For the first time in 18 years, the UFT's Executive Board authorized the leadership to call a strike vote. The unanimous vote from the 300+ member Executive Board specifically authorizes UFT leader to EITHER conclude negotiations OR ask for a strike vote from the union's Delegate Assembly. The DA is set to meet tomorrow afternoon and will be inclined vote for whatever the leadership asks.
Today's vote came after a long day of unanswered questions with the anti-union members of the press reporting that UFT President was talking to members of the business community (and that Mulgrew did not at all look like he was about to go on strike), while members of the actual union openly expressed frustration and resentment at being used as pawns in someone else's game (see tweets below).
What’s frustrating is that teachers are 100% in the middle of this DeBlasio, Carranza, and Mulgrew game. it’d be nice to firmly plan for kids coming in and/or working remote. But we have nothing but mixed messages and a gross lack of guidance.— Nicole (@flyabluekite) August 31, 2020
The vote allows the union leadership to do pretty much what every leadership has been doing since the start of this pandemic: Whatever they hell they want and, while it leaves school teachers across the city waiting one more day to learn the outcome of the game that is being played, one caucus leader and long-time union activist received a one-line reply to his long, detailed email from a high ranking UFT official late in the day:
To date seventy (70) school staff members have lost their life due to the spread of COVID
To date zero (0) union staffers and officers have lost their life due to the spread of COVID.
I, for one, am grateful to know there is someone with whom I can share my thoughts.
(Editor's Note. It was nice to learn ... from the anti-union press .. via a talk with business leaders ..... that we probably we may not have to go on strike. I like not going on strike. It's nice. Truth be told, this whole pandemic has taught me that unions should be like a good expensive balsamic vinegar; always there in pantry incase you need it, but never on your mind until you do. And let's face facts, when the chips are down, the UFT is more than happy to oblige).
In the meantime, the Solidarity caucus is filing an injunction in court in the name of five of those pawns .. actual school teachers in New York City .. who will put their families at risk of extreme sickness or death should they return to work. From the Solidarity Press release:
Alarmed at what they have concluded is a dangerous and unsustainable safety plan, public school educators affiliated with the second largest caucus of the United Federation of Teachers have begun efforts that they hope will lead the largest school district in the nation delay a return to in-person instruction “until the City of New York has determined it safe to conduct indoor activities and the State of NY has removed all bans on large group events, as per Executive. Order No. 202.3 filed by Governor Cuomo from March 12, 2020.” The Solidarity Caucus helped fundraise for this litigation through small donations from other UFT members and community members using GoFundMe. At present the caucus has fundraised over $5700. They have retained Bryan Glass, a well-known and respected labor and education attorney in the New York region.
I'm sure the UFT will find the best the deal they can. I'm sure, when it arrives, that they'll assure us that it was the very best deal they could make under the circumstances. I'm sure we'll mostly be fine when we go back and I'm absolutely sure that any voices expressing dismay will be quickly quelled with the sudden magical appearance of UFT Unity loyalists on social media -folks who don't know how to defend a teacher but who sure as hell know how to ridicule them- shaming them into silence.
<goes back to eating doughnut>