Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Sign of the Times? Unity Chapter Leaders Losing Elections

The administration at my school is livid that I won. They are punishing the staff with a lengthy sign out process and screwed up a lot of programs. Teachers were given classes outside of their license, grades they never taught before, removed from their positions etc. What can we do?
They say politics is local and when it comes to school politics it certainly is. But are we trending here given the anecdotes coming in about Unity Caucus chapter leaders who have defended the UFT hierarchy in their policies losing elections? Or are these just little molehills? Sure, local school issues are the dominating force. But remember that many Unity people follow the mantra of the union about being "partners" and all too many are with their principals.

Unity's Richard Candia from IS 49SI who sold out Portelos and the rest of his colleagues while the UFT Staten Island office looked the other way may be the poster boy of a Unity sell-out. So Portelos wins the election out of the rubber room and the principal responds by retaliating against the entire staff -- and certainly hurting children in the process.

Imagine trying to defend the UFT position on judging teachers by data --- even 20%, or 40%. Or whatever line they are selling?

Just the other day the DA passed a resolution reaffirming the protection of chapter leaders. Ha, go ask Peter Lamphere. (By the way, Dave Pecoraro who is CL of Beach Channel HS and currently in the rubber room called the question on the debate on this issue so Mulgrew could get out early -- Dave calls the question on some issue almost every meeting --- as does Nina Tribble --- these two are the designated killers of debate).

I and the late Paul Baizerman put up a reso on protecting chapter leaders in 2001 and it was turned down overwhelmingly by Unity with Tom Pappas speaking against it and saying chapter leaders have enough protections. How's that been working out Tom that you all have to REAFFIRM YOUR SUPPORT FOR CHAPTER LEADERS? [I have to dig up that reso from the archives for my report on the DA where even 5 minutes of Mulgrew's lame attempts at being cute make me wish for the ghost of Weingarten.]

Principals are also using the "excess the new chapter leader" approach if they don't like the way the election came out. Here is a note from a school in Queens where the favored Unity candidate lost the election:

We just had a chapter leader vote and the person who won is pretty militant. The principal does not like this person because he defends teachers. So the principal placed him on the excess list. If he becomes excessed who becomes our chapter leader?
I suggested calling the UFT Queens office but then asked if it was a Unity chapter leader the principal favored. Sure enough it was. Thus forget the UFT borough office which has proven time and again it prefers a suck-up Unity CL to an independent or opposition person who fights for the rights of teachers.

And so it goes.

Are you an independent? Come hang out with the crew from MORE tomorrow at 5pm. Join me in a toast to the future endeavors of Leo Casey in Washington, as Randi put it, an "exquisite choice." For us here in NYC.

TODAY! Join MORE June 16th for Happy Hour and Great Conversations


  1. I'm a newly voted chapter leader in Queens. I'm interested in 1) what to say to my collegues when we meet next month as a formal greeting and 2) meeting with your group in the near future on how to handle this new job.

    I'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

  2. We'd love to meet with you. We have a CL support group which meets regularly. Email me for more info.


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