It is hard to believe that it was 55 years ago today on November 7, 1960 that the newly formed United Federation of Teachers launched an illegal and generally successful strike. We salute the brave teachers who pulled off that job action. A few are still active in the union today. If they are honest, they should be appalled by what is occurring in the schools.
As I was reading the NY Teacher earlier today, I noticed a letter from retired teacher Irene Bernstein-Pechmeze, who was working in NYC before the UFT came together in 1960. Here is what she said about the working conditions before there was a single union for New York City Teachers.
Many principals, whose pre-UFT powers were basically unchecked, ran their schools as if they were plantation owners.
Their "pets" were placed in virtually lifetime comp time jobs with no rotation of service required and vacancies were not obliged to be posted so other staff members might have an opportunity to fill the spot. There was no rotation of assignment in classes either.
In 1959, prep periods were not required. There was no rotation of building assignments.
How many teachers currently work in schools where they are too afraid to dare question the principal so that many of the aforementioned working conditions have returned even though we have a union?
I agree with the retired teacher that we can thank the union for better salaries and a Tax Deferred Annuity program. However when it comes to working conditions, we are going backwards rapidly.