Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ed Notes Sat on Mulgrew Story for Years

For those of us who are challenging his leadership for NOT battling the ed deformers and protecting teachers, this story is meaningless other than it exposes the level of Unity Caucus corruption and how they protect their own while leaving most teachers to hang.
--------UPDATED with comment from Michael Fiorillo
I agree with Norm that UFT collaboration with Bloomberg predates Mulgrew, and is predicated on much deeper corruption and deception, which also includes the self-deception of the leadership and its patronage recipients.
 If the UFT/AFT didn't already accept or agree with the outlines of the neoliberal project on education, would this (alleged) tawdry episode be enough to maintain it? Not likely.

On the other hand, John Kenneth Galbreath said that all revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door, and we all know the UFT structure is rotten, despite the presence of decent, hard working people in the union. That's the destiny of every entrenched, single party state, and that's the potential significance of this story: at a certain point, the superstructure is so internally compromised that it can no longer support itself, and crumbles before a gust of wind.

If this is that gust of wind (doubtful in my mind, but you never know), the question then becomes, who will benefit from the resulting crisis: an invigorated rank and file fed up with years of lies and abuse, or the Overclass, which seeks to use it for its own avaricious ends?

Michael Fiorillo
Additional comment
Yes, Michael is right. The real story is the rot within from a one party system controlled by Unity Caucus. And blame New Action for part of this by taking 8 useless exec bd seats given by Unity to basically shut them up. They abdicated their responsibilities as an opposition to expose the rot but instead became part of the structure. And New Action as a merger of 2 caucuses around 1990 had lots of infrastucre which has gone to waste. ICE and TJC tried to pick up the slack but Unity and New Action used their infrastrcture to beat us back, in particular going after ICE because we really hit them both very hard. Now let's hope MORE can take what ICE and TJC have built and expand and run with it.

Original post

Ed Notes had the story in 2008-9 when it was becoming clear that Mulgrew would replace Randi from someone who wanted ICE to use it in the election campaign of 2010. Everyone at Grady knew about it. Stories were coming our way about how the principal was running rampant on harassing teachers and we could have made that connection to the Mulgrew story. We felt it was too sleazy to use in an election campaign. And besides, the UFT was allowing all principals to run rampant. Interesting that the Ostrovsky law suit claims the DOE was blackmailing Mulgrew into putting up such a weak fight. I don't buy that since Randi also went along. Do you think Bloomberg had dirt on her?

See New York City Eye
Why Post-Scooped Mulgrew Sex Story has Political Relevance

I had inklings The Post had that story for a while but no one would talk on the record. I guess the lawsuit allowed them to pull the trigger. But given the Post, there are probably political reasons to discredit Mulgrew with the battles coming up.

For those of us who are challenging his leadership for NOT battling the ed deformers and protecting teachers, this story is meaningless other than it exposes the level of Unity Caucus corruption and how they protect their own while leaving most teachers to hang.

Notice how the union protects sell-out chapter leader Richard Candia while letting Francesco Portelos hang. (UFT/Unity Chapter Leader Richard Candia Attacks Staff While Backing Principal).

The scandal for union members is the patronage job and Randi coverup. Remember the Hewlett-Packard story Mark Hurd's Stumble May Also Trip Hewlett-Packard where the CEO had to resign for doing much less? How ironic to find more ethics in the corporate world than the union world. Maybe a good explanation why unions in this nation are in so much trouble.
Why Mulgrew's back aches

Remember those 2 women teachers at New Utrecht HS who came back to school tipsy for an evening event and were caught and disappeared into a rubber room?

If this were 15 years ago can't you see a Post story revealing a "scandal" involving Randi Weingarten's being gay?

But the real story here would be Randi's relationship with Hilary Rosen who is tied into the ed deformers. See Apr 13 Ed Notes: Randi and Hilary (Rosen) and Michelle Rhee and  Joel Klein.

Here is the full Post story below the jump:

UFT ‘sex coverup’

Last Updated: 12:33 AM, May 20, 2012
Posted: 12:19 AM, May 20, 2012
Uft President Mike Mulgrew was caught “in flagrante delicto” with a guidance counselor at William Grady HS, where he taught before becoming the union’s boss, a bombshell lawsuit charges.
The accusation that Mulgrew was seen having sex with a co-worker in a woodshop at the vocational school, and that it was hushed up, comes in a rambling 73-page suit filed in Brooklyn federal court last week by Andrew Ostrowsky, a math teacher at Frank Sinatra HS of the Arts in Manhattan.
Ostrowsky, 35, names Mayor Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Mulgrew and the UFT, claiming the teachers union conspired with school officials to quash the scandal. It accuses the city of using the favor to “extort” labor concessions.
The suit claims that a custodian found Mulgrew and Emma Camacho-Mendez together at the Brooklyn school, and that the custodian and principal were “sworn to secrecy and denial.”
It charges the pair were shielded by then-UFT President Randi Weingarten to avoid embarrassment to the union leadership.
“Mulgrew was embroiled in a meretricious scandal for which anyone else would have been fired, ending his career as an educator,” the suit claims.
Mulgrew’s spokesman, Dick Riley, gave a curt response: “This lawsuit is a catalog of absurd, false charges which we expect the court to dismiss.”
Camacho-Mendez, now a UFT official, said, “I have no comment on that. It’s the first I’ve heard of such an allegation. I have nothing to say to you.”
The lawyer who filed the suit, Joy Hochstadt, told The Post she is seeking evidence of the alleged tryst.
“Everyone has only hearsay knowledge, but almost everyone in the school talked about it,” the suit says.
Several former staffers at Grady HS have told The Post they believed Mulgrew and Camacho-Mendez, who is married, were romantically involved, and there were rumors of an encounter on a drafting table at the time.
“The sex thing, it’s between them and nobody’s business,” one said. “The thing that upset me is the patronage job to Mendez — rewarding her with a high-paying job with my union dues.”
In 2005, soon after the alleged incident, Mulgrew became UFT vice president for career and technical high schools. Around the same time, Camacho-Mendez transferred to the HS of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn, but got a part-time job in Mulgrew’s union office.
She was later given the full-time position of UFT liaison for special education. She gets two paychecks — $22,000 in UFT compensation on top of her $85,000 city salary, although she’s no longer a guidance counselor. In 2010, Mulgrew presented Camacho-Mendez with a UFT award.
“No one ever heard of this woman until Mulgrew brought her on board,” said a longtime UFT rep. “She had no union credentials.”
Mulgrew was tapped to finish Weingarten’s term in 2009, when she left to head the American Federation of Teachers. In April 2010, he was elected to a three-year term to succeed her.
One of the most powerful labor leaders in the country, the fiery Mulgrew has fought Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education on such issues as reversing the last-in, first-out policy in laying off teachers; plans to close struggling schools; and the public release of teacher ratings.
The UFT pays Mulgrew $250,400 a year, plus benefits.
Ostrowsky, a 10-year veteran, claims in the suit he’s being “targeted” for termination because an assistant principal gave him his first “unsatisfactory” rating last December. Supervisors also ordered him to undergo a DOE medical/psychological exam, but he wasn’t found to be unfit.
Hochstadt, who has sued the DOE over its notorious “rubber rooms” for teachers accused of misconduct, filed a similar suit for Ostrowsky last month in Manhattan Supreme Court.
She added the alleged sex scandal and coverup to the federal case, which complains the UFT has betrayed members by caving in to the DOE on several issues. Under one agreement, teachers “excessed” from closing schools, no matter their seniority, must work as substitutes until another school hires them. Walcott last week proposed buyouts for most of 831 educators in the Absent Teacher Reserve.
Ostrowsky seeks a purging of any negative documents in his file, and more than $600,000 in damages, including payment for “defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”


Michael Fiorillo said...

My initial comment neglected to mention how the timeline of this story undermines the Eye's political inferences and speculations.

This alleged episode occurred before it became obvious that Michael Mulgrew was the heir apparent to Weingarten; people should recall that he seemed to come out of nowhere before receiving his anointment. If it happened, then it stands to reason that the DOE made Randi aware of it: after all, in order for the "blackmail" to work, she'd have to be informed, no? If that was the case, then why would she openly groom somebody whom she knew to be compromised and open to exposure?

Hmm, unless Weingarten herself wanted this to remain hidden and held in reserve, in case Mulgrew turned out to be unreliable and threatened to undermine her collaboration with the deformers. After all, isn't that what allows her to ride in Bloomberg's private jet and receive compliments from Steve Brill? But that's really a stretch, and undermines the Eye's argument (more of a reach, really) that the catastrophic 2005 contract was the product of blackmail.

In a way, the Eye's suppositions let Weingarten off the hook for the 2005 contract, making it seem that she was forced into a corner and made to accept things she otherwise wouldn't have. I don't see her career that way; I think she is an active enabler/participant in the neoliberal project in the schools, and either personally accepts most of the premises and assumptions of it, or is resigned to their inevitability.

The Post's anti-unionism, viciousness and prurience is encoded in its DNA, and they don't require seamy stories like this to go after the UFT. Perhaps they just didn't have any cell phones of murdered children to hack into this weekend.

Or perhaps Michael Mulgrew isn't as reliable as they would like, and needs to be publicly humiliated and disciplined. You never know; after all, the ed deform project requires total compliance from everyone. We all have to give 110%.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the billionaire boys club is at it again. They admit in the story that there is no proof to any of numererous allegations yet it is newsworthy enough to be a front page headline. Yellow journalism at its best. Their objective is to undermine the union movement and weaken the voice of the membership, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Shame on everybody. We all know people can say things without proof. Our system no longer finds a person innocent until proven guilty but finds individuals guilty until proven innocent. How far back do people dig in order to expose GOSSUP that has no truthful backup. Are UFT members now falling to DOE tactics? We know that the Post is guilty of that!

retirednycteach said...

The Mulgrew story in the Post today typifies how degraded this city has become under the aegis of the Bloomberg/Klein/Murdoch cartel that seeks to control every aspect of city life.

The strength of this union and its successes in combating the deconstruction and destruction of the school system by the Bloomberg/Klein/Murdoch cartel, comes chiefly from the solid support that Michael Mulgrew and his predecessor, Randi Weingarten, enjoy from the UFT’s members.

Bereft of any other viable means to undermine that leadership support, the N Y Post,
• owned by Murdoch (of notorious fame for the British hacking scandal),
• who hired Joel Klein to help the N Y Post sell educational systems to the NYC schools,
• the majority of which Bloomberg and Klein claim to have improved in spite of public repudiation,
resorts to the most despicable form of yellow journalism to accomplish its goal.

This is one retired member of the UFT whose support for my union’s leadership is not and will never be undermined by the lowest forms of innuendo and gossip that the N Y Post claims as journalism.

Anonymous said...

all a bunch of unconfirmed trash, this will go nowhere

Anonymous said...

To be expected by the NY Post...they try to divide the union by attempting to separate the membership from its leadership. Why doesn't the Times publish this nonsense?

ed notes online said...

The UFT leadership separated from the membership a long time ago. No heavy lifting for the Post. And to others who say it's trash and not true, what if it is? Is an affair or whatever our business? Would you think less of Mulgrew if it is true? In fact the only thing we should care about is the misuse of dues money to hire the woman. But then again that has been going on in the UFT --- political hires for loyalty for 50 years. So what really changes? The blackmail stories are rubbish. The UFT didn't need to be blackmailed to say "I surrender".