Yesterday on Twitter, I was barraged with various defenses of Revive NYSUT's double-pension grab. I'm going to recount a few here.
1. You aren't telling the whole story.
I paint what I see. If there's another side of the story, you're free to tell it. And if you do a good enough job of it, you might persuade me. Thus far, I've seen little or nothing that does that.
2. Former President Iannuzzi had two pensions.
That's true. But Iannuzzi worked 34 years as a teacher and earned his first pension. Whatever he gets from NYSUT he earned after the fact. He did not earn the pensions concurrently.
3. You're siding with the Koch Brothers when you criticize the union.
That's what you call a strawman fallacy, combined with a guilt by association fallacy. I've never sided with the Koch Brothers. It's easier, though, to say that I did than to face my arguments outright. I'm just a little rankled by outright hypocrisy. I traveled all over the state listening to the Revive team complain about perks taken by leadership, and yet when it came to feathering their own nests, they didn't hesitate for a moment.
They specifically stated they opposed Common Core, yet Magee just suggested to AFT the alternative was chaos. In their campaign literature they compared Cuomo to Scott Walker, yet they failed to endorse pro-teacher Zephyr Teachout against him. They did this not once, but twice, and it was particularly egregious that they failed to support her on the Working Families line. Why on earth isn't Working Families supporting a pro-working families candidate, and if they aren't, why do we even need them?
Did any of these positions help them get their sweetheart bill passed? Is it a coincidence it happened concurrently with an evaluation deal? I can't prove it one way or the other. But they can't either, circumstance is not in their favor, and their actions certainly do little to enhance their credibility.
4. They aren't perks because a lot of people have them.
That's ridiculous. UFT just sent 800 people to Los Angeles at a cost of 2 million dollars. It's not like we didn't know how each and every one of them was going to vote. They could just as easily have sent Mulgrew there to cast 800 votes. There's a reason 100% of UFT reps sign a loyalty oath, support Common Core, mayoral control, junk science evaluations, and what have you, and it's simply not based on principle. No matter how many people receive perks, they're still perks. And again, I listened to Revive rail against perks all over the state of New York last spring.
5. You're just looking for reasons to criticize.
If that's the case, I don't have to look very hard. I didn't send Mike Mulgrew a letter asking him to behave like a professional wrestler when he addressed the AFT convention. And I didn't tell Revive leadership to quietly push a piece of legislation that benefited themselves rather than membership.
This is an old canard UFT trots out to vilify opponents. I will stand with leadership when they do the right thing. Last week I marched with UFT to protest police violence. This particular march faced a lot of opposition among UFT, but I thought they were doing the right thing. I'm not Mulgrew's biggest fan, but I didn't sign the petition demanding his resignation for participating in the march.
I will stand with the union leadership when they're right, and there are few things that would make me happier than seeing them right more frequently.
I stand for democracy and transparency, and to anyone offended by that, too bad for you.
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