Thursday, April 30, 2020


PayDay Report has an updated map of strikes around the country since March 1 (see below). Many working people from coast-to-coast aren't going to voluntarily be sent into work to get sick any longer. Nor should teachers when the NYC Department of Education sends employees back to physical schools. UFT members have to be willing to walk out if necessary if there is a second wave of COVID-19.

Some of these workers risking their livelihoods throughout the USA are non-union. They are leading themselves and not waiting for someone to tell them what to do. It's workers using their power to say, "Enough already."

I am reminded of the time when I was a young teacher and the UFT sent then Safety Director Ed Muir to speak to our staff at Jamaica HS. Ed had a great line: "There are some things in life worth dying for; the NYC Board of Education is not one of them." He received thunderous applause from the staff after he delivered those words. The UFT was still a functioning union back then.

I stand by what I said in the comments yesterday that anonymous comments and unsigned letters will not save us now although they are welcome here. Workers have to protect our lives. Labor is actually showing real strength. If we aren't willing to stand up for ourselves, our colleagues and the kids to protect our collective health if necessary, will we ever be ready?

This is a large excerpt of the Payday Report article from Monday.

Defying Trump’s Order, Nebraska Meatpackers Strike – PA National Guard Replaces Striking Nurses – Richmond Threatens to Fire Striking Bus Drivers

Our strike tracker is now up to 151 strikes across the U.S. (since March 1).

Earlier today, Trump announced that he intended to use the power of the federal government and the Defense Production Act to keep meat processing plants open throughout the United States. 

The move comes as massive outbreaks with hundreds of workers have hit meatpacking plants throughout the U.S. As a result, scores of meatpacking plants have closed because of outbreaks. 

Strikes and mass sickouts at a dozen meatpacking plants throughout the U.S. have led to the closure of additional plants. 

It’s unclear how Trump intends to use the Defense Production Act to force meat packing processing workers back into the assembly line. 

Organized labor immediately denounced the move.

Another job action:

The prospect of meat shortages, which increasingly seem likely according to experts as dozens of plants have been shut down by outbreaks or strikes, would be politically embarrassing to Trump. 

Shortly after Trump announced his intention to issue his executive order, more than 50 meatpackers walked off the job after 48 co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 at Smithfield’s plant outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. 

And another:

The Nebraska action follows a wildcat strike Monday night at Pilgrim’s Pride meatpacking plant in Cold Spring, Minn. 

Workers remain frustrated that the company hasn’t done enough to inform them of co-workers testing positive for COVID-19. 

With workers going on a strikeout fearing for their lives, it’s unclear how Trump will stop these workers from shutting down more plants.

And another:

Trump and some governors may call in the National Guard to replace frontline workers. 

After 19 patients died of COVID-19 at a nursing home in Northampton County, Penn., nurses went on strike to protest unsafe conditions. 

Today, Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe sent the P.A. National Guard to man the facility, a threat that could be applied to other facilities where nurses are striking. 

And still another:

In a sign of how widespread nurse strikes might become, SEIU Illinois Healthcare announced that they overwhelmingly passed a strike authorization vote to go on strike on May 8th.

“My co-workers and I have told our management that we need more PPE, and we need to know who has the virus in our facilities so we can help keep everyone safe, but they seem more focused on protecting their profits than protecting people,” said Francine Rico at Villa of Windsor Park in Chicago in a news release.

And one more:

As employers are unable to stop the massive tide of strikes gripping the nation, more employers may attempt to discipline employees. 

On Monday, more than half of all Great Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) bus drivers called-out sick to protest unsafe conditions. 

In response, the head of the Greater Richmond Transit Company threatened to fire bus drivers who called in sick Tuesday. The union protested the move. 

“Our union has had 32 members across the country die after contracting the virus, and hundreds have become infected. GRTC workers who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 should be able to stay home without being fired,” said ATU Local 1220 President Maurice Carter. 

“GRTC’s wrongheaded decision to threaten to fire workers, who call in sick, is disgusting and endangers the communities that my co-workers and I proudly serve in these difficult times.” 

The union has listed ten demands that they expect GRTC to meet. 

As of late Tuesday afternoon, GRTC has yet to announce any firings of bus drivers. 


TJL said...

Sorry but I'm conflicted on this one.

I live not too far from Gracedale (the nursing home mentioned). So on the one hand, yes their Union is stronger, they threatened to strike last year and got themselves 4.5%. However what if your loved one was languishing with rationed care because someone who didn't need to called out? (Note: Nothing I see in our local media indicates this was a "sick-out" but was due to nurses getting sick on the job.)

(Also an aside: my brother an ICU nurse swears he is better off in the UFT than in NYSNA. I had to ask him 3 times to make sure he didn't have it backwards!)

As far as the meatpackers, yes they should get management to protect them on the job. On the other hand is it worth hastening a famine? Meats are very hard to come by now and the worst is yet to come especially if these plants stay offline. On the other hand without a strike threat what leverage do they really have?

During World War II the AFL and CIO (separate then) agreed to no strikes within a week of Pearl Harbor. The owners for their part also pledged no lockout. And millions did end up going on strike after the war ended.

And now for a total topic change: Is anyone else's paystub for 5/15 showing the same salary as on 4/30?

Anonymous said...

How is it a job action if everyone just decided to take the day off? I thought a job action had to be lead by the Union. If Mulgrew told us to not go in, that would be a job action. We are allowed 10 self treated days. A lot of people call out on snow days but that's not a job action, so I don't get the whole job action thing.

Anonymous said...

Going to be interesting to see what happens with re - opening of schools. Really curious to see what happens.. On a slightly unrelated note- did anyone else realize that May 15 checks are out and they do NOT include scheduled raises. I think we are frozen, though I thought Mulgrew said raises are still scheduled... given the current situation I would feel horrible complaining about it, but I wish someone told us one way or another. Seems like union is quiet...

Anonymous said...


Yes the may 15th check is the same. Its because our raise doesn't go in effect until may 14th, which means on your may 29th check, you will see your raise.

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of talk about not going in for the religious observance during the Easter - Spring break. At my school was absent for religious observance and someone else. That is it! Also, the admin made marking period grades due on Good Friday. A total disregard for the most solemn day of the Christian calendar.

Anonymous said...

With this being communicated, there will be a lot of hot air, but the members would need to mobilize the union and then the union would have to call it's members into action to strike. If there is any time to stand by a cause, this would be it and families would back us up because no one wants their children to attend school buildings that would be dangerous. Science would need to backup the opening of schools and MULGREW needs to step up this time and look out for the safety of its members.

James Eterno said...

TJL, Thoughtful comment as usual. I agree workers are in a bind when deciding what to do when their lives and lives of patients are at risk. That said, when workers give up their right to withhold their labor, they are pretty much at the mercy of their employer.

As for World War II, we had FDR then. We have Trump now. Need I say more?

I will say more. Even though there was a no strike pledge during the war, there were still many wildcat strikes. From

"There were numerous wildcat strikes outside of, and often against, the leadership of both the AFL and the CIO. Some wildcat strikes threatened to paralyze essential industries such as transportation. In 1942 there were only 2,970 work stoppages involving 840,000 workers, down drastically from the 4,200 strikes involving 2.36 million workers in 1941. By 1943 the number of strikes rose to over 3,700, with 1.98 million workers participating, and another 2 million workers engaged in some 5,000 strikes in 1944. A total of 3.5 million workers struck in 1945. In total, some 14,000 strikes and around 8.32 million workers (about a fourth of the workforce) struck during the four war years."

Let's say those 151 strikes in March and April 2020 triple to 453 and that is the two month average for a year(453×6=2,718). If that would happen, it still would not match the 2,970 work stoppages which took place during the low point of World War II.

It shows how labor power has decreased in this country with 40 years of Republican and corporate Democrat rule.

Anonymous said...

As for World War II, we had FDR then. We have Trump now. Need I say more?

--trump hasnt confiscated citizens' private property
--trump hasnt thrown ethnic minority in detention camps
--trump hasnt tried to destroy a ussc that blocked him
--trump hasnt taken many steps increase government power at the expene of americans' freedom
--trump hasnt made fiscal decisions that prolonged the depression by 10 years.

--so, yeah, thank goodness, we have trump now.

Anonymous said...

A letter needs to written to the uft, mayor, chancellor saying that we arent going in.

Anonymous said...

Two of the most powerful teachers unions in the United States would consider striking once again soon, though this time the issue is coronavirus safety measures, rather than pay, Politico reports.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten laid out five conditions for schools to reopen, absent a vaccine, during the coronavirus pandemic. They include: a decline in cases over 14 days; adequate testing, tracing, and isolation; temperature taking, cleaning protocols, personal protective equipment, and distancing measures like staggered school times; transparency and fidelity to all these measures; and, of course, the proper funding to pay for it all. And if schools reopen without many of those things?

"You can scream bloody murder," Weingarten said. "And you do everything you can to ... use your public megaphones."

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association, also didn't rule out strikes, which she said would likely be aided by the fact that teachers have unified across the nation after two years of demonstrations for more state funding. She also believes parents would join the cause since their children's safety will be on the line. "You can put all things on the table when it comes to student safety," Garcia said. Read more at Politico.

Bronx ATR said...

The UFT will never strike. The UN confirmed the ability to strike is a human right, but the last teacher contract, negotiated by MULGREW, negated that right. There needs to be a transparent and open discussion that investigates all possibilities. If MULGREW allowed you to be sent into biological minefields, for a useless three day training, you’ll definitely be sent in to babysit for an economy on a COVID-19 ventilator. Whatever is decided it has to be agreed upon by all, because there is a possibility that a strike could facilitate a thinning of the teaching herd for the upcoming nightmare budget. I honestly do not believe this era’s teachers, of which the UFT reflects, will ever stand up for itself. It didn’t for the interest free loan, the ATR debacle, abusive principals, overcrowded classrooms, lack of safety and discipline or for the three training in contaminated buildings.

James Eterno said...

A very sobering view Bronx ATR. I try to remain hopeful in spite of everything. Teachers have woken up across the nation. NYC just may wake up too.

Bronx ATR said...

I wouldn’t compare Trump to FDR. Trump is the Winston Churchill of our time. Just as racist, ignorant and ultimately effective for his people, and only his people. If only Trump could come up with some memorable quotes. “We have nothing the fear, but fear itself.” “Keep Britain White.”
History will forgive Trump, just like it has old Winnie. Objective truths about Churchill are always met with retroactive rationalizations concerning him; he was indeed a brutal human being and leader - he started the civilian bombing of Germany that precipitated the Blitz and his well touted leadership during it. All leaders that take charge during a crisis are forgiven all - Cuomo is a prime current example with teachers.

Anonymous said...

Consider the ventilation and bathrooms in most schools.
The school buildings are not safe and will not be safe when they er-open.

James Eterno said...

60,000 dead from COVID-19. More than any other country by far. Over a million cases too. We are cursed to have Trump. What did he do in February when this virus was starting to spread? A competent leader could have prepared for this and been proactive then. We should have had ample testing ready to go and lots of PPE for workers.

From The Hill:

"The Trump administration came into office pledging to "deconstruct the administrative state." This manifested itself in attempting to hollow out the capacity of government. It is this mentality that led to the dismissal of a pandemic response team. It is this mentality that leads to a reliance on people such as the president's son-in-law with no government experience to manage government response during a crisis (think back to "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"). It is this mentality that makes responding to a crisis so much harder."

As for WWII, the Japanese internment is a terrible stain on FDR's record that can't and shouldn't be forgiven. Earl Warren's too. However, mobilizing the industrial might of this country to win against the Nazis,Fascists and Imperial Japanese can't be overlooked as nothing. Yeah, I'm glad we had FDR. If it was Trump trying to stand up to Hitler, we would never be united.

As for the last point that FDR prolonged the Depression by a decade, FDR came into office in 1933. If he made decisions that prolonged the Great Depression by ten years, it would have lasted until at least 1943. It ended before then when we became the arsenal of democracy around 1940.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash: FDR was a racist, elitist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, deplorable guy. See, that was easy.
But he did only extend great depression by 7 got that right!
Now back to y'alls echo chamber. Rachel Maddow has a report that Trump asked Putin to spread Corony in USA to help his reelection and has blood on his hands and that he very bad man.

James Eterno said...

Bronx ATR, We have had this argument many times on email. Churchill united his people at the lowest point in World War II that his predecessor Neville Chamberlain could not do. Yes, Chuchill was a racist but that does not diminish that he inspired the British people to stand up alone to a German machine that had most of the resources of a conquered Europe at their disposal in 1940. We should all be forever grateful for Britain for holding out then until help arrived.

Trump could not unite this country in a crisis or ever.

Chuchill was not anti-union either.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget FDR knew about pearl harbor attack but let it happen to help reelection. FDR has blood on his hands. And he hated people of color and was anti lbgtq+!
FDR=very bad.

Anonymous said...

Y'all don't forget now that Ghandi was mad racist and has had his statues taken down in African countries.
Doesn't fit y'all Narrative, but it's true. He also didn't like gay people! Yep.

James Eterno said...

Oh the revisionist history: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941. FDR reelection: November 1940. That was over a year before. Or was it the 1944 election he was using it for? I hope and pray you are not teaching history.

James Eterno said...

Can we please get back to the topic? I don't want to spend the day arguing history here. I apologize for bringing up FDR. I didn't think that would be controversial. I forgot how far right some of this country is, including NYC teachers.

Anonymous said...

Nooo. Remember FDR was worse than Hitler and wanted to stay in power for life, which he did. He also needed time to pack the court. No lol I'm very conscious re not letting my personal views impact my captive audience.
I'm sure no one here would let their TDS in the classroom...would you, James?

Bronx ATR said...

I have Welsh (non-blood) relatives and grew up hearing how Churchill fired on striking miners. Some say it didn’t happen but I have to trust my uncle who was there.

Unknown said...


Stop with the Far Right nonsense.

I enjoy your work, but the far right stuff is off base.

Trump stinks, but guess what so does Hillary, Biden, Barack, Bernie....

I am no Trump fan but he declared a National Emergency I believe March 13th!!!

We were in schools March 17, 18, 19 Thanks DeBlasio and Cuomo

Pelosi, AOC, Debliasio and others were saying go to plays, go to Chinatown, keep living like normal.

How many would be dead if they were in charge?? 200K?

Would they have shutdown China and Europe? I doubt it

Anyone not left is deemed far right, stop it! Be a man and approve this post

ed notes online said...

Part II of my 1975 opus - In April 1975 Who thought NYC teachers would go on strike in September? Ya never know.

James Eterno said...

"Trade unions are a long-established and essential part of our national life,” said the firebrand. They are “pillars of our British society”, he declared from his podium as he defended “the right of individual labouring men and women to adjust their wages and conditions by collective bargaining, including the right to strike.”

This passionate defender of trade unionism was none other than Winston Churchill, who two years earlier had been defeated by a Labour landslide. And when he returned to office, his attitude remained unchanged. “The cabinet resists all efforts to bring trade-union restrictive practices within the orbit of the Monopolies Commission,” said Labour’s Tony Crosland of the 1950s Conservative governments. “Industrial legislation is planned only after the most anxious consultation with the unions.” Even when there was “considerable public clamour”, the Tories united “in adamant opposition to proposals for ‘outlawing’ even unofficial strikes”.

TJL said...

12:36 I voted for Trump in '16, and I likely will again, but let's be honest:

*He's done nothing on Civil Asset Forfeiture, even though FreedomWorks AND the ACLU agree
*Point 2 is true; but he should have said Build the Walls on BOTH borders. Likewise all travel should have been banned in late January not just China. He makes it too easy for the left/open borders crowd to yell "Racist"
*Point 3 is true as well but he stuck us with the next John Roberts, Kavanaugh, instead of an actual conservative like Amy Coney Barrett, because he liked Kavanaugh's view on executive powers re:impeachment
*You said "many" so I'll let point 4 slide
*But not point 5. Printing trillions of dollars, doling out bailouts, and supporting this "just stay home" mantra instead of "Keep Calm and Carry On" has brought on the 21st century's Great Depression.

Now, I would say Trump's been the best President for Labor in decades - admittedly, a very low bar to hurdle - but NAFTA is gone, no TPP, out of Paris accord, willing to use tariffs, repatriation of foreign money, return of manufacturing (meager as it may be), reduction of competition for jobs by limiting illegal aliens and immigration (however meager that may be). But with all that said I don't think it's disputable to say though that FDR had a better relationship with Labor than Trump does now, even though I'm not an FDR fan.

Bronx ATR said...

Churchill's reputation as being anti-union primarily stems from an incident in 1910.
His handling of the Tonypandy Riots that year was the source of much controversy and invited ill-feeling towards him in south Wales for the rest of his life.
His grandson even had to defend Churchill's actions as late as 1978, when Prime Minister James Callaghan referenced "the vendetta of your family against the miners of Tonypandy".
The riots had erupted in November 1910 in the south Wales town because of a dispute between workers and the mine owners, culminating in strikes that ultimately lasted almost a year.
When the strikers clashed with local police, Churchill - then home secretary - sent in soldiers.
But a year later soldiers were again called in, this time to strike-related riots in Liverpool. On this occasion the soldiers did fire their weapons and two people were killed.
And in later years his contempt for unions became more pronounced, says Charmley.
In 1919, under Churchill, by now Secretary of State for Air and War, tanks and an estimated 10,000 troops were deployed to Glasgow during a period of widespread strikes and civil unrest amid fear of a Bolshevist revolt.
Facts from the BBC minus the rationalization and retroactive rationalizations. Cheers, it’s sad but this is the most fun I’ve had all week.

Anonymous said...

Trump pro labor. I have heard it all now. Next you will claim he is pro public school and pro teacher.

TJL said...

James you don't have to apologize for bringing up FDR. It was a relevant point. We might have different opinions in regard to politics but I agree and don't see how anyone could disagree that the AFL and CIO would've had an easier time with FDR than Trumka - despite their agreeing on USMCA in the end - would with Trump.

TJL said...

2:54 without a doubt the R establishment has been attacking organized labor for years for the simple fact that organized labor is a cash cow for the D establishment. No argument there.

A couple, namely Nixon and Trump - both of whom were/are left-wing despite the "R" - understood the value of a working-class base and at least pay lip service.

Trump has not gone nearly far enough in regard to immigration and trade for my tastes but it's an improvement on Obama, Bush (Jr and Sr) and Clinton. All of the above gave us "free trade", sent manufacturing to China, and turned a blind eye to tens of millions of illegal aliens (to whom no worker protections apply) to the delight of Wall Street (their donors).

Anonymous said...

Strike? LOL. They wont even vote against a bad contract.

James Eterno said...

I am criticized from the right for defending FDR's record and from a left friend for defending Churchill's trade union record and what he did to help save the free world in 1940. Can't win on politics. That's why I normally stick to the union things. Trying to unite working people. However, politics is a big part of the union world so we dabble there.

Disgusted in Queens said...


Are you certain about the raise not showing until May 30th pay?

If you look back at the last raise Feb 14, 2019 the raise was there on the Feb 15, 2019 pay stub. Just scroll back and check.

I hope you are right.

Anonymous said...

Chris HAYES was attacked because he said biden should speak up about the rape allegation.

Anonymous said...

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is single — and ready to mingle!

“I am eligible,” Cuomo said on 1010WINS Thursday.

The 62-year-old dad of three was asked about a new survey by matchmaker Maureen Tara Nelson, which found that he and his little brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, are hot commodities among New York City women.

“Now that you raise it, most-wanted eligibility, my brother is married, I am not married, so I don’t think he would qualify as eligible. However, I am eligible,” Cuomo responded, chuckling.

And he didn’t need to look very far for his next date.

When anchor Susan Richard pointed out that both she and the governor are Sagittariuses from Queens, he replied: “Sounds good to me. It all started in Queens, Susan.”

Cuomo and his longtime girlfriend, chef and author Sandra Lee, split last fall.

Anonymous said...

Staggered schedules likely for NYC students, says union president

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, a massive story broke about FBI malfeasance at the dawn of
’s administration.

How many times did the mainstream media mention it during their morning shows?

CNN: 0
CBS: 0
ABC: 0
NBC: 0


Anonymous said...

@7:52 you can add other msms to that, but are you surprised?
you can add tara reade to the "move along nothing to see here" attitude. you can add so many things.
either the stories are absent or they support the abusers. even blog posts get deleted/moderated.
lots of stuff like this.
wonder why?

Anonymous said...

So, if they stagger days, don't we all have to use public transportation? What about PE? What about lunch in Cafeteria? What about passing in hall? What about when students dont listen and do whatever they want?

Anonymous said...

Live instruction has been abandoned in virtual classrooms across the Big Apple after the Department of Education’s transition to remote learning — and the teachers’ union is backing members who choose to pull the plug.

While some educators have gamely managed to conduct video teaching in some form during the coronavirus lockdown, many parents say their kids rarely interact with their instructors — sometimes for more than a week at a time.

“This is a problem,” said Yiatin Chu of Community Education Council 1 in Manhattan and the PLACE advocacy group. “We are hearing it from a lot of parents from all socio-economic backgrounds. There are a lot of disparities.”

The DOE initially backed the use of video conferencing application Zoom for conferencing before prohibiting its use due to security concerns.

Some city teachers have transitioned to other platforms, but others have opted out of the practice and are relying on worksheets and assignments without direct instruction.

The United Federation of Teachers has told teachers that they are under no obligation to conduct live teaching, even if administrators press for it.

“The DOE policy regarding live instruction recognizes that educators know their students and families the best and that they use a variety of instructional strategies every day to connect with their students,” said a UFT spokesperson.

“Educators know what their students need, whether that is now, with distance learning, or in their traditional classrooms.“

The availability of live instruction can vary from classroom to classroom even within the same school.

Some parents at highly-regarded Forest Hill elementary school PS 196 said their teacher has gone weeks without personal interaction with their child or group activity.

In a Sunday memo obtained by The Post, DOE Chief Operating Officer Ursulina Ramirez informed principals that Zoom should no longer be used.
DOE bans schools using Zoom for remote learning amid security concerns
“There is no teaching happening,” the father said. “We are expected to do everything right now. We sent emails for weeks asking for at least an hour a day or anything and got no response. What exactly are they doing?”

The parents said they complained to the school’s principal who acknowledged the issue but said UFT rules bar her from intervening.

Yet other parents in the very same school said their kids are getting quality live instruction.

A union source said that many educators have thrown up their hands on live teaching because only some kids have the resources to participate while others still don’t.

“If you can’t connect with a bunch of students in your class then they are being excluded,” one Brooklyn middle school teacher told The Post. “Are you supposed to do it for some and not others?”

Other teachers, a DOE source said, simply don’t have the technical savvy to conduct live instruction and are relying on emails and assigned tasks to cling to engagement.

Both the UFT and DOE have signaled that some form of remote learning is likely to continue at least temporarily next academic year.

In a statement, the DOE said: “Our teachers are thinking creatively about ways to keep their students engaged during remote learning, and we encourage both live instruction and pre-recorded lessons. We’ve given guidance to regularly reach out to students in a manner that makes sense for them and stay in contact to continue supporting students a

Anonymous said...

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "I'm a big strong supporter of the #MeToo movement. I think it's made a great contribution to our country. and I do support Joe Biden."

Disgusted in Queens said...

No one should be expected to teach live. It is optional in Chicago and LA. The UFT cannot back down on this. Every teachers home situation is different. Some live in small apartments with children and cannot keep their own children quiet. Some are single parents with kids others have spouses who are first responder's or essential workers. Principals need to stop pressuring teachers to go live.

Anonymous said...

Trump didn’t know the difference between “noble” and “Pulitzer”, actually. He is an idiot as well as being an asz.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to go live. It is not required. Just say no.

Anonymous said...

I hope the workers succeed.

Anonymous said...


Yes, on the 14th our raise goes in effect.. Then every day after that you work, is calculated with your higher percentage. The check on the 15th is for all the work you did the previous 2 weeks ... Which is before our raise.