The most striking thing about this month's DA, in retrospect, is the absolute nonsense voiced by UFT President Michael Mulgrew at its opening. I had no idea why Mulgrew was talking about whether or not people could leaflet inside or out of UFT offices. But he went into detail about how outer borough offices occupied rented space, and the Manhattan building was owned by the union. Given that, he said, it was understandable that indoor leafleting was permitted only at 52 Broadway.
Yet here is a video taken by Norm Scott showing people actively blocking him from leafleting. Norm repeatedly asks who sent these people, and they repeatedly evade answering him. Norm points out that the union owns the building and that he's paid dues for 45 years. So why have people been sent to throw him out of the building that we own? And who the hell sent those people, if not Michael Mulgrew? If he is not in control of his own people, who is?
Mulgrew is clearly trying to overcome his image as autocratic, sarcastic, and disrespectful of any opinions failing to mirror his own. In fact, he himself kept remarking on how nice he is. He once again joked about how he restrained himself from using bad language, a joke he evidently finds so hilarious it bears repeating on a monthly basis. He made a point of commenting on how Mindy Rosier was a great presence in social media, which of course she is. Yet that only underlines the hypocrisy of the man who urges UFT members to get on Twitter but won't do so himself.
Bogeyman Michael Bloomberg, who we failed to oppose in two elections, is brought up. Aren't we better off without him? Well of course we are, but if we hadn't caved to him on mayoral control, on the ATR, and on the entire grab bag of goodies we granted him in 2005, we'd be better off yet. It's time to face up to our current enemies--Andrew Cuomo, who we also failed to oppose on multiple occasions, and MaryEllen Elia, who enabled the union-bsuting being imposed on our brothers and sisters in Buffalo. It's time for Mulgrew to explain why the hell he thanked the Heavy Hearts Assembly for approving the law that made this happen.
Self-proclaimed nice Mulgrew again ridiculed his opponents, saying last year everyone was "jumping up and down." In retrospect, there was a lot to jump about. Look at Buffalo teachers facing receivership. Look at them facing the abrogation of collective bargaining agreements. Look at them facing more work for less pay and even potential dismissal. Mulgrew spoke of how bogeyman Bloomberg wanted to fire ATRs and render us at-will employees. Yet he thanked the Heavy Hearts for passing a bill that does exactly the same thing.
It was clear to his MORE/ NA opponent, Jia Lee, months ago that MaryEllen Elia was not our friend. That's why she brought a resolution urging we express our disapproval. But UFT Unity, ever seeking a seat at the table where we are the dinner, shot it down.
Most of the resolutions were pretty much Mom and Apple Pie, and few stood against them. But on the 5 train back, James Eterno mentioned he was concerned about any bill that says all kids will be literate by second grade. Of course no one opposes literacy. But the 100% figure is problematic, and we seem to have learned nothing from the failed NCLB. Kids have all sorts of differences, including learning disabilities and interrupted formal education, and given that, 100% is not a reasonable goal.
And while Jonathan Halabi himself has commented about it on this blog, I have to say I was a little shocked to see Mulgrew rule him out of order for speaking up for ATR teachers. Mulgrew took it a step further, likening Jonathan's proposal to anarchy. Personally, I'm not an anarchist, but I am and have been troubled by the top-down nature of UFT leadership. I always found it amazing they could muster the audacity to criticize bogeyman Bloomberg for being exactly the same as they are. That, of course, is not to even mention the fact that every single one of our so-called delegates in NYSUT and AFT has signed a loyalty oath to represent leadership rather than membership.
Ruling out free thought has brought us precisely to this crossroad.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.