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Sign the Petition!

Occupational and physical therapists are an unseen part of New York City’s education community. But without OTs and PTs, thousands of the city’s promising – yet disabled – students would fall through the cracks.

That’s why we’re alarmed that these therapists continue to be valued less than their equally critical peers: the teachers, social workers, school psychologists and others – who along with OTs and PTs provide immeasurable support for the city’s youths.  Surprisingly, experienced OTs and PTs are paid 38 percent less than teachers and speech therapists with the same levels of education.

New York City’s OTs and PTs are quietly turning around the lives of physically and emotionally challenged students, helping them overcome profound disabilities to reach their potential in the classroom. That’s not just good for families – it saves taxpayers money and generates revenues for the school system.

All we ask for is fairness. Without equity, students with disabilities are in danger of losing a critical support network, a lifeline that will help them graduate and become productive New Yorkers.

The best OTs and PTs often choose other jobs where they’re paid according to their value. Those who stay – because of their commitment to the kids they’ve helped for years – often work second jobs to support their families.

We can all agree that our school children are our most precious resource. They represent the future of our wonderful city. Helping OTs and PTs remain in the New York City School System is another tool to help vulnerable students overcome obstacles and thrive.

Let’s work together in support of our children. Let’s work together to support our OTs and PTs.

Sign the Petition!

Retro!

January 11, 2014 — 1 Comment
"MORE calls for full retroactive pay for NYC educators"

The City has the money and we can prove it!

Sign the Petition

by Harris Lirtzman, former deputy New York State comptroller from 2003 to 2007 and also a New York City special education teacher who was fired for blowing the whistle in 2011.

Few people attempt to explore the intricacies of the City’s budget and the operations of the Department of Education.  Fewer people return to tell the story. But any teacher in the City school system who wants to improve student achievement, push back against corporate education reform and be compensated fairly for the impossible working conditions in most City schools must look bravely at inscrutable rows and columns of numbers in the City’s $72.7 billion projected budget.  A lucky teacher can find someone to do the dirty deed for him or her.  I volunteer.

Last fall, soon-to-be ex-mayor Bloomberg issued his “Financial Plan, FY 2013-2017” as required by State law but also as a parting gift for the new mayor, hoping to lock him or her into a set of budget parameters for upcoming labor negotiations that would continue Bloomberg’s war on teachers.  But his plan may have backfired because when it’s closely reviewed, together with other budget reports issued last month by former City Comptroller John Liu and the City’s Independent Budget Office, it looks like there may be room for mayor-elect de Blasio to negotiate a contract with the UFT in good faith.

Surprised?

Despite Bloomberg’s repeated assertions of doom-and-gloom about the City’s financial situation after he leaves, his own plan indicates that there are likely to be more revenues over the next few years for labor contracts than Bloomberg would like to admit:

  • Wall Street profits were $23.9 billion in FY 2013 and are projected to be $13.4 billion in FY 2014 and stocks are at record levels. Continue Reading…

faircontractnow_logo

Saturday, January 18th 2014

12:00-3:00pm

 Facebook link here

If want to know more about how Movement of Rank and File Educators is mobilizing:
FOR a fair contract and a genuine voice for working educators within the UFT
AGAINST the deliberate undermining of public education and over-testing of our students, then this is your meeting.
Open meeting-all are welcome!

MORE 101 for the curious- find out what Social Justice Unionism is all about! Ask questions, raise your voice, join a committee.
Contract – What do UFTers want, how do we organize and fight against a bad contract proposal, what is the process for voting on a new contract?

Be sure to RSVP before Monday, January 13 to reserve childcare on-location ([email protected])

The Commons Brooklyn
388 Atlantic Avenue btw. Hoyt and Bond St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Directions to The Commons

By train
Hoyt-Schermerhorn; A, C and G
Bergen Street; F
Atlantic-Pacific; B, M, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Flatbush Avenue; LIRR
Check MTA.info before you leave, weekend travel changes due to repairs

By bus
B63 and B65

Don’t forget about our forum on High Stakes Testing on Saturday 2/1

More information here

There are 2 parking lots on Schermerhorn st btw. Hoyt and Bond for less than $10
Street and metered parking may be available

For most of the past five years, the city of New York’s workforce has been losing ground.
Starting in 2009, Mayor Bloomberg refused to negotiate new contracts for all city workers, effectively establishing a wage freeze while the cost of living in NYC continues to rise. Just over a year ago, city workers brought this city back from Super-storm Sandy.
We keep this city running every day.
We’re working harder and harder for less and less.
Not all New Yorkers have had to make such sacrifices. Since the massive financial crisis in 2008, and subsequent multi-trillion dollar federal bailout, WallStreet has made billions in profits – $24 billion in 2012 alone. Likewise, New York’s real-estate industry continues toboom, greased with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks. If we simply made the 1% pay their fair share, we would be able to fund city worker’s contract demands and restore Bloomberg-era funding cuts to much needed city services.
We Demand:
  •  Mayor DeBlasio negotiate full retroactive raises for all city workers and grant raises in line with the increased cost of living in New York City.
  •  The Municipal Labor Committee, the coalition of unions representing municipal workers, take a unified position and make these demands to Mayor DeBlasio during negotiation

Please take action now by:

1. Sign and share the online petition here 

2. Print the paper petition out and gather signatures at your workplace here

3. Like our FaceBook page and spread the word to your friends 

To NYC Municipal Labor Committee,

As you begin contract negotiations with the new de Blasio administration, the undersigned implore you to mobilize the full power of a united NYC public sector work force to put forward a powerful message.  After years of effective pay cuts, we expect and deserve not just a new contract, but one with retroactive wage increases and no givebacks.

NYC municipal workers have been working under worse conditions and for less pay than at any time since the recession of the 1970s.

Still, each and every day, we keep the city running. The deadly Superstorm Sandy showed the world, once again, the heroism of our nurses, firefighters, sanitation, transit, and other city workers, who saved the stranded and worked tirelessly to get the city back on its feet.

Why, then, are we losing ground?  Mayor Bloomberg has refused to negotiate new contracts for municipal employees.  With the cost of living on the rise, the net effect has been an across the board wage cut.  We are among the nearly half of New Yorkers — 49 percent — who are paying rents that federal benchmarks consider unaffordable.  Basic necessities increase as well.

Not all New Yorkers have had to make such sacrifices.  Since the massive financial crisis in 2008, and subsequent multi-trillion dollar federal bailout, Wall Street has made billions in profits – $24 billion in 2012 alone.  Likewise, New York’s real estate industry continues to boom, greased with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks.

To put it plainly, public sector and working-class New Yorkers have been subsidizing the billion dollar profits of Wall Street and the real estate industry with their tax money.

We are the teachers who put in extra hours helping kids learn. We are the health care and social workers taking care of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  We keep the garbage off the streets, we take people to work and to school, and we respond to every emergency.  We earn what we receive, unlike the billionaires who treat our city budget like their personal ATM.

The city CAN afford retroactive pay for city workers and not cut back on other services. The city has run budget surpluses of over a billion dollars for over half of the last 8 years, even after factoring in the estimated $3 billion in tax breaks businesses receive every year.  Small increases to taxes on high-end real estate, financial transactions, and other taxes on New York’s 1% could turn the pending municipal crisis around.

The fate of New York City’s municipal workers is of critical importance for all New Yorkers.  Underpaid and unemployed workers need subsidies to survive.  As our standard of living decreases, it strains the economy, hurts our families, and makes it harder to do our jobs.  If we fight for a just contract, and stand in solidarity with other important campaigns, like the low-wage workers who are fighting for a $15 minimum wage, then a rising tide can raise all boats.

New York City today is a tale of two cities.  If mayor-elect de Blasio genuinely wants to tackle income inequality, we urge him to start at the bargaining table with city workers.

Fairness, and good economic sense, demand full retroactive pay raises and full cost of living adjustments for all New York City municipal workers.  

Sincerely,

Movement of Rank and File Educators- The Social Justice Caucus of The United Federation of Teachers

A Fair Contract Now!

December 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

No-Contract-only-001

We have worked more than four years under an expired contract. We deserve more!

The Movement of Rank and File Educators believes we should not accept any contract that fails to win the following:

1. Full retroactive pay: We have lived through four years of a wage freeze. Yet our bills, living costs, and transportation have not been frozen. If we agree to a contract now that doesn’t give us full retroactivity we are inviting the city to simply stall all future negotiations in order to impose a de facto wage freeze on us again and again.

2. Clear, enforceable language for reduction of paperwork: The new evaluation scheme, with its artifact collection and the scrutiny of lesson plans, has brought with it enormous paperwork burdens. The current contractual language for paperwork reduction (Article 8I) is toothless, while our right to control lesson plan format (8J) has become difficult to enforce.

3. Revision of the teacher evaluation plan to fix:

  • The Measures of Student Learning that inappropriately rate teachers on work outside of their own subject area and classes.
  • The use of the Danielson Framework, a one-size-fits-all rigid teaching prescription that takes away all teacher autonomy.
  • The problematic use of high stakes tests in teachers’ evaluations. As the UFT’s 2007 task force said, “The American Education Research Association has stated that tests are always fallible and should never be used as high stakes instruments.”

4. Pattern Bargaining: In 2008 most municipal union workers received 4% raises; UFT members have yet to receive anything. Pattern bargaining has been the traditional method for deciding raises for many years, we can not allow the city to deviate from this, because it will set a precedent that will allow them to negotiate no raises for UFT in coming years. This process has kept our unions strong and working together for many years, not receiving the same raise as the other city workers would threaten the very being of the labor movement in NYC.

5. Increased Wages: The city will argue they cannot afford to pay us the retroactive wages we deserve and increase our salary. The data says otherwise: Since 2005, the city has had annual budget surpluses ranging from $2 billion to well over $4 billion. Mayor Bloomberg’s 2014 Executive Budget states that Wall Street profits rose to $23.9 billion in 2012, (third highest on record) and will be $13.4 billion in 2013, tax revenue continues to increase. Let’s not forget the city continues to waste money; The Office of the New York State Comptroller issued an audit examining the DOE’s $342 million in non-competitive contracts. In 2013 the cost of the networks that’s schools belong to was at least $76.6 million. Millions of dollars are wastefully spent on educational consultants, test prep companies, Common Core/Danielson implementation, and on other failed projects such as ARIS and CityTime. We live in the most expensive city in the world and it’s time to give UFT members the raises we deserve!

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By Mike Schirtzer

Teacher/UFT Delegate

Leon M. Goldstein High School- Brooklyn, NY

Congratulations, Mr. Mayor Elect, no matter one’s politics there is universal agreement that twelve years of rule is enough, it’s time for a new day. I’m sure you have already heard from the so called education experts on how to best “fix” our schools. Some of our friends have already told you how to best address the education needs (Diane Ravitch and Assailed Teacher). Rather than write you a laundry list of everything we want to help our public school system we have one simple request; visit our public schools and speak to the real stakeholders, educators, parents, and of course our children.

There it is Mr. de Blasio, you have already said education is a top priority, so take time and actually show up unannounced to public schools around New York City. Please don’t show up with an army of advisors and consultants, when the “iPad mafia’ comes in from the DOE it disturbs our classroom by diverting our students attention. You do not need cameras or reporters either. It’s simple, show up, sit down, listen, observe, ask questions and find out the truth for yourself. Our elementary school teachers have a great expression, “use your five senses,” that’s great advice that can help your evaluation. I know there are bunch of folks at Tweed (DOE headquarters) who have fancy titles and resumes full of “qualifications’ that they believe makes them experts, but better to speak the real experts, the people on the ground, find out the truth for yourself.

Visit all types of schools, ones that are considered high performing, ones that have been labeled “failing,” those that are forced to share room with charters, schools in communities where poverty is the norm, and schools where parents associations and alumni have made up for the wave of budget cuts. When you get there sit in on our classes, watch what teachers do. Take time to speak to them afterwards. Find out from teachers about how all these new policies such as Common Core  standards, new aligned curriculum, evaluation schemes, and proliferation of testing is affecting our students. After you’re done talking to teachers, visit the guidance counselors, deans, paraprofessionals, and other educators and find out their thoughts on all the changes made in the last twelve years.

Hopefully you can find some principals and assistant principals to talk to who preceded the Bloomberg era and can explain to you how our school system has changed for the better or the worse. Ask them their thoughts on the leadership academies, where inexperienced educators are left to run their own schools. Ask them how much sovereignty they actually have. It would be a really good idea to sit down and run a budget analysis with them, make sure to to focus on the allocations for “network support” and “educational consultants”.  It would also help you out to ask our school leaders about networks, superintendent offices, consultants, Tweed, and if all that money being diverted to these levels of bureaucracies could be better used in the schools. Find out the impact that these so called experts are having on our children and if we can better allocate public funds, such as reducing class size, adding more after-school programs, and wrap-around services.

And while you are talking to the educators and leaders, meet with parents, ask them their thoughts on all the new curriculum changes and testing. Find out how closing schools and co-locating ten schools in one building is affecting their children’s education. Ask them how to fix education and if poverty matters. Give them the “company” line that “poverty is just an excuse”, lets see their reaction to that! Ask them if the lack of healthcare or a pathway to citizenship affects their children’s education.

Finally, make time to sit down with the most important group of all, the real experts, our students. Have lunch with them, taste the food, find out their thoughts on school, what they want, what they need. Do they like all the test prep, less creative-arts classes, less physical education, less after-school programs, What do they think of their teachers, their principals, all the school faculty? Talk to the children who had their community schools closed or lost space to fancy new charters, investigate what has been the impact of Bloomberg’s policies on these innocent children. Ask our students how education can be improved, talk to high school students about the limited choice of courses due to budget cuts, find out how our younger elementary children have gone from playing and enjoying school to being drilled for tests on a daily basis, discuss with our middle school children how much stress they have from the constant practice for their ELA and Math exams. The main question for all our children has to be, is the obsession with bubbling in the correct answer making your educational experience better?

We don’t think this is too much to request. Visit schools, talk to the stakeholders, and let these conversations dictate your educational policies and choice for chancellor, not the experts who are lined up at your door, but have never spent a day in our schools. This is our only wish, Mr. Mayor Elect, we only hope you take our advice. As one of the few, if not the only organized group of actual rank and file educators that are actively working in public schools we are more than happy to open our doors to you.

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By Kit Wainer

Teacher/Chapter Leader Leon M. Goldstein High School

2007 TJC/ICE UFT Presidential Candidate

The UFT leadership’s strategy for winning us a fair contract crashed and burned on September 10. Although we have been working under an expired contract since October 2009 UFT President Michael Mulgrew has refused to lead us in the kind of movement that could have pressured the Bloomberg administration to negotiate in good faith. Instead, the president and the ruling Unity caucus banked everything on the 2013 mayor’s race. They calculated that by backing a winning candidate they could get us a friendly mayor from whom they could expect a fair contract. No union or community mobilization would be necessary. It was a naive strategy from the beginning. But when Democratic primary voters rejected Bill Thompson, the UFT’s choice, they also foiled the entire UFT strategy.

Mulgrew’s strategy

From his presentation to the September 12 Chapter Leaders meeting, one never would have guessed that Mulgrew’s electoral strategy had failed. There was no reflection on the strategic choice UFT leaders made in early 2013. Nor was there consideration of the implications of Thompson’s defeat for UFT strategy in the future.

Yet throughout the spring of 2013 the Mulgrew/Unity leadership imbued the Democratic primary with historic importance. Insisting that it would be impossible to negotiate with City Hall until Bloomberg left office, Mulgrew gradually built dramatic tension over whether to participate in the mayoral race and whom to endorse. UFT Political Action Director Paul Egan gave scientific-sounding presentations to the Delegate Assembly outlining the metrics the union would use to evaluate the race, judge the viability of each candidate, and determine the UFT’s potential impact. After deciding to enter the race the union hosted candidate forums in each borough office, fueling speculation about whom the UFT would ultimately pick. The drama culminated in the Thompson endorsement at the June Delegate Assembly. June’s dull-crescendo was well orchestrated, if somewhat insulting. The delegates were allowed to democratically vote on the endorsement. Yet the choice of Thompson had already been leaked to the press before the delegates arrived. There were already Thompson yard signs printed with the UFT’s name on it. And Thompson himself was in attendance at the Delegate Assembly before the vote had been taken.

The undertone of all of Mulgrew’s and Egan’s presentations last spring was that then-front-runner Christine Quinn would continue Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s agenda, but if the UFT could swing the primary to a different candidate, that candidate would owe us something after the election. The assessment proved to be wrong in every respect: Quinn’s front-runner status was short-lived for reasons that had nothing to do with the UFT, the UFT’s candidate lost by a substantial margin, and there is simply no evidence that the UFT had any meaningful impact on the race.

What went wrong?

The Mulgrew/Unity strategy was flawed from the beginning. UFT leaders fundamentally misunderstood where our union’s strength lies and gambled the union’s energies and resources in a game that is rigged against us.

Underlying the UFT’s approach to the 2013 elections is the assumption that the union’s strength comes from its treasury, its phone banks, its staff, and its political connections. The UFT is, after all, a substantial institution with a large full-time staff, millions of dollars in monthly dues income, and hundreds of millions worth of New York real estate assets. But no labor organization will ever have the financial or bureaucratic resources to compete with hedge fund billionaires, corporate networks, or political machines that are more than a century old and have a significant stake in influencing the next mayor. Those elite forces can outspend, out advertise, and out phone-bank any union. No wonder the UFT has not picked a winning mayoral candidate since 1989.

What’s a union to do?

October 2013 will mark our fourth year working under an expired contract. Yet the UFT has not yet begun to organize union members for the kind of fight that would be necessary to win us a good deal. Nor has it begun to build grass roots community movements against school closings, test-driven curricula, and school privatization that could change the political climate in the city. Instead of staking our futures on the union’s ability to influence the mayor’s race, the UFT should have followed the example of the Chicago Teachers Union. In fact, it is not too late for our union to do so now.

In 2012 the Chicago Teachers Union launched a series of escalating mobilizations — pickets, rallies, marches — culminating in a strike last September. At the same time they built alliances with parent and community organizations against corporate “education reform” and against the destruction of neighborhood schools. The CTU exposed the racist nature of the broad attacks on public education by pointing out that schools in low-income, non-white neighborhoods were among the first to be closed. The UFT should follow the Chicago example and begin a city-wide fightback involving union members and parent and community activists.

We also need to democratize our union. At no point last spring did members ever have a forum in which they could discuss strategy, or even provide input on whom the UFT should endorse or whether a mayoral endorsement was the best tool to win a good contract. Ironically, the undemocratic nature of UFT decision-making probably hampered the leadership’s ability to influence the Democratic primary. Few union members seemed to know or care whom their leaders had endorsed. So far there is no evidence to suggest that the UFT endorsement even influenced how union members voted. We need a leadership that can win back the confidence of a membership that is becoming increasingly discouraged and tuning the union out.

On September 18 the UFT Delegate Assembly voted to endorse Democratic nominee Bill DeBlasio. Once again Mulgrew had already held a media event with the DeBlasio before the DA had a chance to vote. No delegate was allowed to speak against the motion to endorse the Democratic candidate and DeBlasio arrived just as the vote was being taken.

Regardless of what happens in the general election the union should start now to mobilize us and our communities against the horrors of the new evaluation system, school closings and privatization, and test-driven curricula. If we do that we have a chance to turn this union around, pressure the next mayor, and  win a decent a contract. But simply waiting for a new mayor is not viable strategy. Nor is any course of action that relies exclusively on union staff, dues income, and political connections. The UFT now has 170,000 members. We need to remember that word: “members.”

These views may or may not represent the official position of the MORE caucus

alt="capybaras agree NYC educators need a new contract"

Too long without a contract!

2013 MORE Summer Series

Discuss, Debate, Educate!

Forums, Guest Speakers, Open-Discussions, Get-together’s

RSVP and share our facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/177003385802348/

Every Other Thursday this Summer!

Local 138  138 Ludlow St  (btwn. Rivington & Stanton) NYC  4:00-7:00PM

Happy Hour $3 draft beer, $3 wines, $3 well drinks
 Nearest Transit Stations: Delancey St. (F), Essex St.  (J,M,Z) 2nd Ave St (F)

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) is a caucus in the United Federation of Teachers that was created in 2011 to transform our union into one that will stand up and fight for the rights of educators, students and communities.  MORE is building a movement against privatization, school closings, and high stakes testing. MORE challenged the UFT leadership in the Spring 2013 union election because we believe in democratic, rank and file led union. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.

 

July 11: High Stakes Testing and the Schools Our Children Deserve

We’re kicking off the summer series by taking a look at the effects of high stakes testing in our schools. Parents from Change the Stakes will be joining us to discuss why a growing parent movement against the high stakes nature of these tests is mounting not just in NYC but statewide and nationally. Discuss HST and its use as a vehicle for enabling destructive policies such as school closures & ranking and sorting students that leads to the school to prison pipeline. The socioeconomic and racial disparity in these policies has been downplayed and must be brought to light. This will be a great opportunity to discuss teacher and parent concerns as well as ways in which we can support each other and build a movement towards enabling schools that our students deserve.

 

July 25: UFT/AFT Leadership: Friend or Foe?

A full understanding of the role the UFT/AFT leadership plays is a crucial step for any caucus. Through what lens does an opposition caucus in the UFT view Unity, the dominant party in power? As potential partner, foe or something in between?

·       To what extent can a caucus challenge the leadership without being accused of promoting an antiunion mentality amongst a disaffected membership?

·       Can a caucus create pressure to force changes in policy or would such changes be cosmetic, co-opting the opposition while strengthening the leadership?

Come to an open debate and discussion on these crucial questions that must be explored before any caucus can grow!


 

August 8: How Do We Fight For a New Contract?

UFT leadership’s only fair contract strategy is to influence the Democratic mayoral primary with the hope that the new mayor will feel obliged to the UFT. The problem with this is that after the election, the UFT will have no leverage over the Mayor and we will be negotiating 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.

Why Union Contracts Are Good for Educators-and the Public.

Strategies for winning a contract that: can protect us from the worst aspects of the new evaluation system

How do we protect educators’ and students Rights?

Supporting Teacher Professionalism & Checking Administrative Power

August 22: The First Days of School: How to Build an Active Chapter 

The first days of school are a busy time for teachers. In addition to setting up our classrooms and preparing lessons for incoming students, we are typically inundated with mandates and requests from administration. This summer, the Movement of Rank and File Educators will hold a discussion and training session for all teachers (not just chapter leaders and delegates) on the First Days of School, and how we can get off on the right foot educating, organizing, and mobilizing our coworkers.  Topics include but are not limited to:

·       Overcoming anti unionism/E4E

·       Overcoming apathy

·       Overcoming fear/Dealing with difficult supervisors

·       How to get your UFT chapter started and building a consultation committee

·       Getting support for first-year teachers?
When is it time to file a grievance about class sizes, programs or other matters?

If you have any ideas based on your first days of school, please contact MORE!

 

Email MORE at :  [email protected]

Visit us at:  morecaucusnyc.org

facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC Twitter.com/MOREcaucusNYC