Principals really don't need their union, the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, too often because they have the Department of Education's Office of Labor Relations which is virtually a principal's support group. When it comes to labor-management disputes, OLR simply functions as a rubber stamp for whatever principals and assistant principals want. This can be seen when it comes to arbitrations.
There are grievances and APPR complaints that are so cut and dried they should never get to arbitration.The DOE strategy is to almost always support school administrators, no matter how outrageous their actions, knowing full well the UFT can only take a limited number of cases to arbitration. The arbitration process gets clogged and when something finally gets to arbitration, the DOE quitely concedes without a fight
UFT Grievance Department Director Ellen Procida spoke about this at a recent Executive Board meeting.
This is from our report:
Ellen Procida said there are many ridiculous rulings at chancellor's level and we are getting resolutions at arbitration but we are not where we want to be yet.
I saw this in action this past week as two completely open and shut, clear cut APPR complaints on totally improper observations went to arbitration. The arbitrator actually chastised the DOE for allowing these cases to go this far. Based on what Ellen said to the Executive Board while now seeing this in action, and also recalling Arthur Goldstein's class size saga at Francis Lewis, it is clear that the DOE is just stalling while encouraging principals to do whatever they want unless they alienate an entire school community.
The only possible answer to this is if the DOE has a system that says: "My Principals Right or Wrong," the response from the UFT must be: "My Teachers Right or Wrong."
The only exception to My Teachers Right or Wrong is if the teacher alienates the entire school community.
Unfortunately, that is not the UFT response. Since there is a Democrat at City Hall, we play nice. This is a huge mistake.