Friday, April 26, 2013

The United Federation of Retired Teachers

BREAKING--Today I was at 52 Broadway conducting business, and I ran into a particularly loquacious union rep, who shall remain unnamed. We discussed the UFT election, and he confided union leadership's plan for the future. I surreptitiously recorded the whole thing on my iPhone.

"As you know, 53% of our voters were retirees. Some people criticize us for that, but the fact is, these are reliable votes for Unity. As we move into our fifth year without a raise in salary, an evaluation system under which teachers will be judged by junk science, and a second decade of mayoral control, we're a little nervous.

This year, MORE came within 160 votes of unseating our high school Executive Board, and if we hadn't bought out New Action, we might actually have to deal with those radical punk socialist commie hippie pinko weirdos. In fact, MORE and New Action combined got more votes than Unity. If New Action ever decided to be a real opposition, the high school teachers would really be trouble for us.

We'd thought we were finally able to take care of those high school teachers by making VP elections open to all. Now, someone like the old Mike Shulman will never get in again. But we really need to protect these seats. We thought buying off Shulman and New Action would make that happen. We really don't like those guys all that much, but when we need our cars washed, or someone to go out for coffee, they come in handy. Where was I?

Oh yes, the high school teachers. We can't let them make the wrong decisions, so what we are going to do is limit future votes to retirees. The thing about retirees is they aren't prejudiced. If we do something like support mayoral control, they're not all over the place screaming about how unfair Bloomberg is. They're sitting on a beach in Boca, sipping on a UFT pina-colada, and leisurely walking over to the lunch buffet, where they're greeted by the UFT President. You will never see Julie Cavanagh pressing the flesh in Boca because she's off somewhere teaching every day. And honestly, teachers have a pretty skewed view of what goes on.

Sure, Mulgrew has said 7% of working teachers will be rated ineffective under the new system. Now there was just an article in the NY Times saying only 2% of teachers in Florida were rated poorly. Now we're starting to get phone calls from teachers asking us why, if the law we negotiated is so much better than those around the country, will their failure rate be 350% higher. I mean, who the hell do these people think they are, asking us these questions? Why can't they focus on the 93% who won't be rated ineffective?

Also, I'm pretty tired of hearing about how every city union except us got 8% in the last round of pattern bargaining, and how we agreed to the new evaluation system without negotiating a contract. Picky, picky, picky. Why aren't they talking about our SESIS victory? We keep writing about it in NY Teacher and no one seems to notice.

That's why we're going to have the DA, the highest decision-making body of the UFT, vote on making retirees only select union officers. The new UFRT will be better than ever, because Unity-New Action will win every election, forever. Who cares if James Eterno gets up and cites Robert's Rules? We haven't yet figured out how to stop teachers from voting for chapter leaders who insist there are two sides to arguments. But we can certainly make sure they have no say in who runs the union, and once we do that, we can figure out how to get these people to shut the hell up, as well they should.

This is very hush-hush. We in union like to keep this stuff in house--you know, what happens at 52 Broadway stays at 52 Broadway. I'd hate to read about this on the blogs before we have all our ducks in a row."
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