The UFT/Unity Caucus leadership have adopted the same attitude towards the members as Tweed has towards the schools: we bear no responsibility. It is all on you.The other day I posted some thoughts on Rule 10 which gives 20+ year teachers the right to remain in their schools even when they are being phased out. (Closing Schools and Rule 10 Defense of 20+ Year Teachers).
I heard from a CL that the UFT is well aware of Rule 10 and there has even been discussion at his district chapter leader meetings. "They are definitely not averse to using it and are aware of it," he said.
This left me scratching my head. If the UFT is aware and not averse to using it, why not just use it? I don't read the UFT paper or chapter leader updates. Have they informed all chapter leaders at these schools that Rule 10 is an option? Have they helped besieged people at these schools by writing up mass grievances? I bet they haven't but inform me if I am wrong.
Is it that some people in the union are aware and others are not? Does the UFT keep secrets from its own people?
There was some debate on this issue on ICE-mail and in the comments section with even experienced union activists not sure.
Jamaica HS Chapter leader James Eterno from a phaseout school said he had won grievances on that and and John Elfrank-Dana who is CL at Murry Bergtraum which is not yet a phase-out school (we believe due to Murry's daughter joining the PEP as a Bloomberg Klone) won 3 cases this year. Some people made the point that while a school was still open as it was being phased out this rule would seem to be useful, though the language in the contract is somewhat obtuse. I made this point
But the school does exist for 3 more years. That is why Bloomberg switched to the turnaround model which allows them to close it in a short time. Has anyone heard of the UFT ever opposing these quick change models? In fact they have gone to schools and pushed them as their savior.Yes, the UFT has actually been a partner to the DOE in so much of this. Read this Ed Notes piece from the Dec. 26, 2006 which refers to a pre-blog hard copy of Ed Notes from April, 2005 to indicate how far back this UFT/Tweed collaboration on closing schools goes:
(Ed Notes Online: Where's Waldo – er– the Union at Far Rock?) Here a teacher chronicles a visit from then Queens HS District Rep and now Queens borough rep Rona Freiser on the day the Far Rockaway HS phase-out was announced.
Elfrank-Dana responded to my comment above:
according to a UFT Special Rep last night, it’s only bound to the school… So, Rule 10 doesn’t apply to protect teachers in closing schools.So the UFT contract and a UFT special rep say things that doesn't enlighten but further confuse. Really, is the UFT allowing language that gives the DOE a way around the contract? The giant loophole --- "wink, wink you can get what you want but this protects us from the members" deal?
Here’s the whole read of Rule 10:
“Teachers at all levels who have served 20 years or longer on regular appointment shall not be excessed except for those in neighboring schools who are excessed to staff a newly organized school.”
Does “except for those in neighboring schools who are excessed to staff a newly organized school” mean rule 10 only applies if the school is not reorganized? What’s “neighboring schools”. That phrase “…who are excessed TO staff a newly organized school” means what? Does that mean staff excessed AWAY from their school so it can be newly organized, or, so that the excessed staff can staff the new school?
Until the school shuts down completely, we should be safe. That clause is clear. If the school no longer exists, then it is a different story. After the school is closed, it does not help but our school is phasing out so it still exists.So why isn't this being blasted around by the UFT as chip to protect senior teachers? Well, really, what's the point in even asking this question, except for the fact that there are all too many people out there who should know better who somehow think the UFT leadership's priority is to work for the members instead of their own much more narrow interests.
Take the current use of turn-around with the legal fiction that you can close a school on June 30 and reopen it on July 1 and just by changing the name you have eliminated Rule 10 and other contract provisions the UFT seems to have accepted that as a fait accompli -- and shame on them for either being ignorant, not paying attention or complicit.
The UFT/Unity Caucus leadership have adopted the same attitude towards the members as Tweed has towards the schools: we bear no responsibility. It is all on you.
ISN'T IT TIME TO CHALLENGE THE UNITY CAUCUS MACHINE? CHECK OUT THE MOVEMENT OF RANK AND FILE EDUCATORS (MORE) THE NEW CAUCUS IN FORMATION, WORKING TO ESTABLISH A DEMOCRATIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE UFT.
THE CAUCUS WILL NEED PEOPLE IN EVERY SCHOOL AS CONDUITS OF LITERATURE TO COUNTER THE UNITY MACHINE.