Sunday, August 30, 2020


For those looking for a preview of the week ahead, here is our not so brave predictions on how the UFT will vote on any possible job action based on how the UFT operates and the schedule that we already know.

Monday, August 31- The 102 member UFT Executive Board, made up exclusively of Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus backed members, will most definitely rubber stamp whatever Mulgrew wants in terms of a strike authorization (or not) with a unanimous vote in support. There are 2, maybe 3, independent thinkers on the Board but I would be shocked if there are any dissenting votes. For most of the Unity members on the Executive Board, their UFT jobs depend on them doing what Mulgrew and Staff Director Leroy Barr tell them to do. They would not go against the leadership on this one or much of anything for that matter. Getting a strike authorization unanimously through the Executive Board should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy guaranteed.

Tuesday, September 1-Whatever strike authorization the Unity controlled Executive Board rubber stamps will be rubber stamped again by the larger Delegate Assembly. The DA is theoretically a democratic body but Unity has control of a sufficient number of Chapter Leaders and Delegates who rely on Unity for part time union jobs and/or all expense paid trips to the AFT and NYSUT conventions. Unity members sign a membership obligation to support the caucus in public and union forums. Even if a Unity Chapter is totally against a strike authorization, most will back Mulgrew. 

I became Chapter Leader after the Jamaica Chapter voted about 50-2 against the 1995 Contract that had 0% raises for two years while the City and national economies were about to grow substantially with the .com boom. Our Unity Chapter Leader told us he would respect our vote and vote no at the DA. I was the Delegate at the time and he didn't vote no. Those caucus obligations are taken seriously. We ended up almost coming to blows literally (we later made up and he is a decent guy). 

The District Reps will be calling their Unity Chapter Leaders and Delegates to keep them in line on the strike authorization. In addition, there are hundreds of retiree Delegates who are exclusively Unity. They will not defy Mulgrew. Call it peer pressure, group-think, or caucus obligations. One time dissident Arthur Goldstein coined the term Unity Loyalty Oath. Please read his account of how the Unity Delegates at the NYSUT Representative Assembly booed our friend Lauren Cohen (now Lauren Lumm) who called out the Unity Loyalty Oath in 2014.

This comment says it from an insider's point of view:

JP Jones 

Unity may have undone itself. All rank-and-file members must be told how a band of bullies shouted down a woman who had the temerity to raise the issue of a UFT-Unity loyalty oath signed by many members in exchange for promises of union advancement, free trips and significant financial gain. Is this Unity's modus operandi?

When the Oath is questioned, they attack like dogs. I am very painfully aware that not all Unity members are part of this mob mentality, yet, I know that this same mentality intimidates those who think otherwise within Unity. Leadership espouses solidarity. Yet, the UFT Loyalty Oath has forced our delegates to sell us out in solidarity by supporting past policies that have led us towards our own doom and despair.

This lack of democracy has not changed much since then. Unity will tell you that Arthur and two others have now been taken in by the leadership and I don't believe they ever had to sign the membership obligation to support the caucus but honestly now, have you seen much criticism of the UFT on Arthur's blog lately?

I expect an 80-90% yes vote on whatever job action is proposed at the Delegate Assembly. It may reflect the membership or it may just reflect Unity and the small opposition caucuses that all agree on a possible job action but these are all activists. The entire process at the DA and Executive Board is about as legitimate as an election in Russia. What is going on in the schools behind the scenes will most likely still be a  mystery after the DA. That 80-90% yes vote won't mean that much but if I am wrong and there is anything greater than a 20-25% no vote because of independents (people who don't belong to any caucus) and/or a Unity revolt, then there is likely a significant portion of the membership who are opposed to any job action. 

Wednesday, September 2-UFT Town Hall. Mulgrew will present information and take the usual friendly questions.  The rank and file will get no vote on any proposed job action. 

Mulgrew will say that the UFT is a representative democracy so Chapter Leaders and Delegates represent their members. He will not mention how many Chapter Leaders and Delegates are bought and paid for and have signed that Unity membership obligation to support his policies no matter what. His excuse will be that there is no time to take a membership vote and we don't have the technology to do it online. This of course is ridiculous as every Chapter can have online meetings. They certainly can do online votes like they did with SBOs and PROSE in the spring. Mulgrew doesn't want a vote because there is a chance he could lose. 

Some of you might be wondering why I would mention all of this lack of democracy when I support a job action as long as the cause is just. I think the cause of possibly saving the lives of members, our students and all of our families is one of the most righteous positions the UFT has ever taken. 

If those of us who want the kids and the adults to stay away from school buildings are right that we could be starting a new wave of COVID-19 if students and educators go into buildings, the UFT taking action could be preventing that second wave. We could literally be saving lives. In addition, we do have a contractual right to a safe work environment. We should have done this in March. Bill de Blasio is the one taking a huge risk by opening buildings. 

If, on the other hand, we are wrong and the schools open and there isn't any expansion of COVID-19, then we were relying on an abundance of caution based on some of the best scientific evidence available. I would much rather error on the side of safety.

I am exposing the lack of democracy here because process matters. It would be a much stronger job action threat if the membership was truly behind it. I don't know of any strike in UFT history where the membership didn't authorize it. Can anyone tell me about a union sanctioned strike that the membership didn't vote for? Whether UFTers are with the leadership or not, we won't know until the day a sickout/remote-out is called. The rubber stamp process to approve something this week will all be for show. The press may eat it up and not dig deep into what is actually occurring. 

Mulgrew might just be betting that he can show the world overwhelming support from the Executive Board and the DA to strengthen his hand enough to get the mayor to back down. The problem with that theory is Michael Bloomberg told Randi Weingarten that he knows the UFT membership better than she does. He called Randi's bluff and the UFT gave in with the 2005 Contract. Has the membership changed enough in just the last two weeks of August to make a job action successful? We are trying to go from almost zero activism to the most militant labor action at lightning speed. A membership vote would sure give us a great deal more confidence that we are there.  

What is positive about all of this is that the UFT rank and file is actually involved in what is going on in the Union. Members are educating themselves about what it means to be in a union. It isn't just about a good dental plan. The rank and file want more information. Traffic is consistently way up at this ICEUFT blog. 1,000 people (not all UFTers) attended an emergency virtual MORE meeting yesterday. Even though the caucus inexplicably used most of their presentation to organize for itself rather than make the main focus the possible strike, it is a step in the right direction that so many were interested to give up part of a Saturday in August to listen in. Sources tell me that after a little over an hour they were down to 500 on the call and by the end it was just 60. That's neither here nor there. The point is that UFT members in increasing numbers are trying to be an active part of their Union. An activist membership is what gives a union its strength. I hope and pray that activism is there during and beyond the current crisis.


Anonymous said...

What was forgotten is the real possibility of layoffs. It could happen as soon as tomorrow because workers are suppose to be given 30 days notice which would lead us to the October 1st deadline. Will there be a deal to avert or delay layoffs with the safety reaching a crescendo?

James Eterno said...

We didn't forget layoffs, nor did the UFT leadership which has stated repeatedly that lives and livelihoods are the two main issues.

Anonymous said...

What is preventing a student or staff member from making me sick? Or the train?

Bronx ATR said...

Great post. The UFT is not a legitimate union. Loyalty oaths and voting in unison is athema to democracy. Legitimate voting with actual teachers would most likely not lead to a strike. Every school I was in (50 plus) over my last five years of babysitting, ending in the fall of 2018, was overwhelmingly filled with young newbies. Their NYC teaching job are a temp gig. They aren’t risking pay, benefits or tenure for the UFT, DOE or the old farts in the ATR pool. There’s absolutely no way anyone can say the Uft represents the teachers of New York City. The UFT is Michael Mulgrew. If he decides he wants to strike, there will be a strike. If he decides there isn’t going to be a strike, there won’t be a strike. If the automatic dues check off is suspended, and dues have to be collected individually - there will be no strike. The whole thing smacks of chicanery. I don’t trust any of it and I don’t trust Mulgrew. Teachers have a very short memory. Remember Mulgrew allowed you guys to be sent into schools on March 17, 18th and 19th without nary a word of protest. Now you believe he is outraged enough to call a strike?!

Anonymous said...

You and the staff member or student not being on the train.

Anonymous said...

It would be very foolish for the UFT to call a strike without giving an authorization vote to each individual member. There are already many skeptical people willing to cross a picket line. To not give a vote to people over a job action which will have consequences for their livelihoods would be a grave mistake which will only increase the number of people willing to cross the picket line.

A vote should be given, with only a simple majority needed to authorize. That would give each member the feeling that they were able to at least "voice" their position and as a UNION more people would be willing to go with the majority decision.

The expectation would be that we vote on miserable contracts that always seem to pass and the membership has to live with it. The UFT should afford the members the same right to voice their support or opposition to a Union decision that will affect their livelihoods at least as much as a CBA.

As a life or death issue, this should not even be a question. I know many members feel it is an erroneous decision because DiBlasio's plan will "most likely collapse quickly." This is probably true. However, in the days and weeks that transpire before DiBlasio is forced to shift the whole system to remote only. That decision will only be made because infections are increasing dramatically. He's going to wait until there is an average of a 3% infection rate over 7 days. I don't know why anyone hasn't realized that he's basically saying he's going to keep the schools open even if the infection rate is soaring with exponential community spread over 7 days.

This will inevitably lead to some of those infected students and staff members or their family members ending up in hospitals with severe cases of Covid-19 which could cost them their lives. That is an outcome I cannot support.

Firm53 said...

The main players right now—appear to be the CSA and the voice of some politicians —with their public resistance to DeBlasio —as they recommend a delay to reopen schools on September 10–due to not only Covid safety concerns—but safety issues with a potential lack of staff in their building. and confusion with programming So, if DeBlasio perhaps agrees to a week or 10 day delay—and then the CSA gives the green light to DeBlasio—then let’s see Mulgrew decides to do at that point—and see if he is disconnected with his own membership.

Anonymous said...

James states that this vote is a sham, yet we should keep supporting it with dues forever. I know, it's better than no union. That's gotten us to this awful spot. And the thousands of complaints on this blog have gotten us nowhere. Time to change? On September 8, we are on our own.

Anonymous said...

I've never truly felt that I'm "represented" by an authoritarian regime until now. Now, I even have doubts that membership voted for Mulgrew or the last contract. That outcome could have come about by a "delegate" vote, and Mulgrew won the way Trump won by electoral college votes. Mulgrew is showing that he is a despot.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good...Kids who don’t show COVID-19 symptoms can still spread virus for weeks, study shows
By Melanie GrayAugust 29, 2020 | 12:33pm

Anonymous said...

My friend just sent me this:

*Reposting* uft

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Nobody wants to strike, nobody can afford to strike, but the Mayor has drawn a line in the sand. Next week there will likely be a strike vote. Why is important to vote YES? A lot of it has to do with politics and not actually going on strike. A vote of YES means we stand together. If we say NO we are not going into an unsafe environment, not us, not our students. On Monday, the UFT Exec Board will hold a vote. If they vote yes, then on Tuesday the Delegate Assembly will vote. We need to make a strong stance, because on Thursday the City Council is holding a hearing on delaying opening of school. So you see where this is going. If we don’t have a strong show of support for the vote, then the City Council hearing falls flat. If we have a UNANIMOUS YES, it says it is unsafe to return. The City Council will back us. The Mayor is relying on us being divided. We must stay UNITED. And to anyone who says, if we strike I will cross the picket line. Think about this: it is not only your Union sisters and brothers that you are throwing under the bus, but many principals will not think too kindly of it either. The fist is stronger than a finger.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo just said Oneonta had to be shut down due to widespread infection. The swat team had to go in and set up rapid testing centers. He said schools should be cautious. Well, put us all on indoor trains, buses and buildings, pack them in, sounds wise.

Anonymous said...

No worries, COVID-19 hits University of Alabama hard, with 1,200 students now infected
By Laura ItalianoAugust 30, 2020 | 3:02am | Updated

J Bryan McGeever said...

Good post, James, very enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Get ready nycdoe.

Over 100 test positive for COVID at SUNY Oneonta after parties, in-person learning suspended for 2 weeks

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The SUNY Oneonta campus will be closed to in-person learning for two weeks amid a spike in coronavirus cases following parties there.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said Sunday that at least 105 positive cases have been confirmed—about 3 percent of the total students and faculty at the school.

Listen Live Now on 1010 WINS
“We will assess the situation working with the state and local health departments after two weeks,” Malatras said.

Malatras said the spike in cases came after reports of several large parties and gatherings in and around the campus last week.

Five students have been suspended for holding parties against the college policy. Three organizations have also been suspended.

Case investigators and contact tracers have been deployed to help with the situation. Three rapid-result testing facilities are also being set up so any resident of the campus community can be given a 15-minute test.

Bronx ATR said...

Here’s another nail for deB’s coffin.

JP said...

I'll ask again, other than me, who is emailing Cuomo daily?

JP said...

Michael Fiorillo said...

MORE spent a disproportionate amount of time on its online meeting promoting itself?

What a surprise.

As a retiree, I've been spending a lot of time feeling fortunate and grateful that I'm no longer with the DOE, and praying that the lives of my friends and colleagues still in the system, their students and families, will not be endangered by De Blasio and Carranza's negligence and jncompetence.

Hopefully, reality and common sense will prevail, and no one will have to return to those buildings until it's safe. At a minimum, it will take an overwhelming strike vote at the EB and DA to force City Hall and Tweed to blink.

James Eterno said...

Give us the link to the story 12:03 please.

Anonymous said...

FFCRA works upstate and our union has not even mentioned this to its members (Only James has reported this information). They avoided a strike by doing it the "LEGAL" WAY!!!!

Anonymous said...

A better chance for democracy in the UFT or any union —how about term limits for President and Executive Board members?

Anonymous said...

If we are not a real union then no one should judge anyone on their position. They were not too vocal in march and now the only reason he says something cause he can hide behind the principles union. I will decide what to do on September 8. Nobody cared about me being an atr. I have been harassed by principals, had shitty out of license assignments and have been looked upon by some teachers. So dont give me unity crap. Im not bitter and angry about it but I will be dammed if that asshole will make any decisions for me. They endorse people that some of us dont like. They waste our dues. They dont fight for our contracts.

Bronx ATR said...

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew could have probably mobilized the entire membership and other union members in schools to sign a petition letter to the governor and mayor explaining that we would do our jobs, but we would report remotely, and not go back into school buildings until they met the UFT guidelines for safe reopening (similar to Townsend's letter).
Why divide teachers the way he is by making teachers have to choose not to work at all? All for the purpose of not having to go into unsafe buildings when the option to report remotely exists in 2020 - amidst pandemic.
If we are called to stand outside of school buildings to say we don't think they're safe to go into due to lack of covid safety precautions - I will know that Mulgrew did all of this to hurt his own members.

Anonymous said...

Why is Mulgrew pushing for a strike? It’s completely against character and can be completely avoided. Something else going on here.

Anonymous said...

Kids could carry virus for weeks with no symptoms

Anonymous said...

How did Townsend harris principal get whole staff remote?

Anonymous said...

We are not their priority. The uft just wants their vps to tweet about social justice. $200k each.

Anonymous said...

3:24 PM Someone named Jeff posted this link yesterday
The link contains various letters and Townsend is one of them. It appears that the faculty and chapter leader wrote the letter to Cuomo to implore him to intervene. They explained that they will report remotely if safety issues are not addressed. I don't understand why the principal wouldn't support the faculty when principals are up shit's creek without a paddle in this whole situation.

Anonymous said...

Townsend Harris principal is a smooth talker. Used to sell cars! Enough said!

jeff said...

That was me. I wish my principal would send a letter like townsend harris, simply saying that we are all doing remote whether carranza likes it or not.

Anonymous said...

Here's a Titanic-sized hole in the DOE's contact tracing plan: bathrooms. We know students are confined to 1 room all day to facilitate classroom quarantines when someone tests positive. But who's keeping track of which students they come in contact with in the bathrooms?

Anonymous said...

I understand what you're saying James, and you make valid points. I wish that Mulgrew had said that we are 100% ready to work remotely until the safety issues could be worked out, rather than uttering the "S" word.

That said- part of this falls in the dithering laps of Deblasio and Carranza. They waited so long (perhaps deliberately) that on some level, Mulgrew's hand was forced. I agree that a strike vote by the membership would send a far more powerful message, but there's simply no time. If this is what it takes to keep us out of the buildings, I'm all for it.

Pretty sure this is all a big dog and pony show, with a predetermined outcome. Regardless, I'm not looking forward to another week of stress. This has been no summer vacation.

TJL said...

First good job James on explaining what's going on at 52 Bway. It's obviously a dog and pony show.

I do think only half or so of membership is on board but few will cross a line. The same apathy that leads people to vote for bad contracts (or mostly just not vote) will lead people to go with the flow and picket or just turn around and go home.

3:10 is right something else is going on here. Is it the AFT, "Red for Ed", a backroom deal with Cuomo and/or DiBozo, I'm not 100% sure but it's definitely part of sabotaging the economy. It's definitely not "safety".

I'd love to be a fly on the wall listening to the Unity faithful carrying signs saying "unsafe" while sharing their summer stories from Disney, Mohegan Sun, Kalahari, etc. and showing off the pictures from their last restaurant meal.

Lastly 2:51, Sept 8 is too late. By then you're subject to Union discipline including fines. It's a tough decision but any of us who don't want to be a political pawn and planning on working needs to decide quickly and send his resignation from the Union by certified mail return receipt by express mail. I'm unsure myself but the clock is ticking. It's a big step and not without its own pitfalls.

Anonymous said...

i am begining to think the strike talk is something even more nefarious.
The city is in economic straits.
teachers strike for 1 week lose two weeks pay- saves city hundreds of thousands.
now-imagine this scenario-
teachers strike lasts all of sept
theres less pressure from parents as kids haven't been in a school building in forever. lose two months pay.
teachers off payroll on oct 1- city would forego retro checks
now city is saving MILLIONS- in salary and retro
while gaining time to devise a better learning plan.

James Eterno said...

Not buying the no time argument at all.

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Anonymous said...

Has anyone else heard that remote classes will increase in class size to 68 students? There's a story in the NY Post that says this is part of the recently updated guidelines.

Anonymous said...

We are on our own...

Whoa, a strike? Check out our FAQ:

Anonymous said...

I already opted out. Simple, I'll make my own decision. I learned loud and clear. then again, most of you are saying the same...

James Eterno said...

TJL. You can't resign from the UFT except during the opt out period in June.

5:58: See Thursday's story. You can read the DOE guidance that the UFT agreed to for yourself and the FAQs.

5:48, Please read our Q and A from Wednesday on a strike. In brief, a UFT strike would be an international story that nobody will ignore. The city would almost certainly get an injunction to try and stop it. The UFT would be filing an injunction to close the buildings. I can't say with certainty but this would be likely be short.

Anonymous said...

You realize an average teacher, once doubled, will lose $1k daily?

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I am incorrect, as I thought of this from someone's post:if we strike, The contract is null and void and we would lose the retro?

Anonymous said...

And at above, if we chose not to participate in the strike, we would still lose the retro bec the majority/uft struck?ie even if u dont participate. You lose contractual rights?

James Eterno said...

The fines are no sure thing since the DOE is violating our contractual right to a safe work environment.

Tom said...

James - how can one join the strike and claim an unsafe work environment if one is working remotely? Wouldn't remote teachers be expected to work?

Anonymous said...

So what happens to those absent on 9/8, 9/9, 9/10.

Anonymous said...

"TJL. You can't resign from the UFT except during the opt out period in June"

Im just some guy likely to be moderated again but imo u can opt out but will still be paying dues to June since u missed that window. As noted send return receipt letter to uft central membership. Have it notarized.

TJL said...

James where is that in writing? I know some of these Koch funded sites have misinformation. For instance the National Right to Work foundation: "Unions sometimes attempt to impose limitations upon the right of a member to resign. Several federal courts have held that the First Amendment protects a public employee’s right to resign union membership at any time. "

However this is right in the UFT Constitution, Article III, Section 2:

"A member on dues check-off may terminate membership by discontinuing checkoff status by notifying the union in writing."

I know that the June 15 - 30 period is the only period to ask to opt out of dues, which I don't care about. They can have the dues. I don't want to be part of a strike, not even voted on by the membership, over politics. If I thought it was about safety, or even layoffs, that would be a different story. Mulgrew, Randi and the UFT/AFT are lying to us. I have next to nothing in common with the UFT anymore and am seriously considering severing ties. The dues money is a drop in the bucket compared to either city fines or being fined by the Union for not participating.

Anonymous said...

Do think think leadership, based on twitter cares more about our strike and safety or more about ridiculous political beliefs. Read Hinds and Barr. All they do is tweet about racial stuff. Think that makes us feel good and cared for?

Anonymous said...

For those of you worried about lost wages.....

Anonymous said...

Above magic percent upstate...

State's rapid Covid tests show 3.4% infection rate in WNY via

Shelley said...


You've admitted that you are an armature at law.

One thing you learn in law school is that definitions matter.

How will lawyers define what exactly constitutes a teacher's right to a safe work environment?

The definitions and arguments advanced so far are not going to protect us against fines and a possible loss of tenure if we strike. The arguments thus far are about the buildings. The analogy advanced here on this blog to the asbestos crisis doesn't hold water. The threat to safety is not a physical material that can be removed. It is not a structural fault in a building or a gas leak or anything else that can be repaired or removed to make 1,800 plus buildings safe.

The risk is an integral part of doing the job. There are always risks, of infection, of illness from spending hours in closed quarters with hundreds, even thousands of people who ride on packed subways and so on. Only now, with a Novel virus that kills, the risk is elevated. But the risk is part of the job. Elevated, perhaps to a dangerous level, though this would be difficult to prove.

So the city has addressed, it will argue, the elevated risk. It can't eliminate all risk. It can never remove the hazard as it might a material. The virus will be with us and can not be gotten rid of.

It is more like a very dangerous flu that we have no vaccine for than a material hazard.

We work with dangerous flues year in and year out. And countless other viruses that we are exposed to.

Also, the teacher risk not much different from the risk faced daily by health care workers. The hospitals must remain open. The nursing homes, critical care facilities, the assisted living facilities must remain open and the care givers need to go to work.

The trains must run and do run and the workers are not excused from work.

The risk, in a train, in a hospital, in a nursing home, is exposure to a deadly virus not to any hazard specific to a train, hospital or nursing home, and the same appluies to teachers and to school buildings.

The mayor has presented a plan that meets and exceeds the CDC thresholds for risk and the Governor's mandates to minimize risk to nurses, transit workers, and teachers. He presented his plan. The UFT agreed to it.

Now the union calls a strike. An illegal strike. Because they claim the buildings are not safe.

This is a loser in court.

James Eterno said...

I am not familiar with an armiture but this post didn't have much to do with law.

With all due respect to your legal acumen, how did the Florida teachers win in court and get their school buildings closed?

jeff said...

A-This is not a hospital or store, it is a school.

B-The danger is in the breathing, that can not be made safe no matter how many windows they open.

C-Every school that opens, closes.

D-This is NYC, where everyone outside, like on trains and buses, will be in tightly packed and repeatedly shared spaces. No amount of testing will tell me what someone picked up 2 minutes earlier.

E-We have no testing

James Eterno said...

From WaPo on the Florida injunction:

Union leaders hailed the decision as a victory for local school governance and the health of students. FEA President Fedrick Ingram said school districts, parents, and the 150,000 members of his union can now plan for a safe school reopening that follows local health guidelines, not orders from Tallahassee.

“Mr. Corcoran, Mr. DeSantis, you’re wrong,” Ingram said. “We won because we are on the side of right, on the side of public health and safety.” He said the state would likely appeal the decision.

James Eterno said...

Not having proper ventilation in many buildings is just like asbestos and they shut down the entire system, not just the schools that were impacted in 1993.

Anonymous said...

IF the UFT, CSA, Custodians Union, Nurses Union and all other unions involved are united with a challenge in court to stop the re-opening, they will likely win an at a minimum have the re-opening delayed. The schools are not ready for reopening on September 10th. The UFT has to win with the public opinion of the community and through the press and through outreach establish credibility with the parents and community

Anonymous said...

James...its an unsafe work environment based on who's standards? If the city deems it's safe and we dont who is to determine what is safe. In fact the federal govt thinks it's safe enough. The governor thinks it's safe enough as does the mayor. What you or I or Mulgrew think about what's safe is irrelevant if stats show the threat is minimal.

I'm not disputing with you the potential danger. I dont think we should go back but I am against striking in full disclosure, and would vote no to not play into diblasio hands but again you say its unsafe but you need conflicting facts, statistics, and science to prove in court going back will be dangerous. Right now the union is making an assumption based on what is happening in other places. The city will argue that there have protests with no increase. Other city workers have had minimal infections.

We may all agree on safety being the main issue but the union has not lawfully proven that its not safe and the DOE plan is not safe and in court that is all that matters. That is why a safety strike is not a 100% work around of the Taylor Law. This strike has the potential to backfire big time on us and that is something pro-strikers either ignore, dont believe or think is an acceptable risk.

Anonymous said...

My school, as many, no supply fans.

James Eterno said...

What happened in March and how the virus spread is precedent too. We have as many experts on our side as the City has on theirs. I am not a scientist or a lawyer but I know if 100,000 UFTers refuse to go into school buildings, our case in court is much stronger.

Anonymous said...

What if 50k refuse?

Anonymous said...

30k already are remote

Anonymous said...

We have been breathing in absestos in these buildings for years. The water in many of schools has had high led count. God knows what else we have been exposed too. So mulgrew knows alot about safety. I think mulgrew is working with the mayor. He said there was a plan to avoid layoffs. Well here it is. Go on strike and lose your retro.

TJL said...

The Circuit Court agreed with Florida and the schools that wanted to close (I believe Miami-Dade in particular) must open on Monday and teachers must report. Unless of course they decide to strike.

Both DeSantis and the Union wanted to fast track the case to the Supreme Court but the Appellate Court who's next refused. So it will be a drawn out affair.

I'm sure the UFT and the City/DeBlasio have already engaged in "judge shopping" and everything from winning an injunction to close, to fines, etc. ends up at the mercy of a particular judge. A strike can turn out to be a very long affair as the issue winds through the courts. Unless of course, Mulgrew throws up his hands and says, well I tried, but the court said no.

Then there is the other issue of what exactly do we have to gain. At least eking out an extra percent on a contract is worth tens of thousands over a career and offsets any fines. As pointed out by Shelley, "unsafe" compared to whom, and it's not like teachers aren't already indoor dining, movie theaters, at a casino, etc. The media (left media, right media, clickbait media) has cried wolf so many times that "we're all gonna die!" when people protested to reopen, barber shops came back, people protested over George Floyd, people went back to Church, restaurants reopened, Trump at Mount Rushmore, Disney reopened, Sturgis. They've created fear but a judge will have to make a determination based on data and the data is not there. The Union I'm sure will mention March, but this is August, not March.

TJL said...

Jeff 9:00 item C is completely false. Tens of thousands of schools are open and a handful have had to close. The same goes for college. The panic porn media has decided this is the new flavor of the month and makes a big deal out of positive tests (which by the way, even the NY Times reported that 90% of positive tested people are not sick and don't spread the virus) at a few schools. Remember the impending doom from the barber shops and restaurants? It's ok if you don't, the media just drops the stories that don't fit its narrative (or sell ads) and moves on to the next outrage du jour.

James Eterno said...

9:25, In my opinion, your view on a strike makes absolutely no sense. So the teachers and other UFTers are going to be fined and charged with violating the law but the UFT has a get out of jail free card? The law I don't believe can be applied this way. The UFT would be fined much heavier than individual teachers for striking. Losing dues checkoff would put the UFT in financial trouble. Layoffs are a different issue. The MLC (umbrella group of city unions) is negotiating to avert layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Florida: over 3,000 cases a day. NYC 1/5 of that. Apples and oranges. Different state. Different court. Different standards.

And 1 million of us could refuse to go in, none of that changes stats or science.

I wrote the 9:09 response but Shelly's 8:31 is spot on. There is always a viral risk when we go in every year, nothing has changed and if a court feels the city meets current safety standards no amount of us refusing to work will change that.

Anonymous said...

um, 185,000 dead in this country. that is all i need to know.

Shelley said...

Again, thank god you're not our lawyer.

I argue that there are risks to a strike in NY.

You argue that they won a case in Florida.

They did.

But they didn't strike in Florida.

My argument is about the strike that is being voted on and may be voted on by members in NY. NY, where we have the Taylor Law.

Why is the Florida case relevant to a strike in NY?

It's not.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about something that I read from the strike FAQ script which was linked above. I keep asking why Mulgrew doesn't tell the mayor that members will report to work remotely until the safety issues have been addressed, and the FAQ said that if union leadership did that it would be considered breaking the Taylor Law. But that job action is based on safety, like the strike would be. Why is one way "illegal," and the other way isn't?

Anonymous said...

Fine, put it another way, it isnt a matter of if but when...That is a bad situation waiting to happen. Deadly.

Shelley said...

As union members in NY we benefit from the size of our membership and the percentage of workers who are organized because with such large numbers we have substantially more resources, more money than most other state unions.
But this strength is overrated and those who hype it usually ignore our greater weaknesses.
Some of these weaknesses are not easy to quantify, certainly not as easy to count as membership and dollars, but they are no less significant. The polarization and fracturing within the rank and file, for example, is far more important than the size of the membership.
As I’ve explained previously, we are not Chicago, we are not LA. We are NYC, and our laws, our policies, our politics and our collective bargaining powers are all radically different from other cities and states. In Hawaii they have much more power, though they are small. In Illinois, though the state faces greater financial constraints, they are stronger on finance. In the power ratings of teacher unions, NY falls someplace in the middle of union powers when compared with other states. And, when compared with the states that have the power of collective bargaining, NY is close to the bottom. Though we have the power to bargain, this power is very limited by the Taylor Law and by other state laws and policies.

We are NY weak. To change this will take years not months or weeks or days.
Here, on this Blog, and elsewhere, we are often told that we have great untapped strength. That 100,000 UFTers will win a strike if they fight. To support this essentially fallacious argument we are contrasted with more militant unions. From this contrast the argument quickly concludes that our union is weak because it lacks leadership and would be made strong by a more militant leadership, or at least strengthened by weakening Unity’s monopoly. Of course, the people making these arguments are promoting their own agendas. The argument is usually buttressed by revisionist readings of our union’s history, and specifically, a skewed reading of our past job actions and strikes. The use of vague and confusing terms, like the recent attempt to define a potential strike as “nothing like a strike” and the use of amateur (did I spell that right this time?) interpretations of recondite contracts and laws furthers the misleading argument. Here are two important examples: 1. the asbestos problem and how it was resolved 2. the Taylor Law and how a strike would jeopardize tenure.
Too many arguments here are pots calling kettles black. Like Unity’s leadership, here they are not interested in a democratic union. How many times in the last month have members been dismissed as scabs or anti-union simply for voicing their opinions? A union needs dissenters, not good soldiers who shut up and take orders. A union needs pluralism and not bullying. We should welcome those who disagree with agitators on what is obviously a question, an issue, that involves great personal and collective risks.
This revolution will not be digitized.
We need a movement of teachers who are willing to risk a lot to end the abuses we have been subjected to. We need the rank and file to get up, stand up for a strike. Now! But let us go in with our eyes wide open. It will not be without risks. We may lose money and tenure. It may drag out. We may fold. Lots of bad shit may happen. I’m willing to take the risk, but I understand that many are not. All I ask is that once we vote we stick together, irrespective of how we personally voted. So, I will vote yes and defend the no position if that is what the majority vote.

Anonymous said...

What is the question? The gov says it coming.

The Post-Star

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Sunday that the COVID spikes at colleges will happen at K-12 schools, too.

Anonymous said...

Shelley - what's this "once we vote" you're talking about? This entire blog post that we're commenting under explains that members aren't voting, "executives and their delegates" will be voting to decide what the peasants - I mean members - will be doing, and not doing.

Anonymous said...

Uft members please don't strike its "ILLEGAL". If we come together and apply for the applications for the FFCRA we do not have to worry about losing pay or benefits. This is "FEDERAL LAW" and they will help you more than any uft leader ever will.

Again, you are "not" considered a "SCAB" since you never crossed a picket line and are "ONLY" following federal law and are on a leave of absence.

Don't trust Leadership they are full of "BS"

WorriedATR said...

If I make $4,300 gross per check, how much would I be fined? I know it is 2 days for each day striking, but how would that be calculated? Would the $4,300 be divided by the number of school days during that period? Or by the number of calendar days? Just curious.

James Eterno said...

Who said a strike would jeopardize tenure? Job actions are hard but sometimes necessary to protect our rights. A strike here would be rather unique. By the way,in Chicago they are only legally allowed to strike over wages. The city never got an injunction to stop what were mostly illegal strikes in 2012 and 2019.We can be Chicago but we have to build to it. During a pandemic, there is not much time to build. There are risks but strike supporters' now view, our lives, student lives and all of our families lives are at stake. This is no ordinary virus. Check out the deaths compared to last year.

I have no problem with dissent. I don't like when people go way off topic. Simple rules.

Anonymous said...

James UFT members are "CLUELESS" when it comes to a strike. No need to get to this point. UFT does not have the best interest of its members. "REMEMBER" only TWO guarantees in life, going and die and going to pay taxes. Anything the UFT says "DON'T TRUST" They do not have our best interest!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No chance we are "CHICAGO" James. NO way UFT has the votes from membership to "STRIKE"!!! These people in leadership are full of BS!!!

James Eterno said...

Gotta start building sometime. No time like now. Chicago had a Unity style leadership in power for years. They were defeated.

Anonymous said...

was it chicago that sold out their atrs

John said...

We are Screwed!!

Over 50% of the teachers at my school are going in this week to setup their classroom.

Our Union members can't stay on same page.

How can these idiots go into our building 3 days in August and then say its too dangerous in September

We are screwed

James Eterno said...

11:41, That was a prior union leadership 11:41.

James Eterno said...

It is called precedent Shelley. We can try to get an injunction to close buildings. But you are right, I am not a lawyer. Never said I was.

I am an advocate, however, and I have a strong record as one. 18 years as CL. Coincidentally,people were mysteriously assigned to teach and do guidance work in my school who just happened to be former Unity Chapter Leaders. They became supporters. Not one ran against me although the Unity Caucus obligations require them to run against opposition caucus CLs. I ran for reelection 7 times and was never opposed, even by the Unity folks in Jamaica. I can count the number of UFTers who faced 3020a on one hand and have fingers left over. I saw firsthand how well we did by being activist and having safety in numbers.

Anonymous said...

James things have changed drastically since you have been in the CL position. It's hard to take the old school mentality to the new members. A strike would be a disaster!! No way the leadership would get more than 2/3 vote. If all members could take a FFCRA leave instead of a strike it would work. . A strike must be a last option since there are "LEGAL" ways to win. Remember all members Strikes Are illegal and the UFT can guarantee you "NOTHING"

Beth Allard said...

Umm. That was definitely a misspelling of the word amateur.

johnny said...

I just did. Thank you for the contact information.

Bronx ATR said...

Interesting. There’s so much distrust of the Mulgrew=UFT that many will do the opposite of what is mandated and decided by the inner sanctum, which is actually only Mulgrew. The whole thing smells to high heavens. It’s a pre-game show. Mulgrew is betting that the rank and file will follow him down, what looks more and more like an unnecessary and very dangerous rabbit hole. Even with threats from Unity toadies, or perhaps because of them, teachers are disobeying and heading into schools this morning to set up their classrooms. They will cross a picket line and one nasty word directed toward them will have EEOC and/or police investigating; as well as many of the aggrieved dropping out next June. This all comes down to trust. Do you trust Michael Mulgrew? (Try not to burst out laughing)

TeachNY said...

Out of curiosity, did you see the article that our mayor said unions should step up and take pay freezes and/or cuts?
Would we be willing to take a pay cut (maybe 5/10%) to save teachers from losing jobs? I would do one of the two to save people. Maybe this strike will also head us in that direction!

Anonymous said...

At least one-third of the staff at my school is known by my principal personally, as friends or family friends. At this point, she doesn't even try to hide the nepotism. About one-third of the teachers make anywhere from $10,000 - $40,000 in per-session a year and other kick-backs.

There is no way these people are going to strike.

The teachers across the city are not united. I would be shocked if there was a strike.

Anonymous said...

to 9:55

It is dangerous. Here are the CDC stats for you:

9 million – 45 million illnesses
between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations
between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010

Yet, you have gone to work with the flu all these years. Without a mask, without social distancing, without a 100% effective vaccine or treatment.

Anonymous said...

Why are you consistently pushes for this strike?
DO you really believe the UFT demands for testing over a million people is the
right reason to strike?
The infection rate is under 1% in the majority of neighborhoods!
Demand data by neighborhood- then Mulgrew has some kind of argument.
The Public will not support this strike.
Teachers will look flaccid..."Oh, I'm sacred to go into buildings"... WE have been going into toxic cancer ridden building for years... STOP, COVID was horrible in March. NOw, wear a mask /face shield/ disposable Hazmat suit or coveralls (AMAZON SELLS THIS)
This strike won't keep you safe UNLESS the DEMAND IS FULL REMOTE!

Jeff said...

Cut to the chase. The uft has been absent for 20 years. Now nobody will listen. I will be making my own decision next Monday night. This should've been taken care of. Are we in court yet? We don't have a real union, despite paying for it.

Anonymous said...

Right, the idiot teachers are running in to fix up classrooms???

Anonymous said...

These are the same liberal geniuses who think passing a hs kid who can't read or write is the correct thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Remember mulgrew running around saying de Blasio and carranza are our friends. We are such suckers. Dues well spent.

Shelley said...

There is more safety in numbers but that is one strength we have, numbers and money, but we have many weaknesses that rump the numbers. In an legal struggle money will help, numbers won't much matter. And far more important are the legal matters not the numbers.

On the Taylor and the Chicago comparison you keep spouting about I recommend you and others read Martin H. Malin's analysis of the Taylor Law and how it distinguishes NY from Illinois, from Florida and Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Professor Malin is director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace and teaches Labor Law, Employment Relationships, Public Sector Employees, and Justice and the Legal System. He received his B.A. from Michigan State University's James Madison College and his J.D. from George Washington University, where he was an editor of the law review and elected to the Order of the Coif. He joined the Chicago-Kent faculty in 1980 after serving as law clerk to United States District Judge Robert E. DeMascio in Detroit and on the faculty of Ohio State University.
Professor Malin is a former national chair of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools, a former member of the Executive Committee of The Labor Law Group, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Arbitrators. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and is a Secretary of the ABA Section on Labor and Employment Law. During 1984 and 1985, Professor Malin served as consultant to the Illinois State, Local and Educational Labor Relations Boards and drafted the boards' regulations implementing the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. From 2004 to 2008, he served as reporter to the Neutrality Project of the Association of Labor Relations Agencies, which produced a mini-treatise on labor board and mediation agency impartiality. In October 2009, President Obama appointed Professor Malin as a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel, which resolves impasses in collective bargaining between federal agencies and unions that represent their employees.
Professor Malin has written extensively on all aspects of labor and employment law, including Public Sector Employment (West 2004, 2d ed. 2011), the leading casebook on the law governing public employees, and Labor Law in the Contemporary Workplace (West 2009, 2d ed. 2014), a leading casebook on labor law.

The Motive Power in Public Sector Collective Bargaining
Paper Prepared for The Taylor Law at 50
New York Public Employment Relations Board, May 10-11, 2018
Martin H. Malin

Easy to find online. ----> Here

Anonymous said...

I have all good ratings. All I ever asked for was help with a transfer to staten island. They told me to drop dead. 20 years. Sill and Amy just kept telling me that they couldnt help me. You think I'm listening to them?

Anonymous said...

Get the latestinfo available first hand.

Anonymous said...

WorriedATR.... I can't say for sure how much... but in calculating our paid sick bank days upon retirement, the DOE divides your annual salary by 200 to come up with your per day rate of pay.

Anonymous said...

Also, they said if someone tests positive they will just close that classroom? What do you think will happen when everyone finds out? Sadly, rumors of a positive will cause chaos in a building. Will parents keep kids home? Staff call in sick?

Anonymous said...

The strike will make De Blasio look good. This is something he has not been able to achieve
on his own. Why would Mulgrew want to make De Blasio look good?

Anonymous said...

OK, just did my covid test within the 10 days to my return on 8/31/20 at 9:00AM

Walked out of the doctor's office.

If it tests positive I stay home
If it tests negative it means as of 8/31/20 at 9:00AM I do not have the virus

It does not take into account what I will be doing the next 8 days I am home. It's totally useless moving forward. This is the UFTs big plan?

James Eterno said...

12:44 A.M., I have been using those old methods, I haven't been a CL in 6 years, to help friends and others who are under attack. They haven't failed me very often. We have been able to clear teacher records again and again. Document, document, document is still the winning formula. Grieve at the first sign of trouble after a conversation with administration does not succeed in getting them to back down. Non-tenured is more difficult for sure but documenting is necessary.

The old solidarity and safety in numbers formula at the macro-level is important too.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo has stated that it looks like there will be inevitable spikes in K-12 schools as we are seeing in college. This is just another domino falling that will probably lead to schools closing.

But, the UFT can not spin this as a victory in any way. First, the union members are not solidly behind the strike. Second, Di Blasio didn't even blink when we mentioned strike. Third, we look bad for wanting to strike.

This is a loss all around and the union leadership appears to be irrelevant.

James Eterno said...

Thank you for the link to the paper, Shelley. I just finished reading it. I appreciate the education. The paper says Michigan has a law similar to the Taylor law that in many ways was authored to be against teachers.

Those Detroit teachers just voted to authorize a safety strike.

The situation we face currently is new for modern labor history.

TJL said...

John 11:47 you just admitted it! This is all about "saying" it's dangerous when it's not.

People are going in this week because it's not dangerous.

If the Union said we're not going to work until we get a no layoff pledge, people would've gone along. If in 2005 or 2014 we struck for more money, it would've made sense as even one extra .25% pays for your fines.

I'm going in tomorrow to "move in" the stuff I brought home in March. Most of us who work in the City do this because it costs so much to park for the whole day. You park, wheel your cart into the building and in your room, and go, if you do this you only pay $10 instead of $50. (Otherwise, I am with you that it is stupid to give the City "free time"). The Union should've thought of this and all the elementary teachers who do a lot of setup and decorating before it pushed this safety BS. You don't think the papers will show teachers going in schools, not to mention dig up social media photos of teachers in restaurants, at protests, at Disney, at Casinos, all with no masks to boot?

Tom said...

@11:47 and 10:32 - I don't think you can compare going in now with a few others to set up a classroom, and going back in September when the building is filled with everyone and the students, and lunchtimes, hall passing, etc. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Get the latest facts directly from your union

sussanmcaulay said...

It is not the dues that are the problem. No matter who the union is comprised of, money from dues is necessary. What we need to do is to come up with viable candidates and give Unity the boot.