Sunday, November 29, 2009


On the day before Thanksgiving, Mayor Mike Bloomberg went to Washington DC and gave a speech in which he basically declared war on teachers.

He said he is seeking state legislation that will fundamentally end the UFT as we know it. Teachers could be fired after one year if they are excessed and can't find a new job, excessing and layoffs would be based on principal evaluations rather than seniority, ten percent of schools would be closed, tenure decisions would be made based on student test scores, the process to fire teachers would be expedited and the charter school cap would be lifted.

The mayor added that he can tie tenure decisions to pupil test scores now even though the law says teacher tenure decisions should not be made based on student test scores.

Ultimately, he would turn us into employees who could be fired at will to kill the UFT. Lifting the charter school cap would in essence be a step toward killing the public schools by turning them over to private operators.

In response, UFT President Michael Mulgrew emailed a statement to us that was negative but did not rule out any specific proposal emphatically. He said in part, "Many of these measures would require either state legislation or negotiated changes in the DOE/UFT contract. The Department of Education created many of the personnel issues like the ATR pool and the rubber rooms that the Mayor now cites as problems. The Mayor needs to take responsibility for what he and his Chancellor have created. Our members should not have their lives and well-being put at risk because of mismanagement."

"We stand willing to work with anyone who wants to work constructively on these or any other educational issues, but we will not work with those who choose to scapegoat the people who have dedicated their lives to children. It’s the hard work and commitment of our members that has moved this system forward despite the mismanagement."

"Be assured the UFT will protect your rights and continue to fight for what we know is best for our students. We will not allow the DOE’s inadequacies and mismanagement to be put upon the backs of the members of this union or be allowed to hurt the children of this city."

In the NY Times account, President Michael Mulgrew used the words "very, very disappointed" in describing his reaction to the tone of the Mayor's remarks.

I would use words such as angered and outraged to react to the entire proposal. I would declare that this union will fight with our last breaths these virtual death threats that would destroy our profession, our union and the public schools. When an employer declares war on the union and on public education, it is up to the union to mobilize us to fight with every tool at our disposal.

We can't be afraid of negative editorials from the Daily News or the Post. The time for soft collegial diplomacy is over.


Anonymous said...

The time for soft collegial diplomacy is over.

Look where that got you as a political strategist. A new principal is brought in, he wants to work with the union and your political savvy over the past three years has your school closing. As in prior emails, James Eterno cares about Jamaica HS, not Brandeis, not Lane...

Take a lesson in strategy 101...I shiver to think that you would have a remote chance to represent us. Mulgrew is not Weingarten and he will not chase a contract.

Anonymous said... said it all!

Anonymous said...

The Principal at Jamaica is trying to break the Union. He's been union busting since he got there. The first person does not know what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Weingarten was for mayoral control control and sold us out on the 2005 contract. Mulgrew was afraid to indorse Thompson for mayor and thought it would be better to appease Bloomberg since it is a contract year. Well we all see how well that has worked out. Bloomberg went for the throat and all Mulgrew could say that he was upset.
Anyone with any insight would have known that this would happen. It's all about breaking the union which is well underway and the UFT let it happen.

Anonymous said...

Now we the rank and file have to stop it. It's our union.

Anonymous said...

Let's just suppose, for a moment, that Mr. Mayor is posturing, yet again, at least about some of those issues. Posturing, that is, with the full knowledge of Michael Mulgrew, and company. Let's suppose that this posturing is part of a giant Contract settlement ploy. Let's further suppose that the rest of the Contract is usual atrocious along typical contract lines. Finally, let's suppose that, at the last moment, Hizzoner relents, and doesn't do all these dreadful deeds. Mr. Mulgrew and company then claim a "major victory", and promptly agree to the rest of the dreadful contract -- less than double fours, etc., etc., etc. The membership might be so relieved that the Doomsday Scenario hasn't come to pass, at least in its entirety, that they might just ratify such a contract. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Smells like 2005.