UFT High School Executive Board Update - Mid Year Report (2022-23)
Latest New Action caucus newsletter shares the work United For Change coalition high school executive board members have done to fight for our UFT union rank and file members, thus far
The following newsletter is published with permission from New Action. The Wire’s Union Talk section is committed to sharing the work, ideas, and viewpoints of our individual union members, groups, and caucuses within our educator union.
Dear UFT Member,
The New Action UFT caucus, as a member of the United for Change coalition (UFC), would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in last spring’s UFT election. UFC received 42% of the Active Teacher vote, 32% of the Functional vote, 30% of the Retiree vote, 43.83 % of the Middle School vote, and 55.87% of the High School vote.
Our 7 High School Executive Board members have been working the first half of the school year for all members and divisions.
Two of our resolutions have received bi-partisan support, while the majority have been shut down by our union bureaucracy. It is worth visiting Newaction.org to read the full informal minutes of UFT Executive Board meetings to get a sense of how hard New Action and other UFC members are working to represent us on the executive board. (**Also, visit ICEUFT for minutes of the September and October executive board meetings.)
However, for your convenience, some of that work is summarized below.
We have put forth the following:
A resolution to preserve our medical benefits for both active and retired members. This resolution, unsurprisingly, was defeated by Unity Caucus, i.e. the UFT leadership. As most of us know, the Mayor and UFT leadership are thus far unsuccessfully lobbying the City Council to do away with 12-126, a statute designed to protect health care for all City employees/retirees. That goal directly contradicts the mission of New Action, which is working behind the scenes to try and preserve traditional Medicare as well as high-quality premium-free healthcare for in-service members.
One resolution to organize and mobilize all members for a contract fight. (Again, defeated by Unity).
One resolution compelling full disclosure of a finalized tentative contract and memorandum agreements to prevent what happened in 2014 and 2018. We can’t allow back-room deal agreements to go into appendixes of which members aren’t informed before a vote.
One resolution on ending the disproportionate impact of discontinuances of high school probationary teachers. Unlike teachers of the elementary and middle school grades, high school teachers are discontinued from all of the DOE’s high schools, regardless of district, when they are discontinued or denied. This resolution, written by New Action and UFC, would compel the UFT to petition for equalizing the rights of high school teachers. The resolution received bipartisan support and will go to the Delegate Assembly for final approval.
One resolution on Tier 6 pension reform. This resolution would have made the UFT lobby for an immediate return to at least Tier 4 benefits, a return to a 25-55 option, exclude COPE funds from any politician who doesn’t support our pension goals, and compel the UFT to immediately mobilize if any new inferior pension tier is introduced. The resolution was defeated by Unity, who instead opted to push a ‘keep doing what we’re doing’ resolution on Tier 6 reform at the December DA. When New Action tried to put forth an amendment with most of the above goals, Unity defeated the resolution using a dubious parliamentary technicality.
A resolution to end the reign of terror on abusive administrators by forming bi-partisan “ swat teams “ to go into schools with a history of abuse and restoring the once-successful PINI program. This resolution was also defeated by Unity, who argued that their existing infrastructure is good enough.
A resolution to fund health care with taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Again, this was defeated by Unity Caucus, who would rather save money by forcing retirees onto Medicare Advantage or making members pay premiums to keep existing traditional Medicare.
A resolution on creating a Minority Report, so UFT members get the full scope of debate in official UFT communications about contentious union issues like healthcare. This resolution was defeated by Unity, who disregarded the 15,092 UFT members who voted for United for Change.
A resolution to support the teachers who were allegedly abused by a group of administrators after being brought to NYC from the Dominican Republic. This resolution received bipartisan support and was introduced at the Delegate Assembly.
Currently, we are proposing the UFT use all of its resources to keep GHI premium free. We also urge all school chapters to support the UFT teach-in on Jan. 30th and build strong Contract Action Teams. We urge all of our supporters to participate and propose strong, collective rank & file actions.
Nick Bacon, Gregory DiStefano, Michael Shulman, New Action/UFT co-chairs
New Action/UFT is a caucus of the United Federation of Teachers
** represents an Editor’s Note
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