Just about everyone is aware that AFT President Randi Weingarten is helping raise money for Bill Thompson
in the race for New York City Mayor
. Only those who truly want to believe the UFT is independent from the AFT took the UFT at face value when at yesterday's Delegate Assembly it was stated that they hadn't made a decision yet on who to endorse. Maybe officially they have not endorsed a candidate but all signs point to Thompson.
Since Thompson is supported by Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents Merryl Tisch, a true ed deformer who is no friend to teachers, the UFT move in this direction is curious and would have been a great topic for debate at the Delegate Assembly. However, the Union did not have a discussion on the issue and instead just had the Borough Representatives give short reports on how the mayoral forums in each of the boroughs with the four top Democratic candidates went. The floor at the DA was not opened for Delegates to voice their opinions on the candidates. So much for democracy.
Onward to the rest of the meeting where there was an unusually short report from President Michael Mulgrew. I missed most of it so this is from a friend's notes
Contract is going through non binding arbitration process. We presented our case and told them that we are the lowest paid teachers in the region and certainly deserve a salary increase. (I don't know if this was mentioned but the UFT has also been arguing that the projected deficits in the city budget always end up turning into surpluses at the end of each fiscal year so there is money for salary increases.)
June 12 Labor Rally
There will be a huge Municipal Labor Committee rally of all the city public unions at 4:00 pm on June 12 (same day Randi Weingarten will be in town raising money for Bill Thompson.) Mulgrew wants us to promote this rally and bring everyone.
The Department of Education has agreed to fix the PCB problem by 2016 to settle a lawsuit, This is years earlier than they originally planned.
We need the person who has the right policies but also someone who has the team in place to win the election. (Political Director Paul Egan also reported.)
Staff Director's Report
Staff Director Leroy Barr promoted the June 12 rally and told us that the officers, the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly would all be meeting on June 19, the day the UFT will be endorsing a mayoral candidate officially. Apparently, they want to keep the endorsement a secret. (Does anyone believe it won't be Thompson? This looks like the worst kept secret on the planet.)
(period shortened by five minutes to ten minutes)
Question: What is the UFT plan for implementation of the new teacher evaluation system?
Mulgrew Answer: UFT does not agree with training being done by DOE. We are not recommending that teachers attend the training. DOE believes a good lesson plan=a good teacher. We don't support this notion.
Question: How can UFT protect older teachers being harassed by a Principal?
Mulgrew Answer: Put the Principal on the UFT's Principals in Need of Improvement list.
Question: How can we get a new facility for Coop Tech building that is being torn down?
Mulgrew Answer: Coop Tech is only BOCES program in NYC. Mayor giving away city assets. In order to tear down a school they need to build a new facility with the same number of seats but they should build one with more seats because new luxury apartments means we will have more residents in the area so Coop Tech and other schools in the neighborhood will need more seats.
Resolved the UFT supports our sisters and brothers at the legal services
association UAW Local 2320 who were forced to strike on may 15 and urges the
management of legal services NYC to immediately negotiate a fair contract with
It was unanimously added to the agenda and then carried unanimously. John Antush from MORE introduced it.
A motion on re-instituting Glass Steagall was ruled not necessary because it is already UFT policy.
Special Order of Business
1. May City Council Endorsements
Manhattan District 2 Rosie Mendez--Democrat
Bronx District 15 Ritchie Torres-- Democrat
Queens 20 Peter Koo--Democrat
Queens 22 Costa Constantinides-- Democrat
Queens 26 James van Bramer--Democrat
Queens 31 Donovan Richards--Democrat
Brooklyn 33 Stephen Levin--Democrat
Brooklyn 39 Brad Lander--Democrat
Brooklyn 41 Darlene mealy--Democrat
Brooklyn 42 Inez Barron--Democrat
Brooklyn 47 Mark Treygor--Democrat
Staten Island 50 Steven Matteo--Republican
All carried easily. There was opposition to all of them from Marjorie Stamberg who objected to all Democrats and Republicans and wants a new working class party to support.
The only candidate opposed individually was Ritchie Torres from the Bronx who was a no show at all of the events to help Lehman High School. The Delegate from Lehman was adamant that this man does not deserve our support. The UFT leaders said he was great and the Unity faithful rubber stamped the endorsement and ignored the member in the school impacted by Torres. (I voted with the member from Lehman.)
2. Resolution to support June 12th Rally for fair Contracts for all New York City Municipal Workers
All 100 bargaining units are without contracts; the mayor won't negotiate in good faith so the Municipal Labor Committee is organizing a huge rally at City Hall Park on June 12th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. This carried unanimously
3. Resolution to support the labor rights of Bangladeshi garment workers.
This carried unanimously. There was also an amendment from Abe Levine calling for union organizing rights for Bengali workers.
4. Resolution to support the 2013 Gay Pride March
This carried easily.
Should the UFT be endorsing bill Thompson for mayor? There won't be a discussion at the Delegate Assembly until after the decision is made. You can comment if you like here.