This story comes from a member who has been treated harshly by an abusive principal in a school that shall go nameless.
This teacher had a pretty much open and shut case against the abusive administrator on a specific letter for file because it was written more than three months after the alleged incident that the administrator was writing about took place. That is an obvious violation of Article 21A1 of the Contract. This is a no-brainer grievance if ever there was one. The Principal would lose at Step II and would probably give in at Step I so as not to be embarrassed at the Chancellor's level. The member, however, would not file the grievance even after being encouraged by union leadership in the building.
When asked why not, the member said that winning the battle would be great but that the administration has taken anyone who has fought them and made their lives a living hell in retaliation. Those who oppose administration lose in the end and someone who has a family to support cannot take the chance so the member would rather just swallow the improper letter. As a union activist, this story just frustrates me to no end.
I am sure stories like this are told throughout the NYC school system. When the members have no confidence in the ability of their union to defend them, then that union must change how it does business to build the confidence in the union among the rank and file.
Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon in the UFT.
What the UFT needs is for their members to see some real victories at the local level.