Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Emily James Took Action on Paid Parental Leave and Shook the Tree

After New York City teachers push for paid family leave, union takes up the fight... Chalkbeat
Who cannot love what Emily James has accomplished with her over 80,000 signatures on her parental leave petition? She forced the UFT leadership to take notice. How this came about is worth sharing. Last year a MORE member had a baby and when she found out about the conditions for new mothers she began a petition with MORE and others which garnered 3000 signatures. MORE decided to take up the issue and did - for a short time - and then went on to the myriad of other issues that arise.

That Emily was able to get so many signatures on her own, even without taking the Labor Notes training, "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" which so many MORE people rave about (I have taken it a few times and remain a skeptic), opened up a few eyes.

Mike Schirtzer, MORE's UFT Ex Bd member, got in touch with Emily and asked if she wanted to raise it before the leadership at an Ex Bd meeting. She said she had no idea there was such a thing as an Ex Bd and that regular people could go speak there.

She agreed and since the press was talking to her, reports appeared in Politico and on Chalkbeat the morning of the meeting. Arrangements were made for some of us to meet up with Emily before the meeting to lay out the landscape. We told her not to expect Mulgrew to be there as he doesn't waste is precious time coming to the first 10 minutes to hear regular members' concerns.

But lo and behold, there was Mulgrew to listen to Emily and meet with her. And stay in touch with her and get her involved in the UFT effort to move the ball on this issue. In the meantime some people in MORE tried to get Emily to come to a MORE meeting where the parental control issue would be a MORE campaign. She as also contacted by another caucus. She declined. Some of us in MORE feel Mike did the job MORE can do of getting Emily a forum and then laid back. But this incident does show the value of having MORE and New Action people on the Ex Bd even if only 7 out of 100.

All this is pretty funny since Emily doesn't need tiny caucuses that showed they couldn't deliver on this issue before she did her thing and now she at least has the caucus in power on the case, even if we don't trust them to really deliver on this. But at least she is still in the game.

One of our fave reporters, former teacher Lindsay Christ has a report on NY1, as does Chalkbeat.

After New York City teachers push for paid family leave, union takes up the fight

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