Editor’s Note: We have updated the article to reflect that teachers held the protest at school locations, but only during lunch hour and after-school hours. The original article said that teachers held the protest during work hours and it was not clear whether it was done while working on-the-clock. This update was a result of feedback from the UFT in an email.
New York City unions are unhappy with Mayor Eric Adams and are threatening to make life difficult for the embattled mayor, as the city deals with illegal immigrant and visible homelessness issues.
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is a powerful teachers’ union in New York City and has a long history of flexing its muscle when it comes to politics. Last week, the union pushed its members to hold a protest, called a “teach-in,’ where teachers report to work and use non-work time to protest.
For example, a “teach-in” protest is where teachers report to work and use lunch time or after-school hours to hold a protest. They huddle into a classroom and discuss issues at hand, such as social justice, racial justice, labor contracts or negotiations, or environmental justice. UFT members planned on discussing “the power of of our contract in shaping our experience as educators and then brainstorm actions your school can organize as part of our fight for the contract we deserve.”
As UFT’s website noted, these “teach-in” protests are to “encourage engagement and activism” within their ranks.
In an interview, a UFT chapter leader named Christopher Ahearn said that members “want a raise to help catch up with inflation and also because we haven’t had a raise for several years and we’ve been working very hard.”
Ahearn left out the fact that the union had a 3% pay raise as recently as May 2021 and that the starting teacher pay sits at around $61,000 a year, based on UFT’s website.
Instead, UFT complained that the mayor is playing hardball with teachers.