Four years and NO CONTRACT
October 2013 will mark our fourth year with no contract between the Department of Education and the UFT. Meanwhile, our wages have been stagnant, and the DOE is already imposing new contractual terms on us. The DOE is implementing the most anti-‐teacher interpretation of the Danielson framework possible, is transforming teachers into test prep coaches, and is making tenure elusive for most new teachers. According to Michael Mulgrew, 7% of teachers annually will have bad ratings under the new evaluation system, potentially leading to job termination. Unfortunately, the UFT leadership has cooperated with many of these policies.
We deserve more
- Real wage increases that help us keep pace with the rising cost of living and that improve starting teacher salaries.
- End to formal use of snapshot and informal observations.
- Contractual protections against abusive supervisors
- Contractual protections against any evaluation model that will allow administrators to rate everyone “ineffective”
- Due process for untenured teachers so that all have a clearpath to tenure
- Teacher control over Curricula
- Right to Permanent Placement for All ATRs.
Unfortunately, the current UFT leadership does not have an effective plan to win us such a contract. Their only strategy is to try to influence the Democratic mayoral primary and hope that the new mayor will feel obliged to the UFT after the general election. The problem with this strategy is that once the election is over, the UFT will no longer hold leverage over the Mayor. We will then be negotiating when we are at our weakest. The lack of real UFT mobilization has given the green light to the DOE to violate our contract, increase the number of observations, and use partial observations against teachers.
Negotiating won’t cut it.
We need to ORGANIZE and mobilize! The June 12th rally should mark the beginning of a campaign of membership mobilization throughout the city. Next fall, UFTers should be picketing outside schools, holding district and borough protests, and citywide actions that disrupt business as usual. That is the model the Chicago Teachers union pursued in the fall of 2012 when the CTU successfully resisted the Mayor’s demands for draconian givebacks. Our Union must learn from our brothers and sisters in the windy city and begin to mobilize here at home.
Our Working Conditions are Our Students’ Learning Conditions
MORE is dedicated to social justice unionism because we understand that a good contract is not only about our rights as educators. It is also about our ability to be the best educators we can for our students. Attacks on tenure mean attacks on our ability to stand up for our students and speak out when we see injustice. Evaluations attached to test scores mean narrowed test prep curriculum and learning environments that are toxic and lead to students being left out of education. Ultimately, we understand that a good contract for teachers means a good learning environment for students.
GET INVOLVED join the contract committee
If you agree with these ideas please join the MORE contract committee.
The committee was launched by the Movement of Rank and File Educators but is open to any UFT member – regardless of political affiliation – who wants to work with us to chart a new course to win a fair contract. We are also forming a U ratings committee, to fight unfair U ratings. Contact us for more information.
The next contract committee meeting will be held June 19, after the UFT Delegate Assembly 6:15pm at Blarney Stone 11 Trinity Pl NYC (One block west of UFT). For further details about the meeting or information, please contact [email protected]
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