Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burning The Wires With ATRs

Updated RALLY Action Alert

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

You may know by now that the UFT is holding a discussion session regarding the new ATR agreement at 52 Broadway (our union hall) on Monday, November 24th at 4pm. After Randi Weingarten explains the agreement, those in attendance will march to Tweed for the rally.

We have distributed 1,000's of leaflets to schools across NYC that indicate the union's original meeting time of 4:30pm at Tweed. We will adhere to this plan, but send a small delegation of UFTers to first attend the gathering at 52 Broadway.

This has not been an easy movement to build for and at this point it is difficult for us to create and distribute new fliers with the aforementioned update. If you can arrive in lower Manhattan as early as 4pm, by all means you should feel free to attend Randi Weingarten's talk. Otherwise, meet us as planned (SEE BELOW).

Last, at this late moment, our leadership has still not produced one flier or poster for this event. This is unfortunate!

Thank you to all who helped the ATR Ad Hoc Committee follow through on planning and building for our rally!!!

In Solidarity,

John Powers / Chapter Leader: Liberation HS
Marjorie Stamberg / ESL Teacher / GED PLUS / District 79

P.S. See the information that follows:

Here are some updates from the ad hoc committee to support the ATRs.

Stand up for the ATRs! We want to send the strongest message to the DOE that the victimization of teachers who have been thrown into the Absent Teacher Reserve has to stop now. No new hiring till all ATRs who want positions are placed! No termination of the teaching fellows! Stop union-busting and teacher-bashing!

We have fought for the union as a whole to demonstrate its support for the ATRS. But we cannot rely on the bureaucracy to make it real, we have to mobilize in the schools. By the way, after we objected to having a soggy "candlelight vigil," the Chapter Leader Update is now referring to it as a rally. Good!

So here are next steps: Do Now

Get fliers out to your school (If you need flyers, let us know, see below).

Get teachers at your school to come with you--make a sign-up list to get solid commitments (see sign-up sheet attached). This is important--don't rely on "I'll try."

Bring everybody -- school staff, parents, students. Ask your chapter leader to hold a meeting and get everybody on board.

"Adopt a school" -- find one more school besides yours to get the fliers out--call your colleagues and friends in other schools.

Make posters --
Some suggested posters "______________(Name of School) is here to support the ATRs!" "Let Teachers Teach!" "Hiring Freeze Until ATRs are Placed"


*Meet Us at the Rally and Come in Together:

Activists are meeting up outside the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop on the 4, 5, 6 train in the open space alongside Tweed and City Hall. We will form up and come into the rally chanting "Let Teachers Teach!" Come with us and make a strong presence. *

*Time: 4:30pm
Place: Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St. (btw Bway and Park Place)
DIrections: Any train to Chambers Street, Brooklyn Bridge or City Hall

Remember: This is everyone's fight*

*When the UFT's gave up senority transfers in the 2005 contract, it opened the door for the DOE to drive a truck through! Now 1,400 teachers are in the ATR pool and we need to get them out! The way the Board is closing schools, if you're not ATR now, you could be tomorrow.

More info or need leaflets:,
Call 917-545-5671

*If you need leaflets, please give us your name, school and address where to drop off and how many.

Message from Sean Ahern on ICE-mail:
The priority for Bloomberg is pushing forward with his power grab. The pushout of the senior teachers and ATRs has been placed on the back burner until after his election, after Randi's election. So for now its a win win both for Bloomberg and Weingarten to push divisive issues to the side that may interfer with their collaboration going forward for the next year.

Shanker collaborated with the banker's coup in 1975. 20,000 teachers were laid off, The neo liberal crap spread outwards from NYC. Now once again the UFT is leading the way in collaborating with another toxic initiative from the oligarchy to pull the rug out from under popular outrage at his power grab. The UFT leadership sings a lullaby to the members , then the members get whacked. The leadership weathers some outrage for a bit, but the opposition fades, never making much sense of what happened, and the leadership gets back to feathering its nest, insulating itself from members, accumulating property and influence.

Marjorie adds:

Totally agree with you re: Randi's posture and why there was a partial amelioration of ATR crisis (without altering the basic framework of dictatorial mayoral and principal control). Both she and Bloomberg/Klein want to get this "pesky issue" (of outrageous villification of more than a thousand teachers) out of the way, especially since she's being battered from a grass-roots movement inside the union about it. Then they figure they can go ahead with merit pay, charter schools, straight-out union-busting, a la Michelle Rhee. Much of which is part of Obama's education program, by the way

We better make sure this oppositon ain't fading. That means all of us. And we have the program to make sense of what happened and why it happened. Because of all the reasons you state, it was an excellent moment to puruse this crucial struggle. The mobilization of union power AGAINST the labor bureaucracy, whom Daniel De Leon called the "labor lieutenants of capital, we started here needs to be continued to face the really daunting challenges in the coming period.


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