Monday, January 22, 2007

UFT Elections Are Coming:

Why We Must Say NO to Weingarten/Unity Caucus-New Action

The UFT has not stood up against the closing of schools

The Department of Education can no longer be allowed to mismanage and inadequately fund schools and then close them, displacing students and staff, even when consultants hired by the DOE give schools like Tilden HS in Brooklyn proficient ratings in quality reviews. Randi Weingarten’s Unity Caucus (her political party) has put up no real opposition and has in fact cooperated with the DOE. ICE calls for a moratorium on closing schools were watered down by Unity. The giveback-laden 2005 contract gave away preferred placement rights for UFT members, eliminating Article 18G5 that gave members “the broadest possible placement choices available within the authority of the Board.” Hundreds of experienced teachers were forced to become day-to-day subs. UFT leaders actually branded this as an “improvement” along with the Open Market Plan (which leaves all choice in the hands of principals).

Weingarten/Unity still refuse to oppose mayoral control of NYC schools

ICE has called for the end of Mayoral Control when the law (giving the mayor full unchecked authority over the schools) sunsets in 2009. Weingarten backed the law change that allowed the Mayor to assume control of the schools and the UFT passively sat by as a system without checks and balances, ran amuck, ignoring views of both parents and educators. When Bloomberg needed a waiver to get a lawyer appointed as Chancellor, Weingarten was silent. When privateer Christopher Cerf was recently brought in to continue the attack on public education, again silence. We need to get politicians out of education and set up a new system that truly gives power to teachers at the school level. Weingarten/Unity rejected our position, instead, creating a committee that will examine all forms of school governance, including the possible renewal of Mayoral Control. An honest poll of members would show an overwhelming rejection of mayoral control.

Lower class size must be priority contract demand

Teachers list class size as a number one working condition priority. NYC has the highest class sizes in the state, if not the nation. The only protection teachers have had for 40 years has been the contracts negotiated in the early 1970’s, before the UFT changed its policy. Yet, Weingarten-Unity-New Action refuse to make this a contract negotiating demand, using the bogus excuse that money would be taken from salary increases (note how prep periods and other basics like health care are never tied to salary). Weingarten throws up smoke screens with petition drives (twice so far and more to come) for referendums to lower class sizes, knowing full well this tactic is subject to the mayor’s veto, with virtually no chance of reaching voters.

New Action is a phony opposition group in bed with Unity

New Action had been the oldest “opposition” group in the UFT until they began to give uncritical support for Weingarten, even endorsing her in this election. New Action is claiming their alliance with Weingarten allows them to influence UFT policies but they can’t cite a single gain other than for themselves in getting New Action’s entire leadership on the union payroll. Their latest leaflet proclaims, “President Weingarten changed a forty year policy of excluding opposition caucuses from having a voice in the UFT. She opened the door and New Action opted to enter.” How can New Action call itself an opposition when it no longer opposes Unity policy? And if they support Unity, why not just run on the Unity slate instead of as a separate entity? Weingarten cannot tolerate even a few critics on the Executive Board and is using New Action in an attempt to replace the only legitimate opposition voices from ICE-TJC. No party should be allowed to monopolize power for half a century. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely and the Unity/New Action alliance epitomizes a corrupt system.

Contract givebacks extended through 2009 while salary does not keep up with inflation

Weingarten gave away many hard-fought rights (seniority, hall patrol, grievance procedures, etc.) in the 2005 contract for salary increases (much of which were time for money swaps) that didn’t even keep up with NY area inflation. In addition, NYC’s 190-day school year is the longest of any district in the Metropolitan area. A raise is when you get more money for doing the same job instead of accepting whatever DC 37 negotiates with the city and saying “me too.” We need to organize a strong militant membership aligned with other unions so we are the ones to set the pattern on our terms.

Democratic reforms are needed to repair the UFT

Unity Caucus has controlled our union since 1960. Absolute power breeds an unhealthy climate for the kinds of decisions needed by a dynamic union to fight the attacks on public education and unions. Unity’s major interest is in holding onto power so that they may augment their own salaries and privileges at the expense of the working conditions and salaries of working teachers. ICE supports: election of divisional vice presidents (academic high schools, vocational high schools, middle schools, elementary schools) by the teachers in that division instead of by all the members, including retirees (who make up over 1/3 of the members) and reinstitution of elections for District Representatives. Dues increases should be subject to vote by members.

Weingarten/Unity Caucus/New Action have:

given away seniority rights and weakened tenure protections

not been able to stop the wave of micromanagement

allowed massive erosion of the contract

stood by while the ability of UFT members to fight harassment withers

allowed an emasculated grievance procedure

allowed a longer day/year (37.5 minute small group periods in most schools/2 days in August)

still not delivered on promised 55/25 retirement plan

Vote the ICE-TJC Slate in the Upcoming UFT Elections

ICE-TJC Officers (AdCom) (CL: Chapter Leader, D: Delegate)

President Kit Wainer - Goldstein HS, (CL)

VP Elem. Lisa North – PS 3K, (CL)
Secretary Camille Johnson - Humanity & Arts (D)

VP Middle Josh Kahn – MS 443 K
Ass’t Secty Ellen Schweitzer - Stuyvesant (CL)
VP HS Arthur Colen - FDR HS (CL)
Ass’t Treas. Yelena Siwinski - PS 193K (CL)

VP Spec. Ed Joseph Wisniewski - PS 163 (D)
Treasurer Marilyn Beckford - Hillcrest HS (CL)

Voc. HS Gerard Frohnhoefer - Aviation HS (CL)
VP At-Large Ellen Fox – Ret.

[Schweitzer and Colen are current Ex. Bd members and Fox served for yrs.]


Anonymous said...

Boy, you guys really hate New Action. Why you are attacking them more than you attack Weingarten. I can remember when Eterno was a New Action candidate. Nothing like a falling out among thieves...

Anonymous said...

Is there anything that was said that was not true?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Eterno came up with the slogan that New Action proudly used in 2001:
"Randi never met a giveback she didn't like."
Now their slogan is:
"We like every giveback Randi likes."

When Eterno and others left New Action in 2003 over their sell-out a long New Action member said: "Boy, wuz you right and wuz we wrong."

Anonymous said...

So Eterno has a history of Norm Scott - vote down evry contract for 30 years. Very reliable.

Anonymous said...

bbnuzupSeems that some older members remember when New Action really was an opposition party, it has long since succumbed to the Unity freeloader train.

Regarding Norm's 30 years of voting down Unity negotiated contracts, if I were in the system long enough I'd do the same. Personally I haven'tsupported a Unity negotiated contract for over a decade. May Norm's just more well informed and realistic than you are, and it doesn't take much to see what's going on with Unity once your begin to observe and pounder.

It seems that Unity leaders prefer to give in early and easy as in this past bullshit 2% for three years contract rather than lead a strong fight. Because it seems that Unity leaders NEVER EVER suffer under the contracts they negotiate on the membership's behalf. What protects them from managerial pressure also shields them from the downsides of any contract.

Most of the working Unity loyalists who get really riled up are puzzling to me. They overact even as they know in their hearts that they are hoping to get just a tiny piece of the action be it an afterschool job or some local buidling perks. Anything they get beyond that requires sucking up to the principal. Think about it next time your chapter leeader blows you off.

Unitymustgo said...

I have an idea for a mailbox campaign. How about a series of 1-page pamphlets titled "Did You Know?" Each week another of Unitity's follies, sellouts or just plain manipulations of the system could be presented. As I see them they would point out some scandalous detail about Unity, such as the loyalty oath, and then present ICE-TJC's position on the issue. There are many topics I can think of right off the top of my head that would fit the format nicely, an explanation of the time for $ issue pointing out how Unity has misrepresented the raises, how Unity changed the rules to ensure no opposition gets elected, explain the reality of the ATR system and how school closings or reorg's work to eliminate staff, explain how class size should have been a contractual issue, the inequity of the NY Teacher, explain how Unity sneakily gave themselves the 2005 raises and only work 1 hr more a week for them, pose the question of why Unity rushed this contract through without an opportunity for discussion and without a class size attachment, etc... The list goes on and on.

By the way, I created my own flyer supporting ICE, by starting with the “Who We Are” paragraph you have on your website, followed by the first paragraph of James’s “7,637 Reasons to Fight On”, and then this article. I found the flow made for an effect flyer.

Good luck to us all.

Unitymustgo said...


Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting how someone would -- secretly, of course -- tell Eterno that he was right to leave NAC, but still say in NAC? Why do you guys have this little itty-bitty credibility gap?

Anonymous said...

They didn't stay in New Action and gave out ICE lit. Quit when they saw the 2005 contract and didn't buy the New Action bullshit that they opposed it when the 2 New Action reps (Shulman & Dehler) on the negotiation committee did not vote against, allowing Weingarten to declare the committee support was unanimous,not exactly representative of the 40% No vote from the teachers.

Anonymous said...

When Eterno and others left New Action in 2003 over their sell-out a long New Action member said: "Boy, wuz you right and wuz we wrong."

They didn't stay in New Action and gave out ICE lit. Quit when they saw the 2005 contract and didn't buy the New Action bullshit that they opposed it when the 2 New Action reps (Shulman & Dehler) on the negotiation committee did not vote against, allowing Weingarten to declare the committee support was unanimous,not exactly representative of the 40% No vote from the teachers.

Can't you keep your story straight, from one comment to the next?

Anonymous said...

The last comment obviously clarifies the earlier one. Once again, the Unity person has nothing to say about the facts and just tries to dig deep for anything to attack. Unity is pathetic.

beside everything, unity cant' read said...

Like I said-- they staid in new Action until they saw the 2005 contract and them admitted they were wrong. Can our Unity clone pass the 4th grade ELA comprehension exam?

Anonymous said...

Knowing how to read is not necessary to join Unity. All you have to do is tell Randi how brilliant she is, no matter what she does and you're in.

The Unity people who write on here must send their stuff to Randi and beg for a full time double pension job.

Anonymous said...

When A Raise is Not A Raise
The following was printed in the Queens Courier in answer to an Op-Ed by Bloomberg:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is so busy patting himself on his back for the new teachers' contract that he has no time or vision to see how demoralized the teachers of New York City public school students have become under his regime. I'm not even going to mention the salary. While it is a good income, it is not a raise. A raise is more money received for doing the same job. Teachers are now doing more than ever.

With the extra days added in the beginning of the school year and the extra time added on to our day, we are probably not getting a raise at all. I wouldn't mind the extra time if it was used to better my students' education, but it is not used this way.

Staff development, as it is called, consists of having teachers who have taught for maybe 2 years, telling experienced teachers what to do. We sit around in a room, or an auditorium and waste time.

The new professional assignments we have been given are anything but professional. Potty patrol is not what I went to college to do. Teachers can no longer decide how to spend their time in school. We have no time to speak to parents, guidance, write college recommendations, or do any of the hundreds of things we normally do.

Mayor Bloomberg, the contract you offer us is no bargain and not worth the paper it is written on.

Posted by Pissed Off at 3:50 PM

Anonymous said...

Just Vote ICE and say no to Randi and New Action.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Now I know there are more than 3 nuts.

Thanks ICE.

Anonymous said...

UNITYMUSTGO - maybe you've been playing with your computers too long. I think you have a problem. This whole thing of the secret oath...oh my god...make a movie out of it. like drama. Of course, you are wrong on everything you say...but I would like to enlighten you on something. You and your band crazy friends are not entitled to equal exposure or equal or proportionate representation anywhere. You are a minority parasitical organism that lives only because of the tough choices the rest of us had to make. Continue to enjoy the ride.

Jeff Kaufman said...

Two comments have been removed due to their inappropriateness. ICE tries to keep this blog an open forum but reserves the right to remove offensive material.

Anonymous said...

So I guess this means I can't say what I really think of Randi and New Action. Therefore, I'll just say to please vote ICE

Anonymous said...

Was that clean enough Jeff?

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with Jeff for once. This blog should be kept clean, but now it makes me wonder what else gets censored.

Hmmmm, can there be true democracy when there is censorship? Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

When ICE puts up the whole slate you will see that there are going to be over a hundred crazies running against Randi/New Action.

Anonymous said...

If ICE was censoring anti ICE comments, you Unity people wouldn't get to make all your pesonal attacks.

Anonymous said...

Tell the Unity guy that the right to free speech is not absolute. Even ICE has limits.

Anonymous said...

Why was my comment about slurs removed. I was making a good point.

And, as educators, spelling should count for something. Why wasn't that comment removed?

Anonymous said...



January 24, 2007 -- Teachers-union President Randi Weingarten ripped Mayor Bloomberg's proposed school-funding overhaul as "very dangerous" yesterday during a breakfast with lawmakers in Albany.
The union, she said, supports infusing cash into underperforming schools, but she charged the proposed changes would siphon funds from high-quality schools.

Under the mayor's Fair Student Funding plan, all schools would receive a fixed dollar amount per student and then be awarded more cash based on students' "weighted characteristics," including family income, special needs and their ability to speak English.

City Education Department spokesman David Cantor said, "She misunderstands our proposal, and it's sad to see a union leader who claims to be a progressive ginning up fears about an initiative aimed at giving every kid a fair chance."

Anonymous said...

New York Daily News

Randi schools Joel
Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

The city's plan to get tough on teacher tenure is just "sour grapes" from a schools chancellor who didn't get what he wanted in a new teachers contract, teachers union president Randi Weingarten charged yesterday.
Vowing a legal battle against efforts to tie tenure to test scores, Weingarten also accused Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein of using teachers as a "straw man" to deflect attention from the fact they had obliterated their celebrated 2003 reforms.

Weingarten's comments came in an exclusive interview after Klein told the Daily News Editorial Board he would talk to the union about a pay-for-performance pilot program in high-needs schools.

"I think paying people to produce results, especially in communities where we're not seeing these results, is what we need to do to reform this system," Klein said.

Weingarten has agreed to discuss incentives for teachers to work in difficult neighborhoods or shortage areas like math and science but said using test scores to set salaries or decide tenure is like "telling an oncologist that the only way to keep your job is for your cancer patients to survive."

She noted teachers don't choose curriculum or set class sizes and said pay-for-performance would encourage teachers to shy away from difficult kids.

In November, Bloomberg agreed to a 24-month contract giving teachers a 7% raise. The contract did not secure the tenure reforms or pay-for-performance proposals Klein has long advocated.

Though pay-for-performance must be negotiated with the union, Klein said he can toughen tenure requirements under current contract rules. Weingarten disagreed, adding if Klein tries to factor test scores into tenure, it would violate the contract and she would take legal action.

"Don't you think there's something really pathetically wrong when he will spend more time telling the Daily News Editorial Board what he wants than he will in terms of engaging the teachers union?" she said.

Klein spokesman David Cantor said the teachers contract "isn't about protecting adults who can't perform. ... Your demonstrated ability to help students learn should absolutely be a part of the decision to get tenure."

Anonymous said...

My ICE chapter leader didn't tell us anything about the class size campaign and talking to our legislators. I found out from another school in my building. They had flyers from the DR and everything. He dismissed it and said it wasn't important. Are you guys boycotting it? How many of you have gone to the politicians and encouraged your members? Norm? Jeff? James? Kit?

jameseterno said...

I had to send another member from my school to the orientation on meeting the legislators because the Union scheduled a HS Committee meeting in Brooklyn on the same day. If I went to the class size campaign, you Unity guys would have criticized me for not going to the HS Committee. ICE reps are very talented people, but we can't be in two places at once.

the executioner said...

Make the name of your ICE chapter leader public so a public flogging can be conducted.

Anonymous said...

who's kit? did he go lobby for smaller classes through the CFE money coming in, or does he expect Norm to pay for lower classes?

Anonymous said...

Kit is the Chapter Leader from Leon Goldstein HS. He is for lower class sizes.

Anonymous said...

Voted No said...
Teachers are the meekest workers that I have ever seen. They vote for these contracts then complain that they can't find a job after their school closes. You idiots are the reason that people like me who voted no will now have to find a job in a system that went back to the Tammany Hall era. Thanks a lot.

11:13 AM, January 27, 2007