Saturday, December 12, 2015
A Strong Union Represents Their Members And Our Union Leadership Has Come Up Short In That Duty.
I have been highly critical of our union leadership and rightfully so. They have given us inferior contracts which was short on money and loaded with "givebacks",. made some teachers (the ATRs) second class citizens, agreed to DOE termination programs like PIP+ and now peer validators, a 3020-a process that made it easier for the DOE to terminate teachers, and made it difficult for opposition voices to be heard by imposing the "Unity oath". In addition, the union leadership controls all appointments based upon loyalty and not ability and there is very little democracy or transparency in the union which makes it unreceptive to positive change.
To make matters worse, UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, has made himself unaccountable and decides, without member input, what to support. For example, he refuses to go after vindictive principals, claiming their fellow union members while supporting the racial arsonist, Al Sharpton, against the police who happen to also be fellow union members. Moreover, his love affair with Chancellor, Carmen Farina, has clouded his mind in supporting the DOE's "fair student funding" that discriminates against veteran teachers. Finally, just try to e-mail him with complaints and see where that gets you?
It appears our union leadership has decided that cooperating with the political elite is more important than representing their member interests. For example they supported the APPR that gave us the god awful teacher evaluation program, complete with junk science and their failure to support the "opt out" movement was a dereliction of their duty to support their main constituency, the teachers. Furthermore, the UFT is the only union that allowed the City to make some of their members, the ATRs, second class citizens. No other union allowed this to happen, be it DC37, the uniformed unions, or any other municipal union for that matter. Finally, the union leadership has shown, time and again, that they are disconnected to member concerns. They look the other way when they see schools using uncertified teachers to teach Regents subjects, ignored the use of a sixth period class to save on teacher hiring at the expense of the students and the veteran teachers in the ATR pool. Worst of all, they allow vindictive principals to continue to run their schools undisturbed despite these principals who make teaching in their school a living hell.
While I have not decided who to support in the upcoming election, the "Unity Caucus" has proven to me to put their own interests first and that is a problem and voting for them is certainly not the solution in making our teaching profession the once proud job it once was.