Saturday, October 20, 2007

What Randi will Suggest at the Oct 30th "Rubber Room" Meeting

TAGNYC is becoming an effective internal lobbying group in the UFT on rubber room, ATR, and U-rated issues. Their demo at the DA on Weds. made a point and may become a regular event at DA's if they feel the UFT does not respond adequately. Read their report of the demo here.

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 ( 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.


Anonymous said...

You are great at telling RW and the rest of the UFT the truth!! I've been an ATR for more than a year. I wrote Randy two letters plaining about my ATR position but to no avail. My job was given to a younger teacher with an initial certification and no experience. I have three licences, 12 years on the job with S ratings but can not find a job because most of the schools became Empowerment. Principals do not want SENIOR teachers -- too much salary. They prefer to hire new ones. UFT were are you? I hope that the UFT wakes up and does something to fix this situation with the ATRS and the rubber rooms. It seems that we do not have a leader and we have to fend by ourselves.

Anonymous said...

UFT please fix the ATRS and the Rubber room problems. Are going to be ATRS 4 EVER or what?

Anonymous said...

Putting teachers on ATR status (if they have under 20 years on appointment) is the "clean" way to move them along, without the hassle of U-ratings, license discontinuence, and reassignment which involves a legal case. Unless your Principal has openly harrassed you and/or violated the contract, as far as the Union is concerned as an ATR you have no legs - you didn't do anything "wrong" - you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had I not had over 20 years on appointment I'd be an ATR today - after leaving a secure position as the most senior art teacher at my former school to take a position at one of the smaller schools on our "campus" AT THE INVITATION OF THE PRINCIPAL - who NEVER observes ANY of his teachers! and after a year as art teacher, music teacher AND the sole DEAN of discipline - after representing the school SUCCESSFULLY at numerous Superintendent's Hearings - in June, after less than one year on staff, I am handed a pre-dated sealed letter informing me I am to be excessed as they no longer required my services as an art teacher since they'd decided to ELIMINATE ART TOTALLY from the (required in high school) programming. They also U-rated, excessed and discontinued the license of the other, younger, untenured art teacher on staff for the past 2 years.
When I found "Rule 10" stating that teachers with 20 years on appointment cannot be excessed I of course grieved and WON at Step 3. Now I teach 4 periods of Required Music and the Yearbook Class.
And I have no idea what is in store for me in the spring term...

Anonymous said...

The UFT has always and will always defend the membership. The rubber room numbers are a direct result of the DOE failing to expedite charges due to a scarcity of corporation counsel lawyers. In many instances members who were removed due to overzealous administrators are exhonerated and return to work. In each and every case the UFT affords members NYSUT attorneys who represent them. It is not the unions job to assist the DOE, yet there is ackknowledgement of a backlog of cases. Many who are there unfairly. The number of members who actually lost their license in 3020a procedures are few. The ATR situation is a recent problem caused by the DOE not the UFT as your blog erroneously states. Rest assured that this problem will be resolved amicably as both the UFT and DOE see the necessity to find a feasible solution to this staffing problem. I ask ed notes to cite one instance when the UFT left any member hanging without representation or any instance where any member lost their job as an ATR. Stop all the doomsday rhetoric which serves no purpose other than to put fear into the heart of the membership. IT furthers NADA...

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

I was U rated for the 2006-2007 academic year. I met with Randi and gave her a letter explaining my situuation. I am never late or absent to work. If the Principal did not like my lessons than he did nothing to help me "improve" my delivery of instruction. He had to make up two incidents with female members of the staff that never happened. Some BS about me "menacing" young women with my look. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT MY JOB. MY UFT Rep basically told me that I would not win my appeal and I have to put it with that unjust U rating and he was right this past week I recieved a letter from the Office of Review and Appeals of the DOE stating I lost!




Under Assault said...

What do you mean, Anon. 5:52, when you ask EdNotes to name one ATR that "lost their job as an ATR."

Okay, Me. And every other ATR I know.

Most of us teachers consider our "job" to be teaching our subject, not subbing. I could have been a sub if I had wanted to. But that's a different "job" and a whole other ballgame.

Why does the UFT leadership consistently minimize this aspect of our work?

Are you people so tied up in $$$ issues that you don't see the vocation in this kind of work?

Maybe that's why you are not all that successful in speaking for us, negotiating for us, or defending us when things go badly wrong.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the kind of representation the UFT gives you. My school was phased out and more than 40 senior teachers lost jobs and became ATRS. I put a grievance and received the same talk form the District Rep. "NOBODY WINS THE GRIEVANCE".
The day of the meeting at the DOE the principal did not come. A couple of weeks later a received a letter from the DOE stating that I lost the grievance. The UFT took one year to put this grievance through and what for?? I am still waiting for a letter from the UFT so I can go for an adbitration.
The problem of the ATRS is not just because the DOE wanted to get rid of senior teachers but it is because THE UFT SOLD US OUT. SENIOR TEACHERS WERE THROWN OUT TO THE CURB. Zero rights.