In an incredible reversal of Union policy, Randi and the New York Teacher are using the term “Rubber Room” to refer to the those staff that have been removed from their schools, most without knowledge of the reason for their removal and almost all without formal charges. In the past we were told to only use the DOE term "Temporary Reassignment Center."
While the terms have reverted the Union’s handling of this issue has not changed.
The New York Teacher article, September 20, 2007 at page 7, reveals the true low priority that our reassigned teachers receive from our Union. While quoting the Sixth Amendment and the right to a speedy trial and witness confrontation Randi would have us believe that the Union is an effective advocate for our teachers. Her solution to burgeoning numbers of teachers sent to the rubber room; get three more Union over-paid reps to act as a team to “help” the borough reps.
Help them do what?
Last year ICE warned that with newly gained power over our members, principals would remove our us from schools at an ever increasing rate. Well we are here. The numbers in the Rubber Rooms are exploding. At one site, 25 Chapel Street in Brooklyn, the numbers have nearly doubled from just 2 years ago.
The opposition on the Executive Board moved to have true representation of our members. We sought paralegals, investigators and a true legal defense team to aggressively defend our members.
When a teacher or para is removed from their school they are entitled to know the reason. A basic tenet of speedy and fair trials is notice….the principals and the DOE know why a Union member is removed, why don’t we?
We encourage a policy to empty the rubber rooms but Randi would have it done by ill-prepared NYSUT attorneys who don’t get your case until the DOE decides and then months have gone by without out any real investigation being done on behalf of the member.
The Three Stooges will not be investigators, paralegals nor will they have any incentive to aggressively defend our members.
As Dostoevsky once said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." The effectiveness of the UFT as a true Union and advocate for its members can be judged by entering the Rubber Rooms.