Saturday, May 24, 2014

UFT Contract: Roseanne McCosh Responds to Unity Caucus Criticism

I am not going away and I am most certainly not alone in the fight....
So what do you call a union leadership that uses scare tactics, mischaracterizes people’s reasons and motives for disagreeing with them and who allows reps to lie to its members at workshops?  Norm calls them slugs.  I call them much worse.  I’ve also labeled Mulgrew as a coward because I believe that the only reason that there was no open debate on the contract was because Mulgrew was afraid to debate....
Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X
Roseanne addresses the comments made by Unity Caucus supporter Paula Washington on May 23rd (UFT Contract: Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X, Urges Colleagues to Vote NO).

There were other head-scratching comments from Unity, their supporters or their spouses. Check them out - Roseanne also responded there with a comment of her own.

Here is her response to Paula Washington:
Having a large number of members enrolled in the UFT does not automatically equal strength. We are not the strongest local of the strongest union in the country, we are simply the largest. A union that tries to scare its members into accepting the unacceptable is not a strong union. 

I also think that, like all people, Norm has the right to qualify what having dignity means to him. 

Those of us who have opposed this contract have been labeled as political MORE people whose only interest is in disparaging UNITY, as people who have recently drank “courage juice” but were timid under the “Billionaire Bully”, as ill-informed or as lunatics.  I find no dignity in that behavior.  And the fact is none of those labels fit my character at all.

When I told my colleagues that the UFT lies to its members, I provided evidence.  I directed them to speak with the SBST member in our school who was told at a UFT workshop that we were getting 5% interest on the money owed to us when the fact is we are getting 0%.  When I told my colleagues that I don’t believe the UFT when they say there will be no health care givebacks I provided facts.  The fact is that our contract calls for billions in savings but no written plan for how those billions will be saved. 

So what do you call a union leadership that uses scare tactics, mischaracterizes people’s reasons and motives for disagreeing with them and who allows reps to lie to its members at workshops?  Norm calls them slugs.  I call them much worse.  I’ve also labeled Mulgrew as a coward because I believe that the only reason that there was no open debate on the contract was because Mulgrew was afraid to debate.

As I have said before I am NOT the chapter leader of my school.  But I once was, and who knows…I may be again before I retire.  I resigned about 4 years ago and was replaced by someone I respect.   But even if I was still chapter leader, I still have the right to voice my opinion--- as I always have and will.  And the bottom line is if the membership in my school didn’t like how I had conducted myself, they could have voted me out each time I ran for re-election.  No one ever ran against me because the majority of teachers know that although I have strongly held beliefs---some of which not all may agree with---I will have their backs when the shit hits the fan.  When UNITY convinced two of my members to “take a plea” and pay a fine on a bullshit charge, I took up a collection to help them pay for some of the fine.  I handed over the amount of my UFT chapter leader check that year to help pay the fine of the teacher with the higher fine and threw in some more of my personal money for good measure. 

I guess it’s hard for people to believe that someone like me exists or that someone like Norm is perfectly sane and honorable.  And that’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it? 

I am not the only strong NYC teacher out there.  We definitely exist! BloomKlein didn’t scare me and my own damn union doesn’t scare me either. My elderly father who is riddled with every illness imaginable still tells me, “Fight the bastards.  You fight them with your last dying breath.”    My dignity is grounded in the fact that I have no hidden agenda or aspirations to do anything other than always speak my mind and fight for what I believe in, and to teach for a few more years and retire.  And I think that’s what some people find so frustrating---how do you silence someone with nothing to gain and nothing to lose? How do you silence someone who can’t be bought off or scared off?   You can’t.  Accept it and move on because I am not going away and I am most certainly not alone in the fight.  

....Roseanne McCosh, PS 8x.
Let me say that I as far as I know I have never met Roseanne. We did have a phone conversation about a month ago. She has never been to a MORE event. She is one of the many people in the union who are non-affiliated with any caucus though I'm sure MORE would be honored to have her join us. Funny thing is that over the past 2 years there have been other non-affiliated or even former Unity supporters who have been pushed by events and the UFT's tepid response and internal bully tactics to come to see that a strong alternative with deep roots into the schools is the only chance of reversing the decline of the UFT -- even if that groups never gets to take power its very existence as more than a fringe constitutes a major check and balance. If MORE were stronger I believe the NO vote would win handily. So even though Unity is trying to claim that MORE is only promoting a NO vote to build MORE, the reality is that it is the Unity oppressive and arrogant response to the challenge that is pushing people in the direction of MORE (later I'll write about the 45 or 50 people who showed up to the MORE Park Slope contract/happy hour event Friday afternoon). Here's hoping that more people like Roseanne stand up.

2 comments:

  1. Spineless people fear a person who advocates for a just cause. When the Unity supporters reap the harvest of the seeds they have sown, they may regret their hasty unthought out decisions. I too have tried to issue a warning based on the events I have witnessed in Newark directly resulting from the flawed contract shoved down our throats by Ms. Weingarten.

    In solidarity,

    A Newark Teacher

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chicago Teacher's Union allows discussion and debate- why won't the UFT?

    ReplyDelete

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