The next day they get a visit from SWAT team member Jim Calahan bearing a list of things Randi will suggest at the RR meeting called for Oct. 30. Most times people bow down and say "Thank you Randi for receiving us. We'll be quiet while you try to work your magic," not realizing she forgot all about them about 10 seconds after the meeting. What I love about the gang in TAGNYC is that they don't take the bull and came up with their own demands. Read them at their blog.
There is no question TAGNYC makes the UFT hierarchy extremely uncomfortable. But they must remain vigilant at any attempts to deflect their militancy with words not backed up by actions. From my experience, that is all they will get: words.
I want to point out at this point that people like Jeff Kaufman, James Eterno and myself (yes, I'll pat myself on the back) kept hammering the UFT leadership on rubber room issues for the past 3 years at Executive Board meetings (giving lie to the New Action rubber stamps who mutter that ICE did nothing on the Executive Board) and asking people from rubber rooms to join us at the meetings to make their voices known. Now they are a regular presence.
TAGNYC is taking things to the next step. The UFT leadership is scared to death at the potential of this group. Yes, the demo was small. But that was intentional as they wanted to make a point. Does anyone doubt that if TAGNYC put out a call far and wide for ATR's, RR's and unfairly U-rated to come to a demo at a UFT Delegate Assembly, they could stop traffic on Broadway. As I've said before, there is often more palpable anger at the UFT than at the DOE, who just act naturally - like swine.
Reports of all too many arrogant, nasty UFT reps who look at people like they are guilty, come in all the time. Maybe it's time to out these people. Randi sees the threat. Thus the SWAT team of Calahan, Combier and Isaac. I may have differences with some of these people, but one thing they can do is talk to people the right way. So for what it's worth, consider them a plus.
ICE's Woodlass (also a member of TAGNYC) spent the entire summer bombarding Weingarten and other UFT officials on the ATR issue, exposing many of their inactions on this blog, and now on her own blog (http://underassault.blogspot.com/). Her relentless pursuit seems to have woken them up. Woodlass demanded they take some action and that are - or making it look like they are.
Randi apologizes at the DA for not giving the RR and ATR issues attention earlier. No one ever said she isn't extremely good at doing this kind of thing. But is it good enough? Now she will hold a meeting of RR people, the first time all of them will be together in the same room.
The UFT modus operendi is to keep people apart so they can't organize, so this meeting is somewhat of an act of desperation and signs of the effectiveness of the activities of people in TAGNYC and other advocates. UFT thinking: Better to get them in your room before they hold their own meeting without you and grow even stronger. I just hope TAGNYC won't be deflected and will continue to organize and grow as this issue will not go away and the UFT will forget about them the minute the pressure is off.
Here is part of TAGNYC's reports on their blog:
TAGNYC mounted a very successful demonstration in front of the UFT headquarters. Posters bearing slogans like "UFT, WHERE ARE YOU", "SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN', "ATRS- DUMPING GROUND FOR TENURED TEACHERS" were on prominent display. Approximately 600 flyers (our position paper) were distributed.
Our message UFT Defend Our Rights was made loudly and clearly. The reason for yesterday's rally can be found on our blog. The statement of reason ends with the sentence:
This is why TAG is marchig knowing full well that Bloomberg-Klein is our enemy but wondering who and where are our friends.
You can read what Randi will "demand" of the DOE at the TAGNYC blog. Maybe she'll get something, not as much due to her demands, but the increasingly sympathetic exposure on the issue in the mainstream press, an embarrassment to Tweed. The question I urge people to raise at the meeting: What is the UFT willing to do to back up it's demands? Demonstrations? Law suits? Press conferences?
Just saying you demand means nothing as people never know the shell game behind the scenes. Just look at the merit pay October surprise sprung on the delegates on Weds. We do know that the UFT will never make a real stand - they might get some concessions, pass on the rest and trumpet it as a great victory.