Friday, May 01, 2015

A New Movement in NYSUT

A lot of NYSUT locals were upset at the coup last year that tossed most of its leadership. I got to meet a lot of them, and I was privileged to see visions of union that I'd never been shown in thirty years of UFT membership. I met people who opposed Common Core and Cuomo and made no bones about it. I met people who were shocked at the notion of surrendering hard-won rights for substandard contracts.

Despite Karen Magee's tough talk on Cuomo lately, neither she nor any of her Revive NYSUT pals did anything whatsoever to fight him when he was running for election. Nor did leadership of UFT, which represents 28% of NYSUT members but has 33% of the vote as a result of cash-strapped locals who can't afford weekend jaunts to the New York Hilton and elsewhere. Elsewhere this weekend is Buffalo NY, where the NYSUT Representative Assembly is meeting.

I would love to be there. I'm not because UFT sends only members of the UFT Unity Caucus who've signed loyalty oaths. Every one of them is a member of the statewide Unity Caucus. If I were there, I'd stand with Stronger Together, the first opposition caucus in NYSUT history. And they are many, as you can see.

Addressing the new Stronger Together Caucus, above, is none other than formidable PJSTA President Beth Dimino. If you want an idea of what she's all about, watch this interview.

And if you want to see what it looks like when hundreds of teachers stand up for public school teachers, students and parents, even if Governor Cuomo and Bill Gates don't approve, here are pictures. It can happen. And if it can happen in Buffalo, it can happen in NYC too.

Thanks to Mike Schirtzer and Brian St. Pierre

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