I'm glad I got to hang out for the opening panel. I wish the 4 presentations had been filmed.
I'll discuss all the presentations in another blog post but today I want to paraphrase some of the points made by Marcus McArthur, a 6th year teacher and a relative newcomer to MORE.
|MORE Panel: Emily Giles, Marcus McArthur, Lauren Cohen, moderator Dan Lupkin, Not seen, August Leppelmeier. Photo by Katie Lapham|
I've seen Marcus, a teacher at City-As-Schools, at various happy hours but it wasn't until a few weeks ago at a downtown Manhattan happy hour attended by 25 people that I heard him speak and I was blown away by his presentation and crystallization of so much that is going on in so few words. I turned to someone and said, "He could run for UFT president one day."
So when I saw him on the panel at the MORE meeting yesterday I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say and was even more impressed by how he framed things so well.
First up Marcus, a 6-year teacher, talked about the horrors of his first 3 years working for an abusive principal who divided the school into camps - those who gave absolute fealty and those who didn't. As an untenured teacher he was in extreme jeopardy, as were others, some of whom got chopped. Marcus praised the more senior teachers at the school who shielded him and nurtured him. He finally escaped to a safer haven.
Sunday, Marcus presented an idea that I hadn't heard before. That the UFT in trying to be a partner with de Blasio after 12 years of being shut out by Bloomberg - trying to get back their seat/little stool at the table -- and after having bet on the wrong horse with Bill Thompson - without membership support -- offered de Blasio a home town discount on the contract that has turned out to be worse than any other union.
I remember handing out leaflets at the DA vote urging a NO VOTE and Unity people confronting me with "Do you want to bankrupt the city?" Yes, that was the main line we were hearing about why we had to take retro pay the way we did.
As we found out not long after the contract was signed the city had billions in surplus - thanks to our union in part.
Nice stool at the table.
MORE led the battle against the contract and with the new health care stuff coming down, we were ahead of the curve.
Many new people have come to MORE due to that contract.
They are helping fuel the current election campaign. Marcus McArthur is just one such person who has graced MORE with his activism.