Friday, June 5, 2009

Why Sell Out? - Updated

This is a question I get all the time about Randi. Here is one quick response:

After the brutal '68 strike Albert Shanker knew the UFT could never again win much more than salary increases for teachers, and at some point only those at the expense of selling out. Thus over the next 15 years was born the "new unionism" where the union no longer is an antagonist but a cooperative partner with management.

So Shanker's joining in with the business world in the somewhat discredited (Rothstein) "Nation at Risk" in 1983. Leading from that Shanker made alliances with Ronald Reagan and the Clintons (retesting teachers in Ark. with he was governor) and Goals 2000, the precursor of NCLB when Clinton was President.

Knowing there could be dissent at the bottom there was a need to make sure to maintain absolute control - the Unity caucus machine.

Remember, the prime directive is to remain in power.

To try to keep members happy they have to get raises even if they are not real as NYC has pointed out. And merit pay. And money for longer days which many are happy to take, in particular if they are younger.

Support for the small schools and charter schools? Breaks up potential strong large schools which might turn against Unity if an opposition springs up. The UFT has the resources to get to all the schools. So for them the more the merrier.

By supporting mayoral control they can make deals one on one without democratic vetting. Bloomberg is willing to give money for salaries in exchange for the UFT keeping the members under control, one of the main functions of the UFT. BloomKlein don't want the UFT to go away. It performs too many services for them.

Every once in a while the UFT does the dance like a law suit (often announced and not filed) or some raw words from Randi directed at Klein for effect. And Bloomberg or Klein attack Randi for show – Witness the UFT getting data reports for tenure outlawed but allowing enough loopholes to give them what they want. They all have a laugh with each other at the way they're fooling so many chumps.


This comment is worth featuring:
The sellout is before ’68. Shanker chose alienation rather than solidarity with community and other workers. Selling out the school system, the children, and the parents was part of the decision.

Despite the harm to teachers and students, Shanker’s policies were not mistakes, but reflected the carefully thought-out ideology of the political group SDUSA, which ran the UFT and dominated much of the labor movement. An ideology of protecting and promoting the economic and class status quo in this country and US economic and political hegemony abroad.

In the late 60s and 70s, in the midst of a growing movement of students, rank and file labor, black and Puerto Rican movements for social justice, social programs and against warfare, foreign interventions, and military spending, this group of labor bureaucrats was active politically driving wedges between working people and promoting corporate interests.

Getting a good contract was always portrayed as a battle between us (UFT) and other municipal unions. Getting higher pay was always posed against getting better working conditions. From the early 70’s on, we always heard there was no money. This went on for more than 30 years through all kinds of ups and downs in the economy. Cities and States never had enough money for schools and social services.

As the corporate and income tax rates on the wealthy plummeted and as the federal government shifted more and more financial burdens onto states and local government, Shanker, his allies in the AFL-CIO, and his anointed successors never saw fit to mobilize a labor movement to fight back. At the same time he began to lay the groundwork for a further way to divide the educational community itself—the standards movement, which promoted a rigidly hierarchical and eventually a corporate-controlled educational system, threatening students and teachers alike.

What about Randi Weingarten? Is her hard work and ambition motivated by a strong ideological underpinning? Or is it just a personal quest for power?

Does it matter?

While Weingarten’s political ideology is not as clear and consistent as Shanker’s was, she pushes the union in the same direction. Instead of openly opposing her critics she pretends to take them seriously, forming committees, sponsoring meetings and demonstrations, speaking and writing about how she feels the pain of the overly burdened teaching staff.

But as you always say, Norm, watch what she does, not what she says. Inevitably she betrays our interests and lands squarely on the side of the educrats, the high-stakes test establishment, the dictator-mayor and the well-connected vendors and contractors sucking the life-blood out of our school system. Going along with the blame game against teachers and “failing” schools, she diverts our attention from the real culprits and the policies and programs that should be put in place in order to put our school system on the right track.

2 comments:

  1. The sellout is before ’68. Shanker chose alienation rather than solidarity with community and other workers. Selling out the school system, the children, and the parents was part of the decision. Despite the harm to teachers and students, Shanker’s policies were not mistakes, but reflected the carefully thought-out ideology of the political group SDUSA, which ran the UFT and dominated much of the labor movement. An ideology of protecting and promoting the economic and class status quo in this country and US economic and political hegemony abroad. In the late 60s and 70s, in the midst of a growing movement of students, rank and file labor, black and Puerto Rican movements for social justice, social programs and against warfare, foreign interventions, and military spending, this group of labor bureaucrats was active politically driving wedges between working people and promoting corporate interests. Getting a good contract was always portrayed as a battle between us (UFT) and other municipal unions. Getting higher pay was always posed against getting better working conditions. From the early 70’s on, we always heard there was no money. This went on for more than 30 years through all kinds of ups and downs in the economy. Cities and States never had enough money for schools and social services. As the corporate and income tax rates on the wealthy plummeted and as the federal government shifted more and more financial burdens onto states and local government, Shanker, his allies in the AFL-CIO, and his anointed successors never saw fit to mobilize a labor movement to fight back. At the same time he began to lay the groundwork for a further way to divide the educational community itself—the standards movement, which promoted a rigidly hierarchical and eventually a corporate-controlled educational system, threatening students and teachers alike.

    What about Randi Weingarten? Is her hard work and ambition motivated by a strong ideological underpinning? Or is it just a personal quest for power? Does it matter? While Weingarten’s political ideology is not as clear and consistent as Shanker’s was, she pushes the union in the same direction. Instead of openly opposing her critics she pretends to take them seriously, forming committees, sponsoring meetings and demonstrations, speaking and writing about how she feels the pain of the overly burdened teaching staff. But as you always say, Norm, watch what she does, not what she says. Inevitably she betrays our interests and lands squarely on the side of the educrats, the high-stakes test establishment, the dictator-mayor and the well-connected vendors and contractors sucking the life-blood out of our school system. Going along with the blame game against teachers and “failing” schools, she diverts our attention from the real culprits and the policies and programs that should be put in place in order to put our school system on the right track.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Norm, You are completely RIGHT with these statements!

    "Every once in a while the UFT does the dance like a law suit (often announced and not filed) or some raw words from Randi directed at Klein for effect. And Bloomberg or Klein attack Randi for show ".

    RW pretended to file a lawsuit of "Age Discrimination" for the ATR teachers. However that lawsuit didn't go anywhere. It was just a big lie. Lately RW. reached an agreement with the Mayor with the "Hiring Freeze". She mentioned that ATRS can apply and get jobs with this agreement. I wonder if there is any true about giving jobs to the ATRs because ATR teachers are applying to the Open Market and not getting any responses from the OM or the schools. (The OM just sends this electronic response: We received your application...). At present, most schools are giving the jobs to the F Status people. What is left for the ATRS? I wonder if any agreement the the UFT passes is true.

    ReplyDelete

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