Saturday, February 16, 2008


by James Eterno, UFT Chapter Leader Jamaica High School

All of the speculation about Randi Weingarten replacing Ed McElroy, who is retiring soon as AFT President, is rather sad and indicative of what our union has deteriorated into. The UFT has fully transformed itself from a labor union into what one time AFT President David Seldon termed in his book, The Teacher Rebellion, an insurance company. The Union functions like a giant corporation as opposed to a democratic organization.

There is all of this palace intrigue reported on in the NY Sun and on some blogs about who will be selected by Randi to be her anointed successor. We believe the guessing about who will succeed Randi is basically irrelevant to those of us who toil in the schools in New York City. The rank and file should demand that if she decides to take the AFT presidency and resigns as UFT President (the former is likely, but the latter is not at this time), then there should be a member election to decide on her successor. What a novel idea! Let the UFT members decide who should replace Randi by voting.

Most likely, Randi will hold onto both the UFT and AFT presidencies until after the next UFT election. She will appoint a successor when she is good and ready which might be years from now, but it will almost certainly be in the middle of her term so that the heir apparent can have some time as the president. The new leader will then be fawned over by the NY Teacher newspaper and ultimately get to run as an incumbent for reelection.

The truth of the matter is that it doesn't matter that much who leads the UFT because as long as the top-down Unity Caucus (political party) machine remains in control, there will be very little change at the Union. The President's job will be to maintain the institution of the Union and the Unity Caucus as a main priority. The loyalty driven corporate style patronage machine will carry on and those who want to advance to higher UFT positions will have to publicly spew the party line to members on virtually all Union issues. Real dissent will not be tolerated. Anyone who thinks substantial change will occur when Randi leaves is probably delusional.

We would love to be proven wrong on this but as long as the membership doesn't demand and work for fundamental reform within the UFT, it's very doubtful that anything will be very different, regardless of who the president is.


Anonymous said...

Who cares which bootlicker rises to the top? The Unity top tier is not in the trenches and they could care less what happens to us in the schools.

Anonymous said...

This is so depressing. The dynasty marches on.

Under Assault said...

No one is "leading" the UFT except Klein.

The UFT management team is running around picking up all his broken glass, but they haven't "led" any of us in years. I don't even call those guys "leadership" anymore — they're just managers.

Continue to do what you do: analyze, keep us informed. Drive their agenda, as they don't seem to have one of their own except to mop up the mess.

And prod them. I just put up something along these lines at Under Assault.

Anonymous said...

I vote Eterno, Kaufman, Scott official UFT mascots.

Anonymous said...

Are those official mascot positions that come with double pensions? If so, I hear they're interested.

Anonymous said...

Nope, they will wander around the DA juggling and tumbling, they're not good for anything else. Think Vaudeville antics.

They can also give out peanuts and popcorny!

Anonymous said...

Can't argue facts so you still resort to personal attacks. Your act is getting tired Mr. Unity.

Anonymous said...

ICE argues with strong opinions based on facts and calls for something so simple: democracy. Unity responds by name calling. If only the membership knew how Unity represents them.

Anonymous said...

Or is it misrepresenting the membership?

Anonymous said...

I think the opposition in the Russian election today had the same chance of winning as an opposition group does in the UFT. These people know what they're doing. Randi may be working for Putin soon if the AFT thing doesn't work out, especially if Hillary loses.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at Jamaica High School. It is shocking how the system is taking monies away from the students at our school and are slated to have a new school...College Board...with tons of funding come into our building. Our students at Jamaica High School deserve to keep the programs we already had and to add to them to bring our beautiful school up-to-date with today's technology. We have an excellent staff and now we are struggling to "stay afloat". We need help from the Department of Education to ensure our students receive the financial support so we can do our job...educate!!! James Eterno is informed and has the courage to speak up for us as a union and I back him 100%.

Anonymous said...

ICE was absolutely right on this.

Anonymous said...

Mascots now

Leaders later

So sip your coffee

and make your calls

While we take each school

back one by one

It's already started

dumb dumb