For a union that claims victory even when it loses, the UFT, along with the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, can today boast about a true win as an arbitrator has ruled that the Department of Education violated our union contracts when they excessed entire schools and forced people to reapply for their jobs but only had to hire half back. The phony closing of 24 turnaround schools has been stopped and our members will get their jobs back in their schools if they want them. This is a tremendous day for teachers, administrators, other educators and students. For the mayor it is a stinging defeat.
To all of the UFT and CSA members in the 24 impacted schools, I say congratulations but look out because the mayor does not normally take kindly to losing. We will need to be a really strong union in the months ahead. Make no mistake about it.
Hopefully, this is the day in history where it will be shown that we turned the situation around and stopped the school closing madness. However, we won twice back in 2010 when the courts stopped the mayor from closing 19 schools. The mayor responded by coming back a few months later to close most of the schools again. My school (Jamaica High School) was one of those schools and we are still in court with the 2011 lawsuit to stop that round of school closings.
I am all in favor of a legal and political strategy to go against this mayor's insane education policies. However, without a full mobilization of the members of this union, that strategy ultimately could easily fail. Let's not see 2010 happen again. Stay active from day 1 turnaround school people.