Sunday, September 11, 2011

An ATR Speaks Out: How UFT Abandons Chapter Leaders

The more you look at the UFT agreement on layoffs that abandoned so many ATRs to a life of Ronan (See- Revolt Brewing in ATR Ranks/GEM ATR Support Group) the more it stinks.

But James Eterno was pointing that out on June 28 the day after the UFT Delegate Assembly rose to cheer Michael Mulgrew for preventing layoffs (CITY BUDGET BEING BALANCED ON THE BACKS OF UFT'S ATRS). Our thought: UFT scammed again.

James followed up with a post on how he was gagged at the DA when he tried to raise warning flags (A DELEGATE ASSEMBLY THAT LEONID BREZHNEV WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF).

I keep raising the issue here about people even inside the opposition in the UFT disagree with me when I say the UFT leadership is Vichy-like collaborator, not inept and bumbling fools. But I am also admonished for not offering people who see things the way I do an alternative - what a union that would defend members while also fighting for a just school system for teachers and students could look like. Here is one comment from one of my colleagues:
I think this is good norm. If ed. notes is going to go down this road, I think it would be good to also provide a vision for what the union could be. To me the more egregious failures (or more disgusting betrayals) are not the petty theft, but the collaboration on sickening contracts that Randi supports, or the co-sponsorship of a merit pay program in NYC. . . . etc.  As well as calling out the fact that the absence of internal organizing IS a unity strategy. That they don't do any internal work to build the unions democratic strength IS a corrupt policy, much worse than the cost of a hotel room. And, my 2 cents, as you are calling them out on things, remind people of the work that our orgs ARE doing with no funding, to organize and mobilize the rank and file. We want to get people used to thinking about what COULD be and how they can be part of making that happen.
This is from a teacher half my age and I guess I'm just too much of an old war horse to make that point but I should include this vision with every post critical of the UFT because there is a new generation of activists.

Here is an account of union betrayal from another new gen member of the GEM ATR committee.

I was elected chapter leader of a Bronx high school in January 2003.  After many years of dealing with a recalcitrant principal I found myself a victim of harassment and Unsatisfactory ratings.  Thankfully I participated in the PIP Plus program and my principal was unable to 3020-a me.

She was however successful this summer when she improperly excessed me on July 21.  I knew then it was improper as our programmer sent an email stating we had 750 students and needed 4 social studies teachers.

I was unable to resolve this issue before the first day of school, due to a UFT on vacation.  I was told by the Bronx office on July 26 that everyone was on vacation and I would have to wait until the first day of school.  I question how the DOE can excess people and the UFT has to wait to the first day of school to do anything.

After spending a long day at the school I was told to report to, I trekked to the Bronx office to file a grievance.  I spent a half hour with two full time staffers, the High School District Representative and another who specializes in grievances. Despite my attempts to explain to them that people with less seniority had been excessed it took that time for them to get it. 

I explained that my school’s budget showed 4 positions for social studies and I am the 3rd most senior. They both said this was not a violation of the contract and if there is no violation there is no grievance.  Both of the staffers said they could not access the school budget online and I asked to get on my email where I had the budget.  Once they saw it the said they could file a grievance.  They did not tell me what I learned later that evening.

‘Thankfully I participated in a conference call that night with someone who knows the contract far better than full time UFT staff.  I learned all I need to do is send a Right to Return letter under Article 17, Rule 8.

Does the UFT staff not know the contract or are they just unwilling to help?  Clearly ATR’s need a group to organize and protect themselves because the UFT has been derelict in their duties.


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