Saturday, May 9, 2015

Newark Teacher Union Election in Midst of Turmoil, as Del Grosso steps down

[Brandon] Rippey, a social studies teacher at Science Park High School, lost to Del Grosso by just nine votes in the last election. Nonetheless, the “New Visions” slate allied with Rippey won control of the union’s executive board, and he is expected to be a formidable challenger to Abeigon and Dixon. “What’s at stake: the
Newark public schools, the teaching profession, and the union itself,” Rippey said last night, following a debate with Dixon. “The (New Visions-led) caucus has been the only group that has stood up consistently in their defense.”... NJ Spotlight
Brandon Rippey and NEW Visions are part of our national alliance of caucuses, UCORE. (We are meeting in Newark in July- how nice it would be to celebrate a victory by Brandon.) I've been at various events with Brandon and would love to see him become president of the NTU.

[By the way, Diane Ravitch reports on the new LA teacher contract - LATU has also been captured by one of the UCORE associated caucuses with Alex Caputo-Pearl as president. Note that they got some class size limit assurances - something you will never see with Unity Caucus in charge here.

Los Angeles Teachers Agree to Néw Contract]

Remember how Del Grosso brought Randi in to negotiate the contract between her and Cami Anderson and Cristie - a contract they hailed and ended up screwing the teachers - and also led to a new caucus - the NEW caucus to almost push Del Grosso out of office. NEW won the Exec Bd and only lost the presidency by a few votes. (Is the 3rd candidate a New Action like stalking horse designed to split off enough votes from NEW Visions so Abeignon can win?

Knowing Brandon and the politics behind him, they will reach out deep into the parent and student community to build ties so that if they ever take actions like strikes or sick-outs, they will have extensive community backing.

So, suddenly, the Del Grosso people - Abeignon -  to stave off the challenge from Rippey, who would be Cami Anderson's worst nightmare, became militant - as we reported recently: Newark Teachers Union Upcoming Job Action..

Then came the sickout rumors for next week we reported on yesterday.

Newark: Will there be a mass sick-out next week? 

Abeignon is "repositioning" himself for the election as a "militant" to fend off Rippey. Until the day after the election  - if he wins.

Bob Braun had a report on the reaction to the proposed sick out from a Cami slug:

Her reference to a "faction" within the union representing Newark teachers is an apparent allusion to the ongoing, three-way union election that is happening just as the NTU leadership has promised to take job actions in an effort to block subjecting eight more public schools--including East Side and Weequahic high schools--to s-called "turnarounds" in which faculty hours and programs are changed.

John Abeigon, the chief organizer for the NTU and one of three candidates for the union's presidency, denied the union had plans for a sick out which he said would subject participating teahers to the same punishments as would a strike. He said the union would pursue "job actions" designed to "escalate the chaos" within the schools and the community.

"Nothing, not even a strike, is off the table," Abeigon said. "But it certainly wouldn't be our first dish."

Teachers Union Leadership Change Comes at Critical Time for Newark Schools

Del Grosso to end 20-year tenure at helm as contract talks loom and controversy continues over Anderson’s ‘One Newark’ reforms

For the first time in 20 years, Joseph Del Grosso won’t be running for reelection as president of the Newark Teachers Union.
Marking the end of two decades of union leadership in the state’s largest school district, Del Grosso will step down as leader of the vocal and influential union at a time when the city’s schools are still in turmoil over state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” reorganization initiative.  His decision to not seek reelection wasn’t a big surprise, as he had hinted for several months that he might step down and has not been in good health for longer than that. Repeated efforts to contact him over the last two days were unsuccessful. Still, Anderson is not likely to see any greater support from any of Del Grosso’s likely successors.
The three candidates certified by the union on Tuesday are:
  • John Abeigon, the NTU’s director of organization and a close ally of Del Grosso;
  • Michael Dixon, the union’s elected secretary-treasurer; and
  • Branden Rippey, a leader of a dissident faction of the union, who says the NTU has been too easy on Anderson.
 The union vote is taking place by mail-in ballot, starting May 26. Ballots will be opened and counted on June 23.

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