On July 10, 2023, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) certified ratification results for the 2022-2027 UFT-DOE contracts. While most bargaining units approved their tentative agreements, one did not. Occupational and physical therapists, nurses, audiologists, nurse supervisors, and therapist supervisors, who were grouped together as one bargaining unit, voted down their contract 1,129 to 782. This bargaining unit also voted down their contract in 2018. In that case, the UFT went back to the bargaining table and came back with a new contract that included some improvements – standard procedure when a contract is voted down.
This time around, OT/PTs in particular voted down their contract in higher numbers than in 2018. However, instead of forcing the City back to the bargaining table, UFT leadership appears to be mocking the democratic process by orchestrating an unprecedented ‘revote’ campaign. This revote campaign is problematic for several reasons: (1) it denies the roughly ⅔ majority their chance to go back to the table; (2) it sets a dangerous precedent to do revotes for unpopular contracts in general (rather than organize for improvements); (3) in order to garner support for a revote, UFT leadership seems to be weaponizing their own unwillingness or inability to renegotiate with the City. For all of these reasons, our union leadership must take ‘no’ for an answer (from their members) and go back to the table. That’s how it works – plain and simple.
United for Change, a coalition of caucuses/groups including New Action, MORE, Solidarity, ICE-UFT, Retiree Advocate, and Educators of NYC, is calling on UFT leadership to cease abdicating its duty to represent the affected bargaining unit in good faith. Instead, we demand that UFT leadership work forcefully and expeditiously to pressure the city back to the bargaining table and achieve all necessary improvements to the contract in question. Our union siblings deserve better than a revote to make up for poor union leadership. They deserve better than UFT negotiators capitulating to the city by dragging their feet.
Finally, UFC urges that all UFT members send a message to President Mulgrew and leadership that now is the time for them to do the work they were elected to do— represent the rank and file.