Please join us this Thursday in the Glen Park Library meeting room to talk union and social justice. Our agenda will include discussion on the upcoming March 2 day of protest against budget cuts and planning for our January panel to be cosponsored with Teachers for Social Justice. Come and join us.
When: Thursday December 9 4:30-6:30 pm Where: Glen Park Library meeting room, 2825 Diamond St
This month’s assembly was unique in that there were no resolutions to vote on. Also, noticeable was the large number of reports about a variety of issues that UESF is dealing with. EDUers who attended the assembly, please read these notes for accuracy to see if they actually reflect all the information that came out of the assembly.
Report on November 2nd election: Ken Tray reported that it appeared that UESF candidates for Board of Education were going to sweep. Hydra Mendoza easily won, while Kim Shree Maufas and Emily Murase appear to have won by a much narrower margin. Emily Murase actually attended the assembly and thanked UESF for giving her the endorsement his year which she said was vital to her getting elected. Murase is a very unknown quantity. It will be interesting to see if UESF support pays off for our union. Kim Shree Maufus also showed up and thanked UESF. Her speech was interesting in that she was clear that some very tough times are coming ahead. Her comments were short and she struck a very somber tone acknowledging that the Board’s ability to change the political landscape was going to be limited by the larger forces at play at both the State and Federal level (that’s how I read her words at least).
Tray also acknowledged the important victory in defeating Prop. B. In many other counties, similar measures were on the ballot and passed by fairly large numbers. This speaks to the importance of unions coming out fully against Pro. B and Adachi’s overreach in trying to attack both city worker’s pension AND health care.
Tray talked about the fact that California resisted the Republican sweep that took place around country. This is good news, but left unanswered is what will Jerry Brown do about the $6 Billion budget shortfall we face this year and the projected $19 Billion we face they year after. Raising revenues by raising taxes on the rich? On workers? Or more spending cuts? The next few months will tell.
President’s Report: The president report was strange in that it was not really delivered by the president but by CTA and AFT staffers who have been assigned to UESF. Both individuals gave poor reports which were not very clear. These notes are my best attempt to describe what they said.
Goal’s Report: Staffer reported that the GOALS committee created to prepare our union for the next contract round (in June 2012) was meeting and coming up with plans. They marked out three areas of focus:
1)Establish a Community outreach committee. What it does and who is on it was not clear? It’s just supposed to be created.
2)Organize 2 day retreat for UBC reps. The date of this retreat are Nov. 11 and 12. It is a retreat to get feedback from building reps. and to lay out a course for the next year in the run up to contract date (June 2012). Again, there were not many clear details delivered on what this conference would really try and accomplish, but UESF will be asking each site to designate 2 people to come to the retreat. I think the idea is a good one (even if a little vague) and does at least set out the expectation within our union that we are preparing to fight in 2012. Lita’s question about “Will we fight the cuts this year?” was dodged. That is not a good sign for UESF preparing to fight back this year.
3)Communication – This was an area focus. I don’t know what it means and neither did UESF. The AFT person forgot to even mention it in her report.
Organizing report: CTA rep. Gave a report on efforts to organize within UESF a number of SFUSD employees who are currently privately funded (and outside the union). They are at the very beginning of locating people interested in working with UESF to organize the workers. The primary issues identified as important to these employees is health care, professional development and a hiring hall. Again, the report was poorly given and hard to follow so I missed a lot of details (anyone who can help with this?)
NEA - CFT Nominations are open. Blanket nominations were made for the CFT and NEA RA gatherings ( to be held in March and July, respectively). Dennis mentioned that elections could be held as early as January (rather than in February which is usually the case). EDU should discuss it's participation in these elections at our December meeting, so that we'll be ready to go with outreach once the timeline is announced. Lita B. is willing to draft a proposal for outreach.
Vice- President’s report: Linda Plack talked about how UESF was establishing a UESF hotline (415–956–8379). The hotline would be available 24hrs and could be used by anyone who needed to reach the union but was not sure who to call. This seems good.
Plack also talked about the School Improvement Grant (SIG). UESF is starting to pay more attention to the significant money that is coming into the school district ($45 million) and has growing concern over how the money will be used and the ability of UBCs at the affected sites to have an impact on how the money is spent. UESF’s emphasis is on classroom teachers, counselors and paraprofessionals. UESF has visited 2 SIG sites were the UBCs were not being consulted and this appears to be a general problem with many of the SIG sites. This is issue is directly related to UESF still having MANY schools without active UBCs. It is good that UESF is working to correct this by going directly to the sites, but this is also a bit late.
Para report on retirement: UESF seems to have made some headway on reaching an agreement with SFUSD over trying to overcome the significant shortfall for paras in their retierement. I will not pretend to be able to follow all the details (again help here would be good). But the most important things that came out was that UESF wold be hosting a meeting on Dec. 8th to inform paras of the deal and hold a vote to either accept or reject the SFUSD offer. Kelly and Plack were clear on progress being made but also that paras would still find themselves falling short in meeting their retirement needs. UESF will continue to work to get paras into Social Security (where it makes sense) and get paras out of PARS (and put their money in 401k or something like it).
Alan Brill report on Charter Organzing: The charter report was that we have 9 charters in SF, 3 are org'd into UESF now and 5 Keys has a dynamite contract. It was not explained what makes it dynamite or how/if it's possible to bring these units in to some meetings so that we start to feel like a more coherent union. Also, KIPP is the elephant in the room. A strategy of organizing the schools that AREN'T KIPP first is great but UESF also should be talking about plans for those sites as well.
UESF submitted a written report (from Susan Soloman) on Oct. 30, 31st Defense of Public education and public services mobilizing conference. The tone of the report was dismissive and at times inaccurate (in reporting on size, demands and actions planned). She recommends that UESF keep updated on what is going on around the march 2nd mobilizing date, but recommends no position yet on participation in the March 2nd mobilizing meeting.
This is the opposite of leadership, but better than condemning the conference. It is clear UESF has no plan for dealing with the cuts coming in Feb. and March of next year.