Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Enemy Within: Randi - $493,859 - the 1%, Literally

Do these 1% union officials really understand what it's like in the classroom?  Do they understand what it's like seeing miserable pay increases all going down the whole to pay for medical benefits?  Do they understand the stress of teaching to the test and giving practice test after practice test in hopes the kids will do well on the high stakes test?
-------Stanley Heller

Norm, watch the whole two hours: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. of Sunday, April 29, 2012, UP W/ CHRIS HAYES on MSNBC. Randi Weingarten was one of the panelists for the whole two hours on the show.   She showed and displayed her total lack of UNION FIGHTING SPIRIT and PROGRESSIVENESS. Weingarten is positioning herself for a top state or federal education position. Norm, the way you, GEM, NYCORE and others call out ALEC, Duncan, President Obama, the UFT, NYSTU and others, it is time to do likewise with full throttle on Randi Weingarten. 

--- NYC Teacher in Harlem responding to this Ed Notes post: The Enemy Within: Warning, Ed Deformer in the House.
Stanley Heller seems shocked to see how much our esteemed national union leader makes after looking at the AFT LM-2 report. Aren't you proud that Randi tops the pack of major union leaders in total compensation?

UPDATE: I don't agree with the teacher from Harlem that Randi is positioning herself for a government position. She has so much more power and money as a union leader at the top of her own authoritarian government where she has to answer to nobody. Once in the public sphere she is open game.

Stanley should check out the UFT LM-2 for some fun reading where he can count numerous 6-figure salaries on the gravy train at 52 Broadway.

If you have some time and want to check on the UFT LM-2 go to http://kcerds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do and put in the UFT file number: 063-924.

And in this piece of crap Randi wrote about how much she is concerned about high stakes testing (When Randi Pretends She Was a Real Teacher), notice how she tries to give the impression she was a real teacher (only full-time for 6 months with the rest of her 6 years as a sub covering 2 classes a day -- at times.)

I'm told that in Chicago when the reform caucus CORE (Caucus of Rank and File Educators) took over a corrupt union deep in debt from a Unity Caucus style leadership, they found so many people with enormous salaries. CORE ran on a platform of reducing salaries of union officers and by the time they were finished the old politically chosen field reps who were under contract and couldn't be fired were making more than president Karen Lewis, way more I am told. The debt was reduced from deep in the red to what I believe is even (though not sure.)

(It is not an accident that the caucus forming here in NYC is named Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) and there even was a suggestion to call it CORENYC.)

In the meantime, here is Stanley Heller from a piece on  www.EconomicUprising.com.
There was an article on Bloomberg News revealing that lots of top labor leaders are in the top 1% of income earners. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-27/union-leaders-decrying-ceo-pay-also-in-top-1-bgov-barometer.html
 
The top ten US labor leaders took home an average salary and other compensation averaging $394,925.  The Department of Labor says an income higher than $343,927 puts you in the top 1%. 
So I took a quick look at my own union, the American Federation of Teacher via the Department of Labor website. http://kcerds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQryResult.do
 
There you can see the LM-2 reports that unions have to file each year.   
It shows that AFT President Randy Weingarten takes in salary and other compensation equal to  $493,859     Vice-President Loretta Johnson gets $369,408   Secretary-Treasurer Cortese: $365,014.
Dennis Van Roekel, President of the NEA took in $460,000.  James Hoffa, President of the Teamsters Unions, took in $368,000.
So tell me, do these 1% union officials really understand what it's like in the classroom?  Do they understand what it's like seeing miserable pay increases all going down the whole to pay for medical benefits?  Do they understand the stress of teaching to the test and giving practice test after practice test in hopes the kids will do well on the high stakes test? They know, but only abstractly.
Oh yeah, some of them used to be in the classroom, but that was years and years ago. Top union officials who have rich peoples salaries, private offices and staff who work for them, who go on to work for foundations, NGO's or the Democratic Party inevitably "get the bigger view".  They "understand" the problems of administration and the appreciate the views of billionaires have made their boodle and now are gracious enough to share their immense wisdom and a bit of their loot.  It's not a matter of personal corruption of union officials, but the near inevitable change when people change working conditions and class. 
It doesn't have to be that way.  Unions could be run so that officers would be paid no more than one and a half or twice what an average worker made.  They would be expected to go back into the ranks every few years. 
Hopefully there will be a radical challenge to Weingarten and company this year and if they're interested in making a real change the insurgents will pledge to reduce top salaries 50 or 75%.
And this Arjun Janah poem in response:
It's Time for Asking Questions
Arjun Janah

There are teachers, who are teaching classes five and giving grades,
Who are checking students' work at home and doing all it takes,
But are getting for this wages that they would as daily subs,
With no benefits or summer pay or pay for holidays.

And in the schools they're teaching at, you see the ATR's,
Who're floating through and won't be hired, because, one 'leader' says,
"They're all no good, with ratings U and time in Rubber Room."
And she's the one (from Unity)on whom the staff rely!

When I had joined (in '87), I worked as sub a month,
At full-time job, with day-sub pay, but then got regular checks,
Which at the time were paltry, yet was more than daily-sub's,
With benefits and holidays and summers I could rest.

And this was in the contract, plain and clear, in black-and-white,
For otherwise the contract wasn't worth a beggar's dime!
For why would city scrooges pay the salary prescribed,
If they could hire a slave, who'd work for fourth for equal time?

She justifies the wages paid to those who work for pittance,
"At least they have a job, for there's a wage-freeze on, you know."
Is it a job or is it that they're serfs? Is the union dead?
"What happened to a decent wage?" She thinks that I'm a Red.

"I cannot argue with you now." She says, and scuttles off.
What value to a contract can there be, when this goes on,
As it has been, for years now, in schools across the city?
So schools are turned to sweatshops, as our Bloomberg squeezes budgets.

And he, and those like him, fly off to winter in Caribbean,
While teachers slave, as workers have, so Bloombergs get their sun.
But some of us are saying now, who docile were, and meek,
"It's time for asking questions. How much faster can we run?" 
 

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