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UFT – Today’s Delegate Assembly – January 2007

January 11, 2007 am31 9:55 am

These things bore me, but there is usually at least one thing that makes it worth having gone. Today there were 4:

1. resolution on the closing of schools

2. resolution on January 27 anti-war demonstration

3. Remarks by D32 DR

4. Maria Colon

Let’s start with 4), since it was the best. Maria Colon was the chapter leader at JFK HS in the Bronx. She caught one of the AP’s changing regents grades, landed herself in a full year hassle, and when she stepped down as chapter leader, found herself brought up on ridiculous charges. After a year (was it a year?) in the rubber room, Maria was fully exonerated.

Tonight a delegate from JFK took the mike, sort of at the wrong time, but no matter. She said something about JFK and harassment, and that Maria was in the room. We haven’t seen Maria in over a year. She was greeted with a standing ovation, made remarks thanking the entire UFT, and talking about the need to fight in the schools, and left to a second standing ovation.

(more beneath the fold) —>

3. The DA was kicked off by Randi introducing the District 32 District Rep (I didn’t catch her name). No matter. She talked about using Article 24 grievances (professional conciliation) successfully in her district against teacher’s college professional development (did I get that right?) and  about winning monetary damages for teachers who had more than the maximum 5 or 10 students in the 37 1/2 after school minutes.

The arbitrator decided to treat the violations like coverages, so the first one was a freebie, but each subsequent time it happened got paid at the coverage rate.

And, in case you wanted to know, I was part of a successful Article 24 grievance in the Bronx HS District, before the regions were set up. They can be powerful, but they require considerable work. Worth it, I think, if the stakes are high.

2. This union endorsed the January 27 march against the war in Washington DC, and agreed to provide bus(es) for members who want to go down. Remember, this union was once upon a time essentially pro-war. In fact, one retiree who gives rousing speeches (to support the invasion of Iraq, to support the invasion of Afghanistan), using langague that tended to intimidate the few of us who opposed those interventions from the start, he pathetically argued that UFTers were not interested in the war. It was nice to see the arguments being listened to and largely ignored. The voting was overwhelming.

1. Be it resolved that the UFT reaffirm its policy that the DoE refrain from closing/redesigning schools until independent studies are done to assess the effectiveness of its newly designed schools, as well as the overall impact of closing/redesigning schools on students, staff and communities throughout NYC; and be it further resolved that the UFT publicize the need for full funding of all schools, with particular attention paid to calling for extra funding for troubled schools in order to lower class sizes, to provide modern up-to-date facilities, and to establish safe and stable environments, as an alternative to closing schools and displacing students and staff, with the result of overcrowding neighborhood schools.

OK, I would have rathered union, not independent oversight, but still a good resolution. Passed overwhelmingly.

Oh, and the Inconvenient Truth motion didn’t make it. I hope it gets raised again. (we have it in my school, btw, and teachers are passing it around to show different classes)

It was moving seeing Maria Colon and watching the assembly’s reaction. Plus a few good resolutions. I left feeling ok.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2007 pm31 11:28 pm 11:28 pm

    Maria is one of the most honest straight shooters and always has, and will, stand up to injustice. Maria also signed up the same evening as the DA to run for the UFT Executive Board with ICE. The fight against injustice does not stop at the doors of 52 Broadway.

    And the resolution on the closing of schools was a watered down version of the one presented by ICE calling for a moratorium on school closings at the UFT Ex. Bd meeting the night before, after which Randi rushed forward with the weaker substitute.

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