Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NYSUT, Where Officers Can Do Anything and Everything

Those wacky Revive NYSUT folks and their zany antics continue unabated. NYSUT used to have a Staff Director, whose duties included acting as a liaison between officers and staff. About a year ago, he retired. Rather than hire another one, Vice President Paul Pecorale took on his duties. This is interesting on multiple levels.

First of all, what is it that Paul Pecorale did every day before he was Staff Director? I mean, there you are making a quarter million dollars a year to do something. Whatever it is, though, you have time to do the entire job of another person. This indicates that at least one of these jobs didn't really merit a full salary. Which one? Both? Your guess is as good as mine. (I know Stronger Together proposed eliminating one officer job in the last election and ran for one fewer than Unity did.)

I'm just a lowly schoolteacher. With my job as chapter leader I get one period off teaching. With 300 members, it's not nearly enough to keep up. Fortunately I like being challenged, and I'm up for it. Nonetheless, for years now I've been offered a sixth class. Because ESL is a shortage area, I could make an extra 13K a year. Sure I'd like to make the money. But I can't figure out how I could keep up with what I already do with a sixth class. In fact, I have no idea how I keep up with what I do now.

Yet Paul Pecorale, earning over double my salary for a high profile job leading the state union, somehow has time to take on not just another class, but rather an entire other job. I always wonder what those people do. I didn't have to wonder what Lee Cutler did. He was endlessly running all over the state, making contact with teachers. He was much loved and came very close to putting a huge dent in the statewide Unity machine, largely controlled by the citywide Unity machine.

There were, of course, repercussions to the Revive NYSUT coup. For one, there's now a resistance group in the state union called Stronger Together. They were beaten back in the last election, but with shenanigans on high for all to see, they could do better. I had my issues with them when they didn't include MORE in their last campaign, but there are some real quality people in this resistance.

I know they are real quality because I've met them. Current President Andy Pallotta knows they're quality too. That's why he asked some of them to run with him in the 2014 coup before settling on the batch he eventually wound up with. The thing is, a lot of people Pallotta asked had loyalty to Lee Cutler and Dick Iannuzzi. Having spent time with both it's not hard to see why.

Let's drop personalities and take a look at what the Staff Director does. I don't know everything this person does, but one role my sources offered is as a liaison between staff and officers. This could be important. For example, if a staff member has an issue with the officers, that member doesn't have to face them directly. In that way, staff director is s a little like my job. A lot of chapter members, right or wrong, don't want to speak to the principal so they address him through me. Whatever the principal is good, bad or indifferent, he's the boss. A lot of people, being smarter than I am, wish to avoid being adversarial. That's one reason why, in city schools, we have chapter leaders.

Now imagine that the principal fired the chapter leader and appointed himself chapter leader. Whenever you have an issue with the principal, you can go talk to the principal. He will then relay your concerns to the principal, who will work something out with himself and issue a decision.

Hardly seems worth it, actually.

What this means, essentially, is that NYSUT staff have lost something of value. When you have an issue with the boss, it's always easier if you have a representative. That's one of the benefits of union.

Curiously, NYSUT seems to feel their employees don't merit this benefit. Ironic, ain't it?
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