National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity
National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity
As the AFL-CIO holds its day of action across the US, protesting what has been cast as a likely loss in the Janus case, which the Right intends to use to destroy labor and the Left, a movement of school employees in West Virginia is showing organized labor what it means to be a union without the right to strike and without collective bargaining.
In its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.
Sarah Chambers is an award winning special education teacher in Chicago’s Saucedo Academy. Sarah is a local leader a national figure in the fight to defend and transform public education against the corporate education reform attack. She is a relentless advocate for special education students and LGBTQ students. Sarah is a published author, organizer, and speaker on issues of education reform and social justice.
During the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) spring break, Sarah Chambers, beloved to her special needs students, well-known (to staff and parents of her school), notorious (to CPS labor relations officials), received a letter saying she was suspended and had to stay away from the school. Though Sarah was an early member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) that is now the CTU’s elected leadership, she remained a teacher of special needs kids who represents her school in the House of Delegates and serves on the union’s Executive Board.
The situation at the University of Puerto Rico is framed within a context of a 10-year economic depression and unsustainable debt crisis, which was meant to be remedied by the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight Management Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), signed by President Obama, and its federal Fiscal Control Board (Junta de Control Fiscal, the word Junta in Spanish is politically charged). Similar to what was presented at the conference this weekend regarding Greece, South Africa and Mexico, the public university became, throughout the second half of the twentieth century, a vehicle by which many people have escaped poverty.
Public education is truly at a crossroads in the US, as are both the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA).
In this guest blog, Rick Baum, who teaches Political Science at City College of San Francisco and is a member of AFT 2121, reports on the struggle over accreditation and the continued attempts to destroy the institution.
What makes Nikhil Goyal’s analysis of the dangers in Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education so useful, beyond its incisive discussion of education reform, is that it captures the essence of the conundrum liberals face about fighting Trump on his Achilles heel: the grip the wealthy and powerful have on government which he will tighten.
Randi Weingarten, who engineered the 1.6 million member union’s early endorsement of Hillary Clinton has issued a statement about the election, lamenting that voters chose to believe Trump about economic insecurity, rather than hearing the identical message, sent by Clinton and unions.
The last few years of repeated strikes and demonstrations by the teachers of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán, and the government’s violent repression of these protests–including forced diseappearance of students, massacres of supporters, and assassinations of individual teachers–has led to interest in the background of the teachers’ movement. The following article is meant to provide a long historical overview of the Mexican teachers’ movement, together with a bibliography for further reading.
An activist/scholar in the Mexican teachers union democratic opposition (CNTE) has asked me to publicize this statement (copied below). It explains the demands the movement is making on the government and fleshes out the short but excellent update on The Real News about the struggle. As this statement shows, CNTE and its supporters are struggling about far more than their jobs.
Support for resistance to the current model of education reform in México continues to grow after the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Osorio Chong, issued an ultimatum on Friday, July 1st, to Oaxacan protesters and members of Section 22 of SNTE, urging them to stop their blockade of highways.
The Mexican Federal Police and Oaxaca State Police killed nine people and wounded more than one hundred others, while dozens more were beaten and yet others were arrested and jailed in what has been the most violent and bloody attack on teachers and their supporters in Oaxaca since the tremendous upheaval of 2006. Several teachers leaders have also been arrested and jailed on a variety of charges; warrants have also been issued for others.
To show support for Mexico's teachers, demonstrations are being held internationally, as they are in the U.S. In today's blog about the situation in Mexico, Mary Compton provides background to the current repression and information about how readers can support the teachers.
There were demonstrations yesterday at Mexican Consuls in several American cities protesting the Mexican government’s violent repression of teacher protests in Oaxaca. Many of the protests also criticized the U.S. government for supply the Mexican government with military equipment being used in military and police actions against the teachers.
There were protests in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles among other cities. The one pictured here, which grew to a couple of hundred people, took place in Manhattan at the Mexican Consul.
The good news is that the MORE/New Action slate won the seven seats on the UFT Executive Board elected by high school teachers. Furthermore, voter turnout increased across the board from roughly 18% in 2013 to roughly 24% in 2016. Finally, the absolute number of votes for the opposition increased in every division. However, still less than one-quarter of UFT members participated in this election. And the slight increase in voter turnout benefited the ruling Unity caucus at least as much as it benefited MORE/New Action.
(These are my remarks at an evening panel of what its organizers referred to as a "non-conference" so as to convey the need for participants to interact with one another's ideas, rather than present papers. Sessions spanned two full days. The two evening sessions were videotaped. When they are made available I will post them on New Politics.)
A new Jacobin piece by Micah Uetricht and Sarah Chambers is a must-read to understand what's at stake in the April 1 walkout of Chicago teachers. (My own thoughts about the political implications of the strike are in a piece in press.) But for now I want to explain to teachers who may be considering crossing the union's picket lines tomorrow why that would be a very big mistake for them personally.
Reservation is an issue that only affects a small proportion of Dalits, says sociologist Vivek Chibber.
The ferment on campuses across the country following Rohith Vemula’s suicide and the recent crackdown on free speech at Jawaharlal Nehru University have drawn international attention, with many academics, students and activists across the world expressing solidarity.
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