Tag Archives: Unionbusting

Why Teachers Should Care About the Contract: Aram Mendoza

1 Feb

This is a recent article from our newest newsletter analyzing the OEA contract struggle.  We post it here so you can access the citations and hyperlinks.  Here, Aram Mendoza analyzes the current contract negotiations of OEA and its importance for Oakland teachers and, more widely, the needs of Oakland students.  Aram also raises some very concrete tactics and next steps for individual teachers and teachers as a whole.

CTU FairContractNow

A Chicago teacher on strike last fall.

Why Teachers Should Care About the Contract

By Aram Mendoza

Oakland teachers, do we care about having a union?
Do we care about having a good contract?
What is an imposition and what should teachers do about it?

These are not rhetorical questions.

The reality is that we have been under an imposed “contract” since 2010.  What does this mean?  Simply put: Tony Smith and the OUSD school board have unilaterally, dictatorially, and undemocratically imposed terms of work upon education workers.  It means that the “last, best, and final” offer was put on the table by the OUSD district bargaining team and was NOT agreed to by the OEA bargaining team. Though this imposition was carried out in April of 2010 (which was why OEA’s last strike was in that same month), it was not the last time that Smith and the Board have imposed on education workers: last year’s “Accelerated TSA” campaign was imposed on Fremont, McClymonds, and Castlemont teachers without any public, democratic process.  More on this later.

Back to our current contract situation – we must ask: does our contract really matter?  As I’ve talked to co-workers and friends who are teachers in Oakland’s public schools I’ve come to see the total lack of information that we have in relation to our own contractual agreement with the district.

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New York City School Bus Drivers’ Strike: An Injury to One Is an Injury to All

24 Jan

As the privatization agenda moves forward and attacks teachers and students it’s sometimes forgotten how school support workers are affected.  At least in Oakland, custodial workers have gone years without a raise and numerous positions have been outsourced.  A key and often overlooked outsourced position is afterschool workers.  Increasingly they have been expected to shoulder more teaching–without any of the benefits and protections of teachers–as teachers have been cut and overburdened.  All this points to a basic tenet of labor: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

In that vein, this article looks at the current New York City school bus drivers’ strike.  They have walked out to prevent their union from being busted as Mayor Bloomberg continues his offensive against school workers.  The strike is placed in this context of the larger attack on public education and its workers while pointing out the negative effects on students, particularly on special needs students and students who have lost their neighborhood schools to closures.  Clearly, there are overlaps for Oakland.

The original article can be found at: http://occupy.com/article/new-york-citys-bus-strike-critical-juncture.

School Bus Strike

 

New York City’s Bus Strike At Critical Juncture

Mon, 01/21/2013 – 14:10

By Peter Rugh

The wheels on New York City’s school buses aren’t going round in what’s becoming a familiar song these days in America: education workers resisting attempts to balance budgets on their backs at the expense of students learning.

The current school bus strike in the Big Apple is no exception.

Last week’s walkout follows a successful strike by the Chicago Teachers Union last year against layoffs and the knotting of pay to standardized test results. Before that, teachers were a leading force in the 2011 occupation of Wisconsin’s capitol building in opposition to legislation that stripped state employees of collective bargaining rights. The measure passed but large sections of it were later ruled unconstitutional. And those who slept on the marble floors of Madison laid the groundwork for what would become Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement, challenging austerity amidst the worst economic crisis since the depression.

It’s in this atmosphere of heightened class conflict that the union representing New York City drivers, attendants and mechanics – who are responsible for transporting over 150,000 students in the country’s largest school district – called a strike. New York’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Schools Chancellor Denise Walcott are looking to nix employee protections that enable workers to keep their jobs when bus routes pass from one contractor to another.

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