Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Eleven Reasons To Vote Out Unity - Why Only 11? - UPDATED April 15, 2022

April 14 update - Let me add the "Tenure binder" bullshit - I met a teacher whose binder was due today - busywork for teachers with not a word out of UFT/Unity which has allowed indignity after indignity to be loaded onto the backs of teachers.

Oh - and every secretary I speak to as I distribute lit says how awful it is for them compared to the days of yore -- UFC should have paid more attention to one of the most important people that keep schools running.

TEN - er- Eleven Reasons To Vote Out Unity
During the reign of Unity, the following changes were implemented...and not for the betterment of teachers.
1. Chapter leaders lost the right to elect district reps in 2003
In June 2003 the UFT Executive Board changed the District Representative position, an elected position for 34 years, to an appointed position. They had the right to do this since there is no mention of District Reps in the UFT constitution. Only chapter leaders voted in these elections and there were restrictions on who could run to current and former chapter leaders. Each school got a weighted vote based on size of school. And you needed 5 signatures of current chapter leaders on a petition to get on the ballot. During those 34 years every district rep was in Unity Caucus - except for one - the Manhattan HS rep from 1990-2000 and his replacement from 2000-2003 when elections were eliminated, mainly because of his election. UFC would institute an electoral system for District Reps in some form, including the possibility of  general election of all UFT members in the district based on open discussions with the membership even if Unity reps run and win.
2. Teachers lost the right to seniority transfers in the 2005 contract.
Seniority transfers allowed teachers who had accumulated many years of seniority to request a transfer to another school if there was a vacancy in the same license area. One had to choose three possible schools and could be assigned to any of they.  If they rejected the choice offered they were not allowed to reapply for two years. Most principals abhorred these transfers and often were able to hide vacancies.  I think the number allowed each year was limited. Their current principal could not stop the transfer and neither could the incoming principal. For many senior teachers who wanted to get out of their school or just wanted a school closer to home this was a rare opportunity to choose a school without, a very different system from open market, where senior teachers are at a disadvantage. Would UFC consider trying to reinstate these transfers? The DOE would resist this very strongly and UFC would have to make a strong case but also decide how high on the list of contract priorities this issue would be. Ending fair student funding which would remove the senior teacher salary stigma might be a more fruitful endeavor but finding a way to offer those who had put a great amount of time into the system an opportunity for a sort of Get Out of Jail Card would have beneficial effects. Another factor to consider is the open market system which allows teachers to transfer without needing principal permission.* - see below for an objection to seniority transfers and a response.
3. Third in the series of compelling reasons to vote out Unity: 

During the reign of Unity teachers lost the right to placement through seniority when excessed or when their school closed. After the 2005 contract they were forced into an ATR pool with no home school. This was a major loss that allowed Bloomberg to close a massive number of schools and throw staff into an ATR pool. Previously, the entire system based on licenses ran by seniority. If you were excessed you were automatically placed in a school and were able to bump less senior people. This was an important support mechanism in case of layoffs or schools being closed down. Once the need to place all the teachers in a school being closed was removed, it was “Katy Bar the Door.” The creation of the nomad ATR pool of mostly senior teachers has been one of the tragedies of Unity Caucus leadership. Bloomberg closed 150 schools and there was little Unity resistance until he closed a massive number in 2009. The UFT went to court and managed to salvage a few.

3a - supplemental --The impact of Bill Gates money on the closing of most big, comprehensive high schools in NY, especially in the Bronx and wide areas of Brooklyn, including almost all vocational schools. Instead of fighting the Gates plans - which he admitted years later to have failed, the Unity/UFT/AFT wildly welcomed and cheered Gates at the 2010 AFT convention in Seattle and hooted at the people who walked out in protest.
I taped the walkout and the booing by Unity -
Also see Mulgrew punch in the face video if you take his common core:
And a follow-up at the Dec 2015 Del Ass where Mulgrew brags about stopping common core --
4,5 - Teachers lost the right to file Step 2 grievances and to grieve letters in the file.
Also a 2005 contract loss. Teachers lost the right to grieve letters in files.
Principals don't have to face the music of a grievance when they put bogus letters in the file. The Unity Caucus just handed this over without a fight. 

6. Teachers lost 1.25 percentage points from 8.25 to 7% on their TDA accounts while supervisors in the CSA maintained the old rate. For every 100K in your account that is a difference of $1025 per year, compounded. Another way to look at it: At 8.25 you double your money in 8.74 years. At 7% it takes 10.24 years to double your money. What did you get for this major economic loss? I forget if it was a few extra days for the February break or the two days after Labor Day, not something you can spend in your golden years.
7. Teachers lost the right to traditional Medicare in retirement without paying an exorbitant fee for the same services they were receiving for free until a judge temporarily ruled in their favor. The deal to move retirees from a low-cost publicly managed system to a privatized profit making system was negotiated by Mulgrew
in a deal between the city and Central Labor Council where Mulgew is VP with the largest union and where he plays a major role. Mulgrew's stated goal was to save the city $600 million due to the fact the 2014 UFT contract used up $600 in the reserve stabilization fund due to Mulgrew's agreement to use that money to pay for teacher retroactive pay. 

Unity people who are brainwashed don't see the obvious outcome of moving people from a publicly managed to a private, profit making, high admin cost, high salaried exex, massive advertising campaigns (you don't see Joe Namath advertising Medicare). How does Aetna, etc make money? By denial of care and upcoding our conditions to ravage public money and undermine Medicare so they can get the whole ball of wax eventually. They play long-term, Unity plays the next 10 minutes.
8. Teachers keep losing ground in the pension system as succeeding tiers up to Tier 6 make things worse and worse for succeeding generations of teachers where the prospects of reaching retirement increasingly fade away.
9. Mulgrew gave unqualified support for the current evaluation system based on a faulty Danielson rubric that unfairly holds teacher ratings hostage to principals' ability to use observations as political punishment. Mulgrew also supported common core, high stakes testing and holding teachers accountable for student test scores, in addition to arguing that 4 observations were better than 2.

10. Untenured teachers' situation has seriously deteriorated, going from 3 to 4 years with the added power of principals to force teachers to sign extensions for a 5th and even 6th and 7th years or be fired. Teachers have to fill out an enormous amount of paperwork, much of it of no use - busy work. Mulgrew has accepted these changes as principals and superintendents use tenure extensions as a political football to demonstrate how "tough" they are. Add the lack of rights and union protections for the untenured, including the often unfair dreaded D -for discontinuance, often  career ending.

11. Tears for Tiers -- 60 Years of power, 6 pension tiers. One addition per decade.

There are more reasons to consider...but consider this...Mulgrew is being paid $336,452 annually. He makes more that Kathy Hochul. ( She makes $225,000). So, in reality we pay more to Mike to not represent our best interests. 
So vote United for Change. You can't afford not to!

Change in DR voting:

 * Seniority transfers - the bad teacher myth

I received this from a teacher who has a friend who pushed back on seniority transfers and her ambivalence about seniority and merit demonstrates how deep the ed deform anti- seniority myth of the bad teacher has infiltrated our ranks.

He believes that seniority transfers aren’t a good thing because schools could easily get stuck with ineffective teachers if based on seniority alone when someone else would be much more qualified. He said, shouldn’t principals be able to make choices for their own schools?,  I said well I think there should be a balance of power and principals now have all the power to hire people for all kinds of equally invalid reasons, eg less senior teachers are cheaper, or they want to hire someone for personal or political favors rewards for compliance to toxic leadership etc and do you think the ATR pool is a good thing  Did I miss anything  because in one sense he does have a point that seniority alone  may not the ideal sole deciding factor.  I’m not sure  know ideally how to balance other than maybe giving priority to senior people while still allowing for other merit-based criteria and maybe through an SLT process. 

I defend seniority over merit as the only system that really works even if we have some clinkers. We have seen how abusive principals can be even to tenured teachers. And merit is in the eye of the beholder. My defense of seniority as the only fair system even when a few bad eggs slip by because the principal judgement is too flimsy. If we elected principals I would have trust.

I responded:

He has a point if you take the principal side of things. What is the reality we faced? The overwhelming majority of seniority transfers were competent teachers with maybe a stinker thrown in here or there.
But that's like saying don't ever cross the street because someone got hit by a car or fly because some plane once crashed.
His view is all too typical of the attempt to brand the so-called "bad' teacher as the problem with our schools.
I saw teachers I'd rate from 1-10 on scales of competence. Most were 5-8. The 1s couldn't last anywhere.
So what he's doing is taking the CSA point of  view -- like principals have no way to get rid of a bad teacher?
But I forgot to include that there was a limit to seniority transfers in terms of numbers a year. Maybe 600?
I do not believe principals own the schools and teachers should have a right to be part of the process of whom they will be working with.
Also - the open market system was put in its place which is good for many people.
The old system - if you wanted a transfer -- non seniority etc - the principal had to give permission.
Principals used pass the lemons -- get rid of a teacher you don't like -- you see to them a  lemon coudl be a great teacher but one that speaks up and criticizes -- they want mice.

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