Wednesday, October 30, 2019


This is from the Massachusetts Teachers Association's online news update on the Dedham illegal strike that was settled on Sunday.

While the strike — the first by educators in Massachusetts since 2007 — was against the law, the agreement waives further court proceedings by the parties in exchange for the payment of costs incurred as a result of the action, such as the expense of police details.

The contract contains strong non-retaliation language protecting all DEA members — including those in other bargaining units who honored the picket lines.

Massachusetts is a liberal state that is quite similar to New York in that it outlaws government worker strikes. The Dedham teachers set a great modern day precedent by getting the Board of Education to waive further court proceedings in their agreement. This is what we need to do in New York if labor militancy finally comes to our state. Workers must stay out on strike until the employer agrees to waive the draconian fines of the Taylor Law.

As for more of the details of the new contract which passed the rank and file unanimously on Monday, the Dedham teachers did fairly well.
 The agreement also bolsters sexual harassment policies and addresses student use of personal technology in the classroom. The financial package covers four years, including retroactivity for a year missed during protracted negotiations that began nearly two years ago.

“I don’t think there is better evidence that collective action and solidarity work,” said [Union President Tim] Dwyer.

I totally agree but with our union leadership in NYC, we see none of that nor do we see many members demanding it.

Speaking of action, the Chicago Teacher strike continues. For readers interested in how a real union operates, I am posting the Bargaining Update section of the daily email I have received from the Chicago Teachers Union since the strike started.

Note they are going for more longevity increments for senior teachers. Chicago teachers reach maximum salary in 14 years. Many in NYC want to make it fewer years to reach maximum salary. Also notice that CTU does not want a five year contract. They see it as too lengthy. UFT's clueless leaders accepted a nine year contract and then extended it twice in 2018. They followed that up with an early contract where they didn't even bother to pressure the city or DOE for much of anything. That is a surefire way to disengage the membership.

Bargaining Update
The CTU’s bargaining team will return to the table first thing Wednesday morning in search of a just settlement to this strike. On Monday, there was further progress on a number of issues, including additional pay for paraprofessionals, who have for too long been forced to accept poverty wages; new increases for veteran teachers whose pay in prior contracts stagnated during the last 20 years of their career; and additional resources to alleviate oversized classes, short staffing, and inadequate funding for sports.

But significant issues are still unresolved, including the union’s demand for a three-year contract; increases in prep time, especially for elementary teachers; and the district’s push for more standardized testing.

CTU members were disappointed on Tuesday that CPS and the mayor refused to close the gap separating the two sides by providing an additional one half of one percent of CPS’ annual budget to land a tentative agreement with the CTU.

The Union held a Special House of Delegates meeting Tuesday evening. CPS shamelessly sent robocalls with misleading messages saying the meeting would vote on proposals. However, the purpose of the House meeting was to give a detailed presentation of where bargaining stands on both resolved and outstanding issues. In the MemberLink Portal, CTU leadership posted a detailed report on the history and status of the most prominent issues. The document is there for all members to read and discuss.

Our Union has been on strike for nine days, now, without resolution. It‘s important that our members measure what we have gained and what we are still determined to gain. With those things in mind, CTU members should discuss seriously the probabilities, risks and rewards to be gained by staying out. It will be up to our members to decide when we have won enough for our schools to accept an agreement and come off the picket lines. As President Sharkey noted the other night, we don’t want to be out on strike, but we are less concerned with a fast resolution than with a just resolution.


Anonymous said...

WHY, WHY, WHY, is the UFT not sharing info about the fact that teachers can take up to 3 hours off to vote on Election Day? There is nothing on the UFT Facebook page. Our chapter leader heard nothing about it. Seems like the pathetic UFT is hiding this info so as not to "rock the boat" with the DOE. This fact is disgusting beyond words. Your blog should be covering this story.

Anonymous said...

This three hours to vote when you can vote after school is the kind of petty, stupid shit that gives us a bad name.

Anonymous said...

My district rep was all over this, received many emails about this.

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

If you want the time off so badly why don’t you just give blood

Anonymous said...

Hey Anno 9:08pm. You say that the voting issue about leaving 3 hours early to vote "is the kind of petty, stupid shit that gives us a bad name". Really? Don't you realize that in most countries schools are closed for EVERYONE on election day? Please remember that theDOE has handed us a ton of petty, stupid shit over the past 15 years. (Two extra open school nights for example) Kids are not in school on election day and having teaching leave early that day to vote does not disturb a damn thing. The only person who might get pissed at this is power hungry principal who that thinks their P.D. is all that and a bag of chips. I am more pissed at the UFT for hiding this information than I am at any power hungry principal however.

Anonymous said...

By your own admission, you may piss off the principal who the next morning will be in checking 1,1,1 on the Danielson rubric. Oh and file a grievance too if the principal does not post the notice of the new law as required or report the principal to the state. No you won't do that. This law was meant for workers who have to be somewhere for many hours and voting is a hardship. That would not be us. But take advantage of it. I suggest you do it as a group and not alone if your principal is an asshole. The UFT should get us all off three hours early. Otherwise, it will be okay in decent schools but be careful in hellholes. You know UFT won't back you up when the retaliation kicks in.