The teachers union’s new $9 billion contract with the city is expected to be ratified Tuesday.
The secret ballots of more than 100,000 eligible members of the United Federation of Teachers will be scanned by the American Arbitration Association in lower Manhattan.
Union officials hope to announce the results by mid-afternoon.
Urban Ed thinks the contract passes with a slim margin, somewhere between 60-40 and 55-45.
James Eterno weighs in:
Virtually everyone thinks the contract will carry with the teachers. If it is defeated I would be very surprised. I would also be astonished if it gets 84% approval like the TWU contract did recently. Considering the resources we don't have and what we are up against, anything over 35% would be a success for the opposition forces as I see it. We'll know later today what happened.
And Megan Behrent of the MORE Caucus explains where to go from here whether the contract is approved or voted down:
As ballots wait to be counted at the American Arbitration Association, much of the media as well as the union leadership anticipate the vast majority of UFT members will vote “yes” to ratify the contract proposal. If that is the case, Mulgrew and the Unity caucus will be quick to declare victory for their “historic” contract.
But regardless of the final count, we need to look beneath the surface of the vote to understand what it reveals about the state of our union. Over the past few weeks, MORE has been part of a groundswell “Vote No” campaign, but rank and file anger was much broader and deeper than those active in any caucus.
Ultimately, the key question is how do we build a movement that can draw lessons from our ‘Vote No’ campaign, and encourage a new group of activated members to join MORE in the struggle for union democracy and reform.
Demoralization is one possible response to the ratification of this lousy contract; but organization is far more powerful.
Whatever the final results on the contract turn out to be, the key question remains. How do we save our union and revive a tradition of rank and file activism that puts the struggle for our schools at its center?
We know that if this contract is ratified, in 2018 we will be faced with more of the same, as we will once again be told that there is no money– especially since the majority of retro payments occur in 2019/2020 AFTER the proposed contract expires. The more important question is where will MORE be? Who will be running our union? Our schools? What kind of rank and file base will have? Will we have greater reach and more capacity to fight for the contract we deserve?
We are at an important historical juncture in the battle for our schools: there is a growing national movement for union reform, against standardized testing and against the education deformers. It is this movement that has inspired a growing opt out movement among parents opposed to testing, inspired teachers to boycott administering soul sucking standardized tests, and inspired a growing number of educators to demand more from our union and more from our schools. It is the same movement that has given confidence to people to vote no on this contract. This is a potentially powerful movement that can transform our unions and our schools.
The 2014 contract agreement became the receptacle for a lot of anger and frustration for what has happened to schools, teachers, and the teaching profession over the past decade or so here in NYC.
I think it is important to build on that anger and frustration and turn it into fruitful action against the education deform agenda that is destroying the public school system, the children in that system and the teachers who teach there.
Megan Behrent points out how important it is we build on that anger in a fruitful way, avoiding the trap of demoralization by organizing to take back our schools and our union.
Certainly we can look to Governor Cuomo's re-election campaign and begin to take out some anger and frustration on him.
Our union leaderships ensured that the Working Families Party would not run a candidate against Cuomo from the left, but that doesn't mean teachers, parents and other critics of Cuomo's education reform agenda cannot coalesce around a pro-public education ticket.
Howie Hawkins/Brian Jones Green Party ticket can be just that ticket.
And of course the UFT election is two years away and building on the anger and frustration UFT rank-and-file have displayed the past month to mount a substantial challenge to Michael Mulgrew and his Unity caucus.
Lastly, I'd say building relationships with parents and working together to take on deform, as CTU has done in Chicago, can go a long way toward building a groundswell of support for teachers and public schools in the coming battles against the corporatists looking to privatize the school system for their own benefits.