It was a far smaller crowd than inside the New York Hilton ballroom, where thousands of United Federation of Teachers delegates voted to recommend that its members ratify a tentative Teachers’ contract, but a collection of disaffected members of an opposition caucus hoped their voices resonated with their colleagues.
After the May 7 vote, about 20 representatives of the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus lined the Avenue of the Americas outside the hotel to list their objections to the deal.
Kit Wainer, a former UFT presidential candidate, objected to the proposed 18-percent raise spread over nine years, saying an average 2-percent annual pay increase would not keep up with the cost of living.
“We’ve already got a membership that’s disaffected and disconnected, and now we have a union leadership that’s telling people that they should be thankful because by 2018, they will have raises that will almost catch up to inflation,” said Mr. Wainer, a UFT Chapter Leader at Leon M. Goldstein High School.
MORE, which bills itself as the social-justice caucus within the union, opposes an emphasis on standardized testing, teacher evaluations and the Common Core.
It wasn’t immediately clear when ballots would be mailed to the UFT’s membership, but the union projected it would have the results by early next month. MORE members said they had scheduled emergency meetings through that period.
‘A Missed Opportunity’
Julie Cavanagh, a Teacher at P.S. 15 in Brooklyn and also a former UFT presidential candidate, called the contract a “missed opportunity.” She listed a series of irritations with the accord that included extending retroactive payments two years beyond its lifespan and creating a two-tier teaching system by adding “Teacher Leadership Positions.” She said voting delegates had little time to read the full Memorandum of Agreement.
“While there were clear efforts made in this contract about improving communication and collaboration, too much has been left on the table,” Ms. Cavanagh said. “I stand up with my chapter as we continue to urge the UFT and the city to go back to that table.”