The meeting covered several topics, including healthcare, safety assessments in schools, budgets, and opposition to expanding charter schools. Three resolutions were brought to the floor.
By far, the most poignant and “controversial” point of the meeting was the first resolution. I included the reso here because it is important to give you context and for you to see it. Particularly because of the oppositions’ revisionist-history-telling of events.
RESOLUTION TO REDUCE UNITED STATES MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES.
WHEREAS, more than 70% of the membership of the United Federation of Teachers are women; and
WHEREAS, reproductive and maternal health is a primary concern for many of our members and the families and communities we serve; and
WHEREAS, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, maternal mortality is defined as the death of a childbearing person, while pregnant or up to one year following the pregnancy, from a cause related to, aggravated by or irrespective of the pregnancy; and
WHEREAS, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than most other high-income countries; and
WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, this rate stands at 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, which represents a significant increase from 20.1 in 2019 and 23.8 in 2020; and
WHEREAS, a recent National Public Radio article on the CDC study cited the U.S. rate “which is more than ten times the estimated rates of some other high income countries, including Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan and Spain which all hovered between 2 and 3 deaths per 100,000 in 2020;” and
WHEREAS, the 2021 maternal mortality rate for Black women at 69.9 deaths for 100,000 live births is more than double the average rate of other American women; and
WHEREAS, research has shown that in the United States, Black women are also twice as likely to have a preterm birth (PTB), give birth to a low birth weight (LBW) infant, or experience the death of a child before age 1, when compared to white women; and
WHEREAS, the maternal mortality rates for people who are Indigenous, low-income and more than 40 years old are also abnormally high in comparison to the national average; and
WHEREAS, the American Medical Association, the CDC, the Commonwealth Fund and other national organizations have reported that many instances of maternal mortality are preventable; and
WHEREAS, lack of access to comprehensive, coordinated and respectful health care, the prevalence of chronic conditions and inadequate postpartum support are among the reasons attributed to our nation’s high maternal mortality rates; and
WHEREAS, research indicates that these disparities are symptoms of broader underlying social and economic inequities that are rooted in racism and discrimination; and
WHEREAS, the trauma that results from these incidents, while rarely discussed, has long-lasting and profound impacts on our schools, offices, families, colleagues and communities; and
WHEREAS, In the latest data released by the DOE, 41.1% of public school students are Hispanic, 24.4% are Black and 71.9% are economically disadvantaged, and their mothers of childbearing age are at risk; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the UFT call upon health care organizations to offer ongoing resources, education and professional development for those providing reproductive care in an effort to decrease maternal mortality rates, especially among women who are most affected; and be it further
RESOLVED, the UFT work with educational, public health and other organizations to offer resources and direct assistance to support educators, school counselors, social workers and psychologists as well as whole schools and communities serving people affected by maternal mortality; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT support legislation promoting the expansion of birthing centers, particularly in communities where maternal mortality rates are highest, so that more women may receive quality reproductive care that is caring and respectful to all families of newborns; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT encourage professional learning and instruction that addresses implicit bias among staff and students, because instructional staff must be able to address implicit bias within themselves in order to teach students headed into professions where unconscious beliefs about different groups can create harmful racial disparities to treat all people equally; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT call for more research on the causes of these disparities and support working with coalition partners to increase investment in efforts to decrease maternal mortality rates in the United States.
*This is how it was written and handed out at the EB. I didn’t alter it or rewrite it to make it seem like it was worse or better for that matter. I didn’t omit or add anything either.
Ibeth Mejia rose to introduce an amendment to this resolution. Here it is, exactly as it was written & handed out.
RESOLVED, that to improve the well being of mothers, infants, children, adults, and the elderly who are dying in higher numbers in the USA than in other wealthy nations, the UFT as a union that includes many thousands of working moms will take the lead by demanding for its members annual raises that keep up with the US inflation rate, and the UFT insists on healthcare improvements for its members and all Americans, rather than increased copayments or diminished healthcare choices — as well as, improved parental-family leave policies.
*This is how it was written and handed out at the EB. I didn’t alter it or rewrite it to make it seem like it was worse or better for that matter. I didn’t omit or add anything either. It bears repeating.
When looking to inform myself, or others I try to research information. Like MOST people in 2023 I start with a simple google search. If you google “how do I write a resolution” you get 981,000,000 results. Moreover, if you google “how do I write an amendment,” you get 39,600,000 results. In the top results for amendment writing, it says to refer back to writing a resolution. One of the best results, with examples and downloadable documents that you can plug your own info into I found is from the American Library Association (ironically). As part of the Executive Board AND someone who participates in Delegate Assemblies, you hear and see resolutions all the time. Why wouldn’t you ask a colleague and member for help or support?
Well, we all know the answer there…because the resolution or amendments that the opposition enjoys putting out don’t really matter to them. They are just a distraction. Just a way to create fake discourse going in the hopes of someone saying something they can use over and over again. This is along with the blatant and deliberate way they put out misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. Furthermore, they enjoy conspiracy theories and propaganda that they put in social media plants, blogs, love yelling and screaming about So, it isn’t about motivating people and following the format, the process, the rules, or even communicating in an effective manner. It is about wasting time, confusing the issue or issues on the floor,
Let’s look at this amendment. It might as well have said we care about maternal mortality too but let’s include fathers, brothers, cats, dogs, elderly, all Americans and the kitchen sink too. While we are at it – let’s throw in raises, healthcare, copays, inflation rates, etc. etc. etc. too!
SO. MUCH. HAMMERING. INTO. ONE. AMENDMENT. I had a headache.
I was honestly embarrassed. I feel similarly embarrassed when I read rants by people who don’t even come to these meetings but spout off angry reports based on secondhand information that isn’t accurate.
How are the elderly part of a maternal mortality rate? Well, they aren’t. The original resolution included most of what (I think) Ibeth was trying to say and definitely what Lulli Rodriguez talked about when she rose in support of the amendment. To that point, it needed no amendment. If you are unsure about that, scroll back up and reread it. Then try to reread the amendment. But of course, the opposition said the UFT, and Unity voted against the health of women, and FMLA, and babies and puppies.
Motion carries. Amendment does not.
There is an unbelievable amount of dishonesty and information manipulation by the opposition in every way shape and form. They point the finger at Unity and UFT leadership and try to make their division and derision seem like it is because they know better, they can lead better. You can do the research yourself and see what you find. I have no faith that they could lead if they were to get their way because that IS what this is actually about. Does Unity want credit for poorly written resolutions? Amendments? Or poorly thought it out talking points? They say Unity went ballistic. There is that word-confusion thing again and they think ballistic means something else. If they sensed tension in the room – it is created by their lack of manners, lack of respect for their siblings in the union, and lack of respect for the process.
When Ilona Nanay got up with Janella Hinds for the next resolution, her breath was labored, and she appeared quite nervous. Mr. Barr told the room to show her support and the room gave her a hand. In that moment of offering grace, it wasn’t even appreciated or respectfully accepted. It was met with anger and annoyance obvious to the whole room. Again, a revisionist account from the other side as if there was a moment of silence taken out of respect for the last resolution? It’s laughable because typically they are the ones who talk over people or yell out things from the floor whether they are part of the EB or not.
#2 Resolution Against Charter School Cap Being Raised
Janella and Ilona rose in support and spoke well on the topic. Not much to report – I think enough was said prior.
#3 Resolution on Budget
Janella and Ilona also rose in support of this together. I agree with the sentiments here that it was better to be showing a united front and to work on these things together.
I found a certain “conservative” document online that is used for “elections and beyond” and wow. It really reads like a script of everything I’ve seen over the course of a few years. From information manipulation to threat actors, fake outrage, and social media plants. I wonder if we can finally come together like Unity has been saying at each meeting whether it be Executive Board or DA’s, but I am sadly losing faith that they will heed the cry. We need to be strong, united, organized, and ready to fight for the contract we deserve.
There is a Navajo saying that has been re-written and altered over many years “When you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you.”