Thursday, June 3, 2010

ALL OUT FOR JUNE 4TH! STILL!!!! We stand united in saying no layoffs, not now, not ever.

I know, they are saying there will be no layoffs. Bloggers like Accountable Talk predicted it, knowing full well BloomKlein couldn't stand to let the newer teachers go. But first they tried to pull their anti-seniority ploy. I still think that is coming next year when as closing schools swell (after the one year moratorium) so will the ATR pool and major costs to the city.

As one commenter on ICE mail said, in 1995 Giuliani and the UFT agreed on a 2 year freeze due to massive threatened layoffs. The next year the city had a billion dollar surplus. As The Who said, "We WILL get fooled again!"
This was no brilliant move today, but planned all along. They tried to drag Mulgrew into it and first reports had the union complicit but they cleared that up. What difference in reality whether the union agreed or not? They have no power to do anything about it. And for all we know, who can tell what backroom deals there are. Could BloomKlein and the UFT be playing good cop, bad cop? You know me, I'm always suspicious.

Or maybe they just got scared by our 20 and growing school demo on Friday.

Here is the point. These are little actions at the school level. But overall they have a bigger impact in that people will be taking action. That has been missing so far. A sense of resistance. Now, I am getting calls from people about stuff their principals are doing and they are not sure what to do about it. They are acting as individuals and leaving themselves at risk. But if the chapter was really organized they would have a mechanism to fight.

So this June 4th thing (and they may do it again on June 11) is not just about budget cuts and info picketing or giving out "pink hearts instead of pink slips" like the AFT/UFT wants with no sense of how that plugs into building a long-term union spirit at the school level. But look at it beyond the school level. Schools are excited that other schools are doing it too. People want to talk to each other, something the UFT never tries to promote - they want each school isolated and forced to deal through the district reps, some of whom try to keep the CLs from sharing school info with each other at district meetings. That is why people are gathering at Tweed on Friday afternoon for a rally/party meet each other - similar to the great rally at Bloomberg's in January.
Starting to end school level isolation and building school to school relationships is an important component in these events.

The entire June 4th toolkit is available at the GEM blog - well actually the links to the scribd pdfs are available. Click the link of the doc you want and when you get there look for the green download button. If you are taking part and want to post pictures and video we are working on it. Send along links to you tube and pics.

Here are a few posts from Wed night, starting with the June 4 coalition press advisory, followed by PS 24's Sam Coleman email and an analysis by Marjorie Stamberg.

Press Advisory -June 4th Coalition

Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Sam Coleman: 646-354-9362, Teacher PS 24, NYCORE/GEM

Parents, Students, and Teachers Rally to Demand Mayor Bloomberg Prioritize Public Education Spending and Withdraw Proposed School-Based Budget Cuts and Teacher Layoffs

When: Friday, June 4th, Morning Pickets and Day-Long Actions (times and events vary by school community)

Friday, June 4th, 4:30 PM @ TWEED

Where: School Communities @ PS 24K, PS 15K, PS 30M, PS 197M, Jamaica High School, PS 123M, PS 193K, PS 41M, PS 84K, The Brooklyn New School, Prospect Heights International High School, PS 202K, PS 3K, PS 307K, IS 218, PS 89K, PS 321, PS 197M, The Earth School, Banana Kelley, Fredrick Douglass Academy 5, Benjamin Banneker High School, East Flatbush Community Research School, Humanities Prep and many other school communities city-wide.

On Friday, June 4th, Parents, Students, and Teachers will participate in a city-wide day of protest to demand Mayor Bloomberg prioritize public school spending and withdraw his intention to further slash school-based budgets as well as his initial plan to fire over 6,000 teachers. These cuts and proposed layoffs, will siphon approximately 400 million dollars from New York City public school children, this as the IBO projects a city-wide budget surplus in 2010 and 2011 and other government agencies under the Mayor’s control are projected to face no cuts at all. In addition, the education system in New York City has already experienced drastic cuts: approximately $546 million since June 2009's adopted budget, according to the Independent Budget Office. Of this, $261 million came out of classroom funding. These further cuts will increase class size, increase teacher student ratios, services and programs will be cut including after school, remediation, and enrichment; the entire public school system will be destabilized and weakened. As for the layoffs, the Mayor rescinded the proposal this week, and it must be clear we stand united in saying not now, not ever.

This grassroots day of actions grew out from a community public school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where parents and teachers have been organizing around disastrous public education policies including the issue of testing. Sam Coleman, one of the lead organizers of the event, a teacher from PS 24 said, “The staff at PS 24 decided we could not sit idly by while our students’ education and our livelihoods were being threatened. We realized the only voice that will ever be heard is that of the whole school community; parents, students, and staff. We want to show the public and politicians that we are willing to take action in order to force a change in political priorities. The whole PS 24 community demands fully and equitably funded public education for all New York City children.”

Various school communities across the city will be taking differentiated actions in a unified protest of the Mayor’s education spending priorities. Individual schools will be holding pickets, signing petitions, and form letters, and will disseminate educational materials to spread awareness about the destructive educational policies and decision-making of Mayor Bloomberg and his Chancellor, Joel Klein. The day will end with a group protest at Tweed, where concerned citizens will join in solidarity and make their voices heard after taking community-based actions throughout the day.

Additional Contacts:

Lydia Bellahcene:, 347-463-9809, Parent PS 15, CAPE

Mark Torres:, 212-348-5732, Co-Chair, CPE/CEP

Julie Cavanagh:, 917-836-6465, Teacher PS 15, CAPE/GEM

Over 20 schools are planing actions on June 4th before or after school!

We are rallying at Tweed at 4:30 to let the mayor and the DOE know that budget cuts and salary freezes are not an acceptable solution!

Today the mayor announced that he and the UFT made a deal to avoid the layoffs. This is a lie! Our union has not agreed to a salary freeze.
Nor should they. The mayor is playing dirty politics (even for him!). We cannot let him get away with this!

Now more than ever, our voices are needed on Friday. Our union needs to know that we are mobilized and ready to fight for a fair contract regardless of an underhanded mayor baiting us in the press. The families and communities at our schools need to know we are still fighting for our student's education.

- There will STILL be 2000 positions lost due to attrition which will mean bigger classes and more teachers forced into the ATR pool.

- The budget cuts to schools will STILL mean loss of after-school programs, art, summer school and other "non-essential" services to our students.

- With a hiring freeze, and salary freeze, they are STILL spending $5 million on recruiting new teachers.

- Teachers are STILL paying for Wall Street's greed.

We say thanks Mike, but no thanks. We STILL did not make this mess, we will not be forced to clean it up. Tax those in our city who can afford to pay more, ESPECIALLY THOSE ON WALL STREET WHO WALKED AWAY WITH 9 BILLION IN BONUSES COURTESY OF AMERICAN TAX PAYERS!

You cannot negotiate with our union in the press! We will not allow it! No budget cuts, no layoffs, no pay cuts, not now, not ever!

email: for questions or to let us know that you are with us.

Marjorie Stamberg writes:
It is crunch time in the UFT and Friday is the first of several important demonstrations where we need colleagues to come out and support the teachers and the students.

The situation is changing daily. Today the mayor declared there will be no teacher layoffs, but there will also be no raises for teachers in the next two years. Oh really? Bloomberg can't decide what raises there will and not be -- this is a contract issue. We have to keep on struggling to make sure the city doesn't try to make teachers pay for the economic crisis that we didn't cause.

Bloomberg's announcement was interesting -- it is clear the city could not afford to take the political hit on the layoffs. Particularly since it would have hit the teachers in many of the new small schools Bloomberg-Klein set up, and which are staffed with first year teachers. The layoffs would have virtually wiped out the teaching staff at these schools.

It is very important that we defend the jobs of ALL teachers and build the union's strength by supporting veteran and new teachers.

Here are upcoming protests, there may be others as well:

---Friday June 4, protest at Tweed-DOE headquarters, 4 pm, a protest called by two teacher groups, the Grassroots Education Movement NYCORE--New York Coalition of Radical Teachers. Directions: any train to Chambers St or City Hal).

This demo is calling for no teacher layoffs and no budget cuts. They are going to give out "pink slips" to the DOE top brass--the guys in the suits getting the 5 and 6 figure salaries while everything else is getting cut. The protest is culminating many local school-based activities and leafleting on that day.

June 10 is a picket protest outside Bloomberg's house on the upper east side to support the embattled teachers at Bronx HS of Science. Peter Lamphere, the chapter leader is facing major harassment as are all the math teachers at Bronx Science -- who were all U rated two years ago! The case went to arbitration but there are still many issues and we need everyone to come out and support Peter and the teachers at Bronx Science.

On June 16, the UFT is having a mega demonstration at City Hall with the other NYC Municipal Labor Committee public unions. You know, where they bring up the jumbo-trons and the rat and the whole nine-yards. This will be a big labor turnout--a gathering of a big chunk of the city labor movement. I am critical that the Delegate Assembly was called off for this demo -- that was an important place for teachers and their delegates to speak their piece about any proposed settlement. Still, it is important that everyone who possibly can, come out.

That's it for now -- I'll keep you posted with my "take" on rapidly changing events.



  1. Just my opinion, but I think the ATR ranks will swell, because of the budget cuts to the schools. My school lost nearly $500,000 and we're small. My Principal will likely excess in order to have budget for things like after school programs.


  2. There is also going to be a march over the brooklyn bridge to protest student metrocard cuts on friday june 11th at 4:30 organized by the nyc student union.
    details are at


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