Thursday, December 22, 2022

Shirking--Our National Pastime

This is America from top down.  We see it every day. The buck doesn't stop here anymore. It rarely stops anywhere. From Donald Trump saying, "I don't take responsibility at all," to the student telling you she was late for your class because it takes too long to walk down the hall, nothing is anyone's fault anymore. 

Our employer, the DOE, removes the tool most of us use to do grading. While there's good reason to do that, they replace it with a piece of crap, and publicly defend it. They gave our school an attendance system that works most of the time, but is dependent on DOE internet, never a good thing. Of course, defend the program. Why bother actually repairing internet service citywide? That's not why your mother got you this gig sitting around Tweed doing Whatever.

When some administrator screws up some program or other to an embarrassing degree, and you point it out, you get to hear about how unforgivable it is you mustered the temerity to mention it. If the administrator is too chicken-shit to do it personally, you hear from the minions instead. How dare you point out how ineffective this program is! We went to multiple workshops!

There's no reflection, and no introspection. There's not even the echo of a thought that anything could have been done better. This is the way it is, this is the way it's always been, and if you would only clamp down your festering gob, it could be this way forever

I expect this sort of thing from morally bankrupt politicians, the DOE and  imagination-challenged administrators. Lately, though, it's exactly what I get from my union leadership. In 2018, filled with hubris from a 2014 deal, they made a supreme screw-up, one of their very worst. Self-funding a raise is a terrible idea even if it works, as it seemed to in 2014. When it does not, like now, it's far worse. 

Now we're looking at disrupting and downgrading the health care of our most vulnerable members. Perhaps this way, the fools in MLC who made a backroom deal can retain their credibility with the city. Of course, that's not something they should value over credibility with rank and file. This notwithstanding, they couldn't care less, and still manage to boast about their negotiation policies. Leadership assumes, correctly, that much of our rank and file is asleep, unaware, and indifferent. This, however, is nothing to brag about, and is also the fault of leadership.

To have a truly vibrant and effective union, we need to harness the strength of rank and file. Newspapers call us the "powerful" UFT to show their contempt for us. We need to rise up and become at least as powerful as they say we are. It feels like our leadership fears us and desperately hopes we remain dormant. That's really the only way we can tolerate this spectacular blunder. (It certainly appears they made their best effort to sweep it under the carpet at the last retiree meeting.)

I make mistakes too. However, if you persuade me I'm actually wrong, I admit to them and correct them. That way, I can move forward. We really need our leaders to wake up and admit to this screwup. Otherwise, it's just going to get worse. 

We cannot afford to change the code. We cannot afford to move backward. And we just can't take any more of this. 

UFT leadership needs to wake the hell up, now, and remember just who they work for.

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