Friday, April 2, 2010

Guest Editorial: Comment on March UFT DA

Dear Ednotes Community,

Was I the only one at the Delegate Assembly yesterday afternoon that noticed Mulgrew essentially told the Union, "best case scenario, budget cuts will have us laying off 4,000 people." Question from the floor: How are they done? Answer: "By license and seniority." Then silence. Guess no one in the room was in the bottom 4,000.

What was Unity's plan to fight the budget cuts? Send faxes and post cards!

There are either 4,000 UFT members about to lose their jobs due to budget cuts or 8,500, depending on whether the Governor or the Legislature's budget goes through in Albany. Shouldn't the alarms be going off? And then they had the audacity to compare themselves to the brave teachers who "showed real solidarity" to form the union. An apolitical 50th anniversary: perfect thinking from the Unity caucus. Let's not mention, let's try to downplay as much as possible, the very real politics that our predecessors believed in enough to get out on the streets and fight for it - the evidence of which was displayed in black-and-white enlargements of the strikers all along the stairway.

Let's agree on this: faxes and post cards won't be enough to stop layoffs, budget cuts, pension cuts, teacher quality and charter school reforms. The only power great enough to halt these attacks is the hands of the workers themselves, through organizing themselves at the school level. But you'll notice there are no plans to mobilize the membership (except for mass-mailings). Mulgrew and Unity's strategy is to just start apologizing now - luckily the election results will be in before the lay-offs are announced.

You heard it here first. Meeting, December 2010: "LAID-OFF TEACHER? Organize! Educate! Agitate!"

Don't despair though! Like Rafael Feliciano, head of the FMPR (Puerto Rico's national teacher's union) said on Tuesday:

"You get together with your co-workers during lunch and you conspire. Yes! That's what you do, because that's what they say you're doing. So you conspire and [from this comes a committee]"

Batten the hatches mates, it's about to get stormy.

Alex Tronolone
Product of NYC public schools, a victim of the dreaded 'd' (The Dreaded "D" and the UFT) and member of the International Socialist Organization"!


Eugene said...

I can't get terribly excited about laying off the bottom level of "teachers" because I don't consider people without an MA and often with only a few weeks summer ed training under their belts full-blown members of the profession. There are stages to this, and the first stages are barely out of school themselves. Besides, way too many ATRs, long-paying-dues members, don't have full careers anymore because these people have been hired in their place.
But I do worry that the cuts will affect teachers who've served much longer than a few years. They could hit mid-level careers in the more fragile subjects, like the arts, library, guidance, tech, etc.

Anonymous said...

That's it Eugene. I love your divide and conquer philosophy. According to you, during my first few years of teaching, I wasn't a real teacher. Why don't you run for office on the following platform:

We should only protect teachers with MA's and more than three years teaching experience.