On June 20, UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced a deal with the city for 6 weeks of paid parental leave for teachers in exchange for a 73-day extension on the current contract. Instead of arguing for and achieving an expansion of funding for public employees and public education, Mr. Mulgrew followed the predictable path of his business-union, providing the city with a negotiating giveback (the contract extension) in order to achieve a basic right of all citizens: paid parental leave. That said, all UFT members can be proud of this victory, as we will have six more weeks of paid parental leave than we did earlier this week.
The agreement was unanimously approved by the UFT Delegate Assembly the same day, and Mr. Mulgrew acknowledged the role rank-and-file activism played to win this victory, specifically pointing out the petition started by Emily James that went viral and was presented at the UFT Executive Board at the invitation of board member Mike Schirtzer.
However, this city-union agreement does not cover forms of paid family leave other than those for parental reasons, such as caring for a sick family member. At the DA on June 20, when confronted by a member of MORE about the need for full paid family leave, Mr. Mulgrew claimed that he will fight for it and that the union needs to win this battle. The MORE Caucus agrees, although we may have a different definition of "fight" than Mr. Mulgrew.
From our march on the DOE this winter to our walk-ins at 18 different schools less than two weeks ago, this new agreement shows that when teachers come together and fight, we can win!
On June 8, 2018 teachers across NYC participated in walk-in demonstrations to demand Paid Family Leave for teachers, other public employees, and all people with families.
Currently, public employees in NYC do not have full job security or regular pay if they are taking care of a newborn child or an ill family member. Mothers are allowed to either borrow from their limited amount of sick days or take unpaid sick days, but this equates pregnancy to an illness. Caregiving itself is equated with illness under the present laws.
Solving this issue was a campaign promise from both Mayor Bill De Blasio and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. The time for action is long overdue.
Here are some photos from our actions that day. Some wore red, some wore purple. All stood against the decades-long delay of paid family leave for teachers.
Our city and our union need to step up. No givebacks, no excuses. If you believe this issue needs to be addressed NOW (or 25 years ago), then contact Mayor De Blasio using this form.
Hudson High School
Liberty High School
The Cinema School
Pace High School
City As School
East Village Community School
Millennium Brooklyn High School
Castlebridge School in Washington Heights
Prospect Heights International
School of the Future
West Virginia teachers in solidarity with NYC teachers in demand of paid family leave
Remember to contact Mayor De Blasio!