Executive Board Report….
Randi Weingarten, President of the UFT, in a "surprise" announcement at the May 21st Executive Board meeting, appointed Michael Mendel, the current Secretary of the Union and Staff Director, as Executive Assistant to the President. The new title recognized, as Weingarten put it, the fact the "I am not bionic."
According to Weingarten, Mendel will learn the ropes of negotiation and "all of the things I have not delegated in the past."
Weingarten did not say whether she was appointing Mendel to his duties because of any plan to leave her post but there has been wide spread speculation that she would abandon her day to day UFT responsibilities for Washington, D.C.
In related development Jeff Zahler, former Special Assistant to Randi and head of Unity caucus was appointed as Staff Director to permit Mendel more time in his new position.
We wish Michael well in his new position and can only hope he is able to win back all of the concessions we lost in the last contracts.
While salary enhancements were not announced the smiles on both Mendel and Zahler's faces after the announcement spoke thousands.
Randi decided to use her time reporting to the Executive Board to answer the "blog activity" about her recent trip to Los Angeles to visit Green Dot Charter Schools. She defended her attempts to partner with this company and tried to quell questions about the reported Green Dot's position against teacher tenure.
"Green Dot is a pro-union Charter School," she proclaimed. She argued that the loss of tenure was actually good for the teachers in this Charter School as the standard for teacher dismissal, "just cause" was "actually better."
We can only hope this does not signal a softening of the Union's position on tenure.