Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ICE/TJC Announce Presidential Candidate for UFT Elections in 2010


ICE/TJC Announce Presidential Candidate for UFT Elections in 2010

The Independent Community of Educators (ICE) and Teachers for a Just Contract (TJC) have chosen James Eterno, chapter leader of Jamaica HS in Queens, as their candidate for president of the UFT in the elections to take place in 2010. He will oppose the Unity Caucus candidate, expected to be Michael Mulgrew, who will be taking over for Randi Weingarten.

Eterno has been a Social Studies Teacher Jamaica High School for 23 years. For the past 13 years he has been the Chapter Leader at Jamaica High School.

He spent 10 years on the UFT Executive Board as one of the few members of the opposition caucuses.

He was one of the leaders in the fight against the draconian givebacks in the 2005 Contract.

James organized a successful rally in 2008 at the Panel for Educational Policy where 89 people from the Jamaica High School family went to the PEP to advocate for Jamaica High School, pointing out that the school was suffering from academic apartheid due to the unequal treatment Jamaica was getting in comparison to the small schools being installed. His blog piece on the subject (Stop Academic Apartheid) received wide notice.

He authored a resolution to the State Education Commissioner calling for the empowerment of teachers, parents and students on School Leadership Teams and wrote many other resolutions, including one calling for more protections for teachers accused of corporal punishment.

He led the Jamaica High School Chapter in a 50-person grievance at the Region 3 office to have the time schedule changed in 2003 and was a winner of the UFT’s Trachtenberg Award in 2000.

James, along with ICE’s Jeff Kaufman, has co-authored the influential ICE blog, which analyzes on the activities of the UFT leadership. James has become one of the leading experts on the UFT contract and has assisted numerous teachers throughout the city who have not been ably assisted by the UFT.

He is married to Camille Eterno, a former chapter leader currently a teacher at Humanities and the Arts High School in Queens. The Eternos are expecting their first child in early July.

James will be attending the UFT Delegate Assembly today at 52 Broadway from 4:30-6:30.

James Eterno on the BILLION DOLLAR DAYS OFF at the ICE blog
June 24, 2009

Close analysis of the agreement between the city and the UFT creating a new pension tier shows that the city has once again taken the UFT to the cleaners. While this is nothing new, it is still depressing when it happens over and over again.

The sad details show that we are giving the city back $2 billion over twenty years. My source for this is the Mayor's office. On top of this, add the health care savings that the Municipal Labor Committee just gave back that amounted to $550 million over the next few years. What do we win in exchange for billions in savings for the city? The two weekdays before Labor Day will be added to summer vacation.

These professional development days were useless and it's fine to get them added back to our summer break. The agreement also says we may return to work in September the same day that the kids come back which is ridiculous. By working it in this way, the city can correctly say we haven't shortened the school year. However, this potentially absurd situation is not the worst part of this deal.

The two added vacation days won't cost the city a dime as they are not giving us any additional money. However, in yet another indignity, we will be forced to pay for our two days off at a rate of 1.08% in additional funding according to the agreement. .5% will come from lowering the interest rate on the fixed TDA from 8.25% to 7% and raising the amount of years someone must work before they can retire with health benefits from ten to fifteen. The other .58%, according to the agreement, will "be addressed in the upcoming round of collective bargaining for the successor agreement to the current agreement which expires October 31, 2009." Translation, our raise will be lowered. What about the new pension tier savings? Won't that money be applied to pay for the added vacation days? The answer is no.

The new Tier V, where yet to be hired teachers will have to pay 4.85% in pension contributions for 27 years, is a free gift to the city from the UFT that we get nothing back for accepting.

When you are enjoying those extra days off on September 3 and 4, just call them the billion dollar days. That's roughly the amount that each day will end up costing us in the long run. For that kind of gift, couldn't we get back just a little bit more of our professional dignity?

Contact: Norm Scott


Anonymous said...

You can count on my school to vote for him!

Anonymous said...

You are trying to gain control of a "zombie union". The UFT has died and is now irrelevant. It will play no role in the great changes that are coming.

Chaz said...

James has my vote and I am not an ICE member.

There is nobody better to represent us than James Eterno,

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If only there were about 50,000 more enlightened souls.

DR.PARMAR said...

What 'Anonymous' writes is true - unfortunately, members of the UFT are in "zombie" mode. It appears as if members are either (1) unaware of their own rights, especially probationers; (2) unaware of the 'politics' and corruption (blurry line between UFT Unity Caucus and DOE) that exists; (3) complacent until some sort of disciplinary action is taken against them; &/or (4) fearful of speaking out for fear of retribution. How will you (ICE) proceed with marketing your campaign? What do you plan to do for probationary teachers who have virtually NO rights at all, yet pay same union dues as tenure teachers? These teachers' voices are silent and many are being abused by [some, not all] principals who have an axe to grind based soley on personal dislike of character. The current UFT leadership does absolutely NOTHING for these teachers; top 'leaders' have admitted to a "two-tier system" and unfair/biased panels if a greivance reaches arbitration level, and I quote them referring to it as a "kangaroo court"!!! YET, they do nothing about it?! It's baffling to me how the most POWERFUL teacher's union in this country has so little HUMAN regard, passion, and rigor in defending the rights of their probationery teachers (shameful)! WE must empower ALL of our teachers otherwise the children of this city will continue to suffer!