Monday, February 16, 2015

#InviteMulgrew to Twitter

Am I the only person who has noticed UFT President Michael Mulgrew is not on Twitter? He's urged all of us to get on and use hashtags. #InviteCuomo and #AllKidsNeed. I'm particularly fond of the latter, though a journalist told me I had the unlikely honor of being the first to use the former.

Here's the thing--UFT President Michael Mulgrew is fairly notorious for ignoring inconvenient email. I may have directly emailed him two or three times, and after the first time I published the emails on the blog, since I had a pretty good idea I wouldn't receive an answer. A member in another school just informed me that a district rep told her to stop writing him, and that someone else in UFT would answer her queries.

It's ironic that someone who spent years complaining of the top-down policies of the Bloomberg sees fit not to mix with us lowly teachers. But someone who ignores most member email would likely not be comfortable in a forum like twitter. It's not like the DA, where you can turn off James Eterno's microphone when he says the new pattern is the lowest in our living memory, and then claim it isn't true, citing absolutely nothing in support. A concept like that, at a pivotal moment, merits discussion beyond, "sit down and shut up."

A lot of people seem to think otherwise, but it's leadership's job to represent us, not simply to set an agenda, move full speed ahead, and ignore or shut up anyone who says different. On that basis, I think it would be a good idea for our President to actually talk to us, and not strictly those of us who have signed oaths to believe whatever he tells us to believe.

Consider Mulgrew doesn't answer our email, but consider also the DA is so large that, even if he weren't favoring his BFFs, he couldn't really talk to or call on all of us. Since not all of us can pop into 52 Broadway at a moment's notice, and since there's no reason to believe we'd be welcome if we did, shouldn't there be some forum where we could actually talk to our President?

More to the point, since Mulgrew has asked us all to go on Twitter, shouldn't he himself lead by example, take the plunge, and participate? And before you tell me how busy he is, let me point out that Randi Weingarten, who represents even more members, is on Twitter and Facebook pretty much all the time, and she will interact with pretty much everyone.

Or is Mulgrew, in fact, only there to tell us what to do, what to think, with no obligation whatsoever to listen to or interact with us? If he's not interested in what we have to say, why doesn't he just tell us? Why not just let us know he can't be bothered speaking to lowly teachers who haven't signed loyalty oaths?

Honesty is still the best policy, and maybe if Mulgrew could inspire loyalty instead of exchanging it for free trips to LA we'd all be better off. I'd been on Twitter for a few years before Mulgrew invited me. But since he did, I'm returning the invitation. I love Twitter, and I #InviteMulgrew to join us. If you're on Twitter, why not do the same?
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