Thursday, October 20, 2016
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly When It Comes To The Unity Leadership.
I have been highly critical of our disconnected union leadership and rightly so. Our union leadership has given us inferior contracts that are short on money and loaded with "givebacks". They agreed to allow the DOE to impose a school-based "Fair Student Funding" (fsf) formula that forces schools to "hire the cheapest and not the best" teachers for their schools. Agreed to reduce our TDA interest from 8.25% to 7% and forcing Tier V and VI teachers to have 15 years of service to receive retiree health benefits, and let's not forget how they conspired with the DOE to make ATRs second class citizens. I could go on but you get the message. In complaining about our disconnected union leadership under "Unity caucus" there are some real benefits to have a union representing your rights.
Our union can collectively bargain to retain our due process rights and influence legislative action that benefit our profession. By collectively bargain we are stronger together. Just imagine if we didn't have a union to protect us against Mayor Bloomberg assault on teachers like the elimination of "First in, last out" , there would be no class size limitations, forget our "due process rights", and tenure would be replaced by an arbitrary and capricious dismissal policy that the DOE uses for untenured teachers and "U" rating appeals. Moreover, our union supplies NYSUT attorneys and advocates to represent our interests and gives us guidance when confronted by the corrupt investigators. Finally, having a strong union makes it harder for their members to be bullied or abused by vindictive administrators.
Our dues continue to go up, year after year, as the "Unity" bureaucracy continues to expand and a new group (25 or more) of high salaried friends of our Unity leadership has been established, I believe they are Chapter Leader advocates (how are they different from District Reps?). Is it any wonder that our dues are increasing yearly? Besides the bloated bureaucracy, all members must sign the "Unity oath" and provide a $75 dollar check to stay as a member in good standing as well as to blindly vote how the leadership tells them to, even when its against the best interests of their members. Let's not forget about COPE that is used for political action that's supposed to be on behalf of the members but seems to be used for actions that have no member input, benefit, or agreement?
The union's treatment of the ATRs is ugly. Our disconnected union leadership allows the DOE to sic field assassins on the ATRs, which has led to a rise in 3020-a termination cases and ignore the hiring of 5,700 new teachers this year while more than 1,300 ATRs languish in a rotation pool while also refuses to allow them a functional chapter to represent their interests. No other Municipal union allowed their excessed members to be treated the way our union has allowed the DOE to abuse the ATRs. Then there is Michael Mulgrew's continued "love affair" with Chancellor Carmen Farina while she goes from school to school and tells principals her top priority is to get rid of their "bad teachers". Finally, the union's involvement with racial arsonist like Al Sharpton and giving priority to Bill de Blasio's interests which results in continued large class sizes, inadequate funding and inferior instructional time (Science) , over their own membership requirements of lower class sizes, full funding, and adequate instructional tine for the students.
The bottom line is that I rather have a union than not have one but it would be nice if we had a union that was more responsive to their members than to their favorite political causes.