Tuesday, January 9, 2007

UFT Advice to Teachers at Closing Schools? How to Fill Out Your Resumes

It has always been clear that the UFT will not take a position of support for teachers at large high schools that are being closed. That was most clear at Tilden HS when Randi Weingarten made an appearance, showing up 15 minutes late for a half hour meeting, leaving teachers little time to make their points.

Instead of assisting the teachers, parents and community to fight for the school, the union ignored pleas for help. A teacher commented later that the UFT seems only interested in helping people fill out resumes. The fact that the UFT bargained away rights that would protect the teachers in the 2005 contract lies over the entire situation like dead fish.

But what do we expect from the collaborationists at the UFT. Know how the principal found out the school was being closed? From the union rep. "No way," was her response. With their "I surrender" mentality, he union hierarchy should be taking French lessons (instead of the Spanish certain UFT leaders are studying.)

Only after a favorable evaluation came out did Weingarten respond and offer to come to the school, in what amounts to a public relations move so she can say, "See, I am concerned."

Read her lips: Phew! Got through that. Now we can help our pals at the DOE close that sucker down. Maybe even get some of my people like Peter Goodman work as consultants in setting up the small schools.

When ICE Executive Board members with the support of TJC offered up a resolution at the Jan. 9 UFT Executive Board meeting that called for a moratorium on the closing of small schools, it was rushed to Weingarten who was not in attendance but in hiding behind the magic curtain. She quickly ordered the Unity hacks to put up a substitute that would make it appear the union was doing something, saying something along the usual lines of "We urge the DOE to... blah, blah, blah." UFT leaders are great Urgers.

Not surprisngly, one Unity member rose to bow in thanks to Randi after having complained years ago how the union abandoned that member's school when it was closed years ago.

Can't wait to see the New Action suck-ups, who often put Unity hacks to shame in their desire to heap praise on madam Weingarten on the Executive Board next year. The guaranteed 5 seats will be known as "The Gift of the Randi." Pucker up boys!

Read more about Tilden from teacher John Lawhead posted on this blog a few days ago.

A few more things happened at the Exec. Bd. (I skipped the dinner as I had to cook up all that dead fish you see above for the Delegate Assembly today.)

Of most interest, the election committe made its election announcement tonight. ICE tried to amend it by asking for the UFT to get an announcement in the Principal's Weakly from Klein telling principals about the rights to use mailboxes during the election campaign. Guess what? Randi is afraid of asking big, bad Joel to do this because he might interefere in the election. Har, Har, Har. How would he be able to close down so many schools so easily if he lose his best buddies in Unity? Parlez-vous franaise, anyone?

ICE asked for the UFT to send out literature from the caucuses to their email list. They adamantly resisted, pointing to the ads in the NY Teacher, which just happen to come out as ballots are being mailed out. Gee, are you surprised?

When ICE Ex. Bd. member James Eterno thanked Randi for ignoring a calling of the question to allow him time to make an amendment, her comment was, "I won't be reading that on the blog tonight." Well, here it is. Hope she can sleep well now. (Note: is it possible the president of the largest union local in the world has nothing better to do?)


  1. I don't know whether she has anything better to do, but I often wonder how they sleep at night. Were I treating rank-and-file like that, I'd find it awfully difficult.

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  3. Please clarify the bit about mailbox access. What kind of access does a regular teacher like me have?

  4. You have access to the mailboxes during non work time to distribute material from rival factions within the Union. If anyone gives you a hard time, call us.

  5. You also have the right to go into other schools to put materials in the boxes as the DOE has ruled on this in the past. If you are interested in hitting schools near where you live or around your school take a shot.

    We can get you as much lit as you need.

  6. Thanks for the info!! Before the contract vote I put some ICE literature into the mailboxes and my UFT rep (a nice person and non-affiliated) told me to stop, that I wasn't aloud and would get in trouble. Was she right then, because it wasn't campaign related? Or as long as I was not on the clock I was with in my rights to do so?

  7. Everyone is agreed on this point even the Unity hierarchy:
    You can place caucus releated material in the mailboxes of your school at ANY time, elections or not.

    If a principal or union person says no, call the UFT main office and ask for Michael Mendel and he will affirm your right to your chapter leader.

    We are in disagreement with Unity as to your right to go to another school or my right as a retiree working with ICE to go to schools other than at election time.

    This is a battle we are still fighting and you can see why the only way an alternative to the Unity machine will be build is to have at least one active member in most of the schools to not only give out lit but to talk about issues with people.

    Let me not underestimate the value of attending at least some of the meetings of whatever caucus you work with as it is there where policy is discussed and people who take part become very well informed on many issues and very well equipped to handle issues that arise in the school.

    I can still say that after all these years there is not one ICE meeting that passes where I do not learn stuff.

  8. I teach at Tilden. The school is basically like any other HS. I have taught at many. South Shore, Lincoln, Murrow, Erasmus. The students are a reflection of the neighborhood. You have the good, the average and the kids who are on a path to a life of crime and prison. I grew up in the NYCHA projects and can judge the same type of behavior that killed half of my friends. You see it in many of the students at Tilden. You also see the ones who will go to med school or law school. Of course you can't tell the future. Some will turn around and find a life for themselves. Some who appear to be doing well will get into bad things. You never know. The neighborhood, like many, has a large gang population. The kids have said things to me like, "Mister, you know that Tilden is 90% Crip right?" Be that as it may, I don't see any reason to close Tilden compared to any other school. There are many kids involved in gangs yet we don't see gang related fights in the building. I speak to the kids that I see displaying gang affiliation and they tell me that their gang life usually is outside after school back in their neighborhood. It seems to be that the people at Tweed need to find something to do with themselves. Justify their existence. When Randy came to visit, I asked her a simple question that to me is indicative of the larger issues regarding union rights. I asked her how a union with so many women lacks any maternity leave. Why is it that a woman who is out giving birth is considered sick. You use sick days to bring a child into this world. No other agency lacks maternity leave that I know of. This is absurd. She told me to email her later. For what? Will my email suddenly convince her to fight for maternity leave? Our union lacks many other benefits that lesser educated unions have. We have no unlimited sick leave. We have no heart fund. If a cop, corrections, sanitation worker has a heart problem it is considered work related. We have no workers compensation. I was assaulted by a student. I pay every Co-pay for every visit to doctors, physical therapy, MRI's, emergency rooms. I can recover up to $750.00 in Co-pays. More if it is related to an assault. However, the powers that be have taken the word of the student that he was "joking" when he dove at my back and tackled me from behind. Hence, no assault. I am well beyond the $750.00 in Co-payments. I have to set aside about 300 a month for Co-payments out of my tight budget. That is a car payment a month. I have damage to my discs. If I had to medically retire, I will be awarded anywhere from 33% to 66% of my pay. Who decides that? Can you imagine being told that you are going to recieve 33% of your pay for life? I would have to declare bankruptcy. Even 66% is not enough. Why does every other agency get 3/4's tax free? The amount of years required to retire is absurd. If you start fresh out of college, you work 40 years. 22 to 62. That is two, twenty year pensions from any other city job. Nuts is all I can say. Top pay is a joke. Top pay starts two years after any other city worker would be retired. Top pay starts at 22 years of service. No seniority transfer now. When they close our school, I am supposed to go to resume classes? Can you imagine a cop coming to work and they tell him that they are closing his station house down so he needs to learn how to write a resume? Give me your gun and badge until you find a new job somewhere. By the way officer, the Commanding officer can hire anyone they want now. A friends child right out of the Police academy. Hire even two at your pay. You have no seniority. You may want to lose weight and dye that Grey out before your interview officer. Same with a fireman, corrections officer or train motorman. "I am sorry sir, but the Q line is closing down and being renamed the Z line. It will be the same train, the same tracks but we are renaming it so you have to now make up a resume and go to the other train lines and ask if you can work for them. They may just want to hire two new guys at your pay so I hope it all works out for you. Good luck." Absurd. One of the biggest jokes is the sick leave. My brother is a cop. He was a teacher. There is a cop who is fighting Hodgkins disease for ten years in his station house. He keeps relapsing. When he is out for a long time, the NYPD has a unit that drives him to appointments. They come and bring a medical bed and recliner chair into his home. He gets full pay the whole time out. A teacher will use up their sick days first. They will then borrow twenty from the bank. After that, they can apply for six months at 60% of their salary. That is when you start falling behind on your mortgage. After six months, if you can't return, you are broke. Your pay stops. Nothing. Correct me if I am wrong. Is this why we see teachers at work who have cancer? I thought it was because they were real fighters. I found out it was due to desperation. If you add this with the daily working conditions this job is the worst of them all. You pay for your own schooling. You are required to be the most highly educated work force yet have the lowest benefits of any agency. We deal with harassment from students every day. It is very rare that a student responds to the first set of instructions that I give. You have to repeat yourself and then answer their question of why you want them to move over to a safer spot or read out loud in class. We deal with hostile parents who schedule appointments that waste our time. We could be using that time for better things like catching up on work that I will now have to do at home instead of tutoring my own children. Most city workers are finished after they punch out. We take work home. We could be doing something else like working a second job. The economist calls this opportunity cost. A lawyer and doctor bring work home. They also make much more. Another issue is the condition of the building we work in. Any temp worker in Manhattan will be in a climate controlled environment. In most schools, you sweat then freeze several times through out the day. If you touch a window, you see dust floating in the air as the sun shines in. We have gum on the floor that has been there since 1968. No joke. Just look in our weight room. Of course they say that it is safe.
    If my wife worked under these conditions as a CPA, I would tell her to find a new job. I sometimes joke with her and ask her what it would be like if the air conditioning went off in her office, the mail room guy came by her desk and started using the N word then told her to mind her business or he would "snuff" her then he starts pushing against her telling her to "look out son" as he tells you that he needs to get into a room that you are standing in front of because your boss told you not to allow anyone in there and if you don't "back da f" up, he is going to knock you out. Of course, he is spraying you with spit as he sharply pronounces each word while gritting his gold plated teeth six inches from your face. Yet, when you report this, the administration plays it down and tells you that the mail room guy said it all started when you called him the N word for no reason. When you leave work, you walk past him and his friends on the corner and they starts spitting near your feet and speaking loudly about how they should jump you now. I told her that if that ever happened to her, I would be at her job in an hour looking for the person that did that. Yet, she knows it is par for the course as a teacher. This is what we go through each day at school. I have many times in the past and will surely experience this in the future. All for a benefit package that is below every other city worker's benefit and retirement plan. Our union leaders allow this with each new contract. Members who vote for these new contracts are as meek a union member that I have ever seen. Shame on them.


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