Sunday, August 9, 2015

Can the UFT/Unity Leadership Benefit From a Negative Supreme Court Right to Work Decision?

Norm-  rumors persist that the UFT leadership is quite concerned with the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding dues check-off. Right now the court appears to reflect 4 v4 with the swing vote vital. Question?? If the union lost the dues check-off in your opinion would that perhaps allow the UFT to strike when a future impasse happens?? Leadership has been quite hesitant to even consider a strike with the dues check-off a vital concern..... COMMENT ON ED NOTES:  UFT Election Question: Why Focus on HS Seats to Exclusion of Elementary?
UPDATED:
There's lots of talk at the weekend conference of national caucuses in Newark from 15 states and what the unions will do. We have people from Wisconsin who have an enormous burden to keep people in the union - they must be re-certified every year -- but we've heard amazing stories of how they have managed to get people to stay in the union.

I was wondering what the UFT would do if the Court rules against the unions, especially unions that have capitulated to ed deform and sold out members. I heard stories about Unity-like unions that make your hair curl - go-along, get-along, non-fighters, etc--- gee, if you read Ed Notes you didn't even need to go to Newark to know that. But also about people who sill steal elections, use any dirty tactics to win, etc. I'll get more into some of this stuff in the future - how even if the opposition were to win in a UFT election, there would be a court case challenging the result or they would find ways to manipulate things to keep anyone else from taking power.

In unions like these we may expect mass defections. How would the UFT react in the face of mass defections?

The meat of the thesis I want to offer is that oppressive undemocratic union leaderships - like the UFT - are not as afraid of loss of members to agency fee as people are assuming. Let me explain but first clear up a misconception the comment expresses.

This is not about dues checkoff
No matter what the Court rules the UFT will still get dues checkoff - where the DOE deducts dues and sends it to the UFT so they don't have to collect dues themselves -- that is the much worse threat to them - and the reason they won't ever strike because they will then lost dues checkoff for a period of time, like they did around 1982 as a result of the 1975 strike.. [If you want to read the 1982 court decision here is a google doc.]

What is agency fee?
Some people don't join the union - there are over 3000 such people in the UFT - but in non-right to work states they still pay dues because the union represents them in collective bargaining. They can file grievances and are entitled to representation but can't vote in union elections and may even lose the right to attend union meetings. That would change if the Court rules against the concept of agency fee - and make every state right to work.

There are already a batch of anti-Unity types who are drooling at the thought of not paying dues to the UFT to punish them. How unhappy would the UFT/Unity leadership be to lose these people even if there is a loss of revenue from them? In essence the UFT pays to remove a block of anti-Unity votes and if UFT elections reach the day where they are getting close, this helps them keep tighter control of the UFT.

One thing I've learned - and had reaffirmed at the weekend meetups with caucuses battling Unity type unions - is that they will stop at nothing to keep control of the union, even if it means undermining and weakening their own union. There is historical precedence and when people told me their local horror stories and how shocked they were to find this out I got the idea that it is important to share some of the histories of repression on the part of the Unity like leaderships.

More to come.



30 comments:

  1. I can't wait to stop paying dues!!!!! See you back in the classroom Unity office slugs hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Free rider. When you loose benefits and job security you will sing a different tune.

      Delete
  2. 8:47

    Not paying dues will not solve our problems.

    Abigail Shure

    ReplyDelete
  3. The 2014 contract has really pushed me over the edge. I always valued unions and believed they helped us, but our union got such a horrible deal I can't possibly pay one cent to them...maybe after 2020 when I finally get my retro money. The union also doesn't stand-up for us. We constantly abused, threatened with being fired, etc. Many unions will have no problem keeping their members dues...but the UFT has screwed its membership for too long...I know many, many, many other people who would end their dues immediately. The FDNY, who just got a great contract and all their back pay paid to them in 60-days will retain 100% membership, the NYPD will too, and it will be the same throughout NYS and the country, but the UFT and other unions who have ignored their membership will be shrinking fast!

    ReplyDelete
  4. 80% will opt out. The UFT with Unity will be solely responsible for its own demise.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting thesis Norm, but if the UFT loses Friedrichs there might be mass defections since teachers would not have to pay the agency fee. If the UFT loses 1/4 of the membership, you are talking about tens of millions of dollars. 100% control of a $70 million empire is not nearly as much power as 100% control of a $100 million empire.




    You are 100% correct that they still get dues check off but teachers would be able to opt out of the union and not have to pay the agency fee. I see more than 25% opting out but maybe the UFT spin machine will keep people in. My guess is there will be a powerful right wing push to get people to leave and save their money. Why pay over $1,000 a year when you get the same benefits for nothing? Stay in the union for the privilege of voting in a rigged union election? Retirees will have even more say than they do now.




    As for dues check off, after the 2005 disaster, the UFT was talking for about five seconds about having dues money deducted by a bank instead of the city so we could go back to a no contract=no work policy. Randi even said it in public. Automatic dues coming from a bank was a great idea as of course was no contract=no work but Randi, who was really never serious about either one, abandoned both after Bloomberg became her buddy again in 2006.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So if one were to opt-out of union dues, is a teacher then responsible for prescription drug, dental and vision coverage. Does anyone know of a plan that will cover all of these benefits for $100 per month? I also heard about GHI optional rider... I think it covers prescriptions but not sure. Please advise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't lose any basic health benefits - the UFT only administers the plan for the DOE - which is another interesting issue and patronage mill for Unity to bury some relatives -- someone who works there sent me some outrageous stuff about how people are treated but didn't want to go public with it.

      I think the major things lost are the right to vote in chapter and UFT elections, attend union meetings in the school - and maybe for retirees there are some losses in SHIP benefits - as a matter of fact retirees have a sweet deal by remaining UFT members - lower dues, some excellent med reimbursements by the UFT, and of course voting in UFT elections -- Unity makes it very enticing to remain a UFT member - that keeps retirees in the fold for voting.

      Delete
    2. If someone was to opt out, is the loss of SHIP reimbursement that much of a loss? I believe the yearly fee of SHIP is $100 approximately. Is it that much of a loss to lose this extra coverage? Anyone know???

      Delete
  7. I think it is 700. We supplement a full program of courses for retirees at 5 bucks or so. There are more perks I imagine. Dues are much lower. The entire retiree misuse for their control is scandalous. That's why when people tell me to go get the retiree vote for the opposition I laugh. Why would they want unity out? They aren't hurt by unity policies. At most maybe 20 % who are pissed from old grievances might vote opposition. Other don't even join the union if they think the perks aren't worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How worthwhile is it really to have SHIP? What does it cover?

      Delete
  8. I don't think the focus should be on whether or not the UFT is concerned over losing members. The bigger concern we all should have is whether we lose *teachers*. If New York becomes a Right-to-Work state, then municipal employees would own the right to decide whether or not to pay dues. If they choose not to, doesn't that mean they're not part of their respective union? If the answer is "Yes", then think about the ramifications as it relates to the termination process with teachers. Thousands of teachers would be let go at the drop of a hat: to hearing, no due process, No ATR pool, no bargaining leverage whatsoever.

    Opting out of paying dues because you're mad at your Union would truly be the epitome of cutting off your nose to spite your space. This is not the climate for that kind of decision.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Many of you discuss every conceivable problem that you have with both Unionism/Unity, but not one of you offers any solutions. As you mentioned, I am retired, so my benefits are immense. I am not to complain, and I will not. Thank you, Dr. John Marvul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The solution is ridding UFT leadership of unprincipled sell-outs who work against the best interests of working classroom teachers while cozying up to retirees so retirees will continue to support them. Of course you have no complaints. You are not subjected to the abuse that working teachers face day in and day out. The continuation of your pension check is not attached to test scores or a Danielson observation. Nor do you have the threat of becoming a second class employee of the DOE as an ATR hanging over your head each school year. Roseanne McCosh

      Delete
  10. The thing that's really scary about this is if we lose this case and people start pulling dues its going to kill us in any attack that is brought against in the future! That means tenure pensions etc...you all talk about how horrible unity is but you guys are praying that the union as a whole is destroyed. Think big picture cause if we lose this case and members pull out and we lose the voice we have doesnt matter who is president we are finished!
    So think very hard about what your praying for cause you might not feel the union does much in protecting you or your rights but I hope we never have to find out just how much we miss having them do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is Unity nervous? How about some democracy to give people incentive to stay in union. Make elections mean something. You can't take 100 per cent of elected seats and expect us to stand up for you. Maybe you need some competition. Encourage dissent and open discussion. You guys have made too many bad decisions. Too much collaboration with the enemy. Reform thine selves.

      Delete
    2. Mulgrew, Weingarten and their Unity minions are the only ones to blame if thousands of teachers start pulling dues. School Safety agents just received retroactive pay to be paid immediately and the UFA (firefighters) just got a contract that gains raises far beyond what teachers have. We have to wait till 2020 for all our retro pay.

      Delete
    3. Spot on again, Norm. Unity has bred apathy among the rank and file and that very apathy might very well kill the UFT if SCOTUS sides with Friedrich. The same people who thought that the $1000 dollar signing bonus was enough to vote yes to the contract will also decide to save $1300 per year in dues. A union that can't convince its members to stick with them is not a worthy labor union. The SCOTUS decision will most likely be in June 2016---hedge your bets for that worst case scenario, Unity and as Norm says, "Reform thine selves." Roseanne McCosh

      Delete
    4. To Ed and anonymous:

      The FDNY union represents 8,000 firefighters. They can receive their retro a lot quicker than the 100,000+ members (not including retirees) in the UFT. That's not really a fair argument. Same applies to the School Safety Agents. Also, the raises the FDNY is not greater than what we have: from what I've read, their contract runs through 2017 and covers 11%, where as ours runs through 2018 and covers 18%. Again, not much of a difference.

      I think the focus should be more on how the potential Right-to-work ruling could affect teachers as a *whole*, not the UFT officials. With all those maniacal administrators out there, members who may opt to withdraw their dues could be in on the radar for heavy retribution, no representation, and worse, no employment.

      Delete
    5. Unbelievable you don't perceive a difference between receiving 8% over two years, culminating in 2010, or waiting for it until 2018. Very relieved you don't do my taxes.

      Delete
  11. If that is what people felt, then nobody would leave the union if we lose the case. We would stick together. Do you think that is going to happen?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Firefighters: 2008-10 4% & 4% paid then. Teachers: 2009-11 4% & 4% paid 2015-2020; Firefighters: Aug2010 through Dec 2016: 11% raise
    Teachers: Nov. 2011 through June 2018: 10% increase Mr.Hughesonline: check your facts read The Chief newspaper.
    Mikey Mulgrew said that if we didn't vote for the current UFT contract we would have to go to the back of the line. Obviously current contract or not, we are still on the back of the line. It will take UFT members to 10 years to get the retro that firefighters got back in 2008-10. SO THERE IS MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTRACTS.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What no realizes is that teachers HAVE no union. Unions are supposed to protect members from harassment, arbitrary firings etc. Where are they? What are they doing with our dues? They are padding their wallets and pensions while throwing members under the bus. What should members do? Continue paying for UFT reps who practically laugh in your face while telling you your career is over for no reason??? Ask the thousands of teachers who have hired private attorneys to represent them.

    Don't believe me? Wait until you are the TARGET. See how one UFT office door slams on your face after another.

    Members WILL pull out of paying dues because they see what has happened to colleagues. All part of the plan perhaps? To continue weakening the UFT until there is no actual UFT. Mulgrew is all part of this plan. Don't doubt that for a second.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 2:14:00-"Unions are supposed to protect members from harassment, arbitrary firings, etc."

    Remember this: Like it or not, you *are* the union. That is what your dues ensures. The school that you work in? That's your Union. It doesn't mean there's no use for District Reps, VP's, etc. (there is), but no one is going to fight for your rights harder than those of you in your respective buildings. I know this from experience. It's interesting that you assume I don't know what it feels like to be targeted. I've been that target...twice. Believe me, I can share stories. Yes, I did receive support from our union, but I knew it wasn't going to be enough. I fought for myself. Hard. No one fights harder for you than you. When members as a whole grasp that concept, and not treat a caucus like it's their savior, we can move much farther.

    12:29:00-You can write in caps until you're blue in the face, but the fact is, there isn't much of a difference between the two contracts. You're concerned about the time frame of the payouts. Understood. Again, it's easier to pay off 8,000 people expeditiously as opposed to 100,000+ (not including retirees).

    Just because it's not what you want, doesn't mean it's bad.

    Also, Notice that the FDNY received their deal about 15 months after U.S., and the NYPD still hasn't hasn't gotten theirs. Were you willing to wait another 15 months for a contract? And by the way, why does it bother you so much that other unions receive (what you perceive to be) better contracts than the UFT? Shouldn't we be congratulating them if they made off better than us? I haven't read one teacher commend the FDNY for negotiating these perceived better wages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The school I work in?? HA!! My elementary school, as well as most others, is filled with cowards, newbies, suck-ups and "I just don't give a f- types". NONE of these folks will defend themselves or the students for that matter. NONE. Most would rather take an early retirement or resign than fight the administrators. UFT leaders have totally taken advantage of this.

      Union? What a joke.

      Delete
    2. 4:23:00-So if the members in your school are not willing to stand up and are seemingly okay with playing blind, deaf and dumb to the matters in your building, how is that the fault/blame of the full-time reps in our union? How have they "taken advantage" of this?

      Delete
    3. They take advantage because the overwhelming majority of UFT members are so cynical and resigned they don't even vote in elections. Must have escaped your attention.

      Delete
    4. Our union membership is too large in number to get paid expeditiously? That's Unity's argument? How about meeting somewhere in the middle of a snail's pace and expedition? Too many of us for that as well? And CONGRATULATIONS FDNY for getting a better deal than UFT! Here's hoping NYPD does the same. Re: waiting 15 more months.....still a shorter timeline than waiting til 2020 for our retro. Roseanne McCosh

      Delete
    5. Mr hughes:
      My colleagues are not willing to stand up because they learned a long time ago UFT leaders do not have their backs.

      It is COMPLETELY the fault of UFT reps.

      Delete
  15. Anyone interested in the particulars of the Supreme Court case can access it at: www.cir-usa/cases/friedrichs-v-california-teachers-association.
    Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff and her 9 fellow teachers are seeking relief because many teachers don't support union positions on issues like tenure, class size, teacher evaluations, merit based compensation, etc. These same issues abound in New York as well. AS MRHUGHESONLINE STATED: "LIKE IT OR NOT YOU ARE THE UNION". Hopefully the US Supreme Court will support this premise and affirm the plaintiffs in their pursuit of justice against the CTA. The UFT leadership in 2007 promised to address class size in the next and current contract but it never did. Class sizes are still large in many schools. Sadly, the membership has yet to receive copies of the current contract and it isn't even available on the union website. "WE ARE THE UNION" SO MAYBE WE DON'T NEED TO SEE THE FULL CONTENTS OF THE CONTRACT.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).