Sunday, November 09, 2008

Letter from Marjorie Stamberg and John Powers to UFT President Randi Weingarten and and Executive Board Members

We have been informed that the November 24 Rally to Defend ATRs is now to be officially a "candlelight vigil." We strongly object to this change. The motion passed at the UFT delegate assembly October 15 said that "the UFT will organize a mass citywide rally to show our unity and strength." Instead of a show of strength, this turns it into a toothless gesture of "bearing witness" or silently standing by and observing as a travesty is taking place.

Furthermore, we were not consulted on this change, which was made without our knowledge, despite assurances from Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew that we would be included in the planning. The first we heard of this was in a changed rally leaflet we received this morning.

A candlelight vigil is a silent "protest at the suffering of some marginalized group of people, or in memory of lives lost to some disease, disaster, massacre or other tragedy."

We want to make precisely the opposite point -- that ATR teachers are not marginalized, that we stand by them, and the UFT will fight to ensure that they do not become "lost lives," a "massacre," a "disaster" or other "tragedy." We can "bear witness" all we want, but it won't stop Joel Klein from trying to drive out our colleagues. And it won't stop the likes of the New York Post from vilifying them and our union.

We will continue to plan for a mass citywide rally as "a show of our unity and strength" as the motion called for. I think many teachers will feel as we do that we need strong powerful action, and will not stand by in silence.

In the words of Joe Hill, the famous labor organizer, "Don't Mourn For Me--Organize!"

That is what we will continue to do and we encourage the UFT leadership to reconsider its plan.

John Powers
Marjorie Stamberg
for the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend ATRs


Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with Marjorie and John. Now is the time to let the DOE know that we will not accept this situation. We are not mourning. Nobody has died. We are not going to take a defensive position; instead, we must be on the attack and let Tweed know that we will not accept the firing and unacceptable treatment of our union brothers and sisters.
This is an issue that is extremely important. Any UFT member can become an ATR in an instant in the current climate of school closures, charter school takeovers and ongoing harassment and attacks, especially of senior (expensive and union savvy)teachers. Forget the candles! Let's scream and yell until all ATR's and Teaching Fellows are back at work in their own classrooms.

Anonymous said...

Who says you can't scream or yell with a candle in your hand?

I had in interst in the other rallys held the last few weeks.

I was embarrassed to get close since there were so few people. When I went to the one at the UFT building there were maybe 8 people. There were more people standing at the newstand.

if its a vigil so be it. I will be there with my teachers to show my support.

whre do i sign?

Rally Like Our Jobs Depend On It said...

This is bogus. We will get our own megaphones. Don't play into the UFT trap...they caused the ATR problem, we won't let them forget it!

Anonymous said...

Remember when the UFT endorsed a "silent vigil" for Sean Bell, and the crowd IGNORED the vow of silence and instead let their voices be heard? We need to do the same for the ATRs. Randi is wrong. She is following a failed strategy.

Anonymous said...

don't yous need a permit for mega phones?

i agree wit other person we need to all go and backup our other teachers no matter how we gonna do it

candle or no candles, megphones or none we just need to all show up as many of us and show the mayor and klein that we are together.

let's not blow this because soembodey don't like candles.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:45:

unity man is back

let's misspell words

because that will show

ICE is dumb.

Anonymous said...

Unity man go away please and let real teachers decide what to do.

Anonymous said...

Unity Man. Stop drinking coffe with Randy and work. Teachers are paying their dues not for you to sit down and watch public education go to waste. Defend the Teachers' Rights.