Sunday, October 28, 2012

NEW Caucus Under Attack by Press, Randi: Whose Side Are You On?

Watch Randi and Cami hold the vote in the middle of the hurricane tomorrow ---
NPS, the union leadership, and the local media all see their agenda threatened by our analysis. --- NEW Caucus
Below is the latest from NEW Caucus on the contract. But first a short video from a NEW member who attended the MORE Chicago Lesson session on Oct. 20.


NEW Caucus Members and Supporters:

This has been a long and taxing week for all education workers in Newark.  It has been especially busy for NEW Caucus in our attempts to inform NTU members about the proposed contract to be voted on Monday.

There have been flurries of emails over district email from NTU officials and their supporters, calling into question NEW Caucus motives, and our analysis of the proposed contract.  Money has been spent on shiny flyers, NTU officials and AFT staffers have visited schools, and AFT staffers have been calling the membership urging them to vote yes.  Even the Star Ledger Editorial Board - headed by Tom Moran, who last week wrote a glowing piece on the proposed contract and NTU leadership - got into the act Saturday, calling the NEW Caucus liars (see link below).  

Yet most of the criticism we have heard of our analysis addresses only the front page of our document, where we bullet pointed, in stark language, the logical conclusions if such a business contract was carried out to its fullest extent.  It almost seems as if none of our critics have read the 4 page ANALYSIS that follows.  Mr. Moran certainly did not.
NEW Caucus (Newark) Updated Contract Critique

As members consider how to vote tomorrow, and as you mull over the honesty of everyone involved, WE ARE RESENDING BOTH THE PROPOSED CONTRACT AND THE NEW CAUCUS WORKING ANALYSIS!  The analysis is updated in response to a few legitimate criticisms of the original document.

We hope that all members will read the proposed contract, and then our analysis.  After comparing the two, members can draw a solid conclusion about the work of NEW Caucus and our veracity.  

Here is Press Coverage of NEW Caucus in recent days:

1) Good article from In These Times on NEW Caucus' Tuesday meeting, and on NEW Caucus' views of proposed contract.

2) Another good article from NJ Spotlight also on NEW Caucus' Tuesday meeting and the proposed contract debate within the NTU.

3) The Star-Ledger Editorial blasting NEW Caucus.  Tom Moran and the Star Ledger have ignored us for about one year now, have never interviewed or even spoken to us officially prior to now, and even refused to run an op-ed piece from us last year, yet chose to criticize us publicly after we analyzed the proposed contract and only 2 days before NTU members vote.  This tells us that we are striking close to the truth. Why else would the Ledger use an editorial to try to discredit us unless they thought we NEEDED to be discredited?  It tells us that our analysis is on point, and that they cannot allow the full contents of that analysis to be seen as credible, lest people actually believe it.  Why else would they harp only on our bullet points rather than the in-depth, 4 page analysis that follows? The answer is that NPS, the union leadership, and the local media all see their agenda threatened by our analysis.

Anyway, here it is...

4) Lastly, here is a post by the always sharp Jersey Jazzman, critiquing the Ledger's attacks on NEW Caucus

Monday's Vote:

During the week, NEW Caucus had considered doing an unofficial exit poll of the vote, but were asked on Thursday by NTU leadership to come in and monitor the process officially.  So, on Monday, 2 NEW Caucus members will be in and around the NTU headquarters monitoring the process.  


NEW Caucus continues to urge members to read both the contract and our analysis of it before they vote on Monday.  

This is a reactionary contract that blames teachers for all the educational problems of the world, and makes it seem that teacher quality is the sole factor in student performance, without taking into account the socio-economic conditions of our students, not to mention the 16 years of state control of the Newark Public School system.  

Does teacher quality matter?  Of course.  

But to focus only on teacher quality, and then to punish thousands of good teachers for socio-economic factors beyond their control is immoral, will not work, sets us up for failure, AND WILL NOT HELP STUDENTS BECAUSE IT IN NO WAY ADDRESSES THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM!  

NEW Caucus continues to urge NTU members to VOTE NO to this proposed contract!

The question then remains: if we vote down this contract, where do we go from here? Here’s our tentative strategy:

1) Create and carry out a REAL Fair Contract Campaign (as happened in Chicago) to truly reenergize and reunite our union.

2) Form a Rank-and-File Contract Committee to involve the entire NTU membership in the decision making process (as happened in Chicago).

3) Form Contract Committees in every NPS building so that members will be involved in every step of the process (as happened in Chicago).

4) Reach out to social justice-oriented labor and education lawyers for assistance and guidance.

5) Begin to form alliances with other social justice organizations in the Newark community who can and will support the NTU in its drive for a fair contract that truly serves the interests of education workers and students.  

In Solidarity,
Newark Education Workers Caucus
(NEW Caucus)

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