We thought we would be able address some of the many questions that have been raised about the proposed new UFT contract but it will have to wait until Tuesday. I spoke to a UFT officer a little while ago and he told me the official Memorandum of Agreement (actual wording of the changes to our contract) will not be available until tomorrow.
The UFT told Chapter Leaders and Delegates they would post the MOA at UFT.org as soon as it is ready.
Since the UFT Executive Board is meeting tonight, I guess they will vote on the document without looking at it the same way the Negotiating Committee did last Thursday.
I would not be surprised if they approve it without looking at it because the Executive Board is made up primarily of members of the Unity Caucus: the invitation only group that has run the UFT since the 1960s. To be accepted into Unity, one must sign a pledge to support the positions of the caucus in public and union forums. They allow no dissent.
After the Executive Board approves the contract, it will go before representatives from the schools called the Delegate Assembly. The DA - made up of all of the Chapter Leaders and Delegates - will meet at the midtown Manhattan Hilton on Wednesday to vote on the contract. The DA is also made up mostly of people who have joined Unity as it is the ticket to union jobs and free trips to union conventions. Members should try to find out if their Chapter Leader is a member of Unity because if they are, then they are obligated to support the contract.
In the next couple of weeks an army of union officials will be invading the schools to sell the contract. UFT members need to understand that these people work for the union and are accountable to President Mulgrew. They are there to push the contract and members must not be afraid to ask them detailed questions.
Ultimately, the membership has the power to either say yes or no. If we say yes, we live with what we voted for. If we say no, it does not mean a strike. It means we think we can do better. However, just saying we think we can do better is not enough. Members will need to mobilize themselves to get a decent contract.
For further information, go to the Movement of Rank and File Educators' website to read Mike Shirtzer's view.
People can also go to NYC Educator to hear from Francis Lewis High School Chapter Leader Arthur Goldstein.
My former colleague at Jamaica is the blogger called Chaz and there is also Perdido Street School.
There are many other bloggers and social media where you can turn to for opinion including the UFT facebook page.