Monday, July 20, 2009

Randi In Portland (OR) and a Weird Subway Meeting

If you followed our reports on the goings in Portland (AFT Hack Attack) where the leadership of AFT Local 5017 (sue me AFT) was removed and the union put in receivership for considering the very idea of disaffiliating from the AFT and looking elsewhere for another union, today is the day Randi went out to talk to the local. There's a report in Oregon Business News:
A three-member committee composed of three of AFT's 36 national vice presidents will conduct a hearing in about a week to decide whether the temporary takeover is warranted and to determine how local leadership should be restored.

Sure they will decide in the usual fair honest manner. Any takers on the outcome?

AFT locals have the right to break away, but they must follow proper procedures in doing so, said Weingarten in an interview with The Oregonian
Oh, yea! They have the right only when prove they are able to swim the English Channel with one arm.

Now, are you holding your sides?

"The goal here is to make sure members have a right to make a decision," said Weingarten, who just completed her first year as AFT president. "It is not about the leaders. It is about the members' democratic rights and their economic rights."
Excuse me a minute while the pain from the laughter goes away......

Thanks, I've recovered.

Kathy Geroux, who was removed as president of Local 5017, declined to comment. But she and union leaders released a statement defending their actions, saying the bylaws allow special meetings. "We believe that everyone on the executive board will be vindicated of all the charges made," Geroux wrote.

Kathy, I hate to tell you this, but the deal is done. You are experiencing what is known in NYC as "the Unity Caucus squeeze", where an "impartial" body from a UFT, a Unity Caucus controlled borough office rules a chapter election null and void when a non-Unity elected official breathes on a ballot.

Now, it is not impossible for Randi to offer you a deal to make things look good for the press. But there will be a packing of the Exec Bd that will make Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court look like he was playing with toy soldiers. And, you vill not disaffiliate from the AFT. You never intended to disaffiliate from the AFT. And you vill never ever let such evil thoughts ever, ever, ever enter your brain case.

Now, in the totally weird department, MEETING ON A TRAIN:

I'm on the subway today heading up to the demo in Harlem at PS 123 when I see some people with luggage and a subway map looking a bit lost. I offer to help and it turns out they are heading to a hotel near Madison Sq Garden and are from Oregon. Portland.

"Oh," I say. "I've been writing about a situation in Portland about Local 5017 (just try and sue me you AFT goons for using this "copy written" term), a health care union.

The lady's eyes go wide. "I know all about it."

What! I meet some people on a subway who are trying to find their stop for their hotel and she knows the same obscure story that about 10 people in this country know?

"I write a blog on healthcare," she says. "I got a call from the AFT asking me if I wanted to interview Randi Weingarten while I'm in Manhattan. Is she an important person?"

"Nahhh," I answer.

"I heard she met with Obama," she said.

Well, they agree on so much about education: merit pay, charter schools, screwing teachers.

Well, it turns out my accidental friend is Diane Lund-Muzikant, editor-in-chief of THE LUND REPORT. She has spent the past two decades writing about our healthcare system. Her About Me says, "Diane is the founder and former executive director and editor of Oregon Health Forum/Oregon Health News, an organization she ran for 16 ½ years. Under her leadership, it became the leading resource for health policy issues in the Pacific Northwest. Earlier, as a freelance journalist her work appeared in Good Housekeeping, People Magazine, The Oregonian and national health policy journals."

"Send me some questions to ask Randi," Diane said, as we came to her subway stop and we exchanged cards. She seemed to be with her husband and possibly daughter,who was rolling her eyes by this point in the same manner my wife does when I get into blogging mentality mode.

They finally get Diane away to New York for a few days so the family will not be haunted by the obsessed of the blogosphere (and believe me, I saw the same light in Diane's eyes that I see in mine), they are not even at their hotel, and she meets another blogging nut.

On the subway, no less. (Well, where else would you meet a nut in New York?)

By the way, check out The Lund Report. Can't wait to read that Randi interview. Maybe Diane will take me along as a cub reporter. After all, Randi actually invited me to go to Portland with her at the UFT Ex Bd meeting recently.

Related news:
Can the UFT hold an election without Jeff Zahler, who has been in DC as AFT staff director practicing up on his hackism, to do some old-fashioned red baiting? Will Randi firm up the team to support Mulgrew? Or just make sure to keep an eye on him so he doesn't get that lean and hungry look. Et tu, Randi?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey, I wish you all the best of health and happiness as you retire from the AFT. As you were missed by many at the UFT including myself, I am sure you will be missed by those who got to know you on in DC as Chief of Staff.
And Norman, you don't know the Jeffrey that I and many others know; a warm, decent and hard working professional who did not like the "limelight" yet did much behind the scenes including saving my career. I guess that's why he was granted the Cogan Award because of his dedication to helping teachers. And I don't know how he will be replaced, but I will try my best to carry on with his example as my guide.
Jeff, I know you would have wanted to continue if it was in your power to do so, yet I pray that somehow you'll be with us again. After all you are returning to NY! Godspeed Jeffrey!
Your friend,
Carol Ruiz