Discover more from Fred Klonsky in Retirement
No means no. Except to United Federation of Teachers president Mulgrew.
We had a tentative contract agreement that we bargained with our board turned down by the membership one year.
I was part of the bargaining team and based on what I thought at the time I joined the other members of the team in recommending it to the membership.
I thought it was the best deal we could get.
But by a slim majority the membership disagreed.
And that brothers and sisters is what make for a democratic union.
The leaders don’t have the final say.
The membership does.
The membership’s “no” is a powerful weapon.
We went back to the table and got some more.
I was so happy to be wrong.
New York’s United Federation of Teachers president, Michael Mulgrew, does it differently.
When he recently put a tentative agreement before the members the teachers voted to accept it.
But the chapter representing school therapists voted no to their tentative contract agreement.
So, now Michael Mulgrew wants a do over on the vote.
According to The City:
In voting down the contract, chapter members expected the next step would be for their bargaining unit — which also includes audiologists, nurses and supervisors — to negotiate with city labor officials for a collective bargaining agreement that addresses their specific concerns, as happened in their last contract. Instead, chapter leaders and members say, UFT President Michael Mulgrew is urging a new vote without further talks or changes.
The 2,900 therapists and nurses are a small unit within the 120,000-member union, whose members include teachers, social workers and other city Department of Education employees. Three-quarters of the UFT membership approved the contract, the union announced earlier this month.
Within the unit, 59% of all members rejected the deal, which guarantees raises of 17.58% to 20.42% by 2026. Most of those dissenting votes came from occupational and physical therapists, who make up the majority of the unit’s members. Two-thirds of the therapists who returned ballots opposed the tentative agreement.
By the way, this is the same Michael Mulgrew who along with New York Mayor Eric Adams has been bullying New York teachers and other public employees into accepting privatized retirement health care.
With union leaders like Michael Mulgrew we don’t need bosses.
Daniel Alicea, a teacher and UFT activist, told THE CITY that the union’s leadership should convene a constitutional convention that clearly lays out a renegotiation process for rejected contracts so that “things aren’t done arbitrarily and haphazardly.”
“If we acquiesce here, this can happen in local chapter elections, it can happen in our next general election — that if they’re not happy with the result, they will find some other means.”
That a union needs constitutional language that says “no means no” may seem crazy.
But it’s not crazy when you have union leaders like Michael Mulgrew.
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