Monday, June 19, 2017

NYC Educator: FMPR Stands Tall in the Bronx

NYC Educator: FMPR Stands Tall in the Bronx:

FMPR Stands Tall in the Bronx



If you've been following the news about Puerto Rico, even a little bit, you know it's in an economic mess. They're 72 billion dollars in debt, and controlled by a board that pretty much doesn't give a crap about the people who live there. Pensions have been eliminated for most public workers. Though teachers have somehow avoided that particular fate, funding for them should disappear sometime next year. This is a dire issue, as Puerto Rican teachers neither pay nor receive social security.

I'm fascinated by the saga of union in Puerto Rico. FMPR was formed in 1966 as an alternative to AMPR, which they call a company union. FMPR leadership says AMPR views teachers as professionals, whereas they view us as working people. This is an interesting distinction, because UFT often calls iteself a union of professionals. Does being a "professional" somehow preclude being a working person?

Another thing that makes things a little cloudy is that AMPR represents administrators. I've always thought it odd that administration had a union at all, but being in the same union with them would be awkward indeed. As a chapter leader, I'm generally careful about how I speak with and treat UFT members. I'm a little more direct with administrators. I'm not sure how I'd do my job if I were uneasy about being directly adversarial with administration when necessary.

FMPR is upset because AMPR leadership didn't oppose school closings. Does that remind you of anyone? Under today's AMPR leadership, 45,000 teachers somehow became 32,000 teachers. This is similar to (although considerably worse than) what happened under Bloomberg in NYC as he failed to replace retirees. I can't be the only one who's noticed that 34 students in a class has become more the norm than the max these days.

In 1999, public employee strikes were prohibited by law in Puerto Rico. That's the same year FMPR became the exclusive bargaining agent for Puerto Rican teachers. In 2008, FMPR led a 10-day strike. While they won a raise for teachers, they also incurred the wrath of the government, which NYC Educator: FMPR Stands Tall in the Bronx:

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