Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Executive Board Report: UFT Re-Affirms Anti-Union Democracy Policy

In the first post-ratification meeting of the Executive Board our Union’s leadership sent a clear message that any attempt to reform our voting procedures to make them fair and free of the appearance of impropriety will be met with stiff opposition including tactics rarely used.

Opposition Board members proposed two resolutions to permit the UFT to denounce its recent anti-democratic shift in policy to permit unfettered access to staff mailboxes and to assure that voting procedures are secret and confidential. These resolutions, as proposed, were met with stiff resistance demonstrating that our Union’s leadership knows the ratification vote was tainted and needs to be rerun.

Back in 1962 when our Union was in its infancy the Board of Education passed a “General Circular” reaffirming opposition union members’ right to utilize staff mailboxes to distribute union-related material and denying the leadership sole access to this vital means of membership communication.

This right was reaffirmed, again, in the precedent setting grievance of Harriet Baizerman in which an opposition Union member, originally barred from placing literature in the mailboxes, was permitted the access. Chancellor Irving Anker reaffirmed this principle and opposition members have utilized this method of informing the membership of important issues ever since.

That was until October 21, 2005 when the Staff Director, acting on advice of Union counsel, instructed opposition members that the First Amendment does not apply during non-Union office election times.

Outraged by the fact that Special Reps and District Reps placed biased literature supporting the contract into members’ mailboxes and the absurd position that opposition literature was not similarly protected a resolution was proposed to clarify our right.

After much heated discussion the resolution was “tabled to kill,” which we surmise means that our Union no longer supports the First Amendment right of our members. There is talk that the article in the New York Teacher dated February 17, 2005 affirming these rights was issued in error. It was not clear whether a retraction will be printed.

The second resolution affirming the right of a secret and confidential ballot met with a firestorm of vitriol. After declaring that this right is “perhaps one of our most precious rights’ Randi proceeded to defend the fact that marked ballots could be easily seen through the two envelopes that were provided.

According to our president anytime there is knowledge of a potential impropriety in the voting process it is incumbent upon the opposition to bring these matters to the staff director so something could be done about it,

Just what could be done about transparent envelopes after they were all mailed to the schools?

In any case it does appear that our leadership is preparing for a full defense of the tainted vote and the denial of the protection of our First Amendment rights.

32,000 members voted no. How many will agree that the opposition must remain silent?

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em Jeff; don't give up the fight now!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff:Here are the facts about the Exec Bd meeting last night.

Not With a Bang but a Whimper

A small minority of elected UFT executive board members presented resolutions last night (Monday, November 07, 2005) at the regularly scheduled Executive Board meeting that insinuated that the union’s long standing voting procedures were to blame for the outcome of the ratification vote – 63 per cent “for,” 37 per cent “against.”

The first resolution decried the fact that this minority faction was denied access to letterboxes in schools to distribute literature opposing contract ratification, while the union was able to distribute pro-ratification information in schools. The resolution cites excerpted language from longstanding grievance decisions ruled on by the employer and chancellor memoranda to make it seem that any sanctions against placing literature in mailboxes in schools was lifted by the employer.

But the language refers to in-school matters and candidate elections, not contract ratifications. Once the Delegate Assembly approved and recommended that the proposed contract be brought to the members for ratification, it became union policy and the obligation of the union to distribute the facts about the Memorandum of Agreement to the active members in the schools.

Then, in the resolve, in obvious disregard of the facts, this minority faction says that the UFT should “rescind” an email from the UFT staff director and “reaffirm the First Amendment right of all of its members to have equal access to enter schools to distribute material” to member mailboxes “without prior approval of the principals.”

The chair suggested that this was not a matter that should be taken up with the union, but instead should be filed against the employer, since the sanctions were imposed by the Department of Education, not by the UFT. That fact didn’t sink in during the meeting.

The second resolution presented by this small minority of elected executive board members resolved that the union “provide voting materials which prevented the opportunity as well as the appearance of vote impropriety.” An amendment from the floor proposed eliminating a “whereas” which included language implying that there might have been an opportunity for someone to view how a member voted by holding the secret ballot envelope up to the light. Since the makers of the resolution could not cite instances of impropriety nor fraud before or during the vote count, this amendment was approved. The “whereas” was deleted from the resolution, despite the strong objections of its makers.

But, when this resolution, minus the whereas that implied wrong doing, came to a vote of the body, the small minority of executive board members who proposed it, refused to affirm their own resolution and abstained. I don’t get it! Nearly the entire Executive Board agrees that in the future the union will provide voting materials that will be less likely to appear as being susceptible to possible fraudulent practices, but the four executive board members who proposed it “abstained.”

So the ratification process ends not with a bang, but a whimper.

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em anonymous! I was there and it was a lot worse then that.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean anonymous? How could it be worse than that?

Anonymous said...

Okay anonymous here's is what Mr. Kaufman did:

He makes a resolution that insinuates that there was the potential for wrong doing because he held up his secret ballot envelop to a strong light and could see how he voted. When questioned he admitted that he saw this voting irregularity occurring during the vote. He also admitted that he failed to report the matter until after the fact.

That smacks of game playing for political purposes not of protecting the "sanctity of the ballot."

In addition, he said that he would call the NYPost to let them know about the possible voting irregularity and not the union. When pressed he then said that he would call the union, too.

So an elected official of the union chooses not to report alleged voting irregularities to the union? Instead he prefers to tell the press? I say that smacks of dereliction of his responsibility and someone should call for his impeachment.

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em, anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Jeff Kaufman was pathetic at last night's Exec Board meeting. He consistently attempts to make allegations against the union leadership.

Last night took the cake. After Jeff went on and on and on and on about "voting irregularities" as a result of "holding secret ballot envelopes up to the light", he could not put his money where his mouth was. He could give not ONE example of abuse of the voting procedures.

Give it up Jeff. We all miss out on the opening kickoff of Monday Night Football because of your feeble, disruptive, futile, neverending shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

After attending Monday night's Executive Board Meeting I have come to one conclusion..... Jeff Kaufman LOVES to hear himself talk.

Anonymous said...

Mr Kaufman has had the audacity to insinuate the UFT leadership is guilty of voter fraud without a single shred of evidence, relying on innuedo, half-truths, obfuscations and everything but the truth.

Mr. Kaufman's performance was obstructionist, infantile, self-serving and a capital I, insulting to the entire UFT membership.

Imagine this guy working with elected officials, parent groups, educators, other unions.

Go to the NY Post with your complaints. Then I can add stupid to the list of your attributes.

Impeach Randi Weingarten The Backstabbing Lawyer Masqurading as a Teacher said...

Randi Weingarten and Unity had unlimited funds at their disposal, a one-sided union newspaper to spread their lies, full access to the membership via U.S. mail and E-mail, and a local media which for all intents and purposes is controlled by Mayor Bloomberg and his cronies. In the week before the vote, Ms. Weingarten dispatched her deputies to the schools to try to strongarm the members into approving the contract. The opposition (ICE, TJC, et al) was not afforded such an opportunity. Their members were barred from the schools, and their literature exposing the truth about the contract was supressed and destroyed in many instances.

Concerned teacher said...

I read the posting Mr. Kaufman wrote and thought that there was no way that our union leadership would limit our right to free speech. I read the article from the New York Teacher and I am copying it into my comments so that others can read it as well:
PERMISSION NOT NEEDED TO PUT UNION MATERIALS IN MAILBOXES
Feb 17, 2005 12:34 PM

Is it your right to put UFT material in colleagues’ mailboxes at school without getting permission from the principal?


With misinformation and even intimidation clouding the issue at many schools, this question often comes up at UFT meetings throughout the city.

The answer?

Absolutely yes, as long as it’s done during non-working time in a non-instructional area, according to Howard Solomon, director of the UFT grievance department.

“While the principal has the right to see union material that’s being distributed, permission is not needed and the principal can’t prevent it from going into mailboxes,” Solomon said.

He pointed to the Baizerman Decision, a grievance that the UFT won in 1974 on behalf of teacher Harriet Baizerman, whose principal at PS 9 in Brooklyn put a letter in her file for distributing union-related material. The material circulated by Baizerman was critical of some policies of the UFT leadership at the time and urged all union members to attend union meetings and participate in union activities.

The principal informed Baizerman that the letter would be placed in her file as evidence of her willful disregard of the Board of Education bylaws and his verbal direction.

The UFT Grievance Department went to bat for Baizerman, arguing that as a member of TAC she had the same right of access to teachers’ letter boxes as is enjoyed by members of all teacher organizations, did not need prior approval and was within her constitutional rights.

Baizerman claimed that the principal discriminated against her on the basis of her membership in an employee organization, in violation of Article II (Fair Practices) of the UFT contract.

The arbitrator ruled in the UFT’s favor and directed the principal to remove the letter from Baizerman’s file.

“This was a landmark ruling,” Solomon said, “setting the precedent for UFT members to distribute union literature at their schools without fear of retaliation.”

He added that anyone having trouble regarding this matter should speak to his or her chapter leader or UFT district representative.
__________________________

The decision involves a teacher who "was critical of some policies of the UFT leadership at the time and urged all union members to attend union meetings and participate in union activities." She argued, with the help of the union, that as a member of a minority caucus she had the same right of access to teachers’ letter boxes as is enjoyed by members of all teacher organizations, such as the Unity Caucus. After the rule was established permitting her to distribute non-Unity caucus union materials to teacher mailboxes Howard Solomon said, “[This sets] the precedent for UFT members to distribute union literature at their schools without fear of retaliation.”
Unbelievable! If it established such a clear precedent how could Mr. Mendel change the rules by mere personal letter? How could the Executive Board disregard the ruling and "legalize" the stifling of information to its members by tabling a motion on a resolved issue? It would appear Principals cannot limit UFT members right to distribute information to their colleagues, but that Unity leaders can! This means that if the UFT leaders don't like what you have to say, they will prevent you from saying it. That is exactly what happened when information provided by non-Unity caucuses could not be placed in members' mailboxes during the ratification process. What was the leadership afraid of? Was it the truth?

Finally, to those persons who seemed by their own admission to prefer Monday Night Football to the taking care of the business of the union at Executive Board meetings, please resign or at the very least, don't run for office next time-Stay home and watch the game. I don't want you thinking about a game while my rights are being discussed.

Middle School Teacher said...

Imagine the audacity of Jeff to propose a resolution at an Executive Board meeting. Simply scandalous.
When will the leadership and their faithful understand that dissenting voices strengthen a democratic union? Enough with the personal attacks. As members, we have the right to question actions taken by the leadership. Jeff is one of the few with enough courage to question and the strength to withstand severe personal attacks. His leadership qualities are obvious. I would welcome the opportunity to work with him as a parent and an educator. We are lucky he sits on our Executive Board.

Anonymous said...

The number of criticisms of Jeff is only saying one thing --Unity is gettting very scared. Very threatened.

Look Out Unity! Wait until you see what's coming! It only takes one small act to tip the balance against you!

jameseterno said...

Look at the times when the anonymous people who are attacking Jeff posted. The first attack is posted at 8:40 a.m. and the rest of them go until a little after noon.

Obviously, they were at the Executive Board meeting last evening. At the start of the following day, some of the UFT Executive Board Members representing the Unity majority (or observers sympathetic to Unity) have nothing better to do with their time than go on an opposition blog and attack Jeff Kaufman. Meanwhile, we work in the schools. If they spent half as much time representing UFT members and organizing chapters instead of attacking Jeff, we might not have to be stuck with the abomination of a contract that Unity agreed to and shoved down our throats.

These people want to obfuscate the issue and send us to our employer to take up the access to mailbox problem. This is ridiculous as it was the UFT staff director who wrote the email limiting our access to schools and to letter boxes while the Union's people were allowed unlimited access to schools to distribute vote yes material.

For anyone who is interested, here is the language from General Circular No. 4, 1962-1963: "The Board of Education at its meeting on Wednesday, August 22, 1962, has clarified the nature of its current relationship with all teacher organizations other than the duly recognized exclusive bargaining agent (United Federation of Teachers for the teacher unit). All such organizations, including the Teachers' Union, now have equal rights to disseminate their views in relation to educational matters through the use of bulletin boards and teachers' letter boxes, through meetings on school premises and through other authorized procedures."

It was the UFT that violated these long standing equal access rights by issuing the email to chapter leaders which limited access to schools to supporters of the contract. The only recourse of Unity supporters, who won't say who they are, is to attack Jeff personally and obfuscate because their arguments don't hold up to any scrutiny.

A fair fight and they know we win.

Anonymous said...

Well, James, since you wrote the book about using anonymous comments to attack bloggers who write in their own name, I guess we are supposed to take your analysis of the situation. But you seem to rule out two rather obvious possibilities -- one, that folks might just comments during a free period, and two, that there might just be retirees, just like your own Norman Scott, who happily do comments all day. In any case, I would say that this is a case of the kettle and the pot if I ever saw one...

jameseterno said...

To anonymous above-

You can't argue the issues so you attack Norm and me.

If there are retirees who are active on the Exec Bd who spent their morning attacking Jeff, you are telling me they couldn't find something better to do with their time? Isn't the UFT supposed to be using its retirees in part to organize chapters?

Your other guess on who posted all those comments: teachers with a free period blogging. This is not likely in 2005, as even on a staff development day most of our time is controlled by administration and many UFT members were out of their schools today getting their PD elsewhere. I doubt that they were blogging as part of PD.

It is far more likely that UFT Unity Executive Board Members with too much time on their hands posted all of those anonymous assaults on Jeff this morning.

As usual, you won't say who you are so I can only take educated guesses, but your obsession with this blog shows that you are afraid of us, scared of open discussion. I will gladly debate any Unity person. A fair fight and you will lose.

northbrooklyn said...

We got info from both sides in our mailboxes but that happened because we have a great CL. I think we need to change the way the vote is taken and counted-I think we can figure out a secure way of voting on-line. That way we can easily get demographical information as well. It's the 21st century-let's join it.

Anonymous said...

Good point northbrooklyn! A secure site where you simply login with some personal info and BOOM!I would then try to hack into it and find out who voted "yes" in my school and then I wouldn't invite them to my end year party and then send them postcards telling them they can't be my friend anymore and then give them all the wrong advice on buying electronic stuff like dap's and hdtv's and then... ok, so I'm still bitter and angry. Telling me to move on doesn't make me feel any better about this lousy, crappy contract. But I will remember this feeling when 2007 rolls around. And between now and then, Unity better watch out!

Anonymous said...

Why are all these pro-Unity 'hacks' taking the time to comment? You won. If you won, fair and square, why do you sound so defensive and threatened? You won. Why aren't you celebrating?

What do union employees do all day, anyway? Do you patrol while other employees go to the bathroom? Do you grade papers, make up tests or research lessons. What do you do all day and why are you so hostile towards the 'minority' opposition when you won?

Are you worried that the peasants, the farmhands, the polite teachers might get some idea to rise up, to protest.....in some way, to fight so hard that you no longer have a job?

It is the beginning of the end for Unity!

Anonymous said...

Since I'm unaffiliated with any caucus, it strikes me that some of the people writing on this site just don't give a damn about the membership. "Go Get 'Em Jeff" is obsessed with being a nay sayer. Without a constructive agenda, his opinions and objections ring hollow and the membership knows it. Let's hear your ten point plan for the next two years, Mr. Jeff and how you would attempt to implement it.

Secondly, henchpersons,(or maybe the brains behind the scenes) like Lillian Varrassi and James Eterno seem to be so filled with vitriol that they can't think clearly. James, for instance, would do a lot better if he could prove that he had the interests of members at heart and really supported the labor movement in New York City,then maybe he would have some credibility with the members.

I don't see evidence of that!

The focus is so limited to obvious ploys designed to disrupt the leadership that it becomes suspect, even by the most naive. The short sighted, "low road" tactics do not resonate with anyone.

Like I said, I'm unaffiliated with any caucus, but I don't hear a voice that speaks to me from any of the opposition leaders. I only hear the logic of the "real politic" of the current leadership. Too bad there isn't a sophisticated argument that is posted here.

Anonymous said...

Are the executive board meetings open to the public? Can anyone attend?

The coverage on the last DA here was filled with distortions. I don't belong to any party, but I appreciate the counterpoint, it's nice that someone posted their version of events.

Anonymous said...

James:
Don't point your fingers unless your nails are clean!

The post by Jeff Kaufmann on 10/17/2005-- a Monday-- was made at 10:18 am. Does Jeff get a prep period to post on the blog while he's in the rubber room?

Ooops! And what about the "Summary of the Memorandum of Agreement" on 10/4/05-- a Tuesday-- that was made at 10:31 am? Maybe Jeff was home sick that day, yet maybe he was just well enough to post?

Argue the facts James.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk facts:

While the interpretation of Baizerman is up for grabs by some, as a chapter leader I received an email from the Director of Staff who wrote to us to explain how the ruling was interpreted in the past. He said:

"The letter boxes are the property of the school.The principal has the right to review literature placed in letter boxes but all employees of the school should be treated equally for these purposes. (Baizerman, Step III.) Further, persons not authorized to be in a school may not enter for the purpose of putting literature in letter boxes.

The rules for placing material in UFT member letter boxes during officer election campaigns are different. In the past we have gotten the DOE to agree to the following: During such an election any candidate can have literature placed in letter boxes by an employee of a school or by a member from outside the school, as long as it is done during non-working hours (and, of course, assuming the literature is not inflammatory or otherwise offensive). (Katz, Step III.)

Therefore, letterbox policy is determined by the DOE and if you,ICE or any of us want to pursue the matter we should take it up with the DOE not the UFT.

That sounds reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

A taste of your medicine doesn't go down so well, does it James?

Of course, what's wrong with a Unity retiree like myself making negative comments on your blog when Norman Scott spends his whole day on the UFT blog?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher, not affiliated with any group, and I have the teacher's interests at heart.

So here are my 10 ideas:

1. We come across as a bunch of wimps who will take any deal that involves a little money. We have to stand up for what we believe in.
a. We educate members about the different job actions available to us short of a strike.
b. We start by taking small job actions; we don't need everyone behind us.

2. Every teacher in every school has to be exposed to education; what it means to be part of a labor union and what you should expect as a dues paying member. Too many members are in the dark. Very expensive since most members are paying close to $100 per month to the UFT.

3. Education must be done on this new contract; every point should be spelled out and understood by the membership. This way we know what we want to eliminate and what to fight for the next time around.

4. A non Unity contact person has to be established in each and every school who will disseminate information.

5. We must separate fact from fiction in regards to the Bloomberg administration and the hype they put on test scores etc. Of course, the scores went up this year. The test was much easier than the one given last year.

6. We must find a way to raise money. We cannot make a sincere effort without money.

7. We have got to come together and present a unified force. Every teacher has leadership qualities. This effort cannot involve a battling of egos.

8. We must prepare ourselves for the possibility of a strike in the future.

9. We must commit ourselves to one overriding goal; Randi and Company can never again be allowed to negotiate another contract and run us over us with it.


10. The keywords are: knowledge, commitment, money and chutzpah. We stand together and fight for out goals.

LETS GET STARTED!

Lillian M. Varrassi said...

Anonymous said....."Secondly, henchpersons,(or maybe the brains behind the scenes) like Lillian Varrassi and James Eterno seem to be so filled with vitriol that they can't think clearly."

To you and those of you who seem hell bent on attacking me, let me make something quite clear. I have been an advocate for secretaries for seven years, long before ICE came along.

Secretaries' issues have been ignored for a long time, specifically, the union's refusal to give us a job description. While this may not seem significant to you, it is to us.
You would not be able to do your job unless you had competent, dedicated and professional secretaries doing theirs.

I have tried to work within the system, vis a vis running for chapter leader in my school; running for chapter chairperson; giving the secretaries a vehicle with which they can network. I have been vilified by this union at every turn. Why? Because apparently I am a threat. There are 618 secretaries who voted no. That isn't chump change. You have no comprehension as to what we do, what is expected of us, and how our workload has increased.

I support my teachers wholeheartedly. I have seen the chaos this micro-management style of operation has inflicted upon them and us.

I have tried, on a daily basis, to improve conditions for secretaries; by offering new ways to improve online technology, attending workshops, and offering advice on how to better implement these new online procedures, etc.

I have made myself available to any secretary who needs assistance. I will continue to do whatever is necessary on behalf of my colleagues because they deserve nothing less.

Participation in Government Teacher said...

It appears that a careful reading of Baizeman and Katz shows that they are complimentay, not mutually exclusive. Additonally the specific facts of Baizerman are very closely alligned to the recent contract ratification- anti UFT leadership literature being placed by active members in teacher mailboxes. Why not inform the general membership by publishing both decisions in the New York Teacher and then have a specific resolution regarding members' rights to express their views? The DOE did not limit access to opposition materials. Rather, the Unity alligned Chapter Leaders did with the support of the Leadership, such as Mr. Mendel. Clearly the dispute is not with the DOE. The problem lies within our union and we must decide for ourselves what rights we can and cannot exercise. When the Chancellor sends us a letter stating certain materials cannot be placed into mailboxes, we'll take issue with him. For now, the problem lies within.

Anonymous said...

Silly Lilly,
618 votes IS chump change. And the secretaries, while very nice people, can not be a priority for this union. Maybe when you stop spewing hate at our union, you will get the credibility needed to win an election as an officer of the UFT. It's that wild ranting about Randi and Unity that puts people off.

Lillian M. Varrassi said...

"And the secretaries, while very nice people, can not be a priority for this union."

You just proved my point. I don't need or want credibility from, nor be elected to, a union who disavows secretaries. Whether you know it or not, your statement just outraged every single secretary who is there to assist you.

Anonymous said...

Randi and Co. supposedly prides themselves on being a democratic union and all voices heard, but yet denies the secretaries a basic principle of democracy, that of equality.

And for the 618 who voted "no"...

A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a "Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

-Ghandi

Anonymous said...

What's the matter, James, no comment on the fact that Jeff Kaufman was posting at the very same times you say is a sign of "Unity hacks." Cat got your tongue?

Anonymous said...

Randi needs to go along with her band of Unity hacks! She has only proven since becoming president of the UFT that she has terrible political judgement and has no concept of the power our Union truly posesses.
Why has no one mentioned our sellout of the Ferrer mayoral candidacy? Has anyone noticed that Randi silenced us in the election. Her announcement of our contract took place just at the moment that Ferrer's campaign was building momentum. The mayor bought our silence on the cheap. I can't believe that no one is talking about this. ICE ARE YOU ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL? UNITY, WE ALL KNOW THAT YOU ARE SCARED AND WILL STOOP TO ANY LEVEL TO ACHIEVE YOUR SELF SERVING AGENDA.

TeleVee said...

Whoopee! Someone with a ten point plan.

Not much substance but a plan!

I don't want to be critical, but we did #1 a) and b) over the last two years. Remember the 5000 actions just short of a strike.

But it's still a plan. So let's come up with some more stuff and show real leadership here, instead of the steady barrage of sniping at UNITY.

jameseterno said...

To Anonymous Person or People Attacking Me-

Cat doesn't have my tongue. I have plenty to do all day and this is the first time I've checked the blog since yesterday. I teach full time, represent my chapter both at school and at the Delegate Assembly. I also have to eat occasionally.

Jeff does get breaks where he is assigned. Saying our hands aren't clean is a real reach. He wasn't putting stuff out all morning like you anonymous folks did with your comments yesterday. You expect me to believe that it was a coincidence that so many of you were on our blog on Tuesday morning attacking Jeff? Not likely.

Why don't you argue the points about the letter box issue? The answer is because you can't. Unity (the faction that controls the UFT) is desperate to not allow the free flow of information.

UFT representatives are allowed to go into any school to talk to people and to stuff the mailboxes with their literature. All we are asking for is the same access to schools and letter boxes. We believe the Constitution allows us this First Amendment right and the UFT staff director's email is denying us that right.

UFT can come into schools and talk to teachers. ICE should be able to come in to a school and talk to teachers.

UFT representatives can come to a school and distrubute literature in mailboxes. ICE/TJC should be able to do the same. Why is fairness such a hard concept to grasp?

As for the retiree issue, as I stated earlier, retirees who want to help out the active people should spend their time helping to organize this union as Norm Scott is doing. I have no problem with that.

To the person who said that I wrote the book about anonymous attacks on bloggers who use their own name, I have not attacked anyone anonymously on the UFT blog. The only times I have posted there I have used my name. I'm not afraid to say who I am. I don't know what you're talking about. I wish you would have the courage to say who you are and stop attacking us anonymously.

Finally, for the person who is looking for a plan, I suggest you look at the ICE website for our platform or the TJC website to see where TJC stands. You will find some interesting reading in both places.

NYC Educator said...

Personally, I find the fact that our mailboxes are open only to Unity propaganda disturbing. I feel we ought to get the anti-Unity propaganda as well.

What disturbs me more, though, is the fact that high school teachers have been denied their choice of VPs since 1994. In a blatant anti-democratic act, Unity amended the constituting so that HS teachers would be forever drowned out by the votes of largely pro-Unity elementary teachers.

It's as though President Bush decreed one day that, for fairness' sake, Alaska, Kansas, and Texas could help New York choose its governor.

And in case that's not enough, Unity mouthpiece Leo Casey is on his high horse over at Edwize feigning outrage about ICE members violating the great "tradition of union democracy."

Such traditions, as practiced by Unity, led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Let's take Unity down with it.

NYC Educator said...

Hmm...I meant "constitution," not "constituting."

Anonymous said...

televee --

What 5000 actions did you do? Romp around in front of City Hall on an afternoon. Get half a dozen teachers to walk outside the school 10 minutes before school started. Unity did nothing!

While we paraded around in the rain, Randi worked out a deal with King Bloomberg. "Here Bloomy, you can have this right, you can have these days, you can take this right over here" Only to leave teachers embittered and feeling hopeless and helpless.

There was no plan and no education.
What are these union dues for? To pay individuals like you to insult people on blogs?

What's the matter, televee? Cat got your tongue? Afraid someone may jeopardize your boring, self-serving union job?

In between blogs, you probably spend your time looking at porn!

Get ready, dude. You're going down!

Anonymous said...

All right, Anonymous 10:49pm, you can come out from behind the curtain now. You have revealed yourself for all to see. We know now that you are really John Edwards, the psychic, and that, due to the miracle of crossing over technology, you can tell us what televee does in between blogs.

Anonymous said...

Yep, John Edwards here, psychic personfied. I look into the future and I see the same recurrent vision:

No more Unity! You could have had a good thing, Unity. You could have stood up and fought hard for the teachers. You didn't. You backed down and gave the King whatever he wanted. You pretended to stand strong, even mentioning a strike, but you were too weak. It was all talk!

Its over, Unity. You abandoned us; left us to fend for ourselves with a useless contract that demeans us.

Thanks,Unity. Thanks for nothing. I see into the future and you are finished. A done deal. Over.

Anonymous said...

I meant to spell 'personified'.

Norm Scott said...

To Unity Anonymous's (Are there more than 1?)

Let's start with the fact that you were at the Executive Board meeting. Now other than the TJC & ICE people who were there we know everyone else is a UFT employee and very few work regular jobs in the schools - out of the 83 Unity Exec Bd.- maybe 15-20. But every one of the 83 makes some salary and a separate pension from the UFT.

About the anon. posts attacking Jeff, James and myself:

I am just a dilettante retiree but the 300 Unity retirees at the DA or Abe Levine who speaks at every UFT Exec Bd meeting - and I support his right to do so - are somehow exempt - as are all the Unity caucus retirees on the payroll - we will see them this summer at the AFT convention in Boston as part of the 800 + Unity contingent appearing there courtesy of our dues.

Now one thing is clear about James, Jeff and myself - we only post under our names. Why would we ever be anon. since we are willing to say anything publicly? But you guys are hiding behind anon. – not like people in schools who have to fear from vindictive supervisors or vindictive UFT reps but because you are working for the union, we pay your exorbitant salaries and you don't want to be id. I say you are gutless, but no guts no glory.

We do have a very good idea exactly who you are as the venom you spew at the Exec bd meetings sounds so similar to these rants. But who cares? Have fun attacking us as if it will really make a difference. ICE is a very tiny group and you are the ones creating us as some threat. Thanks. Your attacks put us on the map. Why else would you waste time doing this for the few people who might read this blog?

Your attacks are a sign of fear but you will find out that ICE will be just a minor cog in what will be occurring as the rank and file rise up, especially after they start working under the new contract and realize the lies they were told by you. You have more to fear from the YES voters than the NO voters in the long run. But you have even more to fear from groups like the Brooklyn Teachers for a Fair Contract and the United Teachers Party at Port Richmond HS than you do from ICE. And they are just the beginning. We in ICE will be content to give them a hand and sit back and watch as you guys run around like mice trying to find a hole as you try to put the fires out.

You are "the suits" that went into the schools to sell the contract and had such an impact that people were totally turned off. If you had just remained in your little cubicles at UFT HQ blogging away, who knows, you might have gotten 70% of the vote.
Norm (never anon.)

advisor said...

Mr. Scott makes a number of good points.
Firstly, when the real repercussions of this contract hit the rank and file-- from incompetent administrators putting letters in your file to lunchroom duty with batteries flying by your head-- you can expect the Yes voters to have their eyes opened in a big way.
Secondly, the Unified Teachers Party of PRHS was born out of exactly the anti-Unity anger that Mr. Scott mentions. What was previously disgust at a self-serving leadership was given full blown life by a sell-out contract proposal. The irony, of course, is that Unity has, in a sense, sewn the seeds of its own destruction (we hope). Their arrogance, incompetence, and their genuine neglect of the people that they are paid to represent is fathomless. PRHS sent a Principal packing, and our DR, as well. You come into our house with a bs agenda, you're going to leave with your nose bloodied.

Norm said...

Dear Advisor,
While I agree with your premise that Unity has damaged itself I do want to caution that after 35 years of dealing with the caucus that has run the UFT since its inception, I have developed a very healthy respect for their enormously powerful machine and their ability to recoup. They can recruit new and independent chapter leaders and delegates into Unity with promises of a union career and part-time jobs and a number of other perks - like the couple of days off every March with a few days at the Hilton for the NYSUT convention and the AFT junket every 2 years (we went to Wash. in the summer of '04 and saw the entire 800+ gang running around DC like ants).

And then there is Randi Weingarten's amazing ability to co-opt - think Clinton taking the Republican agenda. Randi, as described by one education reporter as "so Clintonesque – she does feel your pain"– has already started mending fences by adopting the modification of the Dec. DA into a forum – a response to the meeting of the BTFC at PS 261 with ICE and TJC where Randi showed up.

The resolution to build stronger chapters, has been part of the core stuff we have been calling for - and note Richard Farkus' throw-in amendment to protect chapter leaders – is something that people may buy until they ask the question - what has stopped Unity from organizing strong chapters and protecting chapter leaders up to now?

Watch the anon. Unity characters on this blog blame Jeff Kaufman for that one too. Probably his points of orders calling for Robert's Rules to be followed so obstructed and distracted the leadership they couldn't focus on building strong chapters.

In fact, they have been so busy courting politicans who screw us anyway they have neglected their base and only sent their army into the schools for all the wrong reasons - imagine if they had actually used all these people to help build strong chapters instead of sending them in to sell a crappy contract.

Let me add the Brooklyn Tech demo which just happens to take place at this time when many people knew about Tech for years - interesting that Mike Winerip from the Times exposed the Tech situation years ago using Alice Alcala as a prime example. Go ask Alice what she thinks of Randi and the UFT. And Ed. Notes dealt with the Tech situation as far back as 2 years ago (being involved in robotics that story about pulling the team off the bus as they were leaving for the airport is legend). In fact the article in the NY Teacher was actually written last spring and rather than publicize it then, Randi supposedly showed it to the princpal of Tech as a "threat" and he ended up going after people mentioned with more gusto. There are not a lot of happy campers among the staff at Tech towards the UFT and the entire UFT action is part of the damage control, as is the attempt to garner sympathy towards the UFT leadership for the anti-UFT reaction from certain people in the Tech community - the old "look how we have suffered for you."

To sum up: there is a very vast machine supported by a massive and sophistcated PR operation that will use all sorts of operations to win the hearts and minds of UFT'ers. Never sell them short.

advisor said...

Clearly there is no mistaking the power of the mighty Goliath, the UFT. Their ability to spin and sell is remarkable. We do not underestimate their reach, nor their desire to maintain their base. The UTP is simply an example of a grass roots movement that shows how fed up the members really are at this point.
We're looking for a David to take down the Giant.

Max Factor said...

IS "TOO HARDCORE" HARDCORE ENOUGH?
It seems that the Unified Teachers Party has developed the reputation as being a militant and hardcore caucus within the UFT. This perception of us is mainly held by members and supporters of the Unity party.
They have tried to discredit us by labeling us everything from "right wing nuts" to "fascists".
This smear campaign is actually a good thing because it indicates the Unity views us as a threat.
It is actually very funny how a voice of opposition that calls for an open forum in which the subject of union reform can be discussed is quickly given a negative label by Unity.
I can't understand how Unity equates a call for an open discussion among union members with a "fascist" mentality but then again thats par for the course. Lets have a reality check here.
Why should the union have such a vested interest in convincing its members to vote "yes" for a contract which was not only the most contested proposal in the last twenty years but also the worst contract in the history of the UFT?
Who really benefits from this contract? Those involved with the Unity machine such as our District Representative whose salary far exceeds any working teacher's even at the highest pay scale. The DR finds himself socking away an extra 15%, while not being affected by the most objectionable aspects of the contract. Will the DR be doing cafeteria duty or potty patrol? I don't think so.
Will our union delegates be affected? Yes, however most will continue to enjoy their perks such as reduced air fare and hotel rates for "union related" gatherings outside of New York state.
At the higher levels of Unity the effect is a feeling of security that their power structure will remain in place and the status quo will be retained.
The arrogance of Unity is amplified when one examines the recent history that we here at PRHS have experienced.
For three years our school was involved in a struggle with an abusive administrator whose disregard for contractual guidelines sparked a battle which eventually culminated in his removal. Was this success the result of our union's intervention? No, the implied message from Unity was "Your problems are your problems, not ours." Did our elusive District Representative ever once come to our school to lend union support to our chapter leader? No, in fact the only time any of us had ever seen him was when he appeared at our school to try to bully us into voting "yes" for what was being offered to us as a contract.
When we attempted to politely question this self-serving lackey he became combative and condescending in tone.
Naturally, being a school with a staff that is capable of independent thought, we were left with no other recourse than to show him the door.
It is obvious that once he reported back to his cronies, they launched their smear campaign. It was expected by all at PRHS because "smear" is one of the tactics employed frequently by Unity.
We now sport the label of a "hardcore school" which begs the question "how hardcore is hardcore enough?" Is the act of questioning the people we pay to represent OUR interests a "hardcore" act? I don't think it is when compared to the other alternatives such as depositing him in the dumpster in our school parking lot.

Max Factor said...

IS "TOO HARDCORE" HARDCORE ENOUGH?
It seems that the Unified Teachers Party has developed the reputation as being a militant and hardcore caucus within the UFT. This perception of us is mainly held by members and supporters of the Unity party.
They have tried to discredit us by labeling us everything from "right wing nuts" to "fascists".
This smear campaign is actually a good thing because it indicates the Unity views us as a threat.
It is actually very funny how a voice of opposition that calls for an open forum in which the subject of union reform can be discussed is quickly given a negative label by Unity.
I can't understand how Unity equates a call for an open discussion among union members with a "fascist" mentality but then again thats par for the course. Lets have a reality check here.
Why should the union have such a vested interest in convincing its members to vote "yes" for a contract which was not only the most contested proposal in the last twenty years but also the worst contract in the history of the UFT?
Who really benefits from this contract? Those involved with the Unity machine such as our District Representative whose salary far exceeds any working teacher's even at the highest pay scale. The DR finds himself socking away an extra 15%, while not being affected by the most objectionable aspects of the contract. Will the DR be doing cafeteria duty or potty patrol? I don't think so.
Will our union delegates be affected? Yes, however most will continue to enjoy their perks such as reduced air fare and hotel rates for "union related" gatherings outside of New York state.
At the higher levels of Unity the effect is a feeling of security that their power structure will remain in place and the status quo will be retained.
The arrogance of Unity is amplified when one examines the recent history that we here at PRHS have experienced.
For three years our school was involved in a struggle with an abusive administrator whose disregard for contractual guidelines sparked a battle which eventually culminated in his removal. Was this success the result of our union's intervention? No, the implied message from Unity was "Your problems are your problems, not ours." Did our elusive District Representative ever once come to our school to lend union support to our chapter leader? No, in fact the only time any of us had ever seen him was when he appeared at our school to try to bully us into voting "yes" for what was being offered to us as a contract.
When we attempted to politely question this self-serving lackey he became combative and condescending in tone.
Naturally, being a school with a staff that is capable of independent thought, we were left with no other recourse than to show him the door.
It is obvious that once he reported back to his cronies, they launched their smear campaign. It was expected by all at PRHS because "smear" is one of the tactics employed frequently by Unity.
We now sport the label of a "hardcore school" which begs the question "how hardcore is hardcore enough?" Is the act of questioning the people we pay to represent OUR interests a "hardcore" act? I don't think it is when compared to the other alternatives such as depositing him in the dumpster in our school parking lot.

Jack Hammer said...

The fact that OUR union has become anti-democratic is evidenced by the tactics Unity has used against US. Think about that for a second. OUR union is working against us! They have used lies, and scare tactics to get this contract ratified. They have used bully tactics, and smear campaigns to silence our voices! Unity has forgotten that they are a caucus of the UFT - they are not the UFT. We at the Unified Teachers Party would like to remind our leadership that this union belongs to the membership, and as dues paying members we have a right to have our voices heard. Until we have a right to use staff mailboxes to distribute information, and an opportunity to voice our concerns about the self-serving nature of our leadership, I will continue to view our union as a tyrannical totalitarian state. We must continue to fight against this Stalinist regime. The forces of freedom and democracy will prevail.

mypupmilo said...

To Anonymous
re: Silly Lilly
I understand why you did not sign your name. Should any of the secretaries in your school find out you think we are very nice people but we are not a priority,I doubt you would get another per session or regular paycheck on time, again. Nor would we bother to give you the telephone message from your spouse,your car dealership,your car mechanic, your house painter your credit card company,your furniture delivery etc.(not our job.
I also doubt that you would ever see another class list, bio roster, cross reference list or anything else you request on time. It's time you realized that teachers would not be able to do their jobs with out competent secretaries. I am so happy that the teachers with whom I work do not feel the same as you do about secretaries.
Lillian Varrassi has long been an advocate for our rights and we are grateful to have her in our corner.

In my 20 years of being a secretary, I have never heard a more idiotic statement than the one you made
Emily Butler

Norm said...

Emily,
You won't get the chance. Anonymous who wrote "Silly Lilly" doesn't work in a school and will get the message from a UFT secretary at 52 Broadway or in the Borough office. And the UFT probably pays for a cell phone too. It's only your dues which will be going up real soon with the raise.
Norm

Anonymous said...

There is a new blog at http://teacherstrike2007.blogspot.com

northbrooklyn said...

We still need the demographics to give us a sense of the views and make up of the rank and file. Any comment written so far describing the rank and file 'unity controlled elementary schools',
'nice unity secretaries', etc. is based on the individual writers' perspectives, not reality. I suspect a process can be developed to do this without compromising the union voters privacy.