Tuesday, March 13, 2007

TJC Answers Weingarten/Unity Lies

Showing their desperation at facing a genuine militant opposition, Weingarten and her Unity Caucus have resorted to the most outrageous lies and slanders.

Their shameless smear job comes in the form of an oversized campaign postcard mailed to UFT members' homes without a return address or designation as campaign literature, in violation of election rules and possibly paid for by members' dues in violation of the law.

They denounce presidential candidate Kit Wainer as a "militant socialist." But what's wrong with that? The New Action members Unity has cross endorsed include longtime open members of the Communist Party USA. There's nothing wrong with that! Weingarten and her predecessors Feldman and Shanker were all socialists, card-carrying members of the Social Democrats USA, an offshoot of the American Socialist Party. There's nothing wrong with that! Eugene Debs, one of the greatest union leaders in American history, was proud to be a militant socialist. Weingarten and Unity want to say that militant socialism is "back in the "last century." That's right: the century when the UFT itself organized through a series of militant strikes, when our union made real progress for members.

But there is one part of the "last century" Weingarten and Unity do seem stuck in: McCarthyism and red-baiting. Will someone please tell these people this is 2007, not the 1950s? What's next from Unity? Gay-bashing? Racial slurs?
Let's take the wild, false charges one at a time.
*The Truth: TJC is totally and unconditionally opposed to any unprepared, irresponsible or impulsive strike. As our presidential candidate, Kit Wainer, was quoted in The Chief newspaper, March 9, 2007, "With the Taylor Law, it's not enough to just say if you strike, then you win. You need to prepare in advance, through months of mobilizations and education, and members need to be in control when they go back. The transit workers' strike in December 2005 was not the model to use for a walkout."
*The Truth: It was Weingarten's Unity caucus that has held two strike authorization votes (in 1993 and 2002) WITHOUT ANY PLAN for how to win a strike if one took place.
*The Truth: In our leaflets, on the Internet, and on the floor of the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly, TJC has consistently presented detailed plans to prepare the UFT to win a just contract, including, but not exclusively, blueprints on how to prepare ourselves to pose a credible threat of a winning strike.
*The Truth: We have consistently produced the leading ideas of this union, with Weingarten's Unity Caucus lagging behind us, first attacking our ideas and then quietly picking them up and pretending they were their own. For example:
*The Truth: At the November 2004 Delegate Assembly, it was TJC that proposed that the UFT reject all added time in our next contract. Weingarten and Unity attacked us. Then, in 2006, Weingarten adopted this demand and pretended it was her idea.
*The Truth: At the April 2006 Negotiating Committee Meeting, it was TJC that proposed that the UFT reject all givebacks in the next contract. Weingarten and Unity attacked us. Then, in October 2006, she adopted this demand and pretended it was her idea.
*The Truth: At the Executive Board in January 2007, it was TJC that proposed that the UFT mobilize the membership against threats to tenure and job security. Weingarten's Unity Caucus rejected this. At the very next meeting, a Unity member made the very same proposal, and this time the Unity Caucus all voted to accept it!
Today, TJC is proposing we organize to win back what we gave back. We challenge Weingarten and Unity to adopt this demand and organize to win it.
*The Truth: TJC opposed Weingarten's 2005 contract because of the longer day, the longer school year, the loss of the right to grieve letters and observations, the loss of the right of excessed teachers to be placed in another school, the more onerous "professional and administrative" assignments and many other givebacks, and the fact that it did not keep pace with the cost of living in NYC.
*The Truth: Weingarten's charge that we wanted to slash starting salaries for new hires is an outright, bald, blatant and shameless lie. We challenge Weingarten to produce any evidence whatsoever that TJC ever took anything remotely resembling this despicable position.
*The Truth: We opposed the 2005 contract because it hurt ALL UFT members, from the newest to the most senior, in every kind of school and license. TJC has always worked to unite all UFT members.
We are truly sorry that Weingarten and Unity have descended to personal attacks. But we feel it shows that they are afraid of the truth: their policies have failed. They know that only lies - big, blatant lies - can save them. The truth is, the UFT needs new leadership and TJC can help provide it.

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