Sunday, May 11, 2014

UFT Contract: NYC Educator Puts Out Challenge to Unity on Contract

If it's such a great deal, why wouldn't they jump at the opportunity? If we bloggers and opponents are spouting myths, as UFT President Mike Mulgrew repeatedly told the DA last Wednesday, why doesn't he grab this, a golden opportunity to demonstrate it? ... Arthur Goldstein at NYC Educator blog.
I'm ready to tape this one but as I said in previous posts, I'm predicting the Unity people will never go face to face on the contract, especially with Julie Cavanagh, whom they seem to especially fear (Mulgrew shut down debate at the DA with Julie standing at the mic to speak next.) During the UFT election campaign the FDR chapter asked for a debate and at first the UFT said YES but then pulled out.

Me--Free and Fair Contract Discussion, UFT Leadership--Crickets

On Friday I decided it would be a good idea to have a forum in which both sides of the contract proposal are examined. I asked my friend Julie Cavanagh if she would be interested in presenting the con side, and she agreed. I went to my principal and asked if we could use the school auditorium. He said if we got a permit and did so after school hours it was fine.

I then happened to be speaking to Geoff Decker from Chalkbeat NY, and he offered to moderate if we could find a time to fit his schedule. We envisioned either that a panel of him, me and someone pro-contract to select questions from the audience. We wanted to do something balanced. I asked my district rep, who said this would have to go before a UFT officer. So I wrote the following email to Janella Hinds, UFT VP for Academic High Schools:

Hi Janella,

We are trying to organize a forum on the contract, and are thinking about doing it next Thursday afternoon at FLHS. My committee would get a permit, and anyone who wished to co-sponsor could help pay. We think it will be between 100-300, depending on how large a room we use, with auditorium at 300.

We envision a pro and con speaker, equal opening and closing statements, and questions from the crowd taken by a committee consisting of one pro, one con, and one non-partisan, perhaps Geoff Decker of Chalkbeat NY. We envision giving each speaker equal time to answer each question.

Do you think UFT would be interested in participating in such a forum?

Thus far, we've gotten no response. It doesn't appear UFT leadership is jumping up and down for a fair discussion of the agreement they brokered. That's too bad. If they have such great faith they've made a good decision, it behooves them to subject it to the sunlight of reasonable scrutiny.
Hey Arthur, maybe it will happen due this public scrutiny. Good luck if it does.


wwoodruff said...

It is time for the members of our union to have their voice on this contract. Sending it to the membership was the right thing to do.
Further, Debate was ended not because Cavanagh was at the mic but because we had already extended the DA time. We have an automatic adjournment clause in the UFT bylaws.
As far as having a debate to be videotaped and recorded seems more like a personal attack on Janella then a real debate on the issue. The information is out. The UFT is sending it's members to schools to explain what the changes mean. The MOA is in the hands of the people. This debate is at best an unneeded waste of time. At worst a personal attack attempt.

Anonymous said...

I do not see the need for Caucus or political debate over a document that all our membership will read. They will vote "yes" or "no" based on their opinion about this proposed deal, and they must be trusted as educators and support staff who mold the lives of children each and every day. To sway them, to misinform them, or to have them agree with political ideology is not very trusting. Let it play out. Thank you, Dr. John Marvul

Anonymous said...

Unity trolls out late. Oh, cry us a river -- boo, hooooo!

Anonymous said...

Whats truly amazing is that the more caucus always talks about the rank and file yet clearly doesn't want us have a say in our new contract. It was the right decision and I thank the delegate assembly for passing it so that we get the chance to tell all of the caucuses in the UFT how we truly feel about this contract!

Anonymous said...

This an obvious attempt to put an officer of the union in a difficult situation in order to further the political purposes of MORE. Contracts are, at their best, a cooperative effort to get needs met. We don't get everything that we want and neither do they. To put someone in a contentious position is not constructive. Representatives are going out all over the city to give details on the proposed contract.

Anonymous said...

There is a need for a debate. Mulgrew filibustered so no one could offer a dissenting opinion. Silence the dissenters and then claim there's no need to hear them??? Only one side was presented at the DA. The UFT leadership is full of shit and evidently it's chicken shit since Mulgrew is afraid to debate. Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X

Anonymous said...

I trust our members with deciding if this is a fair contract or not. Calling for a debate and taping it sounds like you are going to cut and paste what suits your agenda. You keep giving us "more and more" reasons not to trust you.
Pat Groves

Mr.Hughesonline said...

What purpose would a debate serve? Everything our members need to know is in the Memorandum of Agreement. At this point, they/we can make their own decision. Besides, who's to say that your forum won't be recorded, leaked to the press and taken out of context, as we've already seen happen?

It's not your place to inform the members. There are DR's they can reach out to.

Susan said...

Where are the secretaries mentioned in the contract? Nothing in the 47 pages of that contract have anything concerning the secretaries and the requests handed directly to Mr. Mulgrew. We pay dues, we work, we deal with parents, staff, administrators and most importantly, students. We are a member of this Union and nothing is being done for us.....VOTE NO!

Anonymous said...

I agree, last week I was at the Delegate Assembly and during the Question period witnessed a woman who was adamantly ranting and rattling off a list of Vote No reasons. Mulgrew calmly explained that it was the Question Period but allowed her time to debate anyway. Well, unfortunately after about a minute he warned her that she would have to ask a question since there were others waiting to ask questions. When she continued to rant on and on he was forced to turn off the mic to allow other voices to heard.

I am troubled because NY Educator's tweet of the incident was quite distorted. He had written "Speaker calls ATR agreement fast track to firing, says master teacher plan will divide us, promote Principal's pets, Mulgrew turns off mike."

Why call for a debate to be taped when I have witnessed first hand the editing artistry from the dissenters. This was a very unfair interpretation to relay to members. Luckily myself and my delegate, who is not UNITY party, witnessed what truly happened and were able to give the members an accurate account.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of a debate is for 2 sides to present opposing views and for each side to be given the opportunity to rebut. This allows ideas to be challenged and explained in greater detail and for the audience to be fully informed. To state that the members can easily dissect a 47 page document without the benefit of the exchange of ideas and opinions via a debate is Unity's way of trying to save face while Mulgrew et al wusses out. They are afraid to debate. The UFT is telling members during retirement workshops that we are getting 5% interest on the money---NOT TRUE. So an additional purpose of a debate would be to expose the lies being spread by the UFT. And if any other group or caucus is spreading lies, then Unity can also set the record straight at a debate. And I think it most certainly is Norm's place to inform people. I trust him. Speaking of trust. Where is Bronx borough Rep Jose Vargas these days? Heard some ugly reasons as to why he was removed by Mulgrew but it's all hush hush. These are the people you want me to trust? The majority of members in my school trust me to find the truth---they come to me bc although i resigned as chapter leader years ago they know I stay informed and can sniff out the bs mighty quick. I also direct them to read this blog. It's my place and Norm's place to inform people because the people come to us. I think I can speak for Norm when I say that no one is shutting our big mouths any time soon. (Please correct me if I am wrong, Norm.) Roseanne McCosh, PS 8x

Anonymous said...

Ps8 can name call and the post remain, use hypocrisy and it's removed. Smh Voice was heard at the DA and since they're are more pros than cons and a time period, we heard the voice of support loud and clear. Send to the membership so they can make their own decisions. A forum for what? So it can be scewed like here?

Harmiclir said...

Wow, the Unitarians have really slugged the Kool-Aid, not just sipped it. Even the Unity rank-and-file is allergic to real debate. I always thought that our union's totalitarian structure was imposed top-down but, like any totalitarian structure, it can only be sustained by the active support and participation of its members.

Remember, the totalitarianism of the Soviet empire didn't collapse until its citizens grew bold enough during the mid 1980s to withdraw their support so that it finally fell over with a strong kick in November 1989.

We may have a very long wait until our own totalitarian union is ready for that kick.

ed notes online said...

At the DA I was actually shocked when some intelligent Unity Caucus people with some social justice sense told me how they were supporting the contract and couldn't understand why I opposed. I told them for a second forget about the money. What is in the contract that improves conditions for kids and teachers? How can they support a contract that doesn't touch almost 50 years of the same rules on class size? What is in there to protect people from the slew if vicious principals? They shut up.

Susan said...

It's a terrible contract. The payments and so called raises are horrendous and too long to wait for and the contract excludes titles and does not address classroom size, accute behavioral problems. Are the 200 schools going to get level 3 and 4? Are the other schools getting level 1and 2? No answers.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 13@ 7:13:00--- I gave some intelligent and thoughtful reasons why a debate is necessary that you didn't respond to. And I stand by my characterization of UFT leadership. They are cowards who are afraid to debate. "Chicken shit", "wuss" "coward"----yup still believe in what I said. I am not convinced there is any other reason for why they will not participate in a debate other than they are afraid to. My delegate informed those who attended our chapter meeting yesterday that there were more people not happy with the contract at the DA than Unity is claiming. She said the typical love-fest for Mulgrew was not as evident. I have no allegiance to any caucus. Neither does my delegate. We seek the truth and open debate is where the truth can be found. Debate is never allowed at the DA but it is alive and well at PS 8. Not one person at our chapter meeting wanted to make the case for voting yes but if they had we would have debated respectfully. I don't care whether or not people agree with me. What I care about is that the members in my school and across this city make an informed decision. Debate is the best way to become informed. Roseanne McCosh, PS 8

Anonymous said...

My understanding why Jose was removed and Vinny is in his place was because of Jose's age discrimination and harangue toward one of DRs; she's up in age. Jose's motive is to get them into his BBO as young, not contract knowledgeable neophytes that must attend all the gatherings, activities, meetings, rallies, protests, and UCAN events that he demands. Two BBO staffers (one special rep and the other PM) left because of Jose's insensitivities regarding religion and family life. They both went to Mulgrew complaining about their experience at the BBO. Mulgrew must have had an ear for sympathy because those two were both placed in HQ to work. I know the PM staff and he's the nicest guy in the world, very knowledgeable in the service he was providing for the members. But Jose is treating his office as a cult where everyone must follow his rules and policies. Otherwise, he'll treat you like shit. Why was he picked to be Boro Rep is beyond me!