Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UFT Democracy at Work

I've just gotten an email about how Unity changed their NY Teacher ad.  ICE/ TJC was not given the opportunity to do this--so this is unfair treatment and blatant favoritism.

In other news, Diane Ravitch will be speaking at UFT HQ next month.  If you see the leaflet, note that it declares prominently something like "Michael Mulgrew presents Diane Ravitch."  That such a thing comes out during campaign season is no coincidence.  It is blatant electioneering in its not remotely subtle association of Mulgrew with Ravitch.

I've looked at many, many leaflets for the UFT, and cannot remember a single one declaring the UFT President was presenting this party, or that workshop, or anything of the sort.  Perhaps I wasn't observant enough during the last campaign, and they've pulled cute stunts like this before.  In any case, such blatant manipulation is abusive.  Why not simply declare, "Diane Ravitch endorses Michael Mulgrew," whether or not it's true, and be done with it?

And while we're on the subject, I don't recall any flyers proclaiming, "Michael Mulgrew brings you mayoral control."  I don't remember the flyer announcing, "Michael Mulgrew makes you an ATR instead of placing you in a teaching job,"  or "Michael Mulgrew makes new teachers pay 3% of their salaries to Mayor Bloomberg for an extra 17 years."  The fact is, had Michael Mulgrew not supported all those initiatives, he wouldn't be President today.  And Michael Mulgrew, in September, from his supposedly impartial post as chair of the UFT Delegate Assembly, opposed a motion to support the return of seniority transfers.  He said there were more transfers under the current system and that was absolute proof it was better.  Ask any ATR teacher if the new system is better or not. 

 In other news, the UFT just sent a missive to chapter leaders stating that all non-inflammatory campaign literature should be permitted in staff mailboxes.  Unfortunately, the campaign has already begun, and you can read at EdNotes that ICE/TJC has already been denied access and forced to waste time revisiting schools.  While it's true folks at the UFT will say this is not acceptable to the offending Unity CLs, why, after decades of such abuses, did they not simply let them know in advance?  Wouldn't that be a simple fix to the problem?  What is the consequence for such abuse, other than hundreds of UFT members being unable to see the other side of the issue?

Those of you who watched the cartoon UFT ad may have wondered what the heck that was all about.  While schools are being closed, why was a cute little cartoon teacher jiggling it as a buzzword?  Weren't real UFT teachers facing, at best, exile into the ATR brigade? In these times, I don't see ATR teachers doing a whole lot of cute cartoon laughing.

The most egregious of these was a few cycles back, when a teacher sat at a desk, bemoaning, "It just isn't fair."  This was certainly not winning any points with the public at large, and was perhaps supposed to ring a bell with frustrated UFT teachers.  I'm not particularly sure why anyone would think the argument, "It's not fair," would win favor from teachers who heard it all the time.

Is there anyone out there who  believes it's a coincidence the UFT invariably buys prime TV time right whenever there's an impending union election?  Inquiring minds want to know.
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