I just returned home from the Muncipal Labor Committee Rally outside City Hall Park. Turnout was OK and the people were spirited.
There was a healthy contingent of UFT people in the mix that included a group from the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus who were handing out a MORE leaflet. There were also workers attending from many other municipal unions.
It was great to talk to old friends and make new ones but do these rallies accomplish anything besides allowing us to let off some steam? Since all of the municipal unions are without labor contracts, a unified huge public gathering was a great idea. Rallies should not be called for the sake of having a rally but rather they should be used to build the labor movement.
A protest can be one way to encourage rank and file involvement so we can up the ante at a later date. Do you see that occurring now that this event has passed? I hope so but I fear the bulk of the UFT's energy will be placed in political action to try to get a "friendly" mayor elected.
In my opinion teachers will need more than a protest and a political endorsement to win back the respect and rights we have forfeited over the last few years.
However, at least we had some fun this afternoon.