Thursday, October 20, 2005

Unity Spin Guy Visits My School

They are desperate to pass this contract, and Unity is dispatching its paid employees to make sure they get their raise. And why shouldn't they? They won't be working lunchroom duty, or losing any options.

He came in and sat down at our lunch table. He told us about all the things the contract didn't give up, and how we got the best possible deal. I asked him about the correction officers, who got 10.25% over two years, with 12-15K in back pay (more than double what we get over four years), and he started talking about sanitation workers.

"Excuse me, I thought I asked about the corrections officers."

"Do you let students interrupt you in your classroom?"

"We are not in a classroom and I am not your student. Also, my writing students know the difference between argument and obfuscation."

I asked him about the sixth class. He insisted the 37.5 minute "small group instruction" was not a sixth class, despite some very compelling evidence to the contrary. At this point, several generally well-behaved English teachers began making obscene gestures behind his back. I was surprised.

He spoke proudly of the UFT's changes in the Taylor Law. A social studies teacher asked what changes he was talking about. The spin guy started telling about monetary penalties for employers who fail to bargain in good faith. The social studies teacher repeatedly asked him if that was now law, and Mr. Unity finally admitted "Well, Pataki hasn't signed it yet." He told the teacher not to worry, because we'd regain all our losses in the next contract.

A young teacher approached him and started talking about the pros and cons of the contract. After they spoke for a few minutes, he told the spin guy that he was going to seek work in Nassau, where he could make a lot more money without teaching six classes or becoming a "lead teacher."

I saw no love for this contract today, and I saw no one persuaded to change their vote either. Our chapter voted "no confidence" in the current UFT leadership to negotiate a fair contract last week, and no matter how they spin it, this contract is an improvement for no one but Unity spin guys and folks who plan to retire very soon.

Read here about when Unity Spin Guys visited reality-based educator.
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