Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Labor and the UFT

Friday night I was at a NYCoRE reception for their spring ITaGs (Inquiry to Action Groups.) There must have been at least 40 people present. I was too busy drooling over the guacamole to count.

I joined the Teachers as Organizers group and for the next 6 weeks we will explore issues related to labor with a focus on the UFT. (I wrote about it a few weeks ago Teachers as Organizers @ NYCORE.) I think there are about 7 of us in the group with quite a range of age and experience, so it should be illuminating.

Group leaders Seth Rader and Rosie Frascella, both NYC teachers, led an introductory discussion on where we should put our focus. We will cover issues related to working with teachers and working with children. Our first "assignment" is Why Teach Labor History? from the winter 2008/9 edition of American Educator.

Here is a tentative list of topics:
  • History/structure of the UFT
  • Identifying potential issues to organize around in individual chapter settings (bringing it back to schools)
  • Connections to the wider labor movement
  • Looking at teachers unions globally
  • Teaching about labor

Since the first scheduled session is tomorrow, Jan.22, there was a conflict with the conference
WHAT STRATEGIES FOR STRUGGLE IN THE UFT: A Discussion/Debate being held at CUNY tomorrow from 4:30-7:30.

So, we're going on a field trip (I have to have my soon to be 91 year old dad - on Tuesday - sign my consent slip) to CUNY tomorrow.

With chapter leader elections this spring and with UFT general elections a year from now, it will be interesting to see how the different groups view the organizing situation. There is no official ICE speaker. ICE is in the process of working out where it will stand on a range of issues. Two speakers are affiliated with ICE and will be speaking from their own point of view. I'll have a report on the event Friday.

Here is the announcement from John Powers.

With public education the focal point, it is time to raise and debate the strategies and struggles facing the UFT and all educators. Join in an evening of lively discussion of various viewpoints.

Speakers: Sean Ahern (Ad Hoc Committee to Reverse the Disappearing of Black and Latino/a Educators), Angel Gonzalez, Sally Lee (Teachers Unite), Marjorie Stamberg (Class Struggle Education Workers) and Kit Wainer (Teachers for a Just Contract). Moderator: John Powers (CSEW)

Thursday, January 22, 2009, 4:30-7 p.m.
CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5414
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th St.)

B, D, F, Q, R, N, W to 34th (Sixth Ave.), or 6 train to 33rd

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