Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bully Principals Exist Due to a Weak Union: United Federation of Teachers not defending members

If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it... Kim Janos
This courtesy of Jeff Kaufman - and so timely considering the 3020a hearings I've attended -- not one case I've seen should the teacher have been there in the first place. I saw 4 days of testimony of a principal who tried to present a negative picture of the targeted teacher and a perfect picture of the school she runs. It took only 3 witnesses for the defense to punch holes in just about every contention she made -- and of course, instead of having any interest in the truth, DOE Legal tried to harass and intimidate each of the witnesses. I'll get into the actions of DOE Legal and what the UFT SHOULD be doing about it in a future post.

I do find it funny when various groups are out there screaming, writing letters, speaking at PEPs as if Tweed gave a shit or will change their policies. These people should be out in front of 52 Broadway because it is the UFT's inability or lack of interest or even worse, taking the sides of the principals, on the part of the UFT that has empowered principals. Too heavy an attack will make their partners at the CSA, the principals' union, unhappy.

And we know one thing for sure -- New Action, which tries to jump on the bully principal bandwagon, will not pin the blame on the Unity/UFT leadership, to which it owes its seats on the Exec. Bd. So if ever there is a demo at any UFT offices calling for the UFT to pull no punches against bully principals, expect New Action to be upstairs in their offices, hiding.
United Federation of Teachers not defending members

By Kim Janos

TimesLedger Newspapers

The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues?

This is the question many teachers are asking. So many of us are being harassed, abused and even brought up on false charges. In the age of “accountability,” the only accountable people seem to be teachers. Administrators do not need to account for anything, even abusing their employees. Teachers will call on their chapter leader and district reps only to be given false information. The UFT does NOT want members to know their rights. Why?

When teachers find themselves unfairly targeted by their principal, even after an excellent career, there is very little they can do. Their only course of action is to get an attorney. Expensive veteran teachers are encouraged by their union representatives to retire. Whether they are financially able or not is irrelevant. Untenured teachers are told to just resign and move on to other careers. It doesn’t matter if the accusations against the teacher are founded or not. If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it.

That’s the little secret the UFT doesn’t want to get out: they are powerless and they don’t want members to know.

My question is why pay union dues to a union that doesn’t support its members and only exists to pay fat salaries to union leaders who do absolutely nothing?

New York City teachers deserve better. They deserve new union leadership — one that will advocate for its members.

Kim Janos


Fresh Meadows


  1. Hey Norm,
    I love the idea of heckling Randi and Mike. It's about time they get some accurate representation from teachers - they certainly aren't getting it from chapter leaders. Kudos to Detroit.

  2. You know I've always tried to fight these battles with them in a gentlemanly manner -- not personal but politically -- since I'm not working under the conditions you are I am not really angry and it take anger to go to the heckling stage. Some of my old colleagues in ICE used to want to go to the disruption of the DA route and I was not for that. When Steve Carr heckled Randi at that Detroit rally I thought he was turning people off. But maybe not -- maybe people need a next level of activism. I always have believed that if we could pull out 500 rank and file people to picket in front of 52 Broadway before, during and after a DA that would have a major impact. Problem is I've never seen enough activism to pull that many people out -- lucky we would get 50. I tried to organize ATRs in 2011 for the purpose of building a group that could do this but I don't have to tell you it was like herding cats -- I had a meeting where 42 people showed up and then war began. I hope you have more luck.

  3. Thanks, Norm. I'm so fed up I feel like doing it alone. What's the worst that could happen? I get ejected and not represented? They've already done that. But I am also a gentleman and personally wouldn't do it. I'd like the UFT to treat me as one. They have allowed my profession to be stolen from me. I miss teaching and am treated like a retarded pariah on a daily basis.

    1. I get what you are going through - I've been going to Peter's hearings -- so I get what people are dealing with. Maybe the battle is not just an ATR one but broadening the battle -- not sure how - we struggle constantly to get more people involved. I felt pretty much alone around 1997 and that was why I started putting out ed notes -- i didn't want to be silent -- that's how I met others. No easy answers but join up with whoever you feel can help build something bigger than one person. I know it may not be your thing but you are always welcome with anything we are doing. Write something beyond comments. Go to a DA and hand it out. I'll do it with you.

  4. Kim Janis summarized everything perfectly. Chapter leaders and district reps giving out false information, a union that does nothing to defend its members, principals lying and putting other teachers against teachers, teacher having to hite their own lawyers, etc..

    Also, I noticed that Some teachers who voted for the last contract did not even know what was in it. School privatization is moving ahead. VAM is atrocious.

    UNITY has complete control over everything with its own fake opposition, NEW ACTION. Most teachers don't even know what a caucus is or how the union is run. They also don't associate their worsening working conditions to the problem with the UFT . They don't pay any attention to UFT elections. We do deserve new leadership. I just don't see how this can ever happen.

  5. Thank you, Norm for your kind words and information concerning Solidarity. I will not align myself with any group that supports Mulgrew or Weingarten.

    1. To be clear - Solidarity has not aligned itself with Mulgrew but is working with New Action which has. MORE refused to work with New Action until it renounces its arrangement with Unity and joins the opposition. MORE has been criticized by the founders of Solidarity for rejecting New Action attempts to work with us. But why help make them stronger when ultimately it is they who help Unity maintain 100% control of the Ex Bd?

    2. Bronx ATR, Where did Norm mention that? Was a comment written and deleted? Solidarity supports Mulgrew and Weingarten? Is Norm still spreading that false rumor?

      Solidarity had an organizing meeting yesterday. Our members voted to move ahead with a Administrators in Need of Improvement for UFT Reps. The "Rep Review" will consist of a page for each and every paid UFT Rep (Borough, District and Special). UFT Chapter leaders and members are encouraged to share their stories. Perhaps that will bring some long needed accountability to the non-elected rep positions. You think Randi and Mike came up with that one?

      PS: I finally received my reimbursement for my MORE dues last week.

      Francesco Portelos

    3. Just saw this after I sent my previous comment. Correct, Solidarity is working on select topics with New Action. We are trying a different approach than MORE who, by the way, does not communicate with any other caucus except ...Unity.

      I could be seeing things, but aren't those MORE members standing in solidarity with NEW ACTION members at this rally?

    4. I don't want to start a war, but enough with these lies.

    5. What exactly are lies?
      New Action supported Randi and Mulgrew in UFT elections since 2004 - truth.
      New Action gets its Exec bd seats in exchange - truth.
      Unity endorsed candidates including New Action controls 100% of the Exec bd seats therefore precluding any independent voices. - truth.
      New Action by its action has helped strengthen the Mulgrew/Unity control of the union - truth -
      New Action is opposed to a democratic union because that lack of democracy works for them -- ie - MORE Outpolled them in every division and gets no representation on the ex bd while New Action gets 10 seats -- truth.
      Making New Action look more viable = helps Mulgrew and Unity - Truth
      MORE has refused to work with New Action UNTIL it stops backing Mulgrew - Truth
      Solidarity takes the opposite position - it will work with New Action - truth
      This gives New Action cover -- and helps strengthen New Action and strengthening New Action which supports Mulgrew helps strengthen Mulgrew and Unity. Truth
      New Action has been on the UFT Ex Bd since 2007 and has done nothing in terms of trying to organize ATRs or provide a level of support - other than making some statements here and there -- Truth.
      People now in MORE did more to organize ATRs than New Action has done in 8 years - truth. (see ed notes over past 8 years).
      When ATRs held a rally outside Tweed in 2008 and Unity tried to undermine it by holding a wine and cheese party at 52 Broadway, New Action leaders were at the party instead of the rally -- truth.
      it's a simple mathematical proof: If A=B and B=C then A=C.
      If New Action supports Mulgrew and Solidarity helps New Action present itself as an opposition group despite that then Solidarity helps Unity. Truth and QED.

    6. Can you explain this bipartisan action with MORE rallying with New Action?

      Also can you furnish any document to any MORE member (any that are left) where any democratic vote or discussion was held to support the claim that "MORE will not work with New Action until they stop supporting Unity" ?

      Let's wait for MORE, anyone who is left, to support discontinued teachers for one. Nope. Not important enough. Doesn't involve race or climate change.

    7. Can you explain this bipartisan action with MORE rallying with New Action?

      Also can you furnish any document to any MORE member (any that are left) where any democratic vote or discussion was held to support the claim that "MORE will not work with New Action until they stop supporting Unity" ?

      Let's wait for MORE, anyone who is left, to support discontinued teachers for one. Nope. Not important enough. Doesn't involve race or climate change.

      I wrote the word " lies" before I saw you posted clarification.

    8. This is your "proof"? That New Action showed up to this along with MORE? No meetings, no planning together. They do what they can to hang on to whatever they can hang onto. Pretty pathetic example of an organization. And note how you ignore all the proofs and truths above.
      Any official work with New Action = support for Mulgrew. You can try to parse this any way you want but that is the bottom line. In fact one must ask why is it so important to work with New Action -- why not go to a "meeting" and count their members? If Solidarity is moving forward then people must ask why the obsession with a group that has steadily lost members and votes in elections -- other than some interest in working out a similar deal with Unity. Play nice with them and Unity. Go try and hold a rally at 52 Broadway for the discontinued -- I will be there.
      And of course there is that tape of the meeting with New Action where official reps were chosen by MORE steering and sent with the exact message. I call that democracy. And when you tried to run with both caucuses in the election we were clear why you couldn't do so. You have been trying to suck up to New Action since the beginning. There can be only one explanation. You want in.

    9. "Doesn't involve race or climate change."
      Oh, testing and tenure and organizing chapter leaders to run against Unity and union democracy and battling Unity at NYSUT (YES - people came to MORE to help - because we were interested in climate?) and going to 3020a hearings and yes discontinued teachers - I was doing that work when you were still in diapers and MORE people are still doing that work - but behind the scenes - we don't blast stories all over the place until after a lot of thought - our main issue is to protect the people not try to beat our breasts about how tough we are. Right now one of the few Discont teachers whose job was saved was due to the work Julie Cavanagh did behind the scenes. She is MORE in case you forgot.

  6. Also, I don't believe these is a Kim Janos in the DOE email system. Alias perhaps?

  7. Jia Lee from MORE will focus her testimony at the Senate hearing on climate change and race. Idiot.

  8. I don't want to speak for Jia, but it appears a lot of her anti-testing involvement, which is amazing, is with Change the Stakes. Putting on a MORE shirt, doesn't make it a MORE thing. Surely you would agree that if she was a Girl Scout Troop leader as well, the Girl Scouts of America would not be representing at the US Senate hearing.


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