Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Would You Buy a Yugo from this Man?

My jaw drops at some of the nonsense I'm hearing in defense of the new contract. The first line of defense, of course, is Mulgrew's threat to the DA. If you vote no, you have to wait for 150 unions. Let's be clear. First, there is history here. In 1995, Sandra Feldman told us anyone who thought we'd do better must be "smoking something." Nonetheless, we voted it down. When I hit maximum in my 22nd rather than 25th year, I was very glad we did.

Can I wait for that whopping 2% compensation increase waiting for me, or that thousand-buck pre-tax bribe? Well, yes I can. And even if I wanted it really badly, it would be unacceptable if it cost one of my ATR brothers or sisters a job. And second-tier due process for ATRs, for those of you who don't know what a giveback is, is a giveback.

Isn't due process for one teacher due process for all? Isn't that fundamental to us as unionists? How can Mulgrew call the process fast and fair when he himself now states that arbitrators will set policy? We don't even know what the policy is and we're praising it.

You may have also seen a recent post here trying to organize a free and fair forum so both sides could be heard. A UFT rep got back to me and objected to Geoff Decker of Chalkbeat NY as a moderator. I understand that they may have been upset with Chalkbeat reporting Mulgrew's DA comments. I proposed the names of several other journalists, but the UFT rep expressed concern about UFT inside baseball being reported by the press. This was troubling, as it then became very difficult to figure who could moderate.

What was more troubling, on reflection, was the fact that if UFT was unwilling to allow a journalist to view a two-sided forum, they'd likely be even more unwilling to allow it to be recorded. This, to me, made the entire idea less than worthwhile. While I'd very much like for my members to see both sides of the argument, I'd like even more for UFT members citywide to see it.

The other day I peeked at the comments on Norm Scott's post, largely a mirror of mine. There's a meme being tossed around by Unity faithful, that members should simply read the MOA and make up their own mind. This, of course, comes from the same people who voted it up sight unseen not once, but twice.

I was very clear that both sides would get equal airing, unlike the DA, where Mulgrew spoke for an hour and unceremoniously cut off James Eterno in fewer than 30 seconds. That, to some Unity supporters, represents democracy. But the young UFT delegate to my right watched this and asked me why we even had a union. A former elementary teacher, she said even elementary students could clearly see how unfair this is. Yet a Unity supporter mustered the audacity to tell me the other day that both sides were heard.

The comments on Norm's site indicate that a fair discussion would be a "personal attack" on Janella Hinds, the UFT VP. First of all, no one suggested anything whatsoever personal about Janella, and no one suggested it should be she, or indeed anyone in particular representing the pro view. Another suggests the notion of a forum is to sway and misinform. Yet another suggests the UFT reps are an adequate source of info.

This is simply not personal. I'm friends with a lot of people with whom I disagree politically. I'm not in the habit of calling them liars for disagreeing with me, and I'm routinely shocked at the intolerance of the Unity cult at the DA.

Regardless, one side is simply not enough. UFT members deserve to hear both sides, and the overwhelming majority simply are not. UFT leadership requires a loyalty oath from those who join the Unity Caucus, which you can see right here. They are sworn to publicly support whatever leadership tells them to. They are, therefore, not a reliable source of information. They may be right, and they may be wrong, but they are sworn to say what they're told for better or worse.

If you were looking for the most reliable car to drive, would you use the Yugo dealer as your sole source of information? I wouldn't.

We're teachers. We're role models for the kids we serve.

We don't deserve their respect if we all drive Yugos just because Mike Mulgrew tells us to.
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