Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Executive Board Report - December 5, 2005

It’s hard to believe that we are on the cusp of a new contract and there is little to do at the Executive Board. One report from districts and one resolution. Of course, there were questions and I took a point of personal privilege to indict the leadership on the way they have handled my case and my school’s chapter. (The sole report was a defense of my accusation).

First, the resolution. We unanimously agreed to support the graduate teaching assistants currently on strike at New York University.

Second, the questions. On October 6, 2005 I was removed from my teaching position pending an investigation to be preformed by the Department of Corrections. At the time I was assured by the Union’s leadership that a PERB charge would be filed with all deliberate speed.

I met with NYSUT lawyers and was assured that this matter has a top priority and would be brought to a hearing as soon as possible. A resolution by the Executive Board and then the Delegate Assembly was passed unanimously in my support and ordered the filing of the PERB charge.

By December 5th, almost two months after I was removed and assured that the charge would be filed expeditiously the charge was still not filed. I asked why not and miraculously the charge was filed today.

The second question dealt with the way in which my Chapter was handled and is being handled by the Union in my absence. I designated two interim Chapter Leaders who have been in constant communication with me. The principal refuses to deal with me about Union issues. When I complained at a previous Executive Board meeting as to why my Chapter was being neglected by the Union, Randi ordered two District Reps, Marc Korashan and Rona Frieser to go to Rikers.

The reports I received about the meeting were appalling. The DR’s met with the principal without the interim Chapter Leaders (who knows what deals were made). When issues were raised concerning a major change in how staff gets to the school at least one member was told to change schools. This after working at Rikers for over 12 years.

Rona Frieser felt compelled to answer my allegations by reporting on a “wonderful” meeting she had with Rikers staff. The security problem was referred to the safety department of the Union and I was not allowed to ask questions of her.

At no time did the DR’s report to the interim Chapter Leaders or me about any of the actions they intend to take or the referrals they allegedly made. No plans to revisit or further report to Executive Board were made.

While I realize these issues directly affect me (and I am reluctant to raise them) I realize that there is no protocol or plan by the Union on how to deal with removed Chapter Leaders.

When a Chapter Leader is removed from a school the whole school is affected. The Union leadership’s complacency with dealing with this issue is further evidence of their disconnect with the membership.

5 comments:

advisor said...

Disconnect? That's mild. You might want to check out the story "Apocalypse Now, and Then; or the District Representative's Trip to PRHS" on the last page (My Back Pages: The UTP) of www.prhsuftnewsletter.com

Jack Hammer said...

You would think that our union would be quick to act when there is an issue concerning a chapter leader. After all, a chapter leader is an elected representative of the union. If our leadership is not willing to act to protect chapter leaders, what chance to rank and file members have of getting help?

Anonymous said...

Once again, Unity does what's best for Unity.

Anonymous said...

You're goin' no where without a sheep skin fella'!
I'm a teacher...college ruined my life. enough said.

woodlass said...

Jeff,
towards the end you say: "When a Chapter Leader is removed from a school the whole school is affected. The Union leadership's complacency with dealing with this issue is further evidence of their disconnect with the membership."

But this has to be much broader. The whole chapter suffers not only when a CL is removed, but when he or she is being harassed by principal or region. This can take months. The whole chapter is, in fact, destroyed while the CL makes decisions that will save his or her career instead of defending the contract.

When I was undergoing a major personal attack at my last school (where I was CL by default, all the rest were newbies), I complained to a DR that the harassment made me very scared to act on behalf of the members. For months and months they were just not being serviced properly by me or the union.

I hate to say this, but the response was in just about these words: "What do you care about them?" The message was clear: save your career and let the rest of it go.

How scary for the union!