As Jeff Kaufman points out at ICE, the union always can go into Executive session. Randi has said that numerous times with me in the room and has often publicly has asked me to keep info confidential so she won't have to clear the room. I always complied and will continue to do so. And she full-well knows that, which only makes her demagoguery last Monday ("Norman, put down that camera" as a way to rile up the Unity troops, who were the majority of people in the room) so manipulative. She tries to direct the finger of blame in case something does leak out (often from her- and this actually happened after she once hinted I was leaking to the NY Post and it was clear she did it).
We have a union that is interested in keeping info from flowing to the rank and file. The gag is an attempt to maintain Unity's monopoly on access to the members, similar to their attempt to keep critical info out of teacher mailboxes. When you are faced with despotism and demagoguery, the appropriate response is to fight fire with fire.
Randi is trying to paint this as protecting rank and filers from having the words and images up on the web that can come back to haunt them. Like ATRs and rubber room people or chapter leaders being critical of their school leadership. I absolutely concur with that point. Rank and filers who speak up at meetings should be protected. And at no time have I ever violated that.
But we are talking about UFT leadership and the positions they take. Last Monday I caught Randi in an out and out contradiction between what she said at the info meeting at 52 Broadway (this is not the time to make noise, a less than subtle dig at the rally) and what she said an hour later to the demonstrators at Tweed (the noise you made led to the ATR agreement.) Should I suppress the video of District 19 rep Alan Weinstein cursing and threatening me for taping him leaving the meeting? Weinstein probably makes $120,000 or more a year paid from our dues. Any person on the payroll of the UFT is fair game.
Meetings should be taped and made available to the members. I'll tell you what, let Unity Caucus put forth a series of reforms that will establish a democratic union that will allow the free flow of information. That proverbial snowball is already melting.
ICE reports on the UFT attempt to stop the info flow:
Paranoid UFT Leadership Attempts To Silence Opposition By Proposing Inept Gag Order Over Union Meetings
Just like our sweetheart agreements with the DOE, the resolution, unsurprisingly, provides no penalties for violating its provisions.
When a Union becomes nothing more than a self-serving public relations operation, it ceases to care about free speech or other rights of its members. We must protect our precious rights and demonstrate to our misguided, paranoid leadership that they work for us…not the other way around.
Besides, Jeff seems to be saying it violates the Landrum-Griffin Act.
ICE will be discussing the issue at this Friday's meeting. Maybe everyone should come with cameras and create an I am Spartacus moment.