniority, against others and expecting them, or any other teachers, to give up salary when the union and its most progressive members have not really articulated the trade-offs that would be required to reallocate that top-tier money to services that haven't even been articulated beyond smaller class size and wraparound services. When those proposals are more than a slogan then I think we have a right and even obligation to begin the discussion about topping out teacher salaries. That conversation needs to happen in a concrete and explicit manner, not just some sense that some teachers are making too much money.

  2. I'm not clear where you get the pitting high salaried teachers against others. In fact it is the DOE that has done that and the persecution of high-salaried goes on without a response from the union. But also think of what that high salary means for people and the danger it has put them in given the union's inability to defend them when they become a target of vicious principals - of whom there are many -- and given this contract's ignoring that issue by not demanding protections. I mean if you are going to bargain for a high top end salary why not firm that up with some methods of keeping them out of harm's way?

  3. MORE are not dissidents, they are teachers!! Label them as such!! Let other teachers know there are teachers out there who have their backs and are not just complaining. MORE is as much a part of this union as any other teacher. They are not something separate. They do not want to change the system, but make it stronger.

    I am surprised you have not written about the new leadership in Massachusetts. I look fwd on your take on that.

  4. That's how the press characterizes us. We call ourselves an alternative.
    I did write about Barbara's victory shortly after. My take is that is is good but am concerned about what kind of base there is given the raw numbers of voters and how many didn't bother to vote.

    1. That seems to be the pattern even here in NYC.

      I didn't see that piece, so can you link it here. I was just curious if Barbara was an AFT or NEA choice since I am not sure which union she will be representing. And if AFT, was she a Weingarten candidate??


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