Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Callaghan Files: Mulgrew Ordered Story on ICE's Yelena Siwinski to Be Held Until After UFT Election

I began a series addressing the UFT/AFT in this post: How Far Do We Go When Criticizing the UFT/AFT Leadership?  that addressed the issue of whether Ed Notes should function as a wikileaks for UFT dirty laundry.

Before getting to the revelation of how the leadership uses the NY Teacher to make sure members of the opposition get no recognition, I want to mention my response to the comment from Chaz about whether airing the union's dirty laundrey in public weakens the union and assists the ed deform assault. I posted it in the comments section but also as a postscript at the end of this post along with some other comments.

 As you will read, Yelena Siwinski who is one of the top chapter leaders and would have made a great district rep had no chance for that job because she was not in Unity Caucus. Even Mulgrew recognized that and offered her an after school job, which she accepted, one of the few opposition people working at the union.

Yelena Siwinski is chapter leader of PS 193 in District 22 in Brooklyn. She ran for Elementary School Vice President against Karen Alford in the spring 2010 UFT elections on the ICE-TJC slate. In 2010 she applied for the vacant District 22 District Rep position, knowing full well the position would not be given to a non-Unity candidate. She was interviewed by Mulgrew who offered her a job as a PM staffer in the Brooklyn office, where she still works one day a week. She is core member of ICE and GEM and active in Teachers Unite.

Jim Callaghan after seeing Yelena was appearing on the radio on Labor Day posted this:
I remember Yelena well; Mulgrew ordered that a story I wrote about her taking her class to the Aviation Museum be held until after the election because he told me she "wasn't with Unity." Mulgrew of course doesn't know its illegal to make such distinctions but he does so every day.

Deidre McFadyen, my tyrannical editor, held the story from Feb. to June 2010. McFADyen told me she got in trouble for assigning the story before checking to see if the member had proper UNITY credentials.

Some shake down racket Mulgrew is running- pay up -to the Unity bank account- or we ignore you.
Jim Callaghan
Yelena responds:
I was suspicious that this was the reason they didn't run the story.  They actually wanted to wait until August to run it and I told them my students had been waiting to see it published so they finally ran it in June.  This teaches you that sometimes when you think you're being paranoid there's a real reason that you are!  It's great that Jim can let all these secrets out now.

My Response to Chaz:
I believe the union is weakened by the very nature of the type of accusations being made. We don't need ed deformers to do the dirty work - our leaders in their grasp for total and permanent power have made us ripe for pickings. Taking your cue we have no hope for any change at the top if we can't be critical of the leaders.
That you received so little help from the union that was supposed to protect you means that you are getting precious little for the silence. Reform movements in the union weaken the ed deformers in their attacks as such reform movements grow.


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


Loretta said...

What is so amazing, but not surprising, is that someone with so much power and a guaranteed big win in the election, finds it necessary to stoop so low and take such minor league tactics. Imagine if we were a real threat! Watch ourselves on the subway platforms!

Jeff said...

I agree but you may be forgetting that his paranoia helps keep his group loyal. If we weren’t the enemy someone else would have to be.

Loretta said...

Good point, Jeff. Sometimes I forget- it is impossible to think as they do. And I guess we should all be grateful that we have that disability.

Anonymous said...

You have to keep up the criticisms, Norm, and hold their feet to the fire. When you called the union out on not initially supporting the Verizon workers, they finally came on board and showed at the rally. The deformer-controlled media has done an excellent job of presenting the unions, particularly the UFT, as selfish and greedy, though the truth is that the union has been giving concession after concession and staying nearly silent on the demoralizing attacks against us. The public has little clue that teachers view their union as weak and unsupportive. Keep telling it like it is. If you have to shame them into doing right, so be it.

Schoolgal said...

I totally agree with you. It doesn't weaken the UFT, but opens eyes. Thankfully I was a union rep at a time union reps could select their district reps. I think it helped make the DRs work harder for us. Under the new plan, the DR can make or break you as they did with James and Hillside.

As for the paper, when James led the first victory over the DoE not closing Hillside 2 years ago, not one mention of him was made in the NYTeacher. Instead Mulgrew came out as the hero in the piece. Mulgrew then went on to strike a deal with Bloomberg.

The rank and file need to know the truth so they can make decisions when voting for the next leadership.

Opposition to Unity does have a good chance of winning, but the people running have to put aside their fears and misconceptions and take a great leap of faith by putting their own money into running a great campaign using professionals to guide them and the message. (Because the message cannot be the one I told you will never go over with the majority of teachers).

When only 30% vote in an election, it is telling you that opposition can win. But that campaign cannot start before the election. It has to start now.

ed notes online said...

You mean Jamaica HS for James.
Maybe the opposition can win but I won't be too involved at this point because trying to win teachers over can become so tedious. I much prefer the work of GEM where we battle the ed deformers - even though I believe the people leading the union are ed deformers at heart.

Anonymous said...

This is important for all teachers to know. We need to make room for the different voices even as we stand as a united front.

Schoolgal said...

I stand corrected. It was Jamaica.

Did you send out the DVD to Brian Willims?????????????????????

Why is it so hard to get an answer to this question :(