Thursday, September 18, 2014

Join The New UFT Caucus - Solidarity, Where Mainstream Teachers Have A Real Voice.

























There is a new UFT Caucus that has formed that will be focused on "teacher justice", not social justice,  and will act as a real trade union, representing school staff in the New York City public schools.  This new and dynamic caucus is call "Solidarity" and will represent the mainstream educators, the disenfranchised ATRs, and those without tenure.  This caucus will be a real trade union caucus and will not dilute the message by having a "social justice" plank or spend member money on causes that the union leadership decides, without member input.

The "Solidarity" caucus will represent teachers and school staff. and not muddle their message with tangential issues that have nothing to do with education.  If you are a teacher or school staff employee and want what's best for your school then its time to become a member of "Solidarity" who will advocate for the educator and not hugging the Chancellor or supporting marches that demonize fellow union members.

Join the "Solidarity" caucus and belong to a real union that represents school staff and help improve the hostile classroom environment that our present no-accountable union leadership allowed to happen on their watch.  Its time that the rank and file have a real union that listens to their concerns and that is "Solidarity".

"JOIN THE "SOLIDARITY" CAUCUS" 

 


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally!! Hallelujah! You mean it will be about the actual dues paying UFT member?

UFT Solidarity Caucus said...

The Perfect Union of Teachers
What would it look like?

http://solidaritycaucus.org/the-perfect-teachers-union/

catt55 said...

I've joined even though I retired in 2012. It's about time we get back to basics. Teachers come to work to teach, and deserve respect and support, not intimidation, harassment, and being constantly made to "prove" their worth as educators. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, baby! I'm not sure the UFT understands the level of hatred many have toward them. Not from admins and DOE officials, but from paying members.

Anonymous said...

And how will this will be different than MORE, ICE, New Action, etc? They all started with the intention of representing rank and file teachers and they never win.

Anonymous said...

chaz, not sure what this is....is this anti uft?? is it ok to sign up?? why is this being formed within a union?? a union within a union?? not sure about this even though 10 year vet

Chaz said...

Anon 2:18

The "Solidarity" caucus will only be involved with teachers isues and not the "social justice" nonsense that dilutes the message.

Francesco Portelos said...

We welcome retirees.

Solidarity caucus is different so far in 48 hours that we have new activists, not previously in other caucuses, join.

It will be a 4 U By U organization that feeds the hunger our rank and file have.

Anonymous said...

Seems like at least one "founder" of this Caucus is also on the steering committee of MORE.

Is this just a new name for MORE.

Portelos, Jones, Julie, Norm the whole gang.

Philip Nobile said...

Portelos is a breath of fresh air, a creative resister without baggage, our best bet to rally the silent majority of UFT rank and file. But his caucus concept will be obstructed, I predict, by the usual suspects. You know who you are.

Francesco Portelos said...

Anonymous 8:19,

I resigned from MORE steering after some major differences. I spearheaded this new caucus with the consultation of other that were in and out of MORE. We assure you it is not the same caucus.

ReadyToRetireNow said...

Anon 8:19, so what else is new? Same characters, different masks. Sad to say, nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

As MORE was in the process of creating their brand, several involved members warned that the focus needed to be solely on the needs of the rank and file.
The members have very pressing concerns in their immediate existence given the current state of public education and education reform. Keeping the job, paying the mortgage, staying afloat in the paradigm of the economy of the 1% are the issues that the members are focused on. Couple that with the oftimes incompetent, very unbalanced and toxic administrators working for the DOE, a caucus that hones in on these issues gives the members something tangible that they can truly relate to. A caucus that recognizes, honors, and meets their needs, as we all know the UFT Unity club does not.
Portelos has been there. He knows the score and has the strength of conviction and courage to stand up for the members and what is right.

Chaz said...

I have been advocating for a narrowly focused trade unionist approach and none of the caucuses mmet my criteria. However, I believe Solidarity is the answer and that's why I joined.

John Yanno said...

I am a member of the MORE Caucus. I am glad (I suppose) that teachers who tried out MORE but didn't agree with its social justice plank have found a new home. I never understood why some folks would join an organization they already knew they disagreed with. I will miss trying to convince my sisters and brothers about why social justice unionism is needed, but I will not miss some of the unprincipled attacks that have been lobbed at us from the safety of home PCs.

I will not be joining the Solidarity Caucus because I teach in a city where my students' living and learning conditions are my teaching conditions. Here is a hypothetical - say I have a student who comes to school hungry. Times are tough in his family and sometimes there isn't enough to eat. He finds it hard to concentrate, stay awake, and complete assignments. If I limit my activism to “real trade union” issues, how does that help my student? How does that help me teach him? How does that help him learn? If I care about the education of this child, shouldn't I fight against the poverty that causes him to come to school hungry and miserable? I think we know what Maslow would say, right? Another hypothetical - Jonathan Kozol has shown that without a doubt, black and Latino schools are underfunded. What type of teacher am I if I limit my activism to “real trade union” issues and don't demand racial and economic justice for my students?

The problem is that neither of these are actually hypotheticals - they are two of many situations I have faced in my 12 years teaching in New York City. You don’t need 12 years to see these problems. Anyone who has taught a day in NYC has seen the effects poverty, racism, hunger, housing and income inequality, etc., have on our students.

Fighting for social justice is not separate or superior than “real” trade union issues - they are connected. We are in the business of educating children, not manufacturing widgets on an assembly line. Our “widgets” have physical, emotional, intellectual, and social needs that need to be met. Teaching in a bubble out in the suburbs, one might be blind to these struggles. But if you are a teacher in a large city like ours and turn a blind eye, never mind create an entire caucus dedicated to not struggling against the racism and poverty we see every day... that is something I couldn’t do. I didn’t go into education to turn a blind eye as my students suffer.

Social justice unionism isn’t “diluting” the message. Social justice unionism is standing up for all the things that led us to become teachers in the first place.

Chaz said...

11:19

We see it differently. I see it that if you improve teaching conditions in the classroom, it will benefit all the students.

Anonymous said...

John,

I am a proud member of both MORE and Solidarity. Both are of vital importance! I love my social justice but I also happen to love teacher justice. Believe it or not, there can be harmony between both union caucus. No reason why you cannot join both. Isn't this what Portelos said on the MORE message board: "It's not a cafe opening up to an existing cafe. Rather it's a bar (restaurant?). Sometimes you want coffee, other times you want a beer."

Anonymous said...

As a longtime chapter leader, I see it differently as well.
A viable caucus meets the needs of the members. The immediate need of the rank and file is survival. There is an endless disconnect between the Unity caucus and the rank and file. The voter response in the last UFT election is evidence of that disconnect. The members feel disenfranchised. Lofty ideals are important when you have the luxury of setting aside immediate survival. Holding onto your means to earn a living needs to trump looking at the bigger picture until you have created a position of strength.

ReadyToRetireNow said...

John, that's what social workers, guidance counselors and a host of other services/service workers are for. That's not to say I am unsympathetic to the plight of many of the students we work with, but I we also need people who "have our back...especially with all the negativity towards our profession by those who would have us transformed into inexpensive, "pay-as-you-go" day laborers.

Bronx ATR said...

To John,
I've worked in the worst neighborhoods in the city for over 20 years and I don't agree with you. The only really poor, struggling kids I see are the illegal immigrants. They really do need help. The vast majority of American kids I come across have iphones, several pair of Jordan's, their own room and are obsese. Their apartments are much larger than the typical teachers. They have a vicious sense of entitlement and are ready to claim anything when thwarted from their non- educational endeavors. Its important as a teacher to have a good heart, but it's also important to see reality.

Anonymous said...

I hope calling kids "illegal immigrants" and saying someone isn't poor because they are "obese" aren't official positions of the new caucus.

Anonymous said...

To piggy back off of the comment about having guidance counselors and social workers, what good is it for a teacher to protesting for better "learning conditions" for their kids if they have an administrator who loves to destroy teachers careers?

You can teach in the most affluent neighborhood in Long Island (an example), teaching kids who have stable two-parent families and don't go to bed hungry at night. Now say a group of those kids are classified as having an LD. As a teacher (say you are probationary), you realize they aren't getting their mandated Special Education services. You talk to their parents and a group of you go speak to the principal who talks a good game to all your faces and gives you empty promises the situation will be fixed.

A week after this conversation, you find yourself written up as "Ineffective" and you find yourself harassed. Several of the parents who rallied with you have told you that Principal has threatened to suspend their kid. Other parents and colleagues who you were previously cool with won't have anything to do with you.

Eventually you are forced to resign from the district with an end-of-year rating of "Ineffective" and you are finding it difficult to get a new job. Apparently Principal has a lot of influence. And, fyi, all your SPED kids were farmed out to poorer districts. No more SPED issues or teacher advocating for "student learning conditions."

My question to you all is: What good is it pushing for improved student learning conditions when bully admins like Principal are left at the helm to destroy teachers who stand up for students and their own rights as an educator? Teacher justice must come first!

John Yanno said...

Bronx - your offensive comments include all the coded buzz words - entitlement, illegals, and poor kids with Jordans. You even ignore studies showing the link between obesity and poverty to prove your point. I hope someone from the caucus distances the group from your offensive remarks.

Chaz said...

Anon 2:54

What do you call people who violate U.S. immigration laws and try to jump to the front of a line? World travelers?

Regarding the other issue, I agree with you. No need to insult by bringing in body image.

Bronx ATR said...

If it isn't it, it should be.

Anonymous said...

Is obesity a sign of hunger? Will not identifying illegal aliens make it easier to ignore them? Those kids are ignored and are in need

Anonymous said...

Obese isn't an insult, it's a medical condition. I'm doing cafeteria duty and pizza and French fries are served together, daily.

Bronx ATR said...

Unfortunately the truth is often offensive. Candy coating reality only results in what we now have.

Francesco Portelos said...

John I wish you and MORE great success in fighting alongside for the students. I taught in an unprivileged neighborhood with those hungry kids. The principal got fat off her double dipping and stealing while she swept seriously violent incidents under the rug. How many social justice groups were there? How many teacher justice groups were there as teachers were attacked? None.

I explain the issues I experienced here: http://protectportelos.org/from-the-frustration-chaos-a-new-uft-group-emerges/

Anonymous said...

Kids are fat from eating fast food and candy with high caloric content, grease and little nutrition. Fast food is also cheap. Poverty and obesity go hand in hand if your main diet is "junk food." Fruits and veggies are expensive. Healthy food is not cheap. Some poor neighborhoods do not get fresh food, but rather days old food in their stores -- leftovers from more affluent neighborhoods. Being obese does not necessarily mean well-fed. It is most certainly a sign of a bad diet which can occur for a variety of reasons. Who would eat a McDonald's cheeseburger if they could afford a steak. Let's not become so jaded by becoming narrow-minded educators akin to the narrow-mindedness we face from everyone else as teachers.

Anonymous said...

After reading John's comments to Bronx ATR I'm more than happy to leave MORE to go to Solidarity.

Anonymous said...

Bronx ATR - your comment is right on so don't listen to the birds on the fence who always have something to say. Truth of the matter is that this crap is getting out of hand with these kids who yes, have an entitlement issue and the only really poor, struggling kids I see are the illegal immigrants - yes illegal immigrants why do you jerks have a problem with that statement - oh yeah they want to call them undocumented!!). Whatever you call them they really do need help. The vast majority of our students / kids do have iphones, several pair of Jordan's, their own room and are obsese - reason is because they are eating like animals and the food is free. Also, the illegals have a vicious sense of entitlement and are ready to claim anything when thwarted from their non- educational endeavors. - so true.... This is reality people do not try to spin the Correct PC crap here.

ReadyToRetireNow said...

"I am for social justce". Barf. Join the peace corps, dudes.

Anonymous said...

John Yanno posted, "I will not be joining the Solidarity Caucus because I teach in a city where my students' living and learning conditions are my teaching conditions. Here is a hypothetical - say I have a student who comes to school hungry. Times are tough in his family and sometimes there isn't enough to eat. He finds it hard to concentrate, stay awake, and complete assignments. If I limit my activism to “real trade union” issues, how does that help my student? How does that help me teach him? How does that help him learn?" From my perspective, the teachers union should jump all over an issue such as this but it should be fought differently. It should be a fight for the teachers who are judged by the progress of children who go hungry. It should be part of the union's fight to not hold us accountable for factors BEYOND OUR CONTROL. Mulgrew et al should be spearheading the fight and call the mayor and the chancellor to task for allowing children to enter a classroom hungry. A few years back I had a student who could not read without his eyeglasses. He lost his eyeglasses and medicaid would not replace them. I sent several emails to my supervisor stating it is not reasonable to expect me to teach a child to read if he can't see the damn words on a page. It was an email campaign I did on my own and it resulted in the school administration making sure the student got his eyeglasses because admin knew I would hold everyone else accountable for factors beyond my control. The UFT should be encouraging and helping teachers with these school level fights. That's the way to link social justice with the plight of teachers. How dare NYC, NYS and the federal government hold us accountable when they fail the children on a daily basis...that's the stance I want my union to take...highlight the individual stories and pressure the powers-that-be to do their part. Hold the mayor and the chancellor accountable when kids can't see, are homeless, are hungry. All of these things affect the ability of a child to learn in class. Roseanne McCosh