Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Emergency" UFT Chapter Leader Meeting...


...there were some ticked off CL's.

Weeks ago Randi Weingarten announced there would be an important chapter leader meeting at the Brooklyn Marriott - which means they expect more than the 850 people who can fit into the auditorium at 52 Broadway, but more importantly, a shot at a batch of those wonderful cookies the Marriott serves – mmmmm, the macadamia nut. However, being in the 3rd week of the South Beach Diet, there was no way I could go within 10 feet of these cookies without gaining 10 pounds. So I petitioned Randi to change the meeting until I was on phase 3 of the Diet and could get to a nibble at one macadamia nut. But NOOOOOO! See, criticize her a little and look what you get.

Well, ya know, I had been getting emails for weeks from chapter leaders asking me what I knew about the secret meeting. "Is Randi naming her successor," one asked? Ha, I said. If you read Ed Notes online you would know her successor (hint: initials are RW.)

Maybe something to do with ATR's or the rubber room was a popular choice. But why would she ask people to schedule chapter meetings in the next 3 days? It's got to be something related to a vote.

Well, I was meeting a friend for dinner in downtown Brooklyn, so I figured I might as well go and check it out and bring the ed notes blog ads to distribute - those cartoons of Klein, always a popular item.

And why not bring a batch of the review of the Kahlenberg Shanker book I co-wrote with Vera Pavone? Now I wasn't planning on distributing this to the masses - it is 5 pages long and and I could see many of them going right into waste baskets. So I gave them out selectively to people I knew and to anyone that showed an interest. As usual, quite a few Unity people always want to know what I've got up my sleeve so I got plenty of business from them. Even New Action's Michael Shulman came over to get one. I gladly gave him a copy, just to remind him of the policies he used to oppose. (Remember Unity red baiting, Mike? But of course, Randi is different.) I should sell this stuff to them.

There was a good crew of people giving out their stuff. Teacher Unite's Sally Lee and CL Steve Quester handing out stuff on Debbie Almontaser and CL John Powers doing his info campaign on the GHI/HIP merger and privatization. Boy, has one guy gotten some mileage out of pushing an issue with a superb show of energy. If there were 50 more John Powers out there Unity would be playing defense.

Well, it turns out this meeting was all about distributing a survey of sorts to rate the performance of Joel Klein and his administration. (Bloomberg is not mentioned much, as the UFT likes to separate them, as if Klein were gone things would be better, part of their "obfuscate and confuse the members as to the real cause of the problem" - read our Shanker review when it is available online for a clue.)

Now I think this is a good idea. We have maintained all along that BloomKlein have practically zero support from not only classroom teachers, but beyond as you move up the supervisor food chain - find even one blog that supports them. In just about any enterprise, such alienation of the entire work force is a sign of total failure of policy – except for places like the Rotherham Ed Sector crowd who know full well what is going on - i.e., read NYC Educator for a start - yet act like it isn't.

But the real rub for many CL yesterday, on one of the hottest days of the year, was being dragged down after a day of teaching, to pick up materials and hear some speeches. There was just a bit of outrage. "One of the worst planned meetings - they're talking to us about the fucking heat and Randi isn't even here," said one, leaving in a huff.

Well, Randi did show up to make some people see she is feeling their pain and the meeting broke up before 6 as there was an Executive Board meeting (I asked UFT staffer Gary Sprung whether the meeting was next door at the UFT borough office or in Manhattan and he gave me his usual charming grunt.) I saw Marjorie Stamberg who was going to the Ex Bd to hear the results of her appeal of her chapter leader election and we expect her report soon (guess what the results will be?)

Oh, and I did spend some serious time staring at the cookies, but not touching. I think I only gained 3 pounds. Or was it from the enormous amount of food my friend and I consumed at an Asian fusion place?


  1. Norm,

    Except you, almost everyone has been dancing around with the notion that Bloomberg is above it all. How can anybody NOT hold Bloomberg accountable while Joel Klein is going down? Is it his billions?

    The scorcher of yesterday reminded me of Bloomberg's "sympathy" and praise for Con Ed when Astoria went dark for SEVERAL DAYS. And this is the man, the Times is worried about losing due to term limits.


  2. If you are poor, middle, or working class in NYC you are just so screwed, especially since your kids make up the school system's population.... and the emperor still doesn't have any clothes on!! The Times may lose my weekly subscription if they are caving in to corporate evil. I know they don't care, but maybe ICE or some organization still somewhat interested in true unionism could disseminate this information about the Times. Unfortunately, it still can be a great teaching tool, especially since it is the only literate paper in NYC.

  3. teachers in LA organize a work stoppage.

    teachers in NYC hold a secret meeting about releasing an enormously powerful and almost invincible....survey

  4. The problem is the Taylor Law. This state is so anti labor it's not even funny. Luckily for LAUSD, they have no Taylor Law. If we had a job action, that would constitute a violation of the Taylor Law. You notice that this law is only invoked, however, when labor does something "wrong" like have a job action. When management doesn't bargain in good faith,which is part of this act, the state looks the other way.


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