Thursday, October 20, 2005

Leadership Push Demonstrates Desperation


As it becomes clearer that our membership will not permit our leadership to destroy what is left of our Union and the protections it affords us, the Union’s leadership is leaving no stone unturned and actually forcing some representatives to go into the schools to try to sell this sell-out. It is rumored that some of these reps haven’t stepped foot inside a school since the Koch administration.

Reports are coming from all districts that district and special representatives have been put on a mission; a mission to distort the true impact of this contract proposal and convince our members that the loss of letters in the file grievances, step II grievances, seniority transfers, rights under Circular 6, due process rights and transfer of many of our disputes to a panel headed by the guy who negotiated the contract against us, is no big deal. To hear their arguments is painful.

Letters in the file all of sudden don’t mean anything. As Chapter Leaders we were trained (for almost a whole day) how letter in the file grievances really demonstrated the Union’s presence in the school. Special tactics were devised to get rid of them and most principals did not bother to get involved.

Step II’s were a waste of time. This coming from District and Special Reps who agonized over the presentation of our grievances, grievances that they could not reject if we insisted on going forward. Now with just a Step III we are at these fellows’ mercy.

Seniority transfers, according to at least one Special Rep were actually lost in 1995. It’s a good thing all of those teachers who used the transfer scheme since 1995 didn’t know that.

We kept Circular 6! Wow! You mean we get to pick which bathroom we have to guard. No, it was explained there still is a Circular 6. You know we could have lost it.

Suspensions without pay, mandatory dismissals and other goodies are somehow worth the hard bargaining that our leaders did. After all we still have tenure!

Thank you for not repealing a state law that affects every teacher in this state.

Oh, by the way, we won the right to keep receiving our pay in U.S. dollars. Thankfully, the Mayor did not have his way since he wanted to pay us in rubles.

Come out to the rally Friday at 4 P.M. at 52 Broadway. Let’s show our leaders that we care for our jobs as professionals and we care for our Union as the only true protection against DOE abuse. Together we can defeat this contract.

26 comments:

Norm said...

Late word has come in on a contract modification. The UFT leadershp has accepted the Mayor's offer to pay us in rubles and is claiming they won a raise of 3000%.This is a great victory as the Mayor really wanted to pay using Confederate money but hard bargaining by the crack UFT negotiating team managed to beat back this demand.

Anonymous said...

Late word has it that it's going to rain tomorrow! Pretty bad downpour! Can your convictions stand the cleansing of a good rainstorm? Rain, rain go away, Little Jeffrey wants to play!

Norm said...

Late word has come in on a contract modification. The UFT leadershp has accepted the Mayor's offer to pay us in rubles and is claiming they won a raise of 3000%.This is a great victory as the Mayor really wanted to pay using Confederate money but hard bargaining by the crack UFT negotiating team managed to beat back this demand.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, Anon.....remember:
“Neither rain, nor sleet nor snow nor dark of night shall stay this courier from his appointed rounds.”

teacher from Queens said...

What is most disturbing to me, is the constant mantra the Unity publications and speakers coming to the schools are chanting: A no vote means a strike. Clearly this is not true and they know it. The membership must decide whether to strike or not. A strike does not just happen. It is so sad that scare tactics and personal attacks are being used to cloud the real contract issues at hand. All members must be encouraged to read the Proposal- that is where the truth can be found. Unfortunately, the truth stinks!

Anonymous said...

I don't care if Jeff Kaufman and James Eterno do want to run in the next UFT election for co-Holy Roman Emperors! This contract will destroy NYC teachers professionally and personally and must be voted down.

Norm said...

Dear anonymous 1

Come on now, you don't actually have to tell us who you are, just how much you make from your job at the UFT, what that extra little pension will come to, and how much more you stand to make if this contract goes through. Make sure to stop by the rally today on your way out of the building. Or are you just another Unity wannabe - wannabe a full-time UFT staffer and just have to be in a school every once in a while to sell the Unity pablum?

If you're the same person who said you used to like to read Ed. Notes I have to revisit what I was doing wrong.
Norm

fedupspeechteacher said...

How will we ever know it’s the best we can do if we don’t vote it down?

The DR for District 75 was at my school today spouting the UFT line about how all the work rule changes really benefit us. He could not answer my questions about why they exist in the current expired contract, or the ones before, if they are really so bad for us the way they are.

He told us emphatically that the only viable option will be to strike if the contract is not ratified. He said that at least 4 times in one lunch period meeting.When I asked him why all of a sudden is it that the UFT can not utter one sentence to the membership without the work “strike” in it, we were told that it is illegal to say that while in the process of negotiating. I thought that the minute before the proposal came out, there were no negotiations! I told him he should be ashamed of himself for using a scare tactic against people who have participated in every ridiculous job action for the last year and a half.

I expressed my concern about this precedent of time for money, now 2 contracts in a row, and the answer was, we still have the shortest work day of any school system in the state. Does anyone know where I can check on that one? ( gives us a big hint there that there is room in the NEXT contract after this ever gets settled to add yet more time, huh??) To his credit, he did admit that he didn’t like the 2 days before Labor Day, but that is the proposal and he doesn’t know why they were necessary.

I expressed that my biggest concern with this contract is what will happen in the 2007 contract, since we ( UFT ) seems so freely willing to give up our rights. He said that the Union is not looking to 2007 till this contract passes. I am afraid.

Nothing he said today has changed my mind. I reiterate, how will we know it’s the best we can do if we don’t vote ” No?”

Apapercut said...

I had a Unity propaganda person at my school meeting today. I was outraged that my chapter leader would allow this shameful display of party politics obfuscate the genuine concern the members have about the contract. I waited for the Unity person the spew the propaganda, then refuted the spin. I asked if we had a speaker from an opposing caucus and was informed that I could ask someone to speak at the next meeting. (BTW anyone willing to speak at my school on Tuesday?) I stated that the meeting was undemocratic and the next meeting should be run by RObert's Rules of Order and promptly left and was followed by a few others. I need someone to come speak at my school. Email me apapercut@hotmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I'll come, but I will have to give the facts as I see them! This is not a great contract, but I'd advise everyone to vote for it. There are few other alternatives and I need the money. I'll be retiring in 2010 as long as my health holds up so I would rather retire on a pension based on $93,000 than one based on $81,000. that would mean more than $6,000 per year for the rest of my life. I'll take the bird in the hand before I'll fight for the two in the bush.

Anonymous said...

apapercut, if you are talking about the District Rep. that came into my school today, she has always been helpful, supportive and honest with us. But more to your issue of "propoganda", how is it caucus "propoganda" if it is official UFT policy voted by the Executive Board, and the Delegate Assembly?

PS - Before you accuse of me of being a "Unity wannabe" (RETIRED Norman Scott), I've been a teacher long enough not to depend on any one caucus/party to make up my own mind.

Anonymous said...

I thought the demostration today at the UFT was great! I was proud to be a part of it. For every person who showed up, there are at least 30 more in the wings who will vote no but could not come.

Dear Anonymous:

Leave Jeff alone. He was a cop, he is a lawyer and a teacher. Can you boast these credentials? I know this and I don't even know him.

Leave Norman alone. Will you, as a retiree, care enough about working teachers to work day and night for a better contract? What does he have to gain? He is working out of altruism. Would you, who criticize, be willing to do that?

Leave James alone. Would you teach full time and then use the rest of your hours fighting an anti-teacher union?

Do you have the foresight, altruism and generosity that these three people have?
Put quite simply, Anonymous, shut up and stop being a crybaby. You are being selfish, thinking about your pension in 2010. You will not enjoy it if others suffer because of this contract.

Be a real man and fight this useless piece of rubbish. Do not criticize these 3 individuals when you cannot possibly walk in their shoes, even for a day!

Anonymous said...

How does Jeffrey, Norman and James work for the benefit of our members? Let me count the ways! One... uh one... uh one.

Gee, I can't come up with anything that helps me and I'm a member!

History teacher said...

Hey Anonymous- If you can't come up with any reasons as to why it benefits our union members and specifically you to have minority views heard, let me share a few reasons: Jeff, James and Norman are proud, patriotic, well educated Americans who believe in democracy and the right to dissent. Their voices protect my voice and yours. They believe it is important to be thinking individuals with morals and convictions who act within the bounds of the law to share those views. I respect and admire their courage- I am often afraid to speak and be identified, they are not. Their actions protect your right to comment as Anonymous! They believe so strongly in sharing a dissenting voice that they are willing to have Unity delegates (and even our UFT President) at times color them as whackos and obstructionists. We need people in our Union and in our nation that have the courage to stand up for what they believe. That is democracy. That's what makes our nation great and could make our Union great. Our Union benefits when everyone can speak and be heard, because then all members decide on important issues with full knowledge of all sides. I thank them for their their courage because I know unpopular views are not always wrong- unless Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fred Korematsu and Rosa Parks were really obstructionists and whackos too.

jameseterno said...

To History Teacher-

Thanks for the kind words about Jeff, Norm and me. People who are thinking about voting for this proposed contract should read it very closely to see what we are giving back. The schools we work in will be very different places under this proposed Agreement.

Management will have an even greater upper hand than they already do. You think the micromanagement is bad now? You haven't seen anything yet. If we can't grieve letters to the file, we will have to sit and take whatever is shoved down our throats.

To the guy who wants to pad his pension-

Under the proposed agreement, NYC teachers will still be paid considerably lower when compared to surrounding districts and we will work the longest school year in the area. Next year we will work 190 days compared to 183 in many surrounding districts. In addition, suburbs close schools when there is a snow storm. We almost never do.

Our abominable working conditions will not improve one iota under the proposed agreement.

VOTE NO!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how someone jumped right in to defend the unholy trinty of Jeff, James and Norm. We shouldn't criticize them, we are told, because their intentions and actions are well meant. Yet on the same website, Randi bashing is a participatory sport. If our proposed raise was calculated as a percentage of the invectives used against her we would the highest paid teachers in the US. And as for the pathetic turnout at your anti-union 'rally,' even if there are 30 supporters for each misfit who showed up (and that's probably a wild exaggeration) that still gives you less than 5% support in our union - hardly a movement. You guys keep trying to destroy the UFT, and Randi will keep on doing the best by her members.

martin k. said...

The famous educator and physicist Richard Feynman once wrote, "You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts." My point being- you can read the spin from every caucus and every member, but you won't know about the contract. All members must read the Proposed Contract- that's what counts. After doing so, you'll be able to vote NO with confidence.

jameseterno said...

To Anonymous One Post Above-

I'm not afraid of criticism but you could at least say who you are as you are probablyy a paid union person. Or, were you just dropping by the UFT yesterday?

Hundreds of UFT members were at the UFT protesting this giveback laden contract. We are very proud of how we are opposing this contract against overwhelming odds as the UFT is using every trick in the book and then some to prevent us from getting the word out on how bad the givebacks are.

The irony is that if it passes and the working conditions become as horrible as we predict, the Union leadership will then go out there claiming that they are fighting hard to stop these abusive supervisors when in fact it is the union with this contract that is putting many of its members into a situation where we will be virtually defenseless.

Anonymous said...

James, I'm hardly a paid union person. Just a regular teacher and I was there on a matter unrelated either to the contract or your demonstration - just dropping off a check for a course I'm taking. Why you would imagine that criticism of your 'movement' (be it as it is), has to come from a 'paid union person' is beyond comprehension. I'm in school everyday and Randi has a lot of support among the teachers. We think she's done a really good job against a terrible mayor. We resent the way you guys attack her. I saw a flyer from the ICE, and was amazed at the vicious talk about Randi and the so-called 'paid union people'. And then, quite by chance, I was there to see your demonstration. It wasn't very impressive. Now I think you are not only insignificant, but paranoid.

Anonymous said...

Dear ananymous,

I am the original anonymous who supports this really wonderful, hard working 'gang of 3'. I think you protest too much. Give me a break. On a Friday, almost rainy, afternoon you 'just happen to be' at UFT hradquarters dopping off a check? Or were you more likely picking up a check -- your union check? Why are you a paid union person? Because you are too hooked into the party line. You really care this much about Randi?

How can you dare to call all of us mifits? We are hard working, dedicated teachers who are fighting for a reasonable contract.

What have you done for the union members lately?

Live for your pension on the backs of others and it will come back to haunt you. Throw pointless accusations at us and we will only get stronger. If you dare to call us misfits, when we are now so very proud of what we are doing, you do not deserve to be a teacher!

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

I am the original anonymous who supports this really wonderful, hard working 'gang of 3'. I think you protest too much. Give me a break. On a Friday, almost rainy, afternoon you 'just happen to be' at UFT hradquarters dopping off a check? Or were you more likely picking up a check -- your union check? Why are you a paid union person? Because you are too hooked into the party line. You really care this much about Randi?

How can you dare to call all of us mifits? We are hard working, dedicated teachers who are fighting for a reasonable contract.

What have you done for the union members lately?

Live for your pension on the backs of others and it will come back to haunt you. Throw pointless accusations at us and we will only get stronger. If you dare to call us misfits, when we are now so very proud of what we are doing, you do not deserve to be a teacher!

Lavinia said...

LOL! Oh, please...no, I'm a covert union operator (?) sneaking into the building on a Friday to get paid for some clandestine activity designed to keep you and my fellow teachers from getting a fair contract. Do you realize how you sound? You're not going to make many converts insulting the people you purport to be trying to help. Frankly, we don't need the dedication of people who challenge our rights to be teachers, insult our union and impugn demonic motives for visiting the union office. Get a grip! You know actually I wasn't sure how I was going to vote on the contract because of the givebacks, but you've helped me make up my mind. I need to support my union. You're not just misfits, you're nuts.

Lavinia said...

Oh, and as for your questions:

I don't know Randi better than I do Johnny Depp, but I like them both and I admire their work.

I also haven't done much for the union members yet other than by being an informed colleague, but I intend to. My chapter leader is retiring and I will be running for the position. I guess next year I can be one of those people you accuse of being a union hack if I vote to support my colleagues at the Delegate Assembly.

Anonymous said...

Just vote no

Anonymous said...

Lavinia, you sound very dramatic. Why not run for chapter leader and consider being independent. You don.t have to align yourself with any group. Just examine the contract for yourself, try to see it for what it is and think about the option to vote no. We cannot do worse than this; only better. This little raise will not change your life. Consider taking a risk and vote no!

Apapercut said...

I would gladly refute "anonymous" if he/she would take a persona and state which school he/she had his/her meeting at.

I don't see how someone could castigate me on my comments when they know not of what they speak.

As for "I've been a teacher long enough not to depend on any one caucus/party to make up my own mind": If your making decisions as rashly as the comments and judgements you have posted here, you need to be better informed.