I don't typically repost words from Unity UFT folks. (It's nothing against them. They seem like fine folks I just typically don't). But this, from Unity's Gene Mann is simply too good to not post.
You must be aware that schools are slated to reopen with the assurances of Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza that everything will be safe. You also know that the UFT can’t accept promises as guarantees of your health and safety. (See the President Mulgrew’s letter below).
The schools cannot without adequate supplies, protocols, and testing.
If those conditions cannot be met, you shouldn’t go to work.
Even if you have been granted a medical accommodation, you shouldn’t work.
(Your accommodation is only good until December 31st. You need to be
assured that you will be returning to a safe environment. You need to be
mindful that, if you weren’t a member of a union, you wouldn’t have been
offered an accommodation at all.)
You will be meeting with your Chapter Leader and District Representative in the next week. I’ve appended a schedule for some Queens high schools.
At that meeting you will be organizing for a series of urgent actions which may culminate in a strike, our first in 45 years.
I may be called upon to contribute to some of those meetings, as I have at other times this summer, as a strike veteran. On those occasions folks expected that I would explain the facts and fables about striking and thereby violating the Taylor Law.
That’s the last thing I want to talk about.
This is not 1975.
This is not about wages, and class size, and building assignments.
This is 2020.
This is about lives.
I’ve spoken to some Chapter Leaders who want to survey their members.
No. (“Hey people, would you be interested in a strike?”)
We must unite around the belief that we will do anything, even breaking the law, to protect ourselves and our families, our students and their families, our colleagues and our communities.
Chapter Leaders have asked what to say to members who won’t support us.
In 1975 what would you have said to someone who weakened your ability to bargain for decent wages and working conditions? (You may recall Marco, in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge: “Eddie Carbone, you have stolen the bread from the mouths of my children!”)
In 2020 what will you say to someone who says to you (without a face covering, of course) “I don’t care about you or anyone else. I’m not going to risk the possibility of a fine or other penalty and certainly not get in the principal’s bad books.”
That’s where we are. Everything else about 2020, the Year of Novel Coronavirus, has been novel. In the past two years you have beaten back Cuomo’s Constitutional Convention and weathered Samuel Alito’s horrible opinion in the JANUS case. Now it’s time to stand strong.
It is a matter of life and death.