Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Sale Ends Today!

by John Elfrank-Dana, Chapter Leader, Murry Bergtraum High School

Ever been in an appliance store and were not certain about that big purchase? You wanna go home and think about it. But the salesman says, “The sale ends today!” Then you go, “Oh, what the hell!” and whip out that credit card. You weren’t sure, but it’s done. Now we’re being asked to decide something else in haste.

A new contract!!

Whew, that’s a relief. No more worries for two years! After taking a beating the last time your sighs of relief are well understood. But, does this contract have its own uncertainty built in? Look deep down the list of provisions to #17. It says that the bargaining of our health care benefits will be under the purview of the Municipal Labor Committee. The UFT leadership says it’s no big deal; that it’s practically always been that way. So, if that’s the case, why’s it in the Memorandum of Agreement? Something must have changed. Why haven’t we gotten an explanation to this question from the union? In a search for answers there are two pieces of information you need to look at; one from the New York Times and the other from the DOE itself.

In a November 8th article in the Metro section the Times stated that Randi Weingarten promised the mayor she’d help find a way for the city to save on health care costs. The DOE announced that the new teacher contract would be paid for by internal savings from the UFT. Wait a minute! What do they mean by “internal savings”? Could it mean that we will be paying health care premiums where we didn’t have to before and more in premiums for those already paying? I wonder how many months of health care premiums $750.00 would pay for. Or, that will be $750 MINUS the taxes, so about $590.00 worth of health care premiums. Say, a month or two? Given the catastrophic costs of health care, it’s plausible all of our so-called raise (about 3.5 percent a year, minus an average of 4 percent inflation leaves you at NEGATIVE .5). Ok, let’s call it a partial COLA, that doesn’t keep up with the one set by Social Security, which just went up 4.1 percent for 2006.

We said “NO” to a contract offer about ten years ago. Sandy Feldman had to go back and renegotiate. And that was against Giuliani! Remember him? Guess what? WE GOT A BETTER DEAL! The same arguments were made then: the mayor is tough and the economy even tougher. Well, maybe Bloomberg is tough too, but now the city is flush.

Could it be that Randi wants a quick deal because she’s up for reelection a few months after you get your $590 of chump change on January 2, 2007?

Add to this the following points:

1. There isn’t a single provision in this agreement that helps us at the school. No movement to reduce over- crowding, placing ATRs in classrooms to reduce class size, nothing to win the support of parents and to better serve our students.

2. The buyout of ATRs (likely victims of age discrimination in hiring under the new plan) could be opening the way for a future mandatory buyout. Who knows how much they will offer? Another unanswered question.

But there’s one thing you can be certain of from the contract- You’ll still be coming to work in August instead of September.

Precedent is being set and we don’t even have all the answers.

What’s the rush? The sale ends today!

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree every single member should and will vote no.

Thanks to your efforts, I predict the headlines will read TEACHERS CONTRACT VOTED DOWN!

Unitymustgo said...

Well written. I can't think of even 1 non-cynical reason for why our leadership is rushing the vote.

The UTP said...

We at the UTP are voting 'yes' because we're all getting two pensions. If you'd like two pensions visit the UTP home page and download the application! Do it today supplies are limited!

Max 'Two Sheds' Factor said...

Hey Norm, a teacher in Belgium just got a 'U' rating. What's ICE going to do about it!

snake "two pens" head said...

I'm voting "yes"! I'm getting two pensions! Don't miss out, get your two pensions NOW!

Anonymous said...

I'm with the UTP, I'm gonna send in my application to get two pensions!

jack "two nails" hammer said...

Does ICE care about European teachers, or just teachers in the third world? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

ICE is all for the European teachers, like the teachers in France who stood up for what they believe in and made change along with students.

mike m said...

Problem with ICE: see above.

Anonymous said...

So pathetic...why rush the vote...why is this a good deal...we are mostly multiracial, multiethnic working professionals who appreciate security, pensions, unbelievable health care benefits and a president and executive board who works endlessly for protecting the rights of the members and the students that we teach. I love the extra cash..I can pay another bill...I love the security.....I don't have to worry about a strike...I am proud of my president...and enough of this white boy stuff...

JustdaTruth said...

An Aesop fable for UNITY: The Boy Who Cried "Wolf!"

There was once a shepherd-boy who kept his flock at a little distance from the village. Once he thought he would play a trick on the villagers and have some fun at their expense. So he ran toward the village crying out, with all his might,--

"Wolf! Wolf! Come and help! The wolves are at my lambs!"

The kind villagers left their work and ran to the field to help him. But when they got there the boy laughed at them for their pains; there was no wolf there.

Still another day the boy tried the same trick, and the villagers came running to help and got laughed at again. Then one day a wolf did break into the fold and began killing the lambs. In great fright, the boy ran for help. "Wolf! Wolf!" he screamed. "There is a wolf in the flock! Help!"

The villagers heard him, but they thought it was another mean trick; no one paid the least attention, or went near him. And the shepherd-boy lost all his sheep.

That is the kind of thing that happens to people who lie: even when they tell the truth no one believes them.

My comment: The first time in all the years I have worked as a teacher the UFT has produced a good contract. However much of the membership cannot believe it because of being misled in the past.

tommy two pensions said...

Don't be hatin'. Leave us white boys alone. We get two pensions, and we're all voting yes.

Anonymous said...

I got two pensions too! It's great! What did TJC ever do? Nuttin'!
GO UTP GO!

An Educational Voyage said...

Deja vu anyone? I linked to your intital post. It is just amazing at how unconcerned with membership leadership really is. There is no attempt to get any opinions before taking action. It would have been nice if there was a survey of teachers, BEFORE this new flim-flam act, to see how teachers feel about conditions under this current give back contract. I am always amazed at how easily manipulated membership has been. I'm even more amazed at how very manipulated leadership is by the Klein-Berg machine. History has a scary way of repeating itself. Well, perhaps it will be different this time. Maybe?

Anonymous said...

Voyager,

There was a survey, but the way it was written, it really played out towards the union's focus.

They claim it received a great response, but will not give the actual percentage.

They have send out surveys before,
but they will find reasons why they must follow their path.

That is why it is more important to get rid of this leadership because there is no doubt in my mind that this contract will pass.

We lost our last fight 60%-40% and that was the worst contract to ever hit the face of the earth.

People will be voting their pocketbooks as with the last contract. However that doesn't mean they don't want to see a change in leadership.

JustdaTruth said...

Ain't that the Truth!!!

Hypatia said...

What a lot of ice chips!

With a good contract on the horizon, the Icemen have nothing else to do but parse the agreement looking for a word or two they can misinterpret and twist to their advantage.

The truth of the matter is that this is a good deal - a very good deal - and members will be voting for it in record numbers.

ICE's insipid attempt to uncover a hidden agenda is proof that their real objective is not to further the rights and benefits of our colleagues, but to create dissention and discord within the ranks of the UFT.

Health provisions have always been negotiated on a citywide basis and will continue to be done so.

The offer of a buyout for ATR's (just as likely to be new teachers as experienced ones), IF it happens, will be totally voluntary.

Reaching a contract settlement early will allow us to focus on the issues important to so many of us, including class size, 55/25 and supporting a mayoral candidate that will be more favorable towards public education.

Let's make this contract vote a referendum on ICE/TJC/UTP. Vote against them and the poisonous dissention they spew as you vote for the contract.

Anonymous said...

Unity now wants to support candidates who are pro public education???

They turned their back on McCall, then they could have endorsed Ferrer, but didn't.

Boy oh boy! And we should believe in you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hypatia,
Why do several people I know that were on the negotiating committee say it was a sham?

Truth is there were down-low meetings with focus groups about a two-year contract extension with 6 - 8 percent money unbeknownst to the negotiating committee in early October.

That committee was setup to give the illusion of due dilligence in garnering member imput. I suspected it a fraud all along, which is why I didn't bother.

I know, I was at one of these meetings.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad 1 meeting tells you what everyone else did at the 12-18 meetings that were held since the spring.

The truth is that 300 membership negotiating committee talked about tactic and plan of action including the coalition bargaining, the survey and the questions (which had more than 25,000 returned - more than ever before), and the creation of both economic and non-economic demands (all of which James Eterno and Jeff Kaufman were a part of). The Ex. Bd. passed it unanimously (again James, Jeff and other TJC people were a part of), it went to the DA where more than 1100 representatives from the schools voted for it to go forward with 15 or so that opposed it. Then after the deal was completed, the 300 person negotiating committee passed it (except for Jeff, James and another TJC person) and finally to the 1200 representative body of this union were again it was passed 1160 to 20 or so. You're the only fools shouting NOW, after the fact, that it was "undemocratic".

What gets you guys so mad is that you didn't even think it could get done. So when the deal came out you exerted to what ever scare tactics possible to mislead the membership as Norm thinks being an "honest opposition" - what ever Randi does you must oppose it.

Your desperation is clear.

An Educational Voyage said...

Hypatia,

First, as for "parse the agreement looking for a word or two they can misinterpret and twist to their advantage." - well that is EXACTLY what the Klein-Berg machine did to the last sell-out contract. There were so many wording vaguenesses that Jupiter could have slipped through unstopped.

Second, The dissenting "ranks" are not allowed to speak freely at delegate meetings without being cut off. So how in the world do you interpret trying to protect teacher rights as tantamount to trying to "create dissension and discord within the ranks of the UFT."? The ranks are kept from hearing any questions, concerns or opposing opinion!

Third- as for protecting teachers jobs- ATR's have been treated as totally expendable by the previous contract and to think Randi will see the light at this juncture is idocy.

I'll bet that most of those ATR's dangling precariously over the unemployment line today, never dreamed that they would be in the position they are in today when they voted YES. Klein-Berg is very keenly aware of the green-eyed monster and use him very deftly.

Fourth, why in the world would one want to accept a salary schedule without knowing what else they will give up for it. You know in your heart that there will be no return to the rights of the previous contract. There will only be more givebacks.

However, if you think I'm wrong, I have GREAT deal for you. I'll give you five dollars and tell you what I want you do do for it AFTER you have accepted the deal! Where should I mail your money order?

All too often, literature put in teacher mailboxes expressing any questions or opposition to the party line are removed. Censorship is the method of choice for Unity. ICEUFT and other blogs offer what is probably the only way for many teachers know that there are other opinions out there!

When you have leadership that shuts up any effort to express opinions not in step with them, you have a serious problem. All voices should be fairly and openly heard. If things are on the up and up, true discourse will show it and membership can, with ALL facts and opinions clearly on the table, to guarantee a genuinely fair vote. I hope it will adjust future proceeding accordingly.

History will record what becomes a done deal and how it went down.

Caveat emptor: When an avid anti-union businessman-mayor dangles a carrot, you MUST wonder why? Greek history and a Trojan Horse come to mind...

Unitymustgo said...

What are the rules for access to mailboxes. I placed a post from this site about the contract into the mailboxes at my school. My chapter leader came to visit me and said I shouldn't have done that. She happens to be cool and not a Unity lackey, but was upset because teachers were asking her about the handout.

Can I or can't I use the mailboxes to communicate with my fellow teachers.

If no, is there anything wrong with walking around and handing out info?

jameseterno said...

To Unity Must Go-

You have every right to use the mailboxes in your school to distribute ICE literature and don't need the chapter leader's ok. Email me and I will fax you a copy of the Baizerman Step III Grievance decision that grants you this right. We're at feedback@ICE-UFT.org

If you don't get an answer, please contact Norm whose number is on our latest leaflet.

Anonymous said...

Sellout!

We are sheep going to the slaughterhouse, mark my words. If we okay this
contract, we are okaying permenant mayoral control of the schools. There could
not be a clearer indication of how Randi Weingarten is in cahoots with the city.
Do any of you remember Albert Shanker? He must be rolling in his grave.

1) This memorandum of agreement ( MOA) is a consolidation of the Givebacks in
the current contract that has not yet expired for the next three years until 2009.
How can we forget: we lost 2 days, work longer hours, lost seniority, can't
grieve letters in the file anymore, and principals have expanded powers etc. The
7.1% represents a cost-of-living adjustment for the next 3 years; and with rising
prices being what they are, it will not be enough. It is not a raise as they want to
have us believe. This MOA is a reflection of a weak Union that is in total
Accommodation mode with the administration.

2) The MOA also is a payback by Bloomberg directly to Randi Weingarten for all
the givebacks in the current contract to insure that she wins next year’s UFT
elections.

Anonymous said...

So except for James and Jeff, not one other person on that 300-person committee stood up for takebacks???

That sounds a little fishy to me. Please explain who else wanted takebacks and if no one else wanted them, why???

jameseterno said...

For those accusing me of horrible things, please check our entry after last month's DA when Randi told us to go back to our chapters and discuss the demands. That's exactly what I did and my school wasn't happy to not have a chance to take back the givebacks.

We wrote a resolution on taking back the givebacks for the Nov. DA but the Contract was done before we had a chance to report back.

What was the rush? I still don't understand the rush

Hypatia said...

Ed Voyage-

First, you compare yourself to the Klein-Berg machine? Even I wouldn't do that - but suit yourself.

Second, you say that dissenting ranks are not allowed to speak freely? Were you at the DA? Jeff Kaufman spoke at length - twice - about every imagined imperfection he could manufacture about the contract. And then he was followed by some other nutter who suggested that we vote against the contract because the Democrats would not end the war in Iraq. I thought the audience was exceedingly polite and generous to these fellows - and I didn't hear anyone censoring anything they had to say.

Third, perhaps you're unaware that we have a no layoff clause, and that no one is 'dangling precariously over the unemployment line.' ATR's receive the same salary and benefits that you do and will continue to do so.

Fourth, you speak about additional givebacks, but you have the MOA to refer to and there are none. Read it again, and afterwards you'll have to agree that Randi did a damn good job in getting us this agreement. As for takebacks, I'm all in favor of seeing if we have an opening at some point in the future, but it is clear that this is not the right time, nor the right administration. This contract allows us the liberty of dealing with the next administration, who may be more teacher-friendly, for the next contract.

Finally, I'm not sure what your complaint about putting information into teachers' mailboxes has to do with this contract. It's not an issue in deciding how to vote. I do agree, however, that 'history will record what becomes a done deal and how it went down' and I do think that history will award accolades to Randi for securing such a good contract in such difficult times.

Anonymous said...

People should have the right to distribute pro and anti contract literature in mailboxes so members can make an informed choice. That's called freedom of the press.

Science Sam said...

James Eterno—you are mourning your lost opportunity to bring a take-back resolution to the DA last week?

Are you telling me that ICE is so out of touch with this membership that it thought that we’d prefer to have you pass some useless take-back resolution than to have Weingarten get us a contract without erosions?

And when you were discussing take-backs with your members, were you at least responsible enough to explain the risks of holding out for more?

You’re thinking about lunch periods and the 10 minutes of the last contract. Klein is thinking about accountability systems through the bogus testing. Firing the bottom 10 percent. Hold out for more, and he’d have had time to make a case that would have sold with the public: fire the ATR’s. Have you looked at what’s going on with the principals, Eterno?

I’m all for getting more. But only stupid leadership would try to hold out for this insanely slim chance of getting more when there was a very real risk of getting a whole lot less. Same goes for the last contract.

But let me guess. This is fear mongering on my part. As opposed to the responsible article by, say, the fellow from Bergtram, that heads up this thread.

Anonymous said...

Hypatia:
It is one thing to be critical about ICE but your venom against ICE indicates your agenda.

But let's take this obfuscation where you deflect a real issue as being inconsequential. We would love for you to at least declare your support for the rights of people to put stuff in the boxes but I suspect that you do not support the right of people who "spew poisonous dissention." Sort of like what the Democrats did with Bush - Thank God. Since the UFT supports Democrats that is ok I guess. Or maybe be consistent and say no lit should be passed out by any group that is critical of the leadership no matter at what level of govt or union or any institution.

So you obfuscate by saying:
"I'm not sure what your complaint about putting information into teachers' mailboxes has to do with this contract. It's not an issue in deciding how to vote."

When Unity CL stopped us from putting literature with our point of view in boxes last year during the contract vote that did have everything to do with the contract. They pulled lit from the boxes and district reps targeted schools with people opposed to the contract. They go into schools themselves and stuff mailboxes but say people like me can't do so. DR's also pull our material. It was proven that in schools that saw what we had to say, many more teachers voted against the contract. Same will happen here.
(By the way, did you vote for the contract in '05?)

One high school teacher never heard of ICE until a few weeks ago. His Unity CL lost the election and his replacement brought back a copy of Ed Notes and an ICE leaflet. The teacher distributed stuff and Unity people attacked him. This teacher had been asking if there was a group opposed to Unity but never knew it despite the fact I have been going in there and putting things in boxes over the years. He claimed they were pulled by the Unity people.

Control of the press and means of communications is the first thing totallitarian govvernments do. No matter how you feel about the contract, you should support the right for people to hear all sides. If you're an independent you do. If you are Unity you don't.

When I was a delegate I used to get called on all the time by Randi when I did not raise issues she was against. I used to gently chide Unity. But when she supported mayoral control and what looked like merit pay schemes I became much more vocal in my criticisms and suddenly the door closed on me and I had to use all sorts of tricks like points of orders and information to get my points out to people. Thus was born Ed Notes since I couldn't rely on her calling on me I felt I had to put something out in writing. All that power in one person's hands is too great.

Lots of people were trying to get the floor to speak at the last DA, some for the first time. Yes some opponents got called on but the same old reliable Unity speakers' bureau people got called - Yes people in Unity sign up and are trained with talking points and get first crack at the mic.

Anonymous said...

Randi might have stopped calling you Norm because you are out of whack and are now retired.

Enough about his ego and all he believes he does, the question about putting in literature against what the DA has approved is a serious problem. When the DA approves something it is official union policy. When someone (ICE and Norm) put out something against official union policy, it seems to undermine the idea of democracy and the voice of over 1400 schools. They may have you believe that "they" speak for the minority ( although it may be less than 1% of the entire delegate body), they have often admitted that it is be cause they "have to oppose" the leadership. It is sad that the a joke from the Marx brothers (Groucho not Karl) is the substance for their stance.

The DA has spoken and the official UFT policy is to recommend the MOA to the membership. ICE wants to derail that.

JustdaTruth said...

Unity Person. You're spinning again. The mailboxes are supposed to accessible. Hands off Union Democracy. Remember last year at the Delegate Assemblie when the contract was discussed. Were they democratic? Be honest now. They were not. They were disgraceful. We witnessed a Benevolent Dictator controlling debate. And thats the truth.

Anonymous said...

We here at P.S. 123K are in support of takebacks. After enduring a principal who gave a "U" to a teacher on the day her husband died, and an AP (who is now principal at 143Q in Corona) who puit works of fiction into files, we demand the return of the right to grieve.

Anonymous said...

Here's to a thousand four hundred schools like yours PS 123 K!!!! Yours is the spirit that will get us a real union.

Anonymous said...

People like that will win us our rights back.

Anonymous said...

We had a committee of 300 to get us THIS contract? Can someone explain this to me? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Randi did the negotiating. The committee was for show.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Monday, November 13, 2006 5:05:01 PM, questions the 300 person comittee but doesn't question JAmes and Jeff that were there and voted witht hte rest of the committee almost each time? Why not?

Hypatia said...

EdNotes -
Is that true? Are you retired?

If so, I find it very nervy of you to speak against a contract - my contract, not yours - that will afford me a $100,000 top salary, cap my drug co-pays and guarantee my right to a job without fear of lay-offs. It's very nice for you to pontificate about the right to grieve a letter - you can't get one. I prefer knowing that if I do get a letter. it'll be removed and relegated to the trash bin in 3 years.

As for teacher mailboxes, if you're retired, you shouldn't be putting anything, on any subject, in the mailboxes.

You can criticize the agreement all you want as you cash your Tier 1 pension check, the working members of this union, from all factions, recognize a good deal when they see it and will vote for it in record numbers.

Anonymous said...

Go girl! or Boy!

Anonymous said...

Do UFT retirees vote for the upcoming UFT elections?

Anonymous said...

I don't see a no layoff agreement in this Contract.

I don't think retirees vote on UFT Contracts but they vote in UFT Officer elections.

Why can't a retired teacher put stuff in mailboxes? Isn't it good to hear views from all sides?

Anonymous said...

We all can become ATRs when our schools close. Then we can be coerced into accepting a severance package. That's a roundabout layoff.

Anonymous said...

If that isn't the greatest absudridty!

"We all can become ATRs when our schools close" is the clearest logical premise. "All 1400 schools closed and 100, UFT staff members layed off! News at 11:00."

Since everyonec CAN lose their jobs evryone WILL lose their jobs. Talk about fear mongering.

Since the "no layoff" provision of the last contract has not been changed, there will stillbe no layoffs!

Anonymous said...

Correction:

If that isn't the greatest absurdity!

"We all can become ATRs when our schools close" is the clearest logical premise. "All 1400 schools closed and 100,000 UFT staff members layed off! News at 11:00."

Since everyone CAN lose their jobs everyone WILL lose their jobs. Talk about fear mongering.

Since the "no layoff" provision of the last contract has not been changed, there will still be no layoffs!

Anonymous said...

Retirees shouldn't put "stuff in our mailboxes" when it comes to our contract ratification process because they shouldn't try to sway the people who will live under the vote. They are retired and therefore will not have to live with those consequences. I will, so they should let us "in-service" people decide what is best for us ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Stifling free exchange of ideas; it's the Unity way. If these opposition people are putting out stuff that is so wrong, why are you afraid for people to look at it? Maybe they have a point or two or three and you are afraid the members will see it.

Didn't we used to have an actual job security clause in our contract? That has seemed to have been lost along with everything else the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

You guys live in a bubble. In fact, why not call you the "Bubble ICE CAUCUS." Norm is enjoying his pension while he asks of us to vote no on our financial security for the next 3 years. You know Norm, it's hard to work for a living and have to worry about whether you should or should not buy a car or a house, or take a vacation because who knows what is around the corner. No offense to retirees, enjoy your free time, you probably deserve it. James is in his own bubble in a school where he holds meetings in which his members vote to take back the give backs of past years. Really? Now, why stop at the 37.5 minutes? Why not take more? In fact, maybe we should all become F status, or part timers and keep the same salary. Heck! I'll vote for that too. Why don't you get up on your soap box and propose that our lunch period be doubled! I'll second that! I am sure his chapter appreciates these little theatrical pieces, however, they should know that he said nothing at the negotiating committee. That's a fact. Jeff of course may or may not be at Rikers... and since he rides his bike to work and gets 100 washes out of his tshirts it only makes sense that he hasn't realize that we can use the money now and don't want to wait another 2 or 3 or 5 years to see what we can get. Gas went up, and some of us find it unprofessional to wear dirty t-shirts to work. The point here is that non of these 3 guys live in the real world. One guy lives longing for the way it was 35 years ago. The other guy lives imagining what he would do if he had to negotiate the contract with himself! The third guy ... well... I find him amusing ... but perhaps he's spent too much time at Rikers. The ICE BUBBLE boys need to hear the membership.

I trust Randi. I am proud Randi is the leader of our union. She is smart, eloquent, and from what I hear she works very hard. I trust she helped us get the best darn contract we could get. I am voting YES on this contract.

An Educational Voyage said...

Hello Hypatia,

You said: "First, you compare yourself to the Klein-Berg machine?" I did? Mea culpa! Where?

As for putting items in mailboxes, I obviously should have qualified my statement for you by specifically wording: "UFT potential/actual contract issues/business." However, I see nothing wrong with anyone putting anything in a teacher's mailbox as long as it pertains to their job. Contract and salary, in my opinion fall into that category. Soliciting home sales, threats, and eBay garage sale offerings naturally are on the no drop list. Now that I've made my view on that clearer, I'll move on.

The ATR's are not on on the unemployment line this minute, but one would have to be really naive to not see where this issue is heading. Each new contract brings more loss of security, and the smallest group is the weakest and easiest to shaft. I believe that every active teacher is just a hop, skip, and a jump from becoming an ATR. Don't delude yourself by thinking you are special.

Salary is a crucial issue. When we spend our money (accept a salary schedule), we need to know exactly where it is coming from and what sacrifices must be made to spend it. This is the problem with this current salary deal. To put absolute faith in someone who negotiated the last horrid contract, is, in my opinion foolish. But that is just my opinion and no one has to agree with me. I just put it out here as food for thought.

So again I ask, why in the world would one want to accept a salary schedule without knowing what else they will give up for it?

I also want to opine that the retired teachers are in a perfect position to offer their thoughts. They have worked under the system longer, have seen how things have worked and what did not work during their service to the city. I do not see retirees as evil doers out to keep the active teachers poor. How silly! Additionally, retired teachers are totally free from harassment on the professional level, unlike folks whose administration or UNITY colleagues can zero in on them at school. We can learn much from those more experienced. All it takes is a willingness to listen and think for ourselves on what it is we can be open to. All we need to fear is those who fear opposing views spoken out loud and in public.


As for the rest of the comments on this post, I, for one am, delighted to see free open discussion where EVERYONE, regardless of opinion, is free to comment un censored. Unity does not hold this view across the board. I am delightfully free to disagree with them.

No one on this post/comment list is demanding that anyone "better listen or else." This is discussion. Pure discussion.

So blog on everyone! The more folks who comment, the more we learn!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely wrong about retirees and their access to mailboxes on MY contract. They have no right to try to influence the vote on a contract that will not effect them. Norm and James in particular hollered years a go about the retiree "voices" in the DA but now of course, find perfectly acceptable when it suits them politically. If these retirees let's say swayed voting on strike provision. Do you think this would be reasonable? As much as I personally maybe in favor of taking that action they wouldn't have to live with sacrifices the rest of would have to make. Respecting their opinion is one thing, having them influence current contracts is another. This is now MY contract not theirs.

Anonymous said...

The consppiracy cloud is out again.

"why in the world would one want to accept a salary schedule without knowing what else they will give up for it?" Why aren't you asking Jeff and James about any deal. They were part of the negotiating committee? Since they are not commenting about what they did there, maybe they are part of a secret deal, too.

Anonymous said...

An Educational Voyage seems to be spreading the fear factor again. Although I agree with the point of free dialogue, your fear factor about ATR's is absurd. I heard that in Sept. there were 1200 ATRs throughout the city that had not found a position yet. 1200 OUT OF 100,000 MEMBERS! I even heard that it has come down to a few hundred now. By crating a fear of what maybe "eminent" is unjustifiable. For that matter we can all die from a meteor shower, crossing the street, trying to stay conscious at our faculty meetings, living in NYC, riding the subway, etc. I will keep teaching my classes and leave you to imagining your greatest fears that may not be so great.

Anonymous said...

On Retirees putting things in mailboxes because they don't have to live under the contract:

This is all about keeping people from seeing alternative views.

1. Do people working at the union have to "live" under the contract? Are they "in-service?" Don't they get the same raises as the inservice teachers without any of the consequences? Don't they have a much greater incentive to sell the contract?

Yet they go all over putting stuff in mailboxes including Dist reps whoput Unity material in the boxes. Of course that is ok since they are union officials.

2. The attacks on my right as a retiree to disseminate info as a service to ICE because the overwhelming majority of ICE people are in-service is designed to obscure the fact that ICE retirees afford the people crtical of Unity a major opportunity to get info out to people. We are just delivery people but Unity wants to use that as an obfuscation to keep the info out of people's hands. Next you'll tell me that it is wrong for me to go to the post office during the day to mail out flyers if ICE asks me to.

3. What a joke when you compare putting stuff in mailboxes to the role retirees play in Unity (and now New Action retirees working for the union), having 300 delegates (which based on the 27% vote of the retiree opposition should be much less) and having 50,000 retirees voting for positions like High school VP?

Anonymous said...

One more:

I'm sure Unity people also feel I should not be allowed to send out an email to people i know with the ICE info. Or maybe I should no longer write my column in The Wave. After all, why should someone who has been involved in union activities for 36 years have an opinion? Do ya think Tom Pappas or other Unity retirees don't tell people to vote for the contract?

And the Unity/New Action retirees who go into schools to "organize" the chapters? How come no complaints about them?

All I know is that the many inservice teachers I know say "Keep the info coming." They'll just love it when I pass around the your comments. Keep 'em coming. I need more filler for Ed Notes.

Anonymous said...

Wheter the number of ATRs is 100 or 1,000, the fact remains that EVERY senior teacher should be afforded a job in NYC schools.

There is definitely a bias here against teachers who are near retirement--and from members of our own union no less!!!

As for mailboxes, let everyone have a voice. It's all in the presentation anyway. For some reason Unity fears our mailboxes.

jameseterno said...

There is a simple compromise resolution to the ATR problem and that is to have a hiring freeze until all the ATR's in a license have a position. Principals could still reject people but the pool they would have to choose from is the people who are in excess who are basically satisfactory educators who were caught in a numbers game or had their schools closed through no fault of their own.

The fact that this has not happened says to me that the DOE wants to get rid of senior people. The new contract just makes this horrible provision worse by adding the severance package.

Has anyone figured out how much money the city is wasting this year having ATR's subbing instead of teaching.

Why not use them to reduce class sizes in many schools?

Anonymous said...

All ATR's have been "afforded a job in NYC schools". There are no layoffs. They are getting a paycheck and move up on the salary scale and maintain all of their benefits and will continue to under the contract proposal.

Anonymous said...

To say "All ATR's have been afforded a job in NYC schools. There are no layoffs. They are getting a paycheck and move up on the salary scale and maintain all of their benefits and will continue to under the contract proposal" is such a sign of people just not getting it. This comment CANNOT come from someone covering classes full-time in a school. Certainly not from any ATR.

It's the old "be thankful you have a job even though you've been in the system for many years."

Everyone talks about how horrible a job day-to-day subbing is. I did it for my first year and a half as a teacher and agree -- I did learn a lot. But to put experienced teachers in this role? I was thinking of doing some subbing this year and everyone who taught laughs at the very idea because of what people have seen subs go through.

I got this email from a 5th yr math teacher who is in his 50's and ended up with this after months as a sub: "Doing three of those 9th grade classes that few want this term. One is inclusion and one ESL. Chance I can survive next term but no way in September." He will take a buy-out under duress and the union will say -- lookie how wonderful the contract was. It's like the old question to the man on the gallows -- what color blindfold do you want?

Another ATR who was a social studies teacher has to watch new teachers doing stuff that horrifies her while she covers classes. For a union that calls itself "a union of professionals" to put people in this position is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

So right Norm

Anonymous said...

Letter to Teaching fellow ATR's who are losing jobs:

Dear .....,

According to our records, at this time you are still in the Teacher Reserve without a regular, full-time assignment. I am writing to remind you that as per the Fellow Commitment Form that you signed, if you do not find a regular school-level teaching position outside of the Teacher Reserve by December 1 you will no longer remain in the Teaching Fellows program. As a result, you will no longer be licensed and you will be terminated from employment for failure to meet qualifications. Furthermore, you will not be able to continue university coursework after that date.

At this time, you should continue to seek a school-level teaching position. While our preference is for you to remain in your assigned region, you are permitted to seek interview opportunities and obtain a position anywhere in the city. The Placement Support office remains available to assist you with interviewing tips and can provide you feedback through a mock interview. If you would like assistance please contact Placement Support at 718.935.4586.

We must be in receipt of a signed School Commitment Form by 5:00 p.m. on December 1 in order for you to remain in the Fellowship and on payroll. If you have already secured a position, please fax the signed School Commitment Form as soon as possible to 718.935.4185.

I hope you will be successful in securing a position so that you can remain in the Fellowship.

Sincerely,

Vicki Bernstein

Director of Alternative Certification


According to my source, the Fellows program guarantees its participants teaching positions if they complete the summer program. This is not the first time Klein's DoE has attempted to weasel out of a contract by simply ignoring its provisions. Can anyone help these teachers?

Can the Unity wonks still stand up and claim the new ATR program is better than the old UFT transfer plan?

Posted by NYC Educator at 7:17 AM

Anonymous said...

I thought we have a virtual no layoff agreement. Please answer Unity.

Anonymous said...

I may ot be unity but I know that it is still there. Didn't the "Fellows" sign a contract before the became teacher's and joined the union? How do you fight what people sign away before they join our unio?

Anonymous said...

Since Norm ("ednotes") criticizes the fact that the UFT protected members from being layed-off, I wonder what he would have done (had he still be in service) instead?

An ATR in my school told the DR that she did wish she had an actual position at the school but was happy with the ways things were. How many ATR's are left now anyway? I heard many had gotten positions.

Norm said...

"How many ATR's are left now anyway? I heard many had gotten positions."

Check the NY Teacher or call the union. Aren't they supposed to have this info? With all this speculation why don't they provide information?

The guy I heard from was an ATR and now he has a "position" -- the worst classes in his school. But he should be glad he has a job. Meanwhile the "math" shortage has led to giving bonuses to new math teachers. They excessed many math teachers at some high schools. So what's the real deal? Part of the general attack on experienced teachers?

Does anyone not see a danger here where the DOE can close any school they want to by manipulating stats and loading up the school with at risk kids -- look at some large high schools? Kill any school where the UFT is strong. Is that the major motivation? Maybe, maybe not. But do you doubt that it is a factor in the decision?

Anonymous said...

Go Norm Go. Vote NO, NO, NO!

Anonymous said...

I heard most ATRs that did not have a position in September have one now. Something like 1,000 then and 100 left now.

Anonymous said...

The "danger . . .where the DOE can close any school they want to" is the fear mongering that people have said here and elsewhere. Now I know where you guys get your tactics from - a frustrated retiree that will have no one else listen to him except you guys.

They will close all of the schools - especially yours - there will be 1.1 million kids on the street and all 80,000 teachers will be laid off. Not a scare tactic (nor realistic) at all.

Norm said...

Anon
Why don't you check most of the large high schools in the Bronx and see what has happened to them? They cut 7 math teachers alone at one and some are ATR's. Look at all the schools in Brooklyn being threatened with closing.

I cannot believe you actually work in a school if you deny that threat has been used by just about every principal to justify the constant test practice and other crap being thrown at people.

I am cetainly not the one frustrated at what is going on in the schools. It is all the teachers who contact me instead of going to the UFT.

Check the ednotes blog for a letter from one of these teachers at Stevenson HS which I passed on to the Daily News and led to a major exclusive on cheating. How come the UFT is out of the picture on incidents like this?

Anonymous said...

There are several ATR's in my school. This is no laughing matter. It's not a scare tactic to say that schools are in danger of closing. Principals use it all the time.

Anonymous said...

"An ATR in my school told the DR that she did wish she had an actual position at the school but was happy with the ways things were."

Why don't you ask the ATR yourself if you really are in a school? Do you get all your info from the DR?

Then you say "How many ATR's are left now anyway? I heard many had gotten positions." I guess you got this information from the DR too.

Anonymous said...

I am in the school and I heard the 2 ATR's tell my DR. They said it quite openly as we were talking in a group so I didn't need to "ask them". Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for noting Norm - you are not the UFT.