Thursday, November 12, 2015

LIVE BLOGGING FROM NOVEMBER DA (Sorry for any errors-Updated and cleaned up a little)

A slow train ride so I am a little late.

President's Report

I got here when Mulgrew was talking a bit about the Friedrichs US Supreme Court case and our opposition to the Court overturning the agency fee shop.

Stated Ed Commissioner Elia has abrogated collective bargaining agreement in five receivership schools. What happened to Taylor Law saying contract stays in effect until new one is negotiated? Imagine if 2015 receivership law was in effect when Bloomberg was mayor.

Problem over ESL services.

Eva Moskowitz
Caught suspending students. Much evidence that her "got to go" list is in all of her schools and not just one. Eva now saying her schools give a safe alternative learning environment compared to public schools.

Oversize Kindergarten Classes
Any class with 26, teacher gets an extra prep.
For 27 in a K class, teacher gets a sub, ATR or Para for half a day.
For 28, teacher gets full time help.

Teacher Union Day
Awards for "schools in action" who did great political action.

Leroy Barr Staff Director's Report
100% attendance at DA have a celebration after the meeting.

Memorial service for Alice Holloway, a District Rep who recently passed away, will be held soon.

Question Period
Q What are we doing about abusive principals.
A Try to resolve it and then put principal into the needs improvement category. UFT Chapter advocacy is working as we are building strong chapters. There will always be abusive principals. Important to have consultation committee. We put pressure from inside and outside.

Q What is the difference between PROSE school and UFT school
A 126 Prose schools is kind of like a five year SBO and there are other possibilities schools can do that go beyond contract. 3 schools have four day work week. Longer teaching day in those schools. 65% UFT have to vote to go into PROSE.

Q What is going on with Campbell Brown anti-tenure lawsuit.
A We are going to NY State Court of Appeal on our motion to dismiss.

Q Common Core survey too complex.
A SED review of common core. Working on it with NYSUT.

Q Are metal detectors coming out of schools? Multiple knives and guns found recently in school.
A Process to bring in or remove metal detectors is being worked on.  Need a thoughtful process.

Q What are we doing for ATRS?
A Some schools don't welcome ATRS. Treat them as members of school in every way while they are there. ATR pool shrinking.

Q MOSL is subjective for grading teachers.
A Tests have overturned ratings when principal gave 0 points for observations. Tests can't be sole criteria in teacher ratings. We have 700 ineffective ratings. We had 2,000 unsatisfactory ratings under Bloomberg. Change definition of what student learning is. It cannot be just a test.
Some ratings being reevaluated.

Motion Period
Unity and MORE both had separate resolutions supporting Buffalo teachers who could be terminated without any due process because of new state receivership law. Mulgrew suggested we work together to try and reconcile the two motions.  As they were lengthy, MORE suggested we withdraw our motion now so we can work together with Unity to try to come up with a bipartisan resolution we could all support. Unity people agreed.

Resolution saying we want a moratorium on Eva Moskowitz opening up new schools until the Success Academy discipline and retention policies are investigated was added to the agenda and later the meeting was extended a few minutes so it could pass enthusiastically and unanimously.

Special Orders of Business
Resolution opposing Friedrichs carried with an amendment I am sorry I didn't catch because I was working on the Buffalo motion with Mindy Rosier from MORE and two others from Unity.

Resolution to celebrate 1960 strike. It carried unanimously.

Resolution on climate change and TRS so we can mitigate risk posed by climate change in our investment portfolio. A consultant would be hired for this.  This carried.

Resolution supporting Chicago Dyett High School coalition having a voice in the future of their neighborhood's last open enrollment high school carried unanimously.

Resolution on supporting New York City's initiative to ensure all students achieve literacy in the primary grades carried with an amendment supporting experienced reading teachers.

(I didn't like this one because saying all children will be literate by second grade is kind of next to impossible to achieve and sets us up for failure when it doesn't happen.)

Resolution on all students in NYC having a computer science class by 2025 was the last one on the agenda and this also overwhelmingly was endorsed with an amendment to include adult learners and not just K-12 students.

(I thought the computer science resolution was total nonsense as waiting ten years to get every NYC school kid a computer science class is way too long.  They should all have a course in computers by now.  Giving the Department of Education a decade to accomplish this is ridiculous.  I tried to speak against but President Mulgrew went back to his old ways of letting a couple of Unity operatives make motions to call for the end of debate before anyone could speak against the resolutions.  I guess I have lost a step while being away from the DA for a year as I didn't call any points of order on this.)


Anonymous said...

What a dodge on the abusive Princioal question. Building Committee's? Hello, McFly! Schools with abusive Principals don't have building committees because anybody on them gets targeted for harrassment. And, pressure from outside? Please. We don't form building committees because we know the UFT just leaves us hanging in the wind. I've seen it happen.

I can't wait for Freidrichs. Then I can give my union dues to a union that sticks up for me. The nanny-pamby UFT is a joke. Newly organizing schools and universities are choosing the SEIU and Teamsters as their bargaining agents, not the AFT. Why? Because AFT and NEA *don't* *do* *anythjng* for their members. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:26:

Friedrich has nothing to do with which union you choose. That is a different question.

Friedrich is a Republican attempt to bust the entire union movement. It is not meant to help you 6:26.

The UFT is not your best friend. The UFT is your only friend,

Anonymous said...

700 ineffectives? I believe there are around 1400 schools in NYC. That means that means that 1/2 of all schools have at least one teacher rated ineffective. You or I could be next. This is insane. Boomberg was a tyrant but Farina is God? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. My fellow rank and file teachers are my only friends in this battle. Not the grafters at 52 Broadway. When Shanker built this union, he did so without automatic dues. He had to *show* that he would fight, or teachers wouldn't pay him. He out-muscled the several other unions which represented NYC teachers. He did it, and Tier 1 teachers are grateful.

So, as soon as Freidrichs passes, I will be free to take the portion of my check that used to go to the UFT and give it to whichever upstart group wants to represent my interests. And, you're right, Freidrichs won't automatically decertify the UFT as my agent. But, when we're free to spend our dies as we please, it's only a matter of time before a real union presents itself.

So, take your pithy platitudes about who my friends are back to your messy office at 52 Broadway. Enjoy those last few months of double-dipping. Fredrichs isn't the end of Teacher Unionism in NYC. It's just the end of your brand of Unionism.

Anonymous said...

True. I believe Freidrich's will be the end of Unity.
And a real union will begin from the ground up.
Sad for all those reps in the borough offices that went along with Mulgrew's insanity.

Anonymous said...

You are very naive if you think that Fredrichs can possibly be good news for anyone that works for a living.

It's only purpose is to kill off all unions once and for all. It's only purpose is to get rid of the few democrats that are left.

You are very mistaken if folks are going to take their money and give it to some other group.

This Union has been fighting for you everyday. This Union has been bargaining in a world that wants no unions.

This Union has prevented layoffs. Not a single member has been laid off in 35 years.

This Union has kept the ATRs employed when in other cities they have been out on the street. Yes, ATRs have a very tough life but this Union has preserved that right to a job ( as bad as it may be some days) so they can fight on.

The Union has protected the rights and futures of Paraprofessions.

This Union has made life better for Nurses and their patients.

Everyone has a wish list of what they want in a contract. So does the other side.

This Union is fighting for you every single day. But, more important, you are the union. Go to your Chapter Meeting. Join a committee. Come to a rally and the Labor Day parade and show our strength. Our Union is as strong as you or our union is as weak as you.

Anonymous said...

I go to chapter meetings and delegate assemblies. So keep your little jabs to yourself. The union is weak, I am not. Maybe you are insecure about the job you are doing. I, as a rank and file teacher, am likely more active than most double-dipping union staffers. And I'm sticking my neck on the line every time I show up!

And what are you saying about "the last democrats?" Democrats are far from an endangered species. They're poised to win by a landslide. Unfortunately, the winningest Dem cares not a lick about us.

UFT needs a wake up call. We, on the front lines, need to see *wwayy* more fight outta you.

Anonymous said...

Guns and knives confiscated in schools and DeBozo wants to pull out metal detectors! Why isn't the media aware of this? How is the ATR pool shrinking? Perhaps because they took down the position specific titles in the OpenMarket? Why? To send people on bogus interviews for positions that don't exisIt and force place 2-5 ATRs simultaneously provisionally for the same position.

Anonymous said...

There are 6 Social Studies ATRs who have placed here provisionally for 1 potential position.

ed notes online said...

The Chapter Leader of a high school in lower Manhattan emailed MORE to say there will be 2 English positions available at his school and invited ATRS to contact him. Email me if interested:

Anonymous said...

Guns confiscated at Erasmus. Scheduled for metal detector removal. Keep it quiet, it might embarrass DeBozo.

bill said...

Were there really guns found at Erasmus, or was that sarcasm?

Anonymous said...

The very reason we are FORCED to join and pay membership dues to the UFT is the very reason that it is so ineffective. Because they are guaranteed a piece of our wallet every month, to the tune of $110, they can just be lazy and forget who they work for. Meathead Mike is a perfect example of LAZY. The Supreme Court can fix this. When NYC teachers have a CHOICE, then this SELF- SERVING, DO- NOTHING UFT may just dissolve and rising from the ashes a REAL union, one we can all be proud to be part of.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for, you may very well get it.

Anonymous said...

Erasmus was mentioned at the November DA as the school scheduled for metal detector removal and as having recently confiscated weapons. With the tragedy in France, can DoDlasio seriously be contemplating this course of action?

Anonymous said...

That just fine. When DiBozo removes the metal detectors, I'll pack my own piece.
Just remember: When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

Anonymous said...

Here here! Nobody is scared of Frederichs except UFT staff. We have been in the place that Fredrichs will put us throughout most of our nation's history. The reaction has always been *more* union militancy, not less.

So, membership can expect more job actions (strikes, work-to-rule, etc.), not fewer. The UFT has been playing small ball and losing for over a decade. Now, the strategy must change. Read "Only One Thing Can Save Us," by George Geoghegan, a Labor Lawyer. He gets it right. He points to the European model, in which Fredrichs style rulings have always been in place. Much more radical unions there, because they have to be.

The UFT's function is to organize us. And, by organize, I mean pacify. They channel all frustration into a quasi-legal system of grievance resolution. But, this system has broken down as of our last contract, however (13% of grievances can now be heard? What kind of shit is that? Each grievance should stand on its own merit, and does not deserve to be prejudged relative to the dispicable nature of other unrelated grievances, or on the basis of how connected the person is who is filing the grievance. Every member is supposed to have access to redress.)

In fact, I would argue that we already live in a post Friedrichs world. All members pay dues, but, only some receive representation. It's time to change that. Bring it in Freidrichs.

Anonymous said...

You are making probably close to $100,000 a year and you have a guaranteed pension. Yeah the union does nothing. Ask the charter school teachers if they would be better off under the UFT? A weak union with over 180,000 members is better than nothing. Yes, they suck but the alternative is not something to welcome.

Anonymous said...

Stop and frisk saves lives. Bring in more metal detectors and not just in schools. Under no circumstance should they be taken out. If Mulgrew doesn't stop DeBozo on this, he is completely worthless.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. I do not make 100K. And, I really don't have a pension since the new contract effectively guts tenure. Every person I know who is facing 3020A has had at least 20years of service. What good is a pension that you can never collect?

And don't you dare tell me those people deserve termination. They do not. The APPR is totally arbitrary (Great Neck lawsuit shows it- the state won't even comply with Judge's discovery demand for data).

I wish UFT officer/double dippers would stop belittling rank and file members. You guys either make excuses or you take thinly veiled jabs at members. Knock it off. Start doing your job, start making some gains, or get out of my union.

And don't throw charters in our faces. If you had done your damn job, we wouldn't have charters. Washington teachers had them declared unconstitutional. But, NY union won't do diddly-squat. Your only goal is to keep things calm so you can double dip.

Anonymous said...

I said the union sucks. People with more than ten years are vested and get a pension when they are of age. You getting that without a union? Dream on.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying we dont want a union, we just dont want this shit. And in order to have a real union, one that is grassroots and is really connected to its members, we need to flush this shit down the toilet.

Anonymous said...


How many teachers have been pushed out of the system because of UFT's inaction? Or worse... UFT in cahoots with principals?

Looks like many UFT staff will be getting pink slips. And you know what ? NO ONE in the trenches will give a shit.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, I don't get a dime from my pension if I'm dismissed, vested or not. By waving the white flag of surrender, our union has said "go ahead and target the most expensive teachers." Thanks for putting a target on my back, UFT.

A ten year pension isn't enough to feed my cat (if I had one). So, quit apologize for this sad-ass Union. Start winning our rights back, or get out. We're going to make this a real union again, and Fredrichs might just help us do it.

Anonymous said...

Three are about 5-7 uft members in my school out of about 100 who will voluntary pay union dues if given the option. I'm not one of them. I'll gladly go down with the ship if it means there's even the slightest chance I will get to see Mulgrew and other useless UFT staffers drown first.

Anonymous said...

A vested pension after ten years is not much but it is something. Add in your union negotiated TDA and if you started contributing as a new teacher and just left the money there, with compounding you would have a little nest egg.

As for your other point, look to the 1950s for precedent. Not a golden era for teachers before there was a UFT. Be careful what you wish for for sure.

Anonymous said...

To 7:06-
Lets be reminded that the UFT you profess to love so much very quietly negotiated DOWN the interest rate on the TDA from 8.25% to 7%.
That has cost members TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars over their career.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%. PSC (CUNY teachers) and CSA (our bosses) still get 8.25%. Yet besides CSA and the CUNY teachers (PSC has been without a contract for six years and their leaders are getting arrested out of frustration), who is getting 7% fixed guaranteed on their 401K or 403B plan? We don't need ten new unions to replace the UFT after Friedrich. We need an active membership that will demand new leadership in March. Apathy gets us nothing. Nor does throwing the ballot in the garbage.

Anonymous said...

You are referring to the concept of "pension forfeiture."

The Federal case of Helen Winston is relevant:

Anonymous said...

How much can I reasonably save for the TDA? The 1950s sucked, but,out of that struggle came the mighty tier 1 era Pension and rock solid job security.

However, tier IV people are living with a different reality. Our pension benefits are 40% lower than tier I (tiers 5 and 6 are even worse). We could try to make up the difference by socking away extra money into this quasi-privatized TDA system. But, don't kid yourself, it is an annuity. As such, its value is derived from the value of underlying assets. If you write to the TDA and ask them for a list of the underlying assets, they must provide a statement to you by law. The assets likely contain a lot of limited partnerships which are not marketable securities. LPs are basically investments in a string of car washes in Buffalo who's value nobody can really determine. So, of course the TDA can say "we guarantee 8%." All they have to do is adjust the market value of the opaque LPs so they can claim solvency at anytime.

But, woe unto those who are actually depending on this investment vehicle. When withdrawals start being made from the TDA en masse, they must sell assets. That's when their true value becomes known. And, what is the State of New York going to do, print money to make up the shortfall? Think again.

Ever since the era if Shanker, this union has been getting hosed and doing so willingly. I will gladly return to the era if he 1950s if that leads to a struggle which produces the conditions and benefits of the 60s and 70s. Right now, we're dying from a thousand paper cuts.

Bronx ATR said...

Mulgrew will get in again as will most of Unity. A few seats will be lost. The UFT will continue to slowly trade away our rights to whatever politician is deemed friendly. I don't support opting out, its a huge mistake. And no they're not our only friend, they are more of an acquaintance I pay every two weeks for protection. It's a business relationship and I'm OK with it. In fact I prefer it. Everyone is gunning for us. If we don't have that protection, minimal as it may be, its all over quickly. Look at other states for confirmation.

Anonymous said...

i disagree vis-a-via other states. We are the biggest local in the nation, so, we set the pattern. We did so in the 50s and 60s as well. In that era we got more radical and we made gains. Other locals followed suit.

Right now, we have our tail between our legs, which invites bullying. We've signaled surrender, which as the leading local, sets a bad precedent for all the smaller more vulnerable locals around the country.

To stem the bloodletting we have to fight back. I really wish our colleagues stopped acting like we are in some weird new age in which everyone is against us. They're not. Not more than they were before. Yes, there are foundations spending money to undermine us. But, there were foundations doing the same back when we got strong in the 50s and 60s (Ford Foundation was one).

In large groups bystanders tend to succumb to what I call the bullying effect. When people watch someone get unfairly targeted and beat, and that person doesn't fight back, bystanders unfortunately assume one of two things. 1). The person is a pathetic lost cause. 2). The victim deserved it. People see the bullied person as weak and don't want to be associated with them.

Something changes when the bullied person fights back, even if they are doing so against long odds. People admire that person as an underdog, and we'll be a bit more sympathetic. People identify with those who stick up for themselves. They do not identify with cowards. The lies people say about us become true in the public eye when we don't respond.

No amount of magical thinking or artful sucking up is going to get us out of the crosshairs of the bullies. Boldly standing up to them will. It takes a lot of courage. But, we can do it. We have to do it.

Anonymous said...

No one is fighting back. The UFT is expected to do that and gets paid to do so. I've been teaching 25 years - during that time there's been no job action by the members. Do you think teachers will do so, especially it its unsanctioned? Keep dreaming. Even you're not brave enough to put your name on your comment - and hey I don't blame you. That's reality.

Anonymous said...

There is the problem. It is us in large part. We are the ones that are scared.

Anonymous said...

Teachers fought back in the past. There was a time when we told Sandra Feldman to reject a contract and authorize a strike. We even pushed the mighty Shanker into fighting when he didn't want to.

And, yes, I am posting anonymously because I don't need notoriety. You can call it not being brave. I won't argue with that. But, everyone who knows me knows I think this way; I'm just not out trying to make a name for myself. I'm not looking to be anything more than rank and file. But, I would like to have an honest discussion with colleagues about what we once were and what we are now.

Anonymous said...

We all know what we once were and what we are now. If the time ever comes when most teachers put their real names on their comments, then you'll know we are ready to fight. That won't happen until our heads are on the block and the ax is swinging. Many of the new teachers look at teaching as a stepping stone to something better, a goal achieved by Arne Duncan. The people who see things as we do are all retiring very quickly. The whole ATR pool was created to purge the system of us and its succeeding. Everyone is waiting for someone else to file suit, or give an interview, or fight, or do anything. No one wants to be a martyr. Should you put your family at risk for me or I for you? Again it's the union who's supposed to advocate for us.

James Eterno said...

We are the union, the members. I put my name on just about everything. I must be very lucky, not that bright or crazy. Maybe a little of the last two.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I don't think it takes our heads being on the block. Frankly, I don't know how our heads could be more on the block.

Yes, the union should advocate for us. But, they've proven that they won't. So, f-k 'em. Let Fredrichs send those assholes to pasture. They've twisted themselves into obscene contortions trying to kiss ass to the privatizers. They're effectively useless.

They will be gone soon. When the money train runs out, then they won't be able to bribe as many delegates to vote for bullshit. A more militant union will take its place. Either directly, or, more likely in the vacuum created by a complete collapse of the UFT.

I have seen how disappointing the two year wonders are as teachers and as colleagues. But, I have also noticed that there is a hint of potential among some to become union supporters. They love Bernie Sanders and they love Occupy Wall Street. If there were a real union to support, I think many would. If they stayed for more than two years, I think they would support a union. Right now they are just running scared since many of them aren't good teachers yet and they think they can compensate or score points by being aloof.

But, I see what has happened in LA, Seattle, and Chicago. They have real unions. Were their heads on blocks? No, not totally.

Anonymous said...

In LA and Chicago, their heads were on the blocks -totally. Seattle is a diiferent scenario and don't forget Wisconsin. 50/50 chance with Fredrichs. And James out of 39 comments, only you and Norm put your names. We haven't been the union for quite awhile, as you tell from all the above comments.

Anonymous said...

Norm and James are great. For now, I prefer to post anonymously. Seattle is pretty instructive. Very similar to us.

Anonymous said...

Also, Wisconsin illustrates what I believe we will have to do post Freidrichs: direct action, micro-strikes, get militant. That got into their mess by acting like the current UFT, but, they will get out of it by what they are doing now. Wisconsin is our future. It's not what we'd prefer.