Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rally for Wisconsin Today at Union Square and Questions About Role (or lack of) UFT/AFT is Playing

President Mulgrew: 

I was very happy to see that the union is moving forward with a city-wide day of action in solidarity with Wisconsin on the 22nd, and I understand that we need a long term strategy for effective solidarity in defense of the attacks on collective bargaining across the Midwest.  However, given the events of the last 48 hours, it seems there is an urgency for an immediate and vigorous response to the latest actions of the Republicans in Madison.   
A mention of action tomorrow (details below) in Union Square on the UFT website and in the Chapter Leader's Update tonight would help to build the momentum for the long term struggle. 

Please consider taking these steps, and I look forward to working with you on future solidarity actions.

In Solidarity- Peter Lamphere
Come out today for a mobilization in solidarity with workers standing up against the latest attack in Wisconsin. We need immediate and national mobilization to avoid a repeat of PATCO for our generation - today is a first step. - Peter

***Please Forward Widely***

WEAR RED! and spread the word..........

Rally Saturday to Stand with Wisconsin!!!

                                by New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) 

Saturday 1 PM      Union Square
Stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands protesting in Madison, WI!
Wisconsin Republicans have rammed through the elimination of collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin's public sector workers through slick, undemocratic legislative maneuvering.  They lacked the required quorum to pass the entire so-called "budget repair bill" so they split off the parts dealing with collective bargaining rights and illegally passed the bill through committee with almost no public notice.
But the fight in Wisconsin is FAR FROM OVER!!  As soon as word of the Republicans maneuver leaked, Wisconsin's state capitol was besieged with protesters--with thousands forcing their way through windows and past police into the capitol building.  The bill only passed when police forcibly and illegally dragged protesters out of the Assembly hearing room.  Wisconsinites predict the biggest rally yet this Saturday and the bill itself sits on shaky legal ground and faces a likely challenge.  Many rank-and-file unionists clamor for a general strikeand some union leaders, including Joe Conway, president of Madison Fire Fighters Local 311.  The struggle in Wisconsin is ongoing and needs our support!

Meanwhile, budget cuts and anti-union legislation is spreading like a virus from Wisconsin to Michigan to Puerto Rico.  But our side is fighting back.  We in NYC have a duty to stand with the workers of Wisconsin and elsewhere as they continue their struggle
What:  Rally in support of Wisconsin workers
When:  Saturday, March 12 1 p.m
Who:  Workers, students, teachers, parents of New York
Where: South Side of Union Square

Comment from ICE/GEM's Lisa North on UFT/AFT action/inaction.
Interesting that a teacher in Kansas City is told to wait, it is not a good time by the AFT. In St. Louis, it was the Missouri National Teachers Assoc, which is the NEA, not the AFT local, that helped organize the rally (except the retired local of AFT). Here in NYC, the UFT (a local of the AFT) has NOT participated in any rallies so far. They have announced,buried in their weekly update to chapter leaders, a rally on March 15th at Union Square.
They have at least put the NYCORE rally for today and the March 15 Rally on their web site. Of course announcing rallies and ORGANIZING A BIG TURN out are TWO DIFFERENT things!. We are supposed to wear red on March 22 though!
The question is why has the UFT NOT organized to have a big turn-out in support of Wisconsin? For some reason they think teachers will only turn out in big numbers for ONE event per season. I guess they are thinking that we have to save up the "organizing " for a big rally against the lay-offs later in the spring. They are still in the "old" mind set of one big rally and lots of emails to legislators and then the UFT leadership can negotiate backroom deals to save a few teachers. The days of saving a "few" teachers or a few programs is OVER. The corporate interests are trying to go all the way...whether it is the privatization of the education system or doing away with union bargaining rights. The UFT's usually way of doing things will only get us a few crumbs left over. When will they be willing to fight for WHAT is NEEDED to educate our students instead of taking the least bad of the corporate agenda for education? When will they HELP organize here in NYC with ALL the unions to fight the corporate agenda against unions? NYC teachers ARE ready! 

From St. Louis

A crowd between 4-5000 people filled Kiener Plaza in downtown St.Louis this afternoon in solidarity with labor against the attacks in Wisconsin and the new attempts to impose the 'RIGHT TO WORK(for less)" law on Missouri. The group included not only the construction trades but Teamsters, SEIU, UAW and the Missouri National Teachers Association, retired members of AFT Local 420 , Laborers Locals as well as community groups such as MORE, JWJ, and Planned Parenthood.As was the case at the recent Move On rally in Jefferson City, many working class people from union families came even though they might not be in a union now. One women from Mount Olive , Illinois came in memory of her coal miner brothers who are buried in the cemetery there next to the grave and statue of Mother Jones. see attached KSDK TV video report link below.

From Kansas City:

Awesome! I am disgusted by the failure of the labor community in Kansas City to do anything. IBEW is having a picnic tomorrow at their union hall. A picnic! They need to be in the streets like they were in St Louis today.  I tried to organize a rally sponsored by AFT here. Believe it or not, I was told to wait, it wasn't a good time. I'm about to just go ahead and put a rally together without my union's help.

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