Cases like this must not be treated the same as a non chapter leader, since employers often target union officials as a way to shut down union activity at the workplace -- and in many ways the DOE over the past 14 years has succeeded in doing just that. That the UFT is not blasting this all over the place is a perfect example of the union's accepting its role as as a head with little body.I'm heading over to Chambers Street to attend the hearing of a Manhattan elementary school chapter leader who I've been speaking to at the Delegate Assemblies. She has told me quite a story of how she became a target after a lifetime of teaching due to her doing the job of chapter leader. I told her I would try to make some of the hearings. Today her principal is listed as the first witness.
This will be the first hearing I've attended where the teacher is not using a NYSUT lawyer for reasons I am not totally clear, which means she has to pay the lawyer. Let's see how this works out.
I learned a lot about these hearings by attending. For instance, DOE Legal has 2 units - conduct and incompetence charges. NYSUT lawyers have the same system.
The two NYSUT lawyers, Chris Callagy (Pakter and Portelos - conduct) and Jennifer Hogan (Peter Zucker - incompetence charges), were both pretty impressive. Jennifer pointed out that handing each type of case requires different skills and gave me a great understanding of the thinking behind their strategies. One reason I believe people should not just abandon a NYSUT attorney without careful thought is that there is 40 years of experience in these cases to draw from.
Now, none of these teachers were totally found innocent - there were big fines and Peter just started serving a 4 month suspension without pay, which is a very heavy fine in essence - plus the loss of health care. You can read about Pete's case on his blog: SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL
That the UFT is not blasting this all over the place is a perfect example of the union's accepting its role as a head with little body. OK, Unity slug gang, let's start commenting about how somehow the union really shouldn't pay special attention to a chapter leader under assault.