Sunday, March 15, 2020

"Sickout" Message to Staff

 I'm sharing a message I sent out to members at my building below. The elite MORE Caucus, which tossed out all the people who committed the egregious offense of doing the work to make them win an election, has called for a sick out. I was not going to respond here, but it's now appeared in the Post and been covered elsewhere. It is irresponsible and disingenuous of MORE to fail to disclose the implications of such an action. 


New York City teachers will not walk out on our students. We will stay and fight. 


Last week I heard rumors of a teacher sick out on Monday. Now I hear it's Wednesday.  I was not too keen on addressing this, but it's now appeared in the New York Post. 

Let me be absolutely clear on this. A coordinated action like this would be a violation of the Taylor Law. This could invoke major penalties. One is the deduction of two days pay for every day we are out. Another is the loss of tenure for one year, something that happened to my friend Norm when he went out on strike. More serious actions could be taken against the union as a whole.

Furthermore, I don't believe the public would be sympathetic to our walking out of a dangerous situation and leaving children to fend for themselves with even fewer teachers, likely being placed in even larger groups. It is an idiotic and counter-productive notion, conceived by a few people who feel they don't get enough attention. It was grabbed up by the Post, unfortunately, and moves our cause of getting schools closed back a step.

If you have legitimate reason to be out, stay out. I don't believe the mayor can sustain his insane stance indefinitely, but if we have a job action, he can jump with joy, garner unmerited support, and vilify all of us for the actions of a few.

We are currently working to close the schools. I am writing about this every day, and getting a lot of play on Twitter. Our petition has been up for one day, has not yet been heavily promoted, and has over 85,000 (now 120,000) signatures. We are aiming for 500,000. We have gotten coverage for that, and that's the direction both leadership and I would like to see us continue in.

Of course, you are free to do as you wish. But I strongly advise you not to consider this action. It will hurt our credibility and move our cause backward.

We don't need that at all.

Very sincerely,

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