Saturday, July 05, 2008

UFT Negotiates A Deal With The DOE & The Teachers Are Screwed Yet Again

Just days after the school year ended the UFT negotiated away more due process rights of the very teachers the union is supposed to represent. Despite repeated protests by "rubber room" teachers that the UFT should not add arbitrators to speed up the process and demand a truly independent investigation system for determining whether a teacher needs to be removed. Randi ignored her own members and liaisons and has teamed-up with the DOE to speed up, not improve or reform, the teacher disciplinary process. Of course the UFT championed this agreement as a triumph for the teachers in their press release. However, the UFT spin machine doesn't tell the truth. A more accurate analysis of this agreement can be found on the ICE-UFT blog. Unfortunately, even the ICE-UFT blog didn't get it completely right. Let's see how the agreement will really affect the disciplinary process.

First, three out of four (75%) teachers reassigned to the "rubber room" DO NOT WANT THEIR CASES SPEEDILY RESOLVED! The longer it takes to get a 3020-a hearing, the harder it is for the DOE to prove their case against the teacher. Memories get fuzzy, stories change, and witnesses disappear. In many cases, an already weak case becomes that much weaker as the alleged evidence turns out to be hearsay or non-existent. Randi knows that it was in the accussed teacher's best interest to allow their case to take years to be heard. Why did she agree to a speedier hearing without real reform in the investigative process is another example of her giving in to Kleinberg at the expense of the teachers she is supposed to protect.

Second, the UFT failed to reform the disciplinary process There is no independent investigative process put into place despite repeated teacher complaints about unfair and biased investigations. Notice there is no mention of the investigations conducted by the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI) which has up to a year to write their report? The reason is that there is an unwritten agreement between Tweed and SCI that no settlements can be offered by the DOE lawyers no matter how frivolous the case is once SCI substantiated the alleged incident. The UFT/DOE agreement does not change this unholy agreement that causes long delays in the hearing process.

Third, the principal no longer needs to show up at the 3020-a hearing. That means the teacher no longer has the right to face his/her accuser. The principal can just phone it in from his office and keep notes around his desk to remind him of what he needs to say. Another erosion of teacher due process rights.

Finally, the DOE only agreed to review a Principal's decision to remove a teacher and unless you believe in the tooth fairy. If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Very few of the Principal's decisions will be reversed by Tweed, given their anti-teacher bias. Further "general grounds" for removal is not defined and if the teacher is subject to an SCI investigation, which many are, the above agreement does not apply.

The UFT proclaimed that if an administrator makes a false allegation against a teacher they will be subject to disciplinary action. Yeah right! However, what about the administrator who takes an innocent action and perverts, embellishes, or twists it into misconduct. Does that fall under false accusations? Of course not.

The UFT/DOE agreement also reaffirms that a 3020-a pre-hearing be held and that teachers removed from their schools end up in their borough rubber room whenever possible. Both of these issues are already required and should not have been necessary in this agreement.

I agree with Jeff Kaufman of ICE that the UFT/DOE agreement is unenforceable by the UFT and is not in the best interests of the teachers. As for Randi Weingarten's statement that "justice delayed is justice denied" rings hollow as she agreed to further erode teacher due process rights.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

The fact that is interesting is that more and more teachers are being reassigned. "Speeding up" the process by which your case gets heard will mean nothing if they have more teachers in the rubber rooms. A "backlog" will still exist maybe not for a year but for say 6 months.

I agree with your analysis of this last minute agreement between the UFT and the DOE. As a reassigned teacher put in the rubber room by a failed and fired principal I don't mind the process taking a year or two as my school is broken beyond repair and the conditions that most teachers are working under is hostile while BloomKlein is in power. A year ago when I suspected my skunk of a principal was going to reassign me I spoke to Randi and she essentially told me to ride it out in the rubber room and wait for this nightmare of a Mayoral regime to be over.

Chaz said...


I also believe that this agreement will allow for more removals rather than less since it will cost the DOE less money to keep a teacher in the "rubber room" for a shorter period of time.

NYC Educator said...

The principal doesn't even need to show up?

That's simply unconscionable.

Chaz said...

nyc educator:

It's true. The UFT press release claimed this as a victory for speeding up the hearing. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

You actually assume that there is a "fair" hearing process. The Arbitrators are biased as they earn between %1,400-$1,800 per day. They will continue to do so as long as they find teachers to be "guilty" of whatever the DoE charges them with.
You keep mentioning how a teacher can prove their case in the course of a trial.
Nothing can be further from the truth. The decisions of the arbitrators have nothing to do with the factual evidence presented during the course of the hearings. In the real world A+B=
C, but in the twisted Kafkaesque world of the NYC DoE and the UFT there is no such thing. The UFT should be looking at the rulings issued by the arbitrators and when the statistics prove that an arbitrator is biased, that individual should be fired and the "awards" rendered by that same arbitrator should be reversed. To date nothing like that has happened. The law of averages precludes the vast majority of teachers in 3020a hearings being found "guilty".
The average wait for a hearing is over two years. Despite the decaying evidence and the lack of credible witnesses the teachers are by and large Terminated, Suspended without pay or subjected to ruinous fine.
Wake up and smell the coffee. This is collusion between the UFT and the DoE to get rid of senior teachers and get two for the price of one. The UFT is a dues harvesting operation that is abusing its members habitually.
This is also proven by the procedural violations of the 3020a New York State Law. Nobody on either side has a problem with teachers due process rights and First, Fifth and Fourteenth Ammendment rights being trampled daily.
This issue is being pursued in several Federal and State Supreme Court Actions.
This is not in anyway paid for or instigated by the union. This is paid for and fought for by your collegues who have been set up and railroaded by the two colluding entities, The UFT and the DoE.
There are thousands of teachers who have been subjected to this atrocity. You who have not yet landed in the Rubber Rooms are content to write about it but what, if anything are you willing to do?
With the new "agreement" between the two corrupt entities the death warrants for thousands more teachers has been signed.
A NYSUT attorney once told me " We ignore the law and the contract, this is so that the arbitrators can make a living, the pipeline is endless."
There you have it in a nutshell. Nothing about the pupported agreement changes anything for the hapless souls caught in the vice.


Chaz said...


To quote Bill Clinton "I feel your pain". I do agree that the UFT/DOE 3020-a process is corrupt and I have written about it previously.

Yes, I do know that the most flimsy of evidence can get an arbitrator to find the teacher guilty. However, only 7% of the teachers are actually terminated. Granted some are pressured to resign or retire but if you stick it out, they won't lose their job.

I agree that our union leaders don't care about the rubber room teachers and shame on them for that.

Anonymous said...

Chaz -

Teachers sent to the rubber room usually end up without jobs and often without pensions.

The scant "7%" of rubber room teachers termination statement you make is untrue, incorrect, wrong.

Teachers sent to the rubber room are already traumatized and often suffering from high blood pressure, exhaustion, ulcers, etc. They have been hunted and tormented in their schools for months or even years and sometimes end up with killing diseases, weeks or months with no pay because they've been pushed into unpaid leaves or disabilities on a day-to-day basis.

Once they are in the rubber room, they end up fined or suspended and lose sometimes TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOllARS, often are deprived of health care, are deprived of pension monies. All are deprived of per session and summer school, which can translate to paying bills or not paying bills.

(I amend my above remark. Teachers sometimes have HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS stolen from them by the DoE once they are in a rubber room. Further, the DoE also too often places liens on teachers' properties, such as homes, in order to extract even more money from teachers.)

Some teachers (usually male) end up in family court, accused of non-payment of child support when they have NO MONEY TO LIVE THEMSELVES, have police coming to their doors with summonses, receive notification that their driver's license is suspended and that their teaching license may be suspended for non-payment of child support because they've been suspended or hugely fined by the DoE.

They receive frequent, sometimes weekly, notices that if they do not pay child support immediately, they will be put into prison.

Every teacher returned to their original school knows fully well that they have little chance of remaining either in their school or in teaching.

Once sent to the rubber room, they have a permanent target on their back.

Whether it takes 2 days or 2 years, they often end up sent back to the rubber room for some new garbage that was concocted.

Some have been sent to the rubber room 3 or more times.

Even if a teacher succeeds in transferring to some other school after being rubberized, it is probable that she/he will eventually end up hunted, tortured, hounded by the new school's administration.

They are increasingly made ATR's, which is an effective way to end a teacher's career, physical and mental health, and method of earning a living.

Greater and greater numbers of teachers are being fired.

Those who aren't are forced, much of the time, to "voluntarily" resign. Or accept, "voluntarily," a suspension of pay and medical care for 1 year. Could you eat, have shelter, clothe yourself and your children, etc. WITHOUT PAY AND MEDICAL CARE FOR ONE YEAR?

The rubber rooms are the last step in a process to destroy human beings.

They are part of a machine, operated by humans, to do away with the reality of education in this country.

If you have never been sent to a rubber room, never sat in one for months, never been charged or not charged, never been accused of psychiatric disturbance, never been taken off payroll, never been told you cannot walk around a room or read a book, or talk to anyone in one of these rooms, never lost your health and maybe damn close to your life, then I don't know what "pain" you have felt.

Other pains, Chaz, other pains.

Not this one. Because I guarantee you: this DESTROYS human beings - sometimes swiftly, sometimes slowly. A teacher exiled to a rubber room NEVER regains full psychological health or equanimity and often is, for all practical purposes: destroyed.

- one who knows

Anonymous said...

I do agree in most parts with what anon said, however, the number of terminated teachers is small, while most teachers are disciplined in one way or the other by the arbitrators. The arbitrators want to keep the pipeline running by finding middle ground regardless of the evidences. One thing is pretty sure that UFT is not your friend when you end up in the RR.

Chaz said...

anon 2:

I agree with you totally.

anon 1:

My advice is you fight back the best you can. don't let the DOE beat you. Assume the "rubber room" as a fully paid leave of absence from the classroom. Prepare your case the best you can and force the DOE to prove their case.

Anonymous said...

The NYSUT head lawyer mentioned in his reacent tour at Staten Island RR that the 3020a caseload for them more than doubled during last two years, if that is the case, the backlog will continue even with 40 percent increase of arbitrators.
Very few teachers want a quick turnaround, it is all about surviving when you are put in the RR. The longer it takes, the better chance you have to survive. Why UFT does not get that simple logic?

Chaz said...


It's because she doesn't care about the "rubber room" teachers. She really believes that they are there because they are guilty of something.

Furthermore, it will take some time to select the additional 8 arbitrators and reduce the existing backlog. Therefore, it will probably not affect the existing inhabitants of the "rubber room". However, her agreement with the DOE shows how she holds the "rubber room' teachers in low reard.

Anonymous said...

Well, Randi is playing a game of her own. They do know that many people were sent there for some trumped up charges. My district special rep who handles my case kept telling me that he felt sorry that someone like me had to go through this. They all knew it all started from my original grievance over a cluster position.
I have to say the Staten Island UFT lended a hand and did something for me, even it may affect the end result of 3020a proceeding.

Anonymous said...

It is true as Randi said "Justice delayed is justice denied" it is also true "INJUSTICE DELAYED IS INJUSTICE DENIED"
When you end up in RR, it is just an illusion that you will ever get justice, and it is a reality that you will get injustice. Your best friend is injustice delayed.
Randi knows it and Klein knows it even more. DoE/UFT want the Injustice delivered vie federal express.

Anonymous said...


The 3020a disciplinary process, even with the process for city teachers watered down as it has been, was never designed to handle numbers on the order of 1000's. 20 arbitrators can not hope to deal effectively with such numbers.

This clearly shows the perversion of the process by the DOE in which trivial matters are made serious, and charges are trumped up.

If the UFT had the real interests of it's teachers at heart, they would slow down this corrupt process as much as possible by insisting on the procedural timelines in the 3020a process being strictly enforced. Instead, the UFT lawyers routinely ignore these serious timeline violations to enable the process to limp along.

Now, these UFT fools want to add more abitrators to help the DOE even more to keep the corrupt process going.

Question: Since the number of 20 arbitators is fixed by contract, can more arbitrators be added without changing the contract through a vote of the membership?

Chaz said...

the answer to your question is I don't know if we have to vote on having 28 arbitrators... The rest I agree with you 100%.