Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Mulgrew/Weingarten Sellout Of The Rank And File Will Result In Members Refusing To Pay Dues.

This post is an extension of the NYC Educator article dealing with the lack of democracy and ignoring the rights of many of the members by the UFT leadership.  The consequences next year may devastate the UFT when it comes to collecting dues from its increasingly alienated rank and file if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that dues are voluntary.  Under the "Unity" caucus with Randi Weingarten and now Michael Mulgrew as UFT President, the rank and file have been subject to massive "givebacks", a hostile classroom environment, reduced "due process rights", inferior contracts, and questionable spending of member funds for causes that have nothing to do with the classroom or teacher rights.

It was the "Unity" caucus that agreed to the punitive Danielson rubric that has made teaching in the classroom a horror and the support for Common Core that most educators are against.  In fact, Michael Mulgrew threatened to punch you in the face if you attack his beloved Common Core. Worse, the "Unity " caucus has supported the high-stakes testing, complete with the "junk science" that has made teaching "high needs" students and English Language Learners a ticket to "ineffectiveness".

Changes to the 3020-a:  First, under Weingarten the 3020-a law was streamlined in 2001 that eliminated the three arbitrator board for incompetence cases.  Furthermore, the nyc teacher was no longer allowed to pick an arbitrator from a list supplied by the State.  Instead the arbitrator was imposed by the DOE, with the approval of the UFT.

2005 Contract: That brings me to the terrible 2005 contract that brought us the ATR crisis, the probable cause suspension without pay or health benefits, and a longer school day for a raise that barely equaled the inflation rate! Our union leadership also agreed to the elimination of the seniority transfer, the grievance procedure of most letters to the file, and the reimposing of the circular six requirements.

Fair Student Funding: Part of the 2005 contract included the "fair student funding" that resulted in principals hiring the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools.  When "fair student funding" was proposed by Chancellor Joel Klein, he didn't think that the UFT would agree to it and was willing to withdraw it if the union put up a fuss since it would leave veteran teachers without a position.  Shockingly, Randi Weingarten agreed to it, thinking that the DOE would never waste over $100 million dollars on teachers without a classroom.  How wrong she was.  The result is a group of mostly highly paid and older teachers, ranging from 1,400 to 2,400 who the DOE pays to rotate or temporarily replace other teachers.

2007 Contract:  While this contract was decent, it included two significant "givebacks".  The first was "Peer Intervention Plus"  known as PIP+ that resulted in a 90% termination rate for teachers who were fooled in taking this program, thinking it would help them continue teaching.  The other "giveback" was an expansion of the "probable cause" actions, including most felonies.

Reducing TDA Interest Rate: Randi Weingarten's final stab in the back in 2010 was to agree to the City's request to eliminate their contribution to the TDA by 1.25%.  Instead of receiving 8.25% that all the non-UFT members get, UFT members receive only7%.  Yes, we got back the two days before Labor Day but we should have never given it up in the first place in the infamous 2005 contract.

This ended Randi Weingarten's tenure as UFT President and ushered in Michael Mulgrew who brought with him a biting wit and promised improvements and respect for his members. His failure to finalize a contract with the City was expected but he unexpectedly supported the Obama administration's teacher evaluation system in 2010, despite member distrust of the Race to the Top (RttT) that tied test scores to teacher effectiveness and has proven to be a disaster.. Not a promising start to impress the membership.

Common Core:  If supporting the badly flawed teacher evaluation system was bad enough, his embracing of the Common Core was a slap in the face of all parents, students, and educators alike..  He even threatened in 2014 to "punch in the mouth" people who would dare take away his Common Core".

2014 Contract:  It goes without saying that Michael Mulgrew sold the rank and file a vastly inferior contract with a 1.4% raise for ten years and even that was extended for a month and a half to pay off his retiree friends.  All the retro payments were back-loaded as far down the road as to 2020.  Moreover, he agreed to a very significant "giveback" by making ATRs "second class citizens" with reduced "due process" rights.  Finally, his embracing of Chancellor Carmen Farina is disgusting as the rank and file suffer repeated insults from the DOE with excessive paperwork, large class sizes, weakening of student discipline policies, and the use of Charlotte Danielson as a punitive rubric and not as a guide.

The legacy of the "Unity" caucus under Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew can be summed up as a legacy of inferior contracts, continuing "givebacks", and unresponsiveness to member concerns.  If the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the union, how many members would be willing to voluntarily pay their $1,200 yearly dues to a union so unconcerned about its rank and file?  My guess would be somewhere about 20% or about the amount of active members who bothered to vote in the past UFT election.  However, don't worry Mikey, your 750 strong traveling companions and those that would sell their souls for a cushy union job will always be there to lick your boots and tell you what a wonderful leader you are.  Its just the rest of us you will have to convince and so far you have failed in that regard.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Weingarten, Mulgrew and the rest of the clowns will have to get real jobs instead of their union leader imposter gigs.

Abigail Shure

Bronx ATR said...

Unfortunately most teachers will not pay dues, if given the option. The reasons not to are valid, but will result it us biting our noses off to spite our faces. This is what private industry would like to see. It will be the coup de grace for public education and usher in a accelerated charter school invasion.

Anonymous said...

This is a double edged sword: Choice 1: Don't pay dues and save $1,200 a year but you will not have a contract to back you up. Choice 2: Pay dues so you have contract with some protections but the union would still not give a crap about you. As much as I hate the UFT, we still need some form of a union as the other option is that we all become "at will employes" with no protections what so ever. The sad fact is that a crappy union is better than no union. If the law changes it might be the kick in the ass that the UFT needs to actually represent the interests of teachers instead of just mooching off the dues of their members.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is the epitome of the agency shop concept gone horribly wrong. Hard working (and I think generally well meaning) people are effectively forced to pay into an organization that have consistently demonstrated to work against their best interests in almost every metric (either as individuals or as a group at large, recognizing that sometimes what might not be seen as favorable for an individual per se may be appropriate for a common group in the big picture).

While I can list examples, I think what was written in the main body of this post and also covered in past posts in this blog alone is a pretty good start as it is. (I know there are other well written blogs as well)

Now, I'm going to take it one step further and put it even more bluntly: The UFT has become an extortion racket with collection powers backed by New York State. I am sure that it's one hell of a great deal for the small minority of UFT members who benefit from the racket in place and for the NYCDOE / NYSED who can keep playing off fears from the different factions to continue down their line of embezzlement (enriching a small group of connected individuals and corporations) while obliterating public education in the process.

I do recognize the value of independent unions and see the continuous push to degrade working conditions across the board. However, in my opinion, the SCOTUS cannot eliminate the practice of mandatory agency fee paying fast enough. Unfortunately, it's becoming the only feasible way to hold accountable the unions that have really lost its way and refuses to accept guidance from within its core membership to get back on the right path. Make them prove their worth for their beneficiaries or be gone (and let a new one that knows why it exists and who it works for take its place).

If we want to have any hope of removing outside parasites, we have to remove the internal parasites first especially if we cannot co-opt the internals to work overall in our favor. I'd prefer to do this sooner rather than later where the sustained damage increases and it becomes increasingly more difficult to take corrective actions.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Mildew squandering our dues money on funding a UFT demonstration against the police on behalf of Eric Garner and providing buses to the event, and providing warehouse storage space (that WE pay for) for Occupy Wall Street protesters' paraphernalia while they ran amok and relieved themselves on police cars.

Anonymous said...

This may be unpopular but I think I recently read on the front page of the UFT paper that $1 million was given in scholarship money. I'm not saying to completely scrap the idea of UFT financed scolarships but it seems as if every year dues are being increased. Efforts should be made to cut back expenses and create a balanced budget instead of unfettered spending and then raising dues to cover expenses, if that is what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Dues don't pay for the scholarship. It is a separate fund. Dues are increased automatically, many feel illegally, based on a resolution from around 1980.

Anonymous said...

they wanted to disregard their members for years, they should not be surprised when the members disregard them. to hell with em, after all what exactly does the union dues get its members now anyway...not like we get invited on those nice trips, with nice dinners.

Or perhaps this will be a blessing...people will leave in droves, and the UFT will have to reform itself, and become the militant force that made the city shake for years...or go the way of the dinosaurs. Perhaps if they acted in the interests of those that pay them, people would be more active and less apathetic.

Francesco Portelos said...

Chaz, this is a great and to the point history lesson. I can't emphasize enough how many members don't know (don't care) and don't realize the connection between Weingarten/Mulgrew and their current situations in the classroom.

A thing missing is the 2010 evaluation sellout shown in video on


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the history lesson. I almost forgot all the "givebacks" they agreed to. Glad you are blogging and reminding us of this terrible betrayal by the union leadership.

Anonymous said...

If Mulgrew and Unity caucus stay on board running the UFT, then they can kiss my union dues goodbye... I already don't want to pay them... Freaking rip-off squandering my money, but won't help me as a paying member, lies to my face and then lies about telling the lie in the first place. KARMA is real....oOOOOOO...I don't like them...gritting teeth

Anonymous said...

Just a note, union dues also cover our benefits through the welfare fund such as prescription drugs, dental and vision. It also covers short term disability payments when on medical leave when you go off payroll due to illness, in other words it keeps some money coming in until you return to work. I have used all. I am not saying that we should pay dues because of this, but we should be fully informed about what we may have to lose. Coverage of these benefits by the DOE or city, would require that we pay for it through our health insurance plans. I'm not sure the DOE offers a short term disability plan at all to DOE or city workers. Just examine fully the consequences of not paying dues and how we could replace lost benefits before we jump on the bandwagon. We have lost enough already. Let's plan to sustain ourselves before we act or react. IMHO.