ICEUFT met today via Zoom. There were over 20 UFTers, mostly strong union activists, along with a couple of newer teachers. The vast majority on the Zoom were active teachers and a paraprofessional along with a few of us retirees.
We had current chapter leaders, former chapter leaders, unionists with UFT Executive Board experience, delegates, and past delegates on the Zoom. It felt like old times at ICEUFT as there was a robust discussion on what is occurring in the schools. We agreed we need to work hard to educate UFTers on what a real union is supposed to be doing and the rank and file's role.
After our lengthy deliberations, a resolution was presented on running in the 2022 UFT general election. We all agreed that the best way to move the UFT ahead is to unite the groups opposed to Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus on areas where there is common ground and then to seek to work together for next year's campaign for UFT offices.
Below is our resolution and then the rationale that was presented this afternoon.
We urge all UFters to join what will hopefully be a movement for a real union, the kind the UFT was when it started in the early sixties. Email us at ICEUFT@gmail.com if you want to be a part of it.
RESOLUTION FOR A UNITED SLATE IN THE 2022 UFT UNION-WIDE 2022
As passed unanimously by the Independent Community Educators at our meeting of July 27th, 2021
Whereas The UFT Leadership Unity Caucus, the ruling one-party system that has suppressed democracy and stifled member participation under a 60-year hegemonic, unilateral control of the UFT, has failed the membership on a number of issues and can only be seriously challenged by a united opposition,
Be it Resolved: The Independent Community of Educators urges all UFT opposition caucuses and non-affiliated independents within the UFT to come together and form a full and united slate to run against the Unity Caucus in the 2022 United Federation of Teachers union-wide elections.
The Covid 19 pandemic, with its challenges and life and death consequences for our union family, has forged new relationships between opposition caucuses, groups and independent union members within the United Federation of Teachers.
A growing consensus and collective spirit towards greater cooperation has blossomed among those opposed to the Unity leadership and have found common cause in fighting for a better union and safer schools during the pandemic.
This cooperation has been evident in seeking to mutually coordinate around vital issues for rank and file members fighting against the privatization of Medicare for our senior retirees; and mobilizing to organize and cooperate within the Delegate Assembly for common agendas.
It is our fundamental belief that only a full and United Slate in the 2022 UFT union-wide election can challenge the ruling one party system that has suppressed democracy and stifled member participation under the 60 year hegemonic, unilateral rule of the Unity Caucus.
This United Slate will be formed by UFT members who believe a better, democratic union is not only necessary, but presently possible. Our union leadership must energetically and responsively involve, engage, and educate its members at all times. Together we can fight for this!
The goal of the United Slate would be to challenge the Unity Caucus in order to ensure they are responsive and transparent to our members. We will use the election as a platform to educate all union members about the dangers of an increasingly isolated leadership that makes decisions for us, not with us. If we were to win seats on the Executive Board, which historically speaking is very possible, we would work in concert to give voice to members of our union, bring member’s issues to the leaders that they have otherwise chosen to ignore, and speak truth to power.
The members of Independent Community of Educators, which in the past has won seats on the UFT Executive Board in coalition with other groups and as founding members of MORE, will assist in providing logistical support for the union-wide elections through completing petitioning efforts, canvassing, electoral analysis, media promotion and distribution.
We also call on all caucuses and UFT members opposed to one party ruling Unity Caucus to come together now when there is common cause at UFT district/borough level Chapter Leader meetings, Delegate Assemblies, Executive Board meetings and to secure a better contract for all members during the upcoming negotiations.
We need not and can not work together on every one of our platform/program points. There are political differences amongst the groups, but on issues where we find ourselves under the same banner, and we know there are many times when this will be and has been the case, we ought to find the means to coordinate for the betterment of our union, its members and the families we serve.