Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mark Naison: 5 Reasons To Vote NO on the New UFT Contract

5 Reasons to Reject the UFT Contract
(Friday May 23, 2014)

Recently, the administration of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), worked out a contract with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Now, Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT, is trying to cajole and bully members of the union to accept this contract. However, this contract is horrible for what it proposes and what it leaves out. Below, we have summed up 5 basic reasons why UFT members should reject this contract. If you are a UFT member please VOTE NO, if you know someone who is a UFT member, please share this information and ask her/him to VOTE NO!

1. Tomorrow is Not Promised to Anyone!
In this new “contract” the UFT members are promised raises that we were supposed to get when Mayor Bloomberg was in office. However, unless you are retiring by this June, you won’t see all the money that’s owed to you until 2020, two years after de Blasio’s term in office expires. Why would I wait to get what’s owed to me in 2020, when money later is worth less because of inflation and the rising cost of living? Also, when the Transit Workers negotiated their contract they were paid their money up front, not later when it is worth less. If we are serious about adequately paying our education workers then let’s not rip them off, let’s pay them now! Who knows if we will be here tomorrow to collect what de Blasio is keeping from us now? Tomorrow is Not Promised to Anyone!

2. We need to Unite, not be Divided and Conquered!
Currently, almost half of the active members of the UFT are not teachers, yet they are treated like second-class citizens. When paraprofessionals are under investigation they do not receive any pay, even when they are totally innocent. Also, out of the eleven UFT officers only one is elected to represent non-teachers and only if they don’t work for the Department of Education. Moreover, there is nothing in this contract that addresses the disappearing of Black and Latino educators. As less and less people of color are being hired to teach in our schools, and more and more of them are becoming ATRs (education workers without permanent schools), our teachers are looking less and less like our students, yet this contract says nothing about this racist injustice. To make matters worse, with this new contract, education workers are further divided by allowing some teachers to make more money by evaluating other teachers and being promoted to “master” and “ambassador” teachers. Using union members to regulate other union members violates a very fundamental union principle; In Unity there is Strength!

3. We Need to Stop the Lies and the Double Dealing!
Last year Mulgrew told union members that it was in our benefit to keep records of everything we did so that we could submit “artifacts” and justify our jobs. In this new contract he is now saying that we don’t need to do that. In the recent past, he said that we needed our evaluation to have 27 domains (or things to worry about) but now he says we only need to worry about 8 domains. Now, he is also telling us that ATRs should have a quicker process for being fired… but … they won’t be fired. Well, which is it? How is this supposed to be good for education workers, parents or students? It can’t be that everything is good for us as long as Mulgrew says it is. Can’t we figure out right from wrong? We need to demand RESPECT! Let’s stop the Lies and the Double-Dealing!

4. Privatization of our Public Schools Continues!
Despite Mulgrew and de Blasio’s supposed opposition to Charter Schools and the privatization of our public schools they have done nothing to stop this process. In fact, the current UFT administration has a contract with a company called Green Dot Public Schools to run charter schools. Moreover, the mayor is now trying to win over the Wall Street hedge-fund millionaires who are funding those privately run “charter” schools that are receiving public space and money. Instead of working to ensure that every neighborhood school provides a quality education for all of our children, there is not one single initiative that works towards this most basic principle of public education. This contract also does not challenge the current mayoral dictatorship of our schools! What happened to support for Popular Control of our schools, where parents lead the decision making process in collaboration with administrators, education workers and students? We need Popular Control of our schools!

5. Racism and Patriarchy Continue in the Curriculum!
There is nothing in this contract that changes or moves our current curriculum away from static, mind numbing racist, sexist and homophobic ideas and interpretations. In fact, the new “Common Core” and Danielson Evaluation have made it more difficult for educators to innovate and expand learning in their classrooms. All subjects should push to be more truthful about the accomplishments of all societies and people in our global village. We should also be more willing to challenge students with alternative answers and questions, which will enable them to be more creative, thoughtful and engaged in the learning process. However, there is not one word about challenging the curriculum status quo in this new contract. This contract also does not adequately address the current over-testing madness, the lack of funding for services students need, overcrowded classes, school discipline or the school-to-prison pipeline. There is too much that this contract leaves out!

Prepared by the Education Workers of the
People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular
For more information please contact (917)289-0964 or

No comments: