Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is UFT Bronx Leader Vargas Going Rogue? - Updated

Ed Note: A batch of comments from insiders at Unity Caucus and rank and file Bronx teachers have been coming in on this post. None of it is vetted but lots of leads for enterprising investigative reporters so I am reposting and will put a tab up top if more info comes in so the info can be easily found.

Original post: Weds. Aug. 4, 8 am

We've been getting complaints about Jose Vargas from Bronx rank and file teachers over the way he was running the Bronx UFT office. Lack or response, lack of interest, etc. There were charges he was tied into the Bronx Democratic party machine in unhealthy ways. Principals connected to the Bronx machine being favored over teachers they were harassing. Calls and complaints to UFT leaders were to no avail. They almost seemed to fear reigning Vargas in.

Now a new level of complaints have started emerging about Vargas, this time from within the belly of the Unity beast at 52 Broadway. That Vargas has set up his own machine and power base independent from the leadership. Word of friction between Vargas and Leroy Barr.

Was he taking advantage of the transition from Weingarten to Mulgrew before Mulgrew could consolidate his control? Was Vargas placing key operatives into position for a power play? Some tell us that it has not gone as far as to be a threat to Mulgrew but may be positioning himself as a Mulgrew successor. At any rate, some people at 52 are concerned. As for the Bronx rank and filers, some of whom were actually considering a protest rally at the Bronx UFT office last spring, the beat of lack of service will go on.


  1. The world is coming down around your ears and this is the crap people who support the Unity machine have to say.

  2. I mercifully removed the dumb ass comments. Unity slug should consider that a favor.

  3. Now remove that dumb ass post of yours.

  4. Someone touched a nerve. This must be one of Vargas' butt boys.

  5. This was sent anon:

    They have grand parties..I wonder if they are using our dues to pay for their parties.

    Is there was some uft or aft business going on in Las Vegas? Many of the BRONX staff are there. Who the hell pays for all of the cruise trips? They chartered a big boat for paraprofessionals, but only their little clan were allowed to attend!

  6. Why DOES the Bronx UFT have so many stupid, pointless parties? My colleagues always shrug and shake their heads. Where IS that money coming from? If it's coming from UFT members, via our union dues, it's a complete disgrace.
    I've waited for years to hear someone finally talk about how the Bronx UFT is so unresponsive. You have to contact the downtown office to get them to light a fire under the lazy slobs at the Bronx office. What a JOKE some of them are.

  7. The point of my piece was that the central UFT office is either in cahoots with Vargas or afraid to touch him. He seems to be making a power play - not to challenge Mulgrew at this time but to create an independent power base that can be used to build for a future takeover.

    I worked in a district where the Dist Rep created an independent power base - the powers that be at central hated him but could do nothing about it.

    And by the way, the end of DR elections was directed as much at a few Unity rogues as at opposition people like Bruce Markens who was a rarity.

  8. Retired DR Winderbaum exposed Bronx Sci principal Rotunno. We should get her to tell all on the Vargas machine.

  9. Norm, What about the 3 men on the grassy knoll. As a card holding retiree you really should not get all worked up over this. Walk in the park and smell the flowers. You won. You had a great career get over it and move on.

  10. Very deep inside the Unity Caucus.

    NORM, You are on to something bigger than anything in the history of the UFT.
    START with Mulgrew telling 3,000 UFT members last November at Teacher Union Day that he was going to “ go after” Iris Blige, the nut job principal at Fordham HS for the Arts.
    What happened? Nada. A well liked teacher was fired -no 3020A- after allegedly leaving a letter in Blige’s mail box threatening to kill her and her son.
    Serious charge right? Lift the teacher’s passport? Give the principal extra police protection? Ask for bail? Charge her with a felony which is what it is?
    Interview more than one person as part of the investigation?
    (15 cops showed up the day the letter was found).
    Well not in the Bronx. She was arrested in April 2009-two months after the letter was found. (Five days after the letter was found, NYPD Coppers supposedly matched her hand writing to the contents of the letter but didn’t move to arrest her! Such a danger to the community!)

    The teacher still has not been convicted of the misdemeanor she was charged with after the Bronx D.A Robert Johnson. -who the UFT put in office- has asked for ten postponements.
    Everyone from Weingarten to Mulgrew to Ellie (NOT ONE DAY IN THE CLASSROOM) Engler and Leroy Barr convicted her at a UFT trial after the arrest. The A.P. who framed her has since fallen out of love with Blige and wants to tell the UFT her story-which would clear the teacher, right? Maybe even get her job back and a lawsuit for false arrest right?
    Well, not in the Bronx. Not in the Mulgrew- Vargas Bronx.
    Mulgrew the phony carpenter did nothing to go after Blige.
    He let the teacher- an immigrant from Jamaica- have her life ruined by Blige, who has hooks in the Bronx Democratic Party, the NYPD and the D.A. s office. Her father was a bigwig in the TWU!

  11. part two:

    Weingarten and Mulgrew also ignored the Bronx HS of Science story -despite many pleas from Winderbaum- a truly honest and dedicated UFt'er and Weingarten and Mulgrew refused to expose the JFK principal who sent Maria Colon to the rubber room twice- the second time after she was totally exonerated at a 3020A!
    Mulgrew knew what a crook Rottuno was and instead allowed Colon and 600 others in the rubber rooms to languish. Rottuno just got bounced form his new job in Westchester. Honest UFT’ers like Colon knew Rottuno was stealing four years ago! Weingarten gave him a pass.
    No principal quits in May!
    It wont take much work for a good reporter to piece together the Bronx dots. Start with a list of contributors to every political campaign over the past few years. Then see where Vargas and Mulgrew send their COPE monies. Then compare the names of the D.O.E. blunderers to how fast they moved up the Tweed ladder, taking UFT functionaries with them.
    Vargas and his new breed- (check out the names and ethnicity of the seasoned pros they purged in the UFT office) are in bed with every slime ball DOE hack and Democratic Party slug like Espada and Reuben Diaz Sr.
    The money trail and the job trail are key: it’s all tied together.

    Now- take a good look at the UFT web site and the story of Vargas and five others taking the plastic handcuffs (not exactly Shanker going to Selma in 1965) to protest immigration laws in Arizona (as opposed to how immigrant workers are treated in New York).

    See the Michael Forde- crooked head of the Carpenters Union-- guilty plea story in the Voice this week by Tom Robbins and the August 4 Times- he was paid off to allow contractors to hire undocumented workers! But no one at the UFT and no one at the School Construction Authority ever noticed----it is obvious to anyone walking past an SCA site-- maybe because of Engler’s “special” relationship with Grimm and others. Every carpenter in new york-except Mulgrew- knows these companies are breaking a half dozen laws every day and exploiting undocumented workers but the UFT pretends it is not happening- hurrah for the plastic handcuffs!
    Nice union, those carpenters.
    Here is the scoop: Mulgrew couldn’t get his own staff to even attend the Vargas demonstration and Barr told his African Heritage/Unity members to boycott the event.
    Which they did. Remember- look at the photo.
    So immigration problems (Haiti?) only affect Hispanics?
    The entire side show of the phony “arrests” was a debacle. Some black Caucus members wanted to show Solidarity with Vargas but Mulgrew issued the NO order, leaving Vargas to twist in the wind.
    So it now appears as though Mulgrew has sided with his staff director Leroy “The Shouter” Barr OVER Vargas.

  12. PART THREE -

    Next clue, again on UFT website:
    Mulgrew and Barr cooked up a fake award to give to one of the most corrupt union leaders in DC 37 (which is saying a lot in that union) by giving it to Veronica Montgomery Costa who heads the School Aides union Local 372, a big trough of patronage that Klein has given to Mulgrew and he gave it to Barr so that they would ignore the contract when School Aides take work away from UFT Secretaries and UFT paras, a practice that is rampant and our members are discouraged by Mulgrew enforcers NOT TO FILE GRIEVANCES because they- are told they will lose! Nice scam right?
    Mulgrew doing Klein’s dirty work.
    Why would Mulgrew and Barr pick this disaster for a UFT award?
    You can Google her and read about her exploits in The Chief and Bob Fitch’s book. You may recall her predecessor Charlie Hughes -Rudy’s second favorite labor leader (after Weingarten) went to the Big House.

    The Para boat ride was shocking even to those in the Caucus. It was nothing more than an orgy of food and free drinks and the names of the freeloaders were picked by Loud Mouth Zahler (Four Pensions) and the staff directors -all to pay off Caucus members who backed Mulgrew.
    It cost $28,000! Why not a boat ride for every other title in the union?
    This is how Mulgrew abuses the members money to support the Caucus, all the while saying the UFT has budget problems.


    By the way, if you want to have fun, attend the executive board meetings in September- open to any member!
    The food is out of this world- ten entrees plus deserts, salads, etc.
    Garry (“Have I got a phone deal/UFT car service deal /Hilton hotel deal/emergency printing deal for you!”) Sprung used to scream at teachers for eating UFT food.
    Let’s see who Mulgrew has put in charge of the food Gestapo to stop you from eating food YOU PAID FOR!
    Why are the many UFT committees forced to use Mulgrew’s private caterer which charges DOUBLE what any other company charges?
    Why does Mulgrew offer people 10 percent off the bill to rent rooms at 52 Broadway if they use the in-house UFT private caterer? Why is Mulgrew shilling for a private company and taking money away from the UFT treasury with his “Ten Per Cent” side deals?
    Why is the money being laundered through a SLUSH FUND company called “52 Broadway Associates” controlled by Dave (PBA) Hickey? The finances of that company are hidden from the members WHO ONLY PAID FOR THE BUILDING!

    WHEN BLOGGERS talk about how Mulgrew has sold out the members, it is more than a cliché.
    It is a sell out with nice benefits to him, his Unity backers and all their friends and families and other “interested” parties.
    A retiree with time on his/her hands should also check the names of the UFT staffers in each borough against the D.O. E employment list- it is not always fool-proof because of marriage names, etc. but it is a good beginning.
    They are using members money to enrich themselves.
    Did anyone say Michael Forde?

    What happens when Mulgrew ignores the contract while his members suffer and he doesn’t have the balls he was born with to fight for them?
    Keep up the nice work Norm- and keep those tips coming.
    Don’t worry about Loud Mouth Zahler or “Let’s take it outside” Barr- they will wither away soon. There is a reason why Barr is universally despised in the rubber rooms- all he did was talk and never made one thing better and he cooperated with Klein and his secret police force.
    P.S. How many grievances against Weingarten for her bullying and screaming at the “professional” staff did Zahler handle at the A.F.T.?
    Who fired Betsy?
    Why was Weingarten speech writer Amlung -$170,000 per year- forced out by Mulgrew? Why did Mulgrew fire his black press secretary Ron Davis (19 years at the UFT) and replaced with him with a white guy- Dickie Riley -who quit the union right after he got his five year pension vested?
    Any retirement news from Long Beach?
    Is Nobile lying or is Weingarten lying -----that Klein was keeping a dossier on her private life and her D.O.E. pension and she “owed” Condon (which is why she never went after him while he destroyed the lives of our members?
    Why didn’t she sue for the dossier?
    -Conrad Hilton from 6th Avenue- great rates for “Friends of Garry.”

    Post this to the honest educators in D.C.

  14. "GET OVER IT" exposed.
    Norm, that is the favorite line of the Top Dawg -after Mulgrew- at the UFT.
    3- LM 2-forms- over 200 K a year!

  15. One lady, who is now the educational liaison was on facebook playing farmville all fucking day! For months she was playing and posting games on facebook ALL DAY LONG!!!!!! Our union dollars at work. No wonder no one answers the phones. As for the para boat ride.. they were people like Sterling, Magaret Borelli(whose job changes every week) and many other DR's and leaders that are not paras at all!! They are a farce!

    1. Or when you call to say you were excess unfairly and the chic says" At least you have a job?" or they advise you to take a leave while you are out of will get immediately fired! WTH??????????????????

    2. Or when you call to say you were excess unfairly and the chic says" At least you have a job?" or they advise you to take a leave while you are out of will get immediately fired! WTH??????????????????

  16. Are the Bronx offices as swanky as the Brooklyn and Manhattan offices. A big chunk of our dues are paying for offices at prime locations with sweeping views.

    Worse is that when you go into offices with a problem the office rep often has the following problems: isn't empathetic about your problem, tries to act like your case doesn't happen too often, ignores some extremely egregious abuse/misconduct by your supervisor or tries to shoo you out of the office with "is that all?"

    The allegation that there are political party connections or incestuous relations between the DOE and the UFT, in terms of Tweed positions is unsettling but not too surprising. There are too many instances of UFTers' being careerist and just looking out for their own skin. Plus the tricky factor is that both sides (DOE and UFT) often come from the same source (teachers). Although in the Klein era we are beset with administrators/consultants/mentors etc that have little or no classroom experience.

    Nobile's allegation re Klein's holding a dossier over Weingarten's head has credence. After all, she has lots to fear from exposure of mere facts. The idea that she ascended to top union leadership with just a semester in the classroom is pretty outrageous and would be embarrassing if it were splattered across the New York Post or leading the 11 O'Clock news.

    We can pretty much give up in the big media. The Times, Post, News (except Gonzalez) are all in the pocket of the mayor, and they would never touch a scandal such as a revolving door between Tweed jobs and sit-abouts in the UFT offices. The Village Voice should be our alternative outlet, but Hentoff is in attack the teachers mode with his charter schools crusade and Barrett has disappointingly become a kiss-the-hand-of-authority person, shifting from being the big muckraker against Giuliani to obviously ingratiating himself to the powers that be for a cushy press office job with Tweed.
    Thank god for wikipedia at least.

    We need some soul in the filthy bowels of Tweed to feed wikileaks.

  17. Good points. Look at who has left the Bronx UFT. The guys who fought for Colon and tried to show up the graduation scandal are all gone (Winderbaum, Grubiak, and Egan). They all fought for the members and fought against bully principals. I know Egan, who was my DR in District 11, (with the help of Weingarten) got rid of the bully principal, Gaynor, at PS 87. Grubiak represented a member in my school in an OSI investigation and he was a total bulldog. Sad to see the fight has left the Bronx and our colleagues are the ones who suffer.

    1. Grubiak was biased in his approach- He was no defender of the interest of people in the Rubberroom. He was in bed with the investigative arms of the NYC DOE. He never fought for Colon. She can tell you that - directly

      Grubiak was a bully and a sell-out! Good riddens...


    NOBILE claims to have three witnesses to Weingarten saying she "owed" Condon big time for closing down Klein's probe of her private life, which is why she was afraid to go after him.
    Nobile says the witnesses are UFT Secretary Mendel, New York Teacher reporter Callaghan and NYSUT lawyer Callagy- three of the most respected, well-liked and trusted people in the union.
    Will they testify for him?
    Most folks who know them say they are stand up guys and will tell the truth; where does that leave Weingarten and Mulgrew and Big Bad Leroy Brown -"lets take it outside," Barr who have continued the Weingarten cover-up to protect Nobile's accusers? Wasn't Nobile like the poster boy for the whistleblower law? Oh sorry- so was Maria Colon.

  19. I Heard great things about Winderbaum and Egan always seemed to go beyond. But some bad stuff about Grubiak. He was the putz who tried to get in my way when I was filming the wine and cheese party while the ATR rally was being sold out.

  20. Keep it coming Norm! I am a proud Unity Slug Bug Hack and this crap is the best piece of Science Fiction since Star Wars! I can't for the part where Vargas and Barr take out their lightsabers...soooooo funny! Whoever believes this crap deserves to.


    Does Mulgrew give you guys a script -like he does before every Delegate Assembly- to just keep saying crap crap crap? Or is that all you slugs can think of instead of dealing with the issue of Mulgrew going into the tank as the contract is violated and his whistleblowing members get screwed?
    Either Nobile or WeinGrew are lying.

    Was Klein investigating her private life or not?
    If true, that would get him fired. (Which of course WeinGrew dont want). It might even be a crime.
    If it's not true, then Weingarten was lying to Nobile and the other three union guys to protect someone else at the D.O.E. or UFT.
    (Lots of slugs to protect at the UFT; another long -time do nothing Special Rep in Brooklyn was just forced out-not because he was doing nothing but because Big Bad Leroy Brown Barr wants his slug in the Brooklyn high schools. Announcement coming soon from Slug Central.
    Who fired Betsy and why? Where are the tapes?
    Any retirement news from Long Beach?


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