Monday, May 11, 2009


We need and deserve a just contract, regardless of the economic crisis. What are realistic demands, that could be achieved with a strategy of militant grass roots involvement? Read tje text of TJC's latest leaflet below. To get a PDF, to download and reproduce for your chapter, reply to this email. If you need a hard copy to reproduce, or if you need us to send you multiple copies, reply specifying the number of copies, and the address to send them.

TJC demands: A Just Contract for Hard Times.

Our contract expires on October 31. At the April Delegate Assembly, the UFT leadership signaled it is preparing for negotiations by allowing some limited discussion of what our goals should be. It also announced there will be a membership survey soon.

Our past two contracts have been real setbacks for UFT members. (For more information, go to our website and click on "Recent Contracts: The Disaster of 2005 and the Shame of 2006") Unless we, the rank and file, speak out forcefully and independently, 2009 could further undermine our rights, working conditions and standard of living.

TJC believes these are some of the demands we need to reverse our union's tailspin:

No Givebacks, period.
We are working longer, harder, and with fewer rights and less support. Any giveback is unacceptable.

Win Back What We Gave Back!
Restore the two vacation days before Labor Day. Restore the right to grieve unfair and inaccurate material in our files.

Protect Our Schools! Protect Our Jobs!
To protect experienced teachers, restore centralized funding for teacher salaries. Unconditional no layoff clause. Due process rights for probationary members. Moratorium on costly school closings. No new hiring until all ATRs seeking positions have secured them.

No Merit Pay, Individual OR "School Based!"
No fair method for determining "merit" exists. The underlying assumption, that teachers hold back without a money incentive, is demeaning. Our union should be challenging these ideas, not accommodating to them.

Stop "Data Driven" Education!
Data should not be used to evaluate teachers, nor as the basis for any disparate treatment: programming, special observations, etc. Our students are individuals, not mass produced standardized commodities.

Protect Our Rights!
Justice delayed is justice denied: if a grievance is not heard and decided within the time limits, the grievant should win. In disciplinary cases, accused members should have the right to know the charges against them, or discipline should be dropped. Their representatives should have rights to investigate equal to the DoE's powers.

Cost of Living Adjustment
Annual across-the-board wage increases to cover any rise in the cost of living, to safeguard our standard of living against inflation which might be triggered by expansion of deficit spending.

If we want our union to adopt these demands, we must pressure our leadership to mount a fight. Teachers for a Just Contract has always said that we won't win a just contract with the UFT leadership's strategy of lobbying, supporting "friendly" politicians, givebacks, or rallies that express more symbolism than power. The union's twenty year downward spiral proves this.

Instead, we need grassroots activism, rank and file democracy, and militant shows of strength.

If this makes sense to you, please contact us.

You are invited to the next TJC meeting, on Friday, April 24, at 4 PM, at at Stuyvesant High School, room 303 or 305. We will be discussing budget cuts, and spring chapter elections. If you are interested in attending, please reply to this email, so you can receive a copy of the agenda and any materials to be discussed.

Protest March Against NYC School Closings
Thursday, May 14 3 - 7 PM
Gather at Battery Park, walk to Depart. of Education Offices at Chamber Street and Broadway
For more information, call 718 601 4901 or email gemnyc @

Contract expiration is right around the corner. The April Delegate Assembly will be dedicated to "our aspirations for bargaining," with an open mike as soon as Weingarten finishes her report, i.e., five minutes before the automatic time to adjourn. With that in mind, the meeting will go an extra hour until seven. Also, Weingarten discusses Obama on merit pay, her reconciliation with Mayor Mike, and how well things went in Albany. However, a member asks a question about healthcare costs, and she goes right back into "it's the 1970s again and it's givebacks or layoffs" mode. For a copy, reply to this email and ask for the March D.A. notes.

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