Thursday, December 17, 2009

UFT Delegate Assembly Reaction 1: Michael Fiorillo

....writes an open letter to UFT President Mulgrew:

Hello Michael,

I attempted to get the floor on a point of personal privilege today, not to make the DA chaotic, but, as someone who always signs his blog posts and comments, claimed that a contract was already in place. You stated that I and others like me who've made the same claim should be "ashamed" of ourselves. You also lumped my opinion pieces with "leaks" of union strategies to an unfriendly press. Since I couldn't speak there, I'll respond here:

- It's true: I have said in numerous forums that I believed there was a tacit or explicit understanding. In fact, I still believe that was so, but that objective conditions created a temptation for Bloomberg to renege that was too strong for him to resist. And after all, why shouldn't he renege? Your predecessor gave him pretty much everything he wanted: silence on term limits that equalled assent, continued mayoral control - which would not exist at all if she had not initially supported it - and "neutrality" in the mayoral election that guaranteed the mayor's re-election. Was it so unreasonable for someone, living in the Age of Impunity that we do, to think that the Union might not have insisted on something in return? Are you saying that the UFT leadership gave those things to the mayor without extracting the promise of something, perhaps even a contract? Would that be so far-fetched?

In fact, things are even worse than I surmised. Think about it: either the Union gave Bloomberg everything he needed to continue his attacks against teachers and the public schools, while not even asking/demanding something in return - which is what you seem to be saying - or it had what "somebody" thought was a deal and got stabbed in the back, on the assumption that it was too weak to retaliate? Which sounds worse?

So, I'm far from ashamed of myself. Randi Weingarten should be ashamed for making these catastrophic decisions over the years, in a vain attempt to ingratiate herself with our enemies. And while I don't think that you, as a comparative newcomer, bear the same degree of responsibility as her, you've supported and spoken for those policies in public, and as President they now belong to you. And what's far worse, the membership must live and work under them.

- Your comparison of me and others to those who leak information to the Post, News or other publications is borderline slanderous and McCarthyite. There is no comparison whatsoever to be made. I sign every piece I write, and it's clear to all that I am voicing my opinion, which people are free to accept, reject or ignore. This is totally different from surreptitiously feeding information to the press, which I have never done. For you to suggest they are the same is a smear.

- And by the way, as for the "security" of information given out at the DA: isn't it axiomatic that nothing is said at an open union meeting that is not expected to make its way back to the Boss? Come, now.

So, we will see how things progress, or regress. As long as the Union accepts the premises of the people who are clearly trying to destroy us and privatize the system, here and nationally, we'll continue to lose ground. There's no changing that, and I will continue to write and speak up about it.


Michael Fiorillo
Delegate, Newcomers High School

Ed Note:
I'm going to post a series of reactions to the UFT Delegate Assembly yesterday, including mine. I'll keep them separate for easier reading but number them. Feel free to jump in. (At the same time as the DA, ICE/TJC Presidential candidate James Eterno was leading the fight to save Jamaica HS. Francis Lewis HS CL Arthur Goldstein (ICE/TJC candidate for HS Exec Bd) was there to support James and had this comment:
James was great.  Passionate, compelling, excellent.
Michael Fiorillo, is another ICE/TJC candidate for the HS EB and wouldn't you want he and Goldstein along with the ICE's John Lawhead and TJC's Kit Wainer, Marian Swerdlow and Peter Lamphere on the EB after the upcoming election? So if you are in a high school, start alerting your colleagues to check the ICE/TJC box on the ballot when it is received in March - don't also vote for any individual candidates if you check this box or your vote will be invalid. In the last election well over a thousand votes were invalidated.

1 comment:

JW said...

I was also taken aback at Mulgrew's strange attack on members who not only have a right to their own opinions on anything the UFT does, but whom he tried to place into the same group with his baiting remarks as those who "leak" things to the press.

Many of us did think that the contract was more or less worked out before RW abandoned ship. The fact is union managers have not come clean with us in the past and they won't in the future. Chances are we'll never know what Mulgrew is doing behind closed doors.

Many of us have also detested Unity's positions on all kinds of labor-busting issues all along: merit pay, their charter schools, giving up seniority rights, gutting the grievance system, collaborating on teacher evaluations, asking us to report special ed violations without guaranteeing whistleblower protection, tolerating one-size-fits-all PD.

We are not Mulgrew's Minions, and we do not have to walk in lockstep with Unity thinking. His gibes at the DA were — like so many of Unity's positions — off the mark and unhelpful.