Sunday, May 17, 2009

Randi Grandstands at the DA – After Accusing ICE of Grandstanding

"Say NO to the political grandstanding and opposition without meaning." - Unity Caucus leaflet handed out at the Delegate Assembly, May 13, 2009

Ya gotta hand it to that wacky Randi Weingarten. In the midst of running the national AFT and the local UFT into the ground, she finds time to focus on the ICE/Ed Notes little ole resolution on chapter leaders.

On Tuesday night we posted this:

Defend Chapter Leaders Sent to Rubber Rooms

With the triennial chapter leader election season taking place, the attacks on chapter leaders as a way to undermine the union, particularly by Leadership Academy principals, has become an issue prospective CL's have to consider. This leaflet is to be handed out at today's Delegate Assembly and raised in the new motion period - if Weingarten ever stops filibustering. So don't count on it. Full text published at the ICE blog or click on the graphic.

At the Delegate Assembly Wednesday (May 13), she announced she had read a resolution on chapter leaders on the blogs and she thought it was a good one - especially since it came from those grandstanders without meaning. (She not only read it but she commented on the ICE blog "anonymously" using the opportunity to attack Jeff Kaufman - I include the exchange at the end of this post.)

She called for a suspension of the rules, which the Unity faithful voted up immediately. She finally seemed to have noticed that with chapter leader elections coming up and leadership academy principals obviously trained in tactics to undermine CL's, some people, afraid for their careers, are declining to run. Of course, it took a few blog postings from us little old grandstanders without meaning to remind her. But we're always willing to help out.

She said that the union had done a little bit of rewriting, handed out their version of our resolution and lined up a chapter leader who was in the rubber room to speak. Wow! What union support he got. Phone calls and visits from his district rep every hour. And union VP Bob Astrowsky dropped by to bring him flowers and lunch every day. And Randi herself landing on the roof of the rubber room in a helicopter. I began to think maybe we are wrong about these union leaders. They are really concerned with people in the rubber room, especially the chapter leaders. No wonder they don't have time to handle grievances effectively.

Well, Randi asked if anyone wanted to speak against and if I were a delegate I would have gotten up to oppose a motion I had mostly written myself. When I was a delegate I used the tactic of opposing a popular motion because it was a way to get the floor since they have to call on someone opposed. Unfortunately, no one took advantage of the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of Randi, who had to be reminded by our grandstanding blogs that attacks on chapter leaders and the union's inability to defend them were bleeding away the lifeblood of the union at the chapter level.

I would have also pointed out how this replacement motion was true grandstanding without any real teeth.

And note how she had the resolution rewritten and passed out as their motion, taking out a few things that gave it teeth. So much for a "grandstanding opposition without meaning" as quoted in the Unity leaflet handed out Weds. What they took out is indicative of how they think.

The Unity/UFT version
Removed this whereas: The number of teachers sent to rubber rooms has escalated since the beginning of mayoral control which has led to an increased level of autocratic rule in many schools;

This is important as if they left it in it would be an admission that their support for mayoral control has had a disastrous result in the schools, something they keep denying.

Replaced "Leadership Academy Principals" with just "principals."
This ignores the fact that the LA seems to focus training on chapter leaders.

Removed from the Resolve: a letter to principals putting them on notice that without a substantive emergency reason for rubber room placement there will be counter charges of harassment based on union/age/freedom of speech issues.

The Unity version ignored our case study where we pointed out how they tell people not to talk about their cases, to sit back and be silent and "it was not the time to file an Art.2 harassment grievance. Call it the basic inaction plan whereas the ICE resolution was more proactive.

You can pass any number of resolutions but with a collaborative union without spine nothing will change for chapter leaders under the gun just as it didn't when Ed Notes raised an even stronger resolution 10 years ago and Randi opposed it. How have things been going for chapter leaders since then? the Unity version has no teeth by putting the SWAT team on the case and calls for monitoring OSI - we could have made it stronger by calling for Jeff's original point of hiring our own investigators and probably some other things.

We know one thing: this Unity version will have zero impact on protecting chapter leaders or anyone in the RR. It will take a union with principles and spine, not resos to protect people.

Is Randi really leaving?
Now you tell me if someone who is so engaged in the minutia of what the tiny opposition grandstanders are doing is planning on leaving the UFT soon.

As early as this summer according to Wayne Barrett in his ridiculous article in the Village Voice? Randi's involvement in this ICE resolution, suspending the rules of the DA with so much business to conduct, even commenting anonymously twice on the ICE blog is a strong sign that she will be running for President again in the winter of 2010.

James Eterno has a DA report on the ICE blog. I disagree with his interpretation and think the Unity version has enough differences to have opposed or amended it. Next time.

It's great to see our grandstanding without meaning be given so much meaning by the Unity Caucus leadership. (Read on for more on the meaningless actions of the opposition given meaning by Unity.)

The April DA was also dominated by those political grandstanders at ICE when their leaflet listing the ICE contract demands for the next contract dominated the discussion at one of the best DA's in memory according to sources. That was because for one solid hour the members were allowed to talk, something extremely rare at the DA.

James had an excellent report in the April DA. One of the key issues discussed was Letters in File (LIF) and the removal of the right to grieve them in the 2005 contract, something the union claims was a good thing. From James' report:

The best part of the meeting came when a delegate brought up the issue of winning back the right to grieve to remove inaccurate/unfair letters from our personnel files. She talked about how the threat of multiple grievances often forced principals to back off of our members.

Randi asked for someone to find any substantive right on this issue that we have lost since 2005. She went on to talk about how after three years, letters are removed from files if we haven't been charged and we could bring up the issue if there were a spike in letters.

[ICE's] Julie Woodward rose from her chair and answered Randi specifically. She said that we could no longer stop Principals from lying about us in letters written for our files with a grievance. She stated that principals could write anything about us and we were basically powerless to do anything in response. In the course of this debate,the standard from the old Contract, inaccurate or unfair, that allowed us to fight grievances successfully was raised. Randi responded that we almost never won and letters were just altered and now they are removed after three years.

So at the May DA, UFT Grievance chief Howie Soloman gave a PowerPoint presentation (boooring and we left) on LIF. Under Assualt takes Solomon's presentation apart in this post: New info on LIFs! Just kidding. Excerpt:
Let's tell all those union management people — who just loved the idea of PD for all — to go get some PD for themselves. Maybe even an internship for a year in a real school.

We're up against an army of corpocrats and their generals, people who seek power for power's sake. Union management doesn't have a clue about the reality of what we're dealing with. If I'm wrong and they do, their band-aid approach to this abuse is stunningly anemic, or . . . they're collaborating big-time.

*Randi's back and forth on the ICE blog comments.
How can you tell? Randiologists can recognize her imprint anywhere. No one else in the UFT hierarchy follows the details of stuff that took place so many years ago. Or gives a crap. And look at the language. She has used the same wording at Exec Bd and DA's. Her venom at Jeff shows. The only thing she didn't do was call him "Jeffrey" as she used to at Exec Bds. (Those Randi-Jeff battles ever other week at the Exec Bd were worth the schlep over there.)
Anonymous [Randi] said...
What! It is our understanding that you called upon the union to work with you when you were sent to the rubber room. You personally called the president and was she not responsive? This was mentioned at the delegate assembly. Why not include the entire story Jeff?

Chapter leaders in the rubber room, as well as all members receive personalized attention from the Union and they are all provided with an attorney.

Jeff, why be should know and share the special actions that the union takes on behalf of the union reps. Care to share info on PERB charges??? Or do you want to complain and exclude attempts made on your behalf as well as other chapter leaders...convenient!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:29:00 AM

Someone responds...
As a start the principals who file frivolous charges against veteran teachers should be named. This, of course, will be over the muddled protests of the union leadership. I am not saying that they themselves should be sent to the rubber room on trumped-up charges...just named. Let's show some guts.
As it is now there is no down side for principals to dispatch teachers to rubber rooms. Why WOULDN'T they continue to do just that.
And to the first anonymous: Nice try at misdirection. the post is not about 'Jeff' at all. Please re-read the post or stop your own disingenuous commentary.

Anonymous [Randi] said...
Wrong, at the exec board, Randi did not say it was too expensive! What I attempted to point in utilizing Jeff as an example (as you did in the following the lead) was that his Union through support behind him while he was chapter leader. Was it one time or two times that the principal was removed? And having an attorney assigned and taking the case to PERB, all the way. Perhaps the findings were not suitable, however support was provided to him as a chapter leader and as a it should be. Let's be clear, the blog referenced Jeff...and let's get the facts straight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We sacrificial lambs are growing in numbers over these years, chapter leaders and others. Randi can run but she can't hide. She and Bloomberg will be exposed. They leave us with few other choices.