Friday, May 31, 2024

ICE-UFT Unyielding in the Face of Unity Caucus’s Unwarranted Personal Attacks

New York, NY – May 31, 2024 – The Independent Community of Educators - United Federation of Teachers (ICE-UFT) vehemently denounces the recent onslaught of personal attacks instigated by the Unity Caucus, under the misguided leadership of UFT President Michael Mulgrew, against our esteemed members. These unwarranted attacks, orchestrated by District Representative Adam Shapiro and sanctioned by Staff Director Leroy Barr, are not only devoid of merit but also serve as a smokescreen, diverting attention from the urgent issues plaguing our educators and students.

ICE-UFT has consistently been a beacon of equity, justice, and authentic representation for all UFT members. Our unwavering commitment to cultivating an inclusive and supportive environment for educators remains steadfast. Regrettably, Unity Caucus, under the misguided leadership of President Mulgrew, has chosen to resort to personal attacks rather than engaging in constructive dialogue and addressing the legitimate concerns of our members.

Our priorities remain steadfast:

  1. Championing Fair Working Conditions: We are committed to ensuring that all educators are provided with a safe and supportive work environment.
  2. Demanding Transparency: We are relentless in our pursuit for greater transparency in union operations and decision-making processes.
  3. Empowering Educators: We are dedicated to equipping educators with the necessary tools and support they need to excel in their roles and advocate for their rights.
  4. Revamping Our Dental Plan: We are determined to rectify the deficiencies in our current dental coverage to ensure comprehensive and accessible dental care for all members.
  5. Safeguarding Changes to Active Member and Retiree Healthcare: We are committed to ensuring that all changes to healthcare plans for active members and retirees prioritize quality care without escalating out-of-pocket expenses.
  6. Securing a Living Wage for Paraprofessionals: We are unwavering in our advocacy for fair and livable wages to ensure that paraprofessionals receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.

We challenge Unity Caucus, President Mulgrew, District Representative Shapiro, and Staff Director Barr to abandon their personal attacks and join us in addressing the critical issues that impact our education system. The strength of our union lies in our collective ability to unite and collaborate for the betterment of our schools and communities.

ICE-UFT remains resolute in preserving the integrity of our union and will not be swayed by these divisive tactics. We extend an invitation to all members of the UFT to stand with us in solidarity, focusing on the shared objective of enhancing our education system for the benefit of both educators and students. We will not be silenced. We will not be deterred. We stand firm. We are ICE-UFT.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Press Release: Independent Community of Educators of the UFT Criticizes Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus Leadership and Supports Insurgent Campaigns

(New York, NY) - The Independent Community of Educators of the UFT (ICE-UFT) issues a critical examination of the leadership of Unity Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and its President of 15 years, Michael Mulgrew. As advocates for educational equity, fair labor practices, and democratic governance, ICE-UFT voices deep concerns regarding the direction and actions of Unity Caucus under Mulgrew's leadership.

Unity Caucus, entrenched as the dominant political faction within UFT, has come under scrutiny for its lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and lack of responsiveness to the needs of educators and students. Michael Mulgrew, as the long-standing president of UFT and a prominent figure within the Unity Caucus, bears significant responsibility for the failures and shortcomings of the organization.

Our critique encompasses several key areas:

1. Lack of Teacher Empowerment: Unity Caucus and Mulgrew have stifled dissent and marginalized voices of teachers who challenge the status quo. This authoritarian approach undermines the principles of democracy and collective decision-making within the union.

2. Failure to Address Educational Inequities: Despite professing commitment to educational equity, Unity Caucus and Mulgrew have failed to effectively address systemic inequities in New York City's public schools. Issues such as resource disparities, racial segregation, and unequal access to quality education persist under their leadership.

3. Neglect of Member Concerns: Many UFT members have expressed frustration over the union's handling of grievances, contract negotiations, and other labor-related issues. Unity Caucus and Mulgrew have been criticized for prioritizing political alliances over the interests of their constituents.

4. Opposition to Progressive Reform: Unity Caucus's resistance to progressive reforms, such as empowering classroom teachers, incorporating class size limits in the contract, dynamic curriculum reform, opposing the negative effects of high stakes testing, opposing controls of schools by the mayor and increased funding for public education, reflects a disconnect from the grassroots movements advocating for meaningful change.

5. Ethical Concerns: Allegations of cronyism, conflicts of interest, and financial mismanagement have cast doubt on the integrity of Unity Caucus leadership and Michael Mulgrew.

In contrast to the status quo represented by Unity Caucus, ICE-UFT proudly supports three insurgent campaigns within the UFT:

  • The Retiree Advocate Slate in the UFT Retiree Chapter election: Led by retired Chapter Leader Bennett Fischer for Retiree Chapter, fighting to preserve Medicare benefits for retired educators.
  • The Fix Para Pay Slate in the UFT Paraprofessional Chapter election: Committed to securing better pay for paraprofessionals, addressing long-standing wage disparities.
  • Ben Morgenroth for Teacher Retirement System Teacher Trustee: Advocating for the reform of Tier 6 and the establishment of independent oversight to ensure the financial well-being of active and retired members.

ICE-UFT calls for a renewed commitment to democratic principles, transparency, and accountability within UFT leadership. We urge Unity Caucus and Michael Mulgrew to heed the voices of educators, students, and community members demanding genuine reform and representation within the union.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Norm Scott, normsco@gmail. com, 917-992-3734