Pres. Mulgrew (MM) said he's wanted to close the RRs from the day he took office and "got it done" with the Major, who he said finally understood it was in his best intrest to close them. MM said he was tired of people in schools always telling him that they were afraid to stand up to principals because of fear of trumped up charges.
[Note 1: Norm Scott put up a post on MM's sleazy comments at the DA on the RR and politicians. I heard every one of them, and I thought he sounded like he was talking to a teamster's union. More important in this post is the list of SEVEN QUESTIONS that no one at the DA would ever get to ask him about the RR agreement, and that is a shame.]
[Note 2: MM himself, in the Huffington Post.]
MM: "Privateers shouldn't be in the state of New York." He wants to push the point that if the state gets Race to the Top grant, "not a penny can be used to fill a budget gap." His main concern is the budget itself.
He gave updates on Florida (the Gov. Crist was able to veto what MM calls the "disgusting bill" that had been passed in both houses there), NJ (the public bought its governor's campaign that teachers are only out for themselves; Paterson is doing the same thing in Albany, setting parents against parents and younger members against vets), DC (they removed seniority layoff protections 5 years ago and Rhee's been trying to to destabilize the system since then; DC loses 60% of their new teachers every 2 years, 75% leave in first 5 years).
On the UFT/NAACP lawsuit against the DoE for closing those schools, MM says the city is appealing this, but he doesn't think they'll win.
MM applauds the bill of Sen. Harkins bill for a $23 billion bailout for public education, but says he's already been hearing some legislators at Albany saying good, then the state won't have to find the money.
MM is calling on the membership to attend the "Good Jobs Rally" that the AFL-CIO is mounting against Wall St. on April 29th. Begins at City Hall, then a march down Broadway to Wall St. to give them "a piece of our mind." 4 - 6 pm. "We don't want the children to pay the price for what other people did."
Another rally, he says, is set for October 10th in Washington, DC. The labor leaders want 2 million people to show up for that.
As for our contract. They had the first mediation session.
Regarding the Diaz and Bing bill on getting rid of seniority, he says it's not going to pass but it's out there. Klein is trying to split the members (newest against vets), UFT is fighting to protect all members. MM said all our UFT energy is to make no layoffs. "Can you imagine leaving [firing] it to the discretion of the principal?" UFT is picketing Bing's office, and will do the same at Diaz's soon. MM asked the Municipal Labor Union to write Bing and Diaz to tell them to withdraw the bill; a letter was sent to both on 4/21 saying "Your efforts and ours should be devoted to making sure the layoffs do not occur."
MM actually is looking to run candidates against these senators. (MM: "[We have] two idiots who have been living off our support for years...."). He says the UFT has to make a major statement - Seniority is "absolutely the issue." Wants citywide leafleting. He says: "When we protect all members, they will protect children."
[Note: Finally he sounds like he's fighting for our members. I've complained more than once that he and Randi always claim they're fighting for children. I see this wording as a very small shift.]
The Municipal Labor Council, he said later, now has a sub-committee to deal with the city - like their $3000/hr consultants (I think that was a joke) and the use of non-unionized contractors. But he said the UFT is trying to hold back until they're at the city budget time, "so if they want to to cut us, we could say: Here's your spendthrifts."
On the budget: He says it's the most dangerous thing in 35 years. The UFT faxes [mentioned above] and picketing are having an effect, and there are ads running in the rest of the state for keeping the education budget. Albany is starting to move a bit. Keep the pressure on the "electeds." "If this goes to June, we got problems." After pressuring the state, the union will have to go after Klein. Nobody's done anything about actual funding for 6 years. No-bid contracts are up. DoE has upped their lawyer headcount to 73 (from I think he said 4 -- could that be right?). The UFT foiled the headcount at Tweed, and it doubled this past year.
Question period was tame.