The UFT Culminating January Contract Teach-in offensive takes place Monday with a rousing press conference outside the Whitney Museum at 11:30. (See press advisory below) with a preliminary pep rally sponsored by Educators of NYC, zooming tonight at 7. And you can still get on board: UFT CONTRACT TEACH-IN PEP RALLY
There has been debates in the alternate non-Unity Caucus universe over this UFT initiative and I have an entire blog post just about ready to go diving deeper into it. Some have been supportive as the UFT leadership finally doing some basic organizing around the contract.
Others have been more skeptical, seeing the Teach-In as a show and tell event.
I'm somewhere in the middle, hearing from all sides. Unity crowd very excited, Oppos people not so much. But these are the activists on both sides. I offered the leadership some love last week: Fighting for a Fair Contract
Getting readings from the rank and file, the fact that so many people signed up for the UFT training is a sign of widespread interest.
And the interest in tonight's PEP rally has also been heavy with possibly 200 people expected, with an all-star panel of people representing all wings of United for Change - and as Nick Bacon has pointed out (Understanding the ‘Politics’ of the UFT’s Progressive Opposition), UFC is not monolithic, so expect the kind of debate you won't often hear at UFT events. UFT high level officials have been invited but as of this posting have not responded. But we may see a surprise stand-in presenting their side of things.
I'd like to see some history of previous contracts discussed: the 1995 voted down the first time, the major giveback 2005 contract, the 2014 and 2018 healthcare givebacks. Do you see a pattern here? I think there will be a discussion of whether a vote NO means a strike (which the leadership will try to tell people.).
Guest panelists include:
Olivia Swisher - Chapter leader of a Brooklyn middle school. Former Exec Board candidate for United for Change. Affiliated with MORE UFT Caucus.
Alex Jallot - UFT Executive Board member. Chapter leader of Aviation High School. Affiliated with MORE UFT caucus
Nick Bacon - UFT Executive Board member. Former Chapter leader of a Manhattan high school. Affiliated with New Action UFT caucus
Co-moderated by: Aixa Rodriguez, of MORE UFT, and Bronx Educators for Justice, and Daniel Alicea, a lead organizer for EONYC.
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 upcoming 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?
The UFT Media Advisory for Monday:
Teachers in over 1,000 New York City public schools will lead labor “Teach-Ins” for fellow educators on Monday, Jan. 30.n -- UFT Media Advisory
Media Advisory - For Planning Purposes
UFT Members To Hold Contract "Teach-Ins" For NYC Educators Jan 30
Teachers in over 1,000 New York City public schools will lead labor “Teach-Ins” for fellow educators on Monday, Jan. 30.
Educators will use the “Teach-Ins” to brainstorm ways to fight for a fair contract for members of the United Federation of Teachers.
UFT members will meet before and after school, and during staff lunch periods, to discuss with their colleagues - no students - the impact of the contract on educators and the communities they serve.
Press is invited to a lunchtime rally led by staff from the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
Time: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Location: Outside the Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
Interviews with educators from every borough are also available.
The United Federation of Teachers' contract expired in September 2022. The union began bargaining with New York City and its Department of Education in October 2022.
OK, some people did pick on the location of the rally in a tony neighborhood as indicative of UFT leadership failing the optics exams. A few comments that make a point. But you know me and food. If I could make it to the Whitney on for UFT blue fillet and crumpets, I'd be there wearing a napkin.