Monday, January 23, 2023

UFT Contract Teach-In Jan. 30 - Showing leadership some love, Revisiting Jan. 9 Ex Bd and Jan. 18 DA


 A Key takeaway from recent UFT Ex Bd and DA:

When Carl Cambria raised the idea to bring contract discussions to the schools at the Jan. 9 Ex Bd meeting, many of us in the opposition cheered, even the skeptics - like me. I liked working with Carl who chaired the UFT election committee last year, so let's give him some love for this imitative.

So I was proud to be part of the crew that discussed the issue and decided to show the leadership some support for a change by holding a pep rally for the next day's activities Sunday night, Jan. 29 where a range of issues related to the contract will be discussed. A great panel is being put together with lots of ideas for how to make the next day's teach-in more meaningful. Mike Schirtzer, an Ex Bd member who ran on the Unity slate in 2019 and 2022, is on board. There might even be input from some people in the leadership. Kumbaya!

Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

Jan. is always an intense month with the highlight being my wife's birthday coming up in a few days. My deceased dad and her deceased mom and her young cousin all fell in the same week - some of the family is gathering at a steak restaurant/butcher in New Jersey this week where we go to the counter to pick out our own steaks. Luckily they don't have live cows to choose from. Jeez, time flies. Daylight is getting longer and I can see March around the corner - and my 78th birthday. 

I wanted to write about the Jan. 9 Exec Bd meeting (Who actually needs time to read a contract anyways? – Executive Board Meeting, 1-9-2023) where some significant events occurred and here we are with another Ex Bd meeting tonight. And I also haven't written about the Jan. 18 Del Assembly, (Mulgrew to Members: Prepare for Premiums – Analyzing the 1-18-2023 Delegate Assembly), which I missed due to a cold.There are too many threads to deal with which you can see if you clicked the links above, so let's focus on the contract teach-in. 

Nick has a related contract item at New Action:

UFT members need a decent contract. With inflation at sky high levels and our pay rates stuck in the 2021-2022 school year, we frankly need that contract yesterday. On Jan. 30, many chapters across the city will engage in ‘teach ins’ to learn about and organize around the contract. Hundreds–if not thousands–of UFTers took part in initial trainings, so I’m optimistic that chapters will actually do them. Like my fellow UFT executive board member, Mike Schirtzer, I want these to be successful. Rather, I want these events to be a part of ensuring that our actual contract is successful.  

.. UFT HS Ex Bd member Nick Bacon blogging at New Action:  UFT: Let’s Organize for a Fair Contract

There were a few significant points to make about Jan. 9 - which of course was the same day at the City Council hearing - City Council Healthcare Hearing Update - Links to Video, Exposing UFT Leadership hypocrisy, 

One was the replacement of Lydia with Luli Rodriguez which could have been stopped by Unity running a candidate. They didn't, which UFC people were grateful for. Luli recently transferred to a school a few block away from the UFT, so easy commute. Nick reports:

  • Luli Rodriguez (ICE/Solidarity) was ‘sworn in’ as the replacement for Lydia Howrilka (Solidarity), who recently left the DOE and thus her HS Executive Board seat to pursue other opportunities. We thank Unity Caucus for not running a candidate of their own against Luli. They agreed that UFC should keep the seat we won. I look forward to working with Luli in the future (her full endorsement by Ibeth Mejia can be seen below in the full minutes).

I guess UFC owes Unity one when Unity has to replace the next Unity Ex Bd member who leaves (which some people expect will occur soon.) So a quid quo pro if that happens.

There was some heat at the meeting, especially between Nick and Queens borough rep Amy Arundel when Nick Bacon brought a reso calling for transparency for delegates and members when a new contract comes along, pointing out that in 2018, delegates got no time to read the contract and info was not fully shared (Mulgrew: no givebacks - check the healthcare mess). Amy took exception, seeing it as a counter of sorts to the teach-in or not paying enough homage. Not at all. Nick was asking that when the contract is offered to the DA and members, they should have time to read it and debate it.  I'd love to delve deeper but I will comment further at another time on some of the remarks Amy made which I saw as a general attack on the opposition while others took it as a personal attack on Nick. I think Amy expressed a certain view that many in the leadership hold about oppo as whatever they do is for political purposes with no real there there and that deserves a deep dive. (Witness Mulgrew attacks on oppo retirees as just trying to take political advantage -- as if someone like doesn't really feel threatened by the loss of Medicare - I just want to use it politically.) Read what Nick has to say:

Back to the contract teach-in and Sunday's Pep rally.

Usually I see an event like the teach-in as something to mock - a way to fool people into thinking that they can have an impact on the contract. I would just say vote no on whatever contract they come up with since I don't see any contract as a fair one and have voted NO to just about every contract. But some of my buddies did not think the 2018 contract was terrible - until we found out about the healthcare givebacks. Oh, well! I think this time there will be much more scrutiny. And a lot more people seem to have been involved.

One more point. There is some danger to the leadership in raising expectations of the rank and file and the teach-in could raise consciousness of members if they don't deliver. It might have been better for them to try to sneak the contract in.

Here are More details on Sunday's event from EONYC, which just hit the #2 spot on best ed blogs of NYC - sign up for updates and contribute.

UFT: Let’s Organize for a Fair Contract

 Educators of NYC kicks off the upcoming UFT Contract Teach-Ins with an important discussion that you don't want to miss -- with union leaders, union activists & YOU!

Join EONYC’s Zoom forum event - The Contract Teach-In Pep Rally on Sunday, January 29th at 7 pm.

Click Here to RSVP


Here are some of the questions our panelists and participants will explore:

Ice-Breaker: What do you love about being part of our union and our contract?

  • What does a fair upcoming contract look like? What does an unfair contract look like?

  • There are items in any contract that require costing … are there some working conditions that we can demand for this contract that don't really cost the city anything? What are they?

  • What does saying “no” to an unfair contract mean? Does it mean we strike?

  • In our teach-ins we will be sharing what actions we should take collectively. Do you believe we are prepared to take meaningful actions? Why or why not?

  • Some believe that the biggest obstacles for us taking meaningful actions are fear and apathy … How do we overcome fear and apathy in our union?

Wrap-up: In addition to our teach-ins tomorrow (1/30) ... What are some contract-related discussions that should also take place in our chapters and union circles that are impactful?

Click Here to RSVP

Featured Panel members - TBA

More information and Sunday's Zoom Link is forthcoming. We will update you here at The Wire.



Please consider, in appreciation, upgrading to a paid subscription to The Wire: Powered by Educators of NYC. This helps us continue the work.

No comments: