The City Escalates its Assault on Educators; Educators Must Fight Back

Last Friday, the DOE released a miserable 2023-24 school calendar: significantly more work days than this year, several missing religious holidays, and parent teacher conferences scheduled on Fridays. Tellingly, the city did this without reaching an agreement with our union on a pilot workday. Union members have spent the week in a state of panicked confusion, unsure about the status of next year’s workday and ongoing SBO negotiations at their school. Make no mistake: this is an escalation of the city’s attack on educators and municipal workers in general. Eric Adams wants you to work harder, he wants you to work longer hours, he wants you to work for less money, and he wants you to work in a city with higher rents and declining services. Enough is enough!

MORE supports UFT leadership’s decision to call for additional mobilization against the City. We call on all our members to participate in school level organizing, to call emergency consultation meetings, and organize their coworkers to turn up the heat. However, we know that consultation meetings won’t be enough to stop Eric Adams’ assault on public education and our union must be prepared to meet the city’s escalation head on. 

We call on UFT leadership to enter a new phase of the contract campaign. Now that the city has proven a dishonest and uncooperative negotiation partner, the UFT must inform membership on the status of negotiations. What is our union demanding? What givebacks is Adams pushing for? What has already been agreed on and what are the remaining sticking points? 

We also call on our union to get ready for a real fight in September. If we do not have a fair contract, with raises that outpace inflation, we must develop a serious campaign of strike preparation, including pickets, walkins, work to time, sickouts and a strike authorization vote for an early fall strikeAs Mulgrew recently reminded us, our union can choose to go on strike if the city will not treat us with dignity. Our union must spend the summer escalating our contract campaign, organizing our membership, educating members about what it means to strike, and building strike committees in every school. And if a tentative agreement comes out without fair raises and improved working conditions we have to be ready to vote no on a bad deal and send our negotiators back to the table.

The MORE Contract Committee has been meeting every Tuesday at 7pm (zoom link here). Last week, we discussed actions we can take at the chapter level to prepare our chapters to understand and respond to a Tentative Agreement (TA), including mobilizing for a no vote. We need as many people as possible attending to help shape our strategy and take our fight to a new level.

Please also fill out this survey to share your thoughts about the status of negotiations and further escalations.