Thursday, July 31, 2014


Teacher's Choice is money allocated to teachers and other UFT members to spend on school supplies for the classroom.  Teachers make purchases between August 1 of this year and February 28, 2015 and then submit receipts along with an accountability form to schools.

The UFT is taking credit for the City Council increasing our Teacher's Choice allocation to a whopping $77 this year. This is up from last year however in years past when the city was doing well financially, we used to receive allocations well over $200.  So no, we should not be smiling. 

The worst part about the UFT email bragging about the program is there is no mention of the AFL-CIO, AFT, UFT boycott of Staples

Thanks to Mike Shirtzer from MORE, I was reminded of this issue yesterday.

In June the UFT Delegate Assembly unanimously voted to boycott Staples (go to the bottom of the lengthy report) because Staples was opening up full service postal windows in some of its stores. The windows were being staffed by poorly trained, low paid non-unionized employees instead of well trained unionized postal workers. 

In July, Staples pulled out of this original arrangement with the Postal Service but the boycott continues as postal workers said the privatizing is continuing under a different name.

Here is the latest on the boycott from The Nation.

As the back-to-school shopping season is upon us, it is a great opportunity for the UFT to publicize to teachers as well as parents and students how we need to use our dollars to stop this blatant privatization scheme. 

If the UFT won't remind people of the Staples' boycott, this blog will and we encourage readers to pass the word along:

Don't spend a dime of Teacher's Choice or any other money at Staples!

The UFT email in its entirety is below.

Dear James,

We hope you are enjoying your summer.

Every year, usually beginning in late summer, you and other teachers spend money from your own pockets on supplies you need to educate your students in the coming school year.

We want to let you know that we have secured an increase in Teacher's Choice money to about $6.1 million to help cover what you and other dedicated educators spend.

The amount for teachers has increased to $77 for 2014-15.

We know that many of you spend several times this amount each year on materials to further your students' education.  The increase will help to offset some of your expenses.

As in previous years, to participate in Teacher's Choice, you will need to submit receipts
as proof of purchase. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form.
Once this form is available for this year, it will be posted on the DOE's Teacher's Choice website.

To qualify under Teacher's Choice, purchases can be made as early as Aug. 1, 2014 but no later than Feb. 28, 2015.


Leroy Barr and Ellie Engler
Staff Directors


Anonymous said...

Who shops at Staples anymore these days?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, nobody while this boycott is on.

Anonymous said...

Actually, way back in 2000 or 2001, the UFT Executive Board passed what amounted to its first "bi-partisan" resolution, a reso initiated by the NAC HS Exec. Bd. members, and signed for presentation by a number of top-level Unity officer/Exec. Bd. members. It was passed either unanimously or nearly so. The resolution asked that a weekly or monthly (no longer remember) column be introduced in the NY Teacher, specifying companies (like Staples, for example), that had grievously offended or injured workers, and were thus being placed on a boycott list. The net effect of such a column would be to publicize boycotts more broadly, and make it more likely that UFT rank-and-filers would be aware of them.

Needless to say, despite the unanimous or near-unanimous support of the resolution when it was passed, nothing has ever happened to bring the Resolveds of that reso into effect. I've tried to find out how come from a variety of Unity honchos, and have received a variety of explanations, all of which have differed from each other, and none of which made much sense.

Rest assured that, at present, few UFT people are aware that Staples is being boycotted; and given Staples' present specials for teachers that they're sure to be dropping as bait during the opening-of-school period, and the Teachers' Choice period later on, lots and lots of educators will find their way through their doors.

Happily, the radically reduced Teachers' Choice allotment (to every cloud a silver lining) will leave less available $$$ to be spent there.

James Eterno said...

I remember the resolution. I voted for it.