Monday, April 06, 2015

When 750 U.F.T.-Unity Members "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," Who Will Give Members the Shuffle?

When the 750 from U.F.T.-Unity "shuffle off to Buffalo" with their handsome stipends of $749 each to vote as a bloc (per their loyalty oath) at the N.Y.S.U.T. convention, dues-paying members have a right to know who calls the shots.

It's not just a concern to U.F.T. members.  Given the weight of the U.F.T., it's a concern to all N.Y.S.U.T. members, Teacher Unions across the country and, indeed, Unionism in general.  If the U.F.T. makes some resolution, sets some pattern, it can potentially plague Unionism nationwide.  We all need to know who is at the keel.

The U.F.T. has an Executive Board, yet, from what I've read, the Board seems to move through the motions and rubber stamp stuff as if loyalty was top on their list, too.  They don't seem to call any shots.

"At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak."

But to whom are they loyal?  We need to know.  We have a right to know.

I know there's a Carpenter who is the public face of Unity, and, be it known, I have nothing against carpenters.

An entirely different Carpenter.  This album is a fine bit of craftsmanship!

In fact, some of the best people in history have been carpenters.  But when public education is being whittled away, one wonders if the Carpenter is calling the shots.  Is he the mastermind or is he just at his workbench following someone else's designs?  Some say Randi has the blueprints and they may be right.  I would like to know.

We have a definite right to see the faces, read the biographies and understand the guiding philosophies of those who pull the strings.  These people, whoever they are, ultimately hold a controlling interest in N.Y.S.U.T. and the A.F.T.  Dictating policies and then watching their minions vote as a bloc, they can make or break Unionism in the United States.  These people should step forward and tell us who they are--because we all know the process is anything but democratic.

If these persons come out in favor of annual Pearson tests, Gates'-funded Core and fail to support the I-refuse movement, we need to know their identities.

And, who calls the shots to accept class sizes in excess of contractual agreements in NYC?  One Queens school reportedly had six over-sized classes as of last week.  Another, with which I am more familiar, had 84.  An arbitrator decided last year that teachers of over-sized classes would be relieved of their C6 (professional) duties in lieu of enforcing class-size limits per our contract.  This was supposed to make everything fine, and our Union seemed happily on board, selling it to us as a victory, but it's a failure of grand proportions.  It makes contractual limits on class size meaningless.

As well as endangering our  power as a Union to enforce class-size limits, it does untold harm to students and strikes at the interests of parents.  It is a terrifying sign of the erosion of our power and the willingness to compromise our basic integrity.  We put ourselves at odds with the interests of parents and teachers.

So, tell me who bargains away our integrity?  Who negotiates away our hard-won rights?  Are they earthlings?  Are they retirees?  When was the last time they taught in a classroom?  When was the last time they had a child in the public-school system?  What motivates them to fail in our name?

They compromise with those who would destroy us.  And then they seem surprised when they actually try to destroy us.  They dilute Unionism and detach it from community interests.  They leave us feeling detached, weak and relatively powerless.  They leave us open to the next challenge.

We have a right to know their identities.  We have a right to know their numbers.  And, if there's any logic to their ill-conceived plans, we also have a right to know--because they are gumming up all of our works.  Let us see their faces.  Let us at least be sure they are human.
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