Monday, October 30, 2017


Protocols are important for the functioning of any organization. When I was first elected Chapter Leader of Jamaica High School way back in 1996, I remember going to Queens High School Chapter Leader meetings and being overwhelmed with all of the information we received from UFT District Representative Danny Foceri. One of the most important points he hammered into the Chapter Leaders was that we Chapter Leaders were the Union in each school. It wasn't President Sandra Feldman or Danny Foceri or anyone else who represented the UFT at the school level; it was the Chapter Leader.

To make this point even more forcefully, the accepted protocol was that UFT officials from the President on down went through the Chapter Leader in order to be invited into a school. For UFT officials to go around the Chapter Leader to do their own event in a school was unheard of in those days of yore when the UFT still functioned as a labor union.

I read with disgust on Saturday Arthur Goldstein's post as Unity Caucus (Michael Mulgrew's political party that runs the UFT) has arranged to do a UFT event in a school without first going through the Chapter Leader.

It seems the two UFT High School Vice Presidents have set up a Meet the Vice Presidents afternoon for Francis Lewis High School, where Arthur is Chapter Leader, but they have not asked for his ok. To put it another way, the Unity Vice Presidents have invited themselves into Francis Lewis.

Here is part of the NYC Educator piece:
Yesterday, a Unity rep who went behind my back to arrange an event in my school told me he was sorry that I "felt" high school teachers have no representation in NYSUT and AFT. Here's the thing--it's not something I "feel." It's something, period. And when UFT Unity ignores elected chapter leaders to do any damn thing they feel like, it's counterproductive and stupid on multiple levels.

For one thing, there's no need to run around backstabbing people and doing things surreptitiously. We can get things done that benefit all of us by communicating directly. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not really big on dirty tricks. I don't see the point in cooperating with people who deliberately deceive me. I'm busy, I have priorities, and I'm not wasting time playing juvenile games.

I have some news for High School VPs Janella Hinds and Sterling Roberson as well as Queens Borough Rep Amy Arundell and High School District Rep James Vasquez:

Arthur Goldstein represents the UFT at Francis Lewis High School. If you want to do a Meet the Vice Presidents event there, you should go through Arthur and he should be approving it and arranging it with the Principal, not you or your people.

This is just the latest slap in the face of a school union representative that shows how the UFT no longer functions as a labor union but is a top-down organization that has completely lost touch with how a union is a democratic organization.

The UFT members at Francis Lewis and the high school teachers citywide have elected Arthur Goldstein to be their representative at the school and Executive Board level. Ms. Hinds and Mr. Roberson only have their VP jobs because middle school teachers, elementary school teachers, non-teachers in the UFT and retirees are allowed to vote for the High School VPs. High school teachers did not elect these two. Unity's candidates lost the High School Division by 5 percentage points in 2016.

Sterling and Janella should show professional respect for Arthur, who was elected by a majority who voted in his school and the high school division, by letting him decide if there should be a meet the Vice Presidents event in his school.

The least Unity Caucus can do is follow some rudimentary etiquette.


Michael Fiorillo said...

Boy, are these people in for a shock post-Janus. They can't even perceive the need to work with people who, while not in their caucus, are the one's who keep the union alive at the school level.

NYC Educator said...

I have to say this was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen them do. They don't think at all.

Anonymous said...

Not real shocking Arundell is behind something underhanded and shady.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Amy and the HS VP's. I work in Brooklyn and my friends have District Rep's who openly undermine the Cl's and members. They go into the school with out even letting the CL know,start problems with the principal and leave. Some always take the principals position and help them violate our contract. Some act as if the CL and members work for them. don't even get me started on their incompetent and inept BR Liz Perez. It's a mess.

Anonymous said...

Queens UFT is the worst. A bunch of vicious underhanded crumbs. They've always been like that.

NYC Educator said...

Amy Arundell was not involved in this, actually. However, it did happen and I know who was. One UFT rep asked about our auditorium, refused to tell me why, and another called my principal directly and set it up without consulting me. I cannot read their minds or look into their souls as to why they went this route, but it's essentially taking power away from the chapter and giving it directly to the principal.

My job is pretty difficult. I am often adversarial with administrators, some of whom I kind of like. But hey, it's my job. It shouldn't be my job to be adversarial with people who are actually paid to support me.

Several people from UFT called me to tell me how sorry they were that this happened. One told me it would never happen again. None of them, however, offered to go back and correct it.

They all know where I can be reached.

Anonymous said...

Boycott the meeting then. And leaflet it too.

Anonymous said...

And call the press.

Anonymous said...

It's just trickle down arrogance from Meathead Mike. "We union officials know more and are more important than you grunts in the schools".
And this attitude should come as no surprise when you pay people $100,000+ for basically doing nothing.
I'm looking forward to seeing those fat cats put on a financial diet.

James Eterno said...

We ;will be put on the same diet with an even weaker union.

Anonymous said...

I want to vomit reading this. How can they help us in the trenches when they even stab chapter leaders in the back?

Anonymous said...

Nobody believes in Roberson anymore. He is CTE VP and CTE citywide is a mess and a glorified elective. Schools just use it as a recruitment piece and don’t implement it with proper structure, it’s all mashed together all in an attempt to gain access to the VTEA funds that come with it. Schools open and close CTE programs like the wind blows . Only 3 schools in the city are really truly doing CTE right. All in Queens. Go figure .

It’s sad that a guy like that who was a CTE teacher from the South Bronx became a Unity guy and is just like the rest.

Anonymous said...

Send a clear message to the UFT:
1. I did not vote to be harassed by Field Supervisors.
2. I did not vote to become an eternal ATR.
3. I did not vote to be disrespected.
4. I did not vote for my position to be taken away from me for no good reason while they hire inexperienced and less qualified teachers.
5. I did not vote for my rights as an ATR to be diminished compare to regular teachers.
I will never vote for you either.

Anonymous said...

I was asked today (May 2018) to be the new chapter leader and I was wondering what your (collective) thoughts were. I'm in Dist 75 and am also wondering the hours involved, the "line" I'd have to tow, and the stipend because the job seems thankless and as another writer just said, "adversarial" all the time.
Any thoughts?
I'm much appreciative.