Thursday, January 22, 2009

We Lead by Example

The other day I got a letter from UFT President Randi Weingarten warning about how dire the financial crisis was. As one of many teachers who received two years of cannily negotiated zero-percent raises during the dot-com boom, I have mixed feelings about Ms. Weingarten's advice. After all, her predecessor once wrote that any teacher who thought we'd do better than zero-zero with 25 years to reach maximum salary must be "smoking something."

Still, UFT members rejected that contract. After DC37 voted it up (based on a blatantly fraudulent election) other unions accepted it, and when it came back to the UFT we had to wait 22, rather than 25 years to hit maximum. This worked well for me around 2 years ago, and I hope it works for you too.

I have a few ideas to share with Ms. Weingarten if she seriously wishes to help out.

1. Get rid of that full-time chauffeur we pay for. Use public transportation when in the city. Since being UFT Prez is only a part-time job, you ought to have no problem with this. Also, ditch the SUV and get a Prius. Why burn so many fossil fuels?

2. Stop sending every member of Unity to an annual convention on our dime. Give the money to the city to reduce class size. And this time, make an iron-clad agreement with consequences for violations, rather than the preposterous unenforceable nonsense you chose to plaster all over NY Teacher (also on our dime).

3. Give Leo Casey a real job. Tell him he'll have to settle his vendetta with Mickey Mouse on his own time.

4. Stop using NY Teacher reporters to refute ICE members with ad hominem arguments. Also, let's stop having paid UFT patronage workers indulge in blatant idiocy on the net.

I'm sure there are plenty of ways Ms. Weingarten could take the 80 million per year we pay and use it more efficiently. As about half of that goes to pure patronage, enriching the brilliant negotiators who brought us August punishment days, the sixth class (the one that isn't really a class), hall patrols in perpetuity, loss of the right to grieve letters in file, support of mayoral control, the ATR brigade, and other goodies too numerous to mention here, I'm sure there are many possibilities.

What suggestions do you have for Ms. Weingarten to trim the ol' fat in the budget?

Related: Don't miss guest columnist Vera's sharp response to Ms. Weingarten over at Ednotes Online.
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