Organizing

The UFT believes that all workplaces benefit when workers have a voice on the job and can engage constructively with management to address concerns. Since its founding days in 1960, the UFT has steadily expanded to help more educators and more professionals organize. Initially a union of teachers, it grew to represent secretaries, paraprofessionals and other school employees. In recent years, the union has organized:

  • 28,000 family child care providers;
  • 350 administrative law judges;
  • 200 registered nurses at Jewish Guild Health Care (formerly Jewish Guild for the Blind);
  • 75 educators, clinicians and custodians at Birch Nazareth Early Childhood Center;
  • 30 habilitation assistants and custodians at UCP West 154th Street Day Program;
  • five custodians at the Block Institute; and
  • educators and staff at 22 charter schools.

We remain committed to continuing to welcome all educators and caretakers who want a union voice.

Charter schools

Schools work best when educators are respected and when they are included in program and policy planning. We believe collaboration and communication are most successfully achieved when educators are organized and have the collective power of a union. Nowhere is this more important than in the charter school movement, where so many educators sign up to be a part of exciting, innovative efforts to improve education. Helping charter educators who want a union is thus an important commitment for the UFT. The UFT supports the organizing efforts of New York City’s charter educators through the UFT Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (UFT ACTS).

We reject the idea, unfortunately perpetuated by some charter advocates, that charter schools are better or have more potential because they are non-union. The UFT represents charter educators at 22 schools, whose track records refute this knee-jerk anti-unionism. It is not anti-charter to be pro-union.

Our ultimate goal is to help school and community leaders work with educators to build better schools and to help all our students, in both district and charter schools, meet their full potential. The UFT helps charter teachers do their jobs, their schools reach their goals, and their students achieve their potential. For more information, visit the UFT ACTS website or call our confidential hotline at 212-510-6464.

Read more about where we stand on charter schools in the Where We Stand section >>

See a directory of UFT-represented charter schools >>

Nurses

As frontline health care providers, nurses are confronted with life and death decisions every day and it is critical that they have a voice on the job. We believe that voice is strongest when nurses are represented by a union. Supporting nurses who want the collective power of a union is therefore an important part of our work at the UFT. The UFT helps New York City's nurses organize through the Federation of Nurses/UFT.

Through our union, we fight collectively for improvements to patient care and to our working conditions. All nurses want to provide the optimum level of care for their patients, but that isn't possible when we are overworked and underpaid. Nurse-patient ratios need to be lowered and excessive paperwork must be reduced so that we can focus on what counts: our patients' quality of care. With the power of a union behind us - and a union contract that protects us and our patients - we have the power to make these and other improvements in our workplaces.

In recent years, we have won a state law eliminating mandatory overtime for nurses except in emergency situations and have negotiated to improve the orientation given to our members by the employer when changing units within a hospital or between in-hospital and managed care. We have also organized labor-management meetings and recruitment and retention committees to give our members a greater voice in the decisions that affect their working lives and profession. But we wouldn't have been able to do any of this without the collective power of our union.

Whether you work in a hospital setting or in home care, you have the right to organize a union in your workplace. For more information on organizing, visit the Federation of Nurses/UFT website or cal or e-maill the union at 212-420-7981 or nurses@uft.org.

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