Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why Won't Mulgrew Defend LIFO?

I just want to open with a cat report since our Unity/union official friend seems so anxious to get an update: no doody, no vomit. Now you can relax for the day.

I just watched Mulgrew on Diana Williams on ABC and wasn't surprised he wouldn't defend LIFO. He didn't at the DA last Wednesday and he didn't went he went to speak to E4E (I have to comment later on the E4E correct point about retirees voting in UFT elections). Instead he shifts the debate to not having layoffs at all or talks about class size. Not a bad strategy but ducking the LIFO issue when he has a platform to make a rational case does everyone a disservice. Why not bring up the Peter Lamphere case in a vast public forum? Does the fact that Peter is a long-time member of the opposition have anything to do with it? At the very least he should bring up Iris Blige.

Arthur Goldstein did a piece on LIFO at HufPo: merits of LIFO  and Peter did his own piece at Gotham: “Merit”? My Experience With Arbitrary U Ratings

Making the connection between political use of U ratings and LIFO should be at the top of Mulgrew's agenda. But it isn't and that avoidence is what puts him on the Randi Weingarten camp (see part 2 of our GEM TFA blogger's reactions to Randi's appearance yesterday for a sample of Randi doublespeak -Live Blogging from Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit, Part 2 - Randi Weingarten).

I know people think Mulgrew is different - and later I may do a piece on my reaction to him at the DA where I also saw some differences - but more in style than substance.

Mulgrew also missed a chance to explain and defend the ATRs - which he did at the DA to the members - but doesn't really do when he talks to the public - I mean give the full case with facts and figures how these people are often covering real programs.

I left this comment at Gotham, a comment that is waiting moderation, so I'll reprint it here:
Is a democratic system of government always fair? There are all sorts if distortions. But can anyone point to an alternative. The same with LIFO. Not always fair to all but in fact is the only system that works over the long term. It is a system put in place well over a hundred years ago way before there were teacher unions  because of the corruption and patronage that went on.

Why would that change now? Just read Peter Lamphere's story in the Community section - he would be out of a job if LIFO ends. Then there's Iris Blige. But we can talk about hundreds of principals who would not make a fair and rational judgement.

Other principals I know absolutely support LIFO in spite of what it costs them.

By that I mean the fair funding formula which was designed to force principals to get rid of the highest paid teachers. I have a simple way to eliminate that as a factor - go back the old system of not charging a school for the costs of teacher salaries. There can be no LIFO modifications until that ends. But you will never see that happen because that is the very reason for the Fair funding formula in the first place and it reveals the entire intention behind the move to end LIFO.

I was at a school the other day as a speaker and a 4th year teacher told me she supported the idea of LIFO but also doesn't think it fair for her to lose her job while she can point to people in the school who don't pull their weight. A fair point.

But let's drill a bit. First, she has no guarantee that the principal sees it the way she does. I had a principal who favored people who sucked up to her - to her that was pulling the weight.

Secondly, as a 4th year teacher she already had a buffer over teachers with less seniority than she has. If she is laid off LIFO seniority rules should protect her when people are called back - though I don't know how this would work in reality. In 1975 when there were massive layoffs, most people were called back within a year or two - and in the order in which they were laid off and at the salary that were making.  Teaching at that point became a tough job to get.

In fact, you will never find everyone working to the same capacity in any job - I know young lawyers at big firms who chafe over the seniority that goes on - there are forms of LIFO in almost every profession. My wife was at a hospital and even among doctors, the longer you are there the more perks you get. There are also all sorts of politics that keep certain people around while more competent people can't get ahead. What do you think goes on the police dept - and these guys have guns - no one seems upset that a young cop might be cut to keep a vet who may not have the ability to chase someone down in the street anymore. To make teachers the focal point is just part of the general assault on public education - to ruin teaching as  career and replace them with a cheap, transient force. As Ravitch points out, there are 4 million teachers in this nation - do they think they can work on the Peace Corps idea? 

Has the uft has made any of these points amongst all the other defense of lifo arguments so many bloggers are making?


  1. It is a pity that Michael Mulgrew does not protect seniority-based layoffs in public. Is he a male Randi Weingarten? I hope not.

  2. Excellent. I linked it here:!/pages/New-York-City-Teachers-Experience-Matters/114089568615636

    I feel like I posted a comment at Gotham recently that was posted immediately- wonder why you have to await moderation?

    Glad the cat is doing ok.

  3. Since Mulgrew is handpicked by Weingarten and continues to be surrounded by the same group at UFT, he should be considered a male Weingarten till he proves otherwise. It will be a 180 degree policy turnaround for him to truly stand up for the members.

  4. Let's not pretend anymore, all of this is an assault on labor unions. It has nothing to do with LIFO. Break the teacher unions, then go after all of the other municipal unions. Wake up labor!

  5. No, Mulgrew is not a male Weingarten. He is her cabana boy.

  6. On Gotham comment moderation:
    They told me length matters - word length that is. And I was wordy. Also - if you have 2 links in your comment it automatically flags the comment. To control ads I imagine.


    The issue is not “Tubby” Egan or his mashed potatoes- it’s his chronic drinking and outbursts that UFT president Michael Mul-Dew has overlooked for too long because Egan protects the son of an ousted Mul-Dew/Weingarten crony-one of the top five officials in the union- who was caught taking kickbacks from a local hotel while making his subordinate have sex with him. Egan also protects a do-nothing woman who Randi Weingarten promoted even though she is totally useless but is “very close” to key male legislators. “Very” close. Egan has a history of getting soused at union weekends and in restaurants where he is known for chowing down, then whining that the “portion” was too small.
    Lobbying legislators? Teachers who attend the UFT dog and pony show called “Lobby Day” get up at 5 A.M, travel to Albany on a bus, get a box lunch and a bag of pretzels and come back the same night. Unlike the Mul-Dew flunkies, they don’t get to spend two nights in Albany, eat three or four meals a day and put their Egan-sized bar bill on their UFT padded expense sheets which sleazoids like Weingarten/Mul-Dew bully David Hickey ($220,000 per year) overlook.
    Lobbying? Why does it take 12 UFT political hacks-all tied into the Mul-Dew Unity Cult Caucus ----to lobby when there are only three people: Silver, Skelos and Cuomo who make the real decisions?
    The Daily News should check the bar tabs of other top Mul-Dew butt lickers who get paid $170,000 and up with unlimited food and drink and travel and parking budgets, all signed by Mul-Dew sycophant LeRoy Barr. Staff Director Ellie Engler drank so much at a UFT weekend in Princeton in October 2009, that she was running around the dance floor hugging everyone and saying “I love you.” She had to be carried back to her room and it was only 9 p.m.
    UFT members would freak out if they could see Mul-Dew’s bar bill disguised as “union business.” He gets just as nasty as Egan but hides it better- his hangover days are spent in tirades against his staff and covering up for Bloomberg as he throws the contract out the window.
    He is more pathetic than Egan.


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