Sunday, February 25, 2007

ICE-TJC High School Executive Board Candidates

Peter Lamphere is a union activist and teacher at the Bronx High School of Science. Previously, Peter was a UFT Delegate from Columbus High School where he led a rare UFT victory to stop his school from being closed completely. The fact that there is a Columbus High School at all that is still in existence is due in no small part to Peter’s organizing ability.

Sam Lazarus has over twenty years experience as a teacher. He currently works at Bryant High School where he is in year four as chapter leader. Sam organized his school and region in leading a Region 4 protest rally that successfully put a stop to Region 4 micromanagement. Teachers in Region 4 are no longer required to use the “workshop model” in all of their lessons thanks to Sam’s organizing and his ability to organize the UFT to join the fight. It was Sam’s idea that the UFT should combine with other unions rather than accept the horrible giveback laden 2005 Contract.

Marian Swerdlow was educated in NYC public schools, and has a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University. She is the author of "Underground Woman: My Four Years as a NY Subway Conductor." She has taught at FDR H.S., Brooklyn since 1990, and has been a UFT Delegate for twelve years. She has presented many resolutions at the UFT Delegate Assembly including many attempts to persuade the Union leadership to actively engage the rank and file.

Nick Licari is the longtime chapter leader from Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan where he teaches. Nick helped to elect the only two independent, non Unity District Representatives back when there were elections for that position. Nick is a strong advocate for his members at Norman Thomas and he has led several demonstrations to protest conditions at his school. Nick was the Teachers for a Just Contract candidate for President in the 2004 UFT election.

James Eterno is a twenty year veteran social studies teacher at Jamaica High School who has been chapter leader for 11years. He has been elected to the UFT Executive Board for ten years, seven in New Action and the last three as an ICE-TJC representative. Eterno left NAC when they decided not to run against Randi in 2004. He has authored numerous resolutions that have become Union policy including a recent proposal to demand that the UFT oppose the closing of schools. He argued against Mayoral Control of the schools as early as 2001 when Randi first argued in favor of it.

Jeff Kaufman is the Chapter Leader of Rikers Island Academy. Even though the Department of Corrections along with the Principal at Rikers conspired in 2995 to have Jeff removed from the school because he was helping a student, his chapter still overwhelmingly reelected him as their chapter leader. Kaufman was completely exonerated by the DOE and has taken his case to return to Rikers the State Public Employees Relations Board. Jeff has questioned Randi on numerous occasions at the Executive Board where he has served for the last three years. Jeff made a demand that the UFT hire staff to do our own investigations when teachers are removed from schools. Why should we rely on special investigations people to make the only record of any incident?

James Eterno (left center) and Jeff Kaufman (right) at Oct. 2005 rally at UFT HQ calling for a NO VOTE on the 2005 contract.

Jeff and James also led a vociferous opposition to the Fact Finding report that led to the Draconian givebacks of the 2005 Contract. First, they warned Randi in 2004 not to go to fact finding because they knew we would lose based on precedent of 1993 and 2002. Randi ignored them. Then, they told Randi to reject the Fact Finding Report when it was released and to start all over. She again reacted with anger. Finally, when the final Contract was agreed to, they pointed out all of its flaws and made the case the Contract would be a disaster for UFT members. Randi’s reaction has been to attend fewer Executive Board meetings and when she does show up, she usually is only there for part of the meetings. If she can’t face tough questions from UFT Executive Board members, then how can she stand up to the Mayor?


  1. Not a bad job Norm. You need to get this out to everyone.

  2. Keeping Columbus HS open was a tough fight. While Peter did a great job spearheading the demonstrations outside school, there were others working on the school’s behalf that he may not have been aware of. The Teacher Center teacher and I took data she had collated to the UFT conference and spoke directly to Randi to make the case for union support for the school and its UFT faculty.

    Subsequently she took the data to present at a meeting attended by the CCHS chapter leader, Randi, Leo Casey, Laura Rodriguez (Region 2 superintendent) and Michele Cahill among others. From that point the balance tipped in favor of Columbus, though the fight was not over.

    And no doubt there will be many more battles to come.

  3. Peter Lamphere sent this response:

    Many other activists were involved in the fight to save Columbus, include UNITY member Leo Casey and leadership supporter Christine Rowland, and a host of teachers in the school who risk a lot to be part of the effort. It would not be appropriate at all for me to take credit for keeping Columbus open - it was a collective effort - and I hope my bio has not done so. However, I did participate in the effort, arguing for an activist and public strategy, and I believe in particular the petition we organized to get the attention of the union leadership was quite effective.

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