It is clear that momentum against using the fact-finding as a “vehicle” is building. As teachers learn about the full nature of the givebacks contemplated reaction is varies from complete disbelief to pure anger. How dare the City attempt to bust our Union? How dare the Union not wage a full and total campaign against this document?
Many of our members who have voiced their anger and frustration at accepting any part of this fact-finding have been called a variety of names. Some, incredible as it may seem, have been called “anti-union.” There have been incidents where members expressing a different point of view than our leadership have been prevented from distributing leaflets and gathering signatures on a petition call for a vote of the membership to determine whether the membership wants to use the fact-finding as a vehicle.
Our Union is large. So large that we have not had a general membership meeting in years. Our policy making body, the Delegate Assembly, contains numerous voting members who will not work in schools under the provisions we use as a “vehicle.” The DA contains retirees and a network of dues paid members who clearly present a conflict of interest when they vote on contract issues.
As a result the Delegate Assembly can be manipulated by the leadership to follow no matter where the leadership says to go. Any dissension is met with clear violations of the Union’s constitution which dictate how all Union meetings must run. It is beyond cavil that these rules be followed to protect the free exchange of ideas. Yet, in a startling admission at the last Executive Board meeting our Secretary, Michael Mendel, in consultation with our President, Randi Weingarten, determined that these rules need not be followed because they actually “discourage” debate.
We are at a crossroads. The Mayor knows it. Our leadership knows it. And a good percentage of our membership knows it.
Let’s get the petition signed and deliver a clear message to our leaders…you are out of step with the members who work day in and day out teaching the children of this City. Don’t destroy what it took 40 years to build.