Sunday, November 22, 2020

What is UFT Hiding in Not Releasing Retro Aribitration Transcript?

Tomorrow is a UFT Town Hall. I think these town halls show the UFT is being proactive somewhat and somewhat transparent. But how much of it is substance and how much of it is for show? 

Something like this should have been done a long, long time ago in a reality that was too far away. Mulgrew or whomever was UFT president should have had these town hall face to face in each borough every month. The ATR meetings in November I have appreciated but instead of once a year should have been every month. 

Each town hall I have pressed zero to ask a question. I used to get Rasheed, lately it seems like some retiree. It used to be that someone from the upper echelon of the UFT emailed you back. But that is if you weren't amongst the chosen to formally ask Mulgrew a question. No longer, now you get some anonymous hack emailing you back a question. One thing did improve, we don't hear the same Flat Stanley question time after time in a town hall.

My gut tells me the teachers that get to ask question publicly and their questions are pre-screened. It just makes sense. The numbers I have heard on a town hall phone call are over 10k. How is it that of all these town halls, all the pissed off teachers, all the thousands of teachers there has not been one teacher to dare question Mulgrew's leadership? To scream? To rant? To curse? To mock? Statistically, this is impossible. How many callers would call Mike Francesa to mock him and/or rant in just a single hour?

So last month I came up with a good question. It was about the arbitration hearing with our retro pay. I asked this question due to Mulgrew sharing this at last month's town hall...

Many of you have written me about it. We always anticipate bad things. We plan for bad days as teachers. Didn't talk to city about it at all, and then on October 2 I asked for confirmation they were processing payment. Asked again. I then called, knowing members would check paychecks.

 October 2nd he had a hunch what was going on. He could've shared this with us. He didn't. But, I thought, the arbitration meeting, it must've been transcribed. I asked (click to enlarge)...

I asked if there is a transcript of the arbitration hearing and if so when can the rank and file expect to see such transcript. The email I received was dated October 20, 2020, and I followed up on November 18, 2020. As of today, November 22, 2020, I have heard hide nor hair from the UFT concerning my transcript request. If there is a transcript, the DOE and/or the city must have said transcript. Perhaps a FOIL request can be filed? 

Transparency. That's not very much to ask for. Let's see the transcript. Why is it taking so long to respond whether or not a transcript exists? Or even just an audio recording of the arbitration. There is enough skepticism about the process last month with our retro. Prove the skeptics wrong. Release the audio and/or transcript of the arbitration. 

A lot of us got really screwed with half a retro check this year. I think it is only fitting that we know the full truth on how we are out half our retro.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jethro's Plight

I got off the phone about 20 minutes ago with a teacher that has been in the Rubber Room 18 months and is still awaiting their hearing which has been pushed back several times and probably won't be heard until at least after March 2021. 

This teacher, for anonymity sake will henceforth be known as Jethro, is beside themself with fear and anxiety. Jethro's biggest fear is, "How will I be believed?"

I explained to Jethro that the job of your lawyer is to build up your credibility and reduce the credibility of the witnesses. Yeah, it is a fine line. But any competent lawyer should be able to do this. And I get it, this can cause anxiety and fear. 

If you go through this blog there are many instances of teachers being accused for something they didn't say, didn't do, or something they said or did and it was taken out of context. And for whatever reason their accuser, DOE legal decided to take these teachers words and/or deeds and use them as a sword against these teachers. A vicious bloody sword. 

Heck, I can empathize with Jethro. I know what it was and still is at times, to have my words and deeds taken out of context. Do have words I never said and deeds I hadn't be used against me. 

Jethro feels helpless what Jethro was accused of. What Jethro did was taken out of context. Jethro's words and deeds were contorted. Some people choose fight or flight. Sometimes it just freaking easier for flight. Sometimes it is just worth it. 

Even before you get to that point, there is the dreaded discipline meeting with the principal. There your words and deeds are taken out of context. You are accused of doing something or saying something you hadn't done. I am sure this is how Jethro felt at first. Maybe Jethro wasn't debased or humiliated by their principal in a meeting but many have. I recall a teacher in which he was mocked by their principal for 10 minutes in denying something they were accused of but didn't do. In fact this principal had to continue the mocking 30 minutes later in a email. Or maybe it was a text. 

People wonder why teachers are leaving in droves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New York Post Treats Remote Teachers Like Hunter Biden

 Oh, I wanted to share my experiences with remote learning, the lack of anyone at my school who is able to remotely (pardon the pun) coherently explain what to do with all this technology we have on our laps, or other issues the UFT is not being proactive about. But then the New York Post rears it's ugly head again and gosh, gee, once again it is time to defend teachers whose actions are taken out of context and maligned. 

Oh, Sue Edelman, I am sad. I thought you was cool. Or getting cool. Or at least
were in the process of leaving the Dark Side. 

On Sunday, November 7, 2020, the Post in an article penned by Edelman uncovered (as one can be certain by the same quality reporting chops and without reproach ethics that the Post has shown towards Hunter Biden) that (HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD!!!) two, yes TWO, teachers appeared to be teaching unconventionally. 

One teacher was caught on camera teaching from the back seat of a car. Or as Edelman "reported"...

“She was teaching class like she normally does, but she was in a car,” the student told The Post, asking to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions. “I was, like, ‘Hey, my teacher’s in a car.’”

But the student did not hear nor know of why the teacher was in the car. Interesting. And neither did Sue Edelman. 

Could it be that the teacher was out for lunch (Sue, is it OK for teachers eat lunch?) and her car broke down? And, being the dedicated teacher she is she went on her phone in an Uber? That certainly is plausible. Or there could be a myriad of other reasons, no? 

Another teacher, according to Sue's "reporting"...

an English teacher "conducted a lesson while reclining in a hammock in his backyard as his own kids played", the student said.

According to the student the teacher ...

"...was in a hammock interacting with his kids during the lesson,”

So the teacher is in a hammock. Prove he was. Interacting with his children? Ages of children? What is context of the interacting? Again Sue, what is the context? Was this teacher contacted? Was the previous teacher contacted? 

Gee Sue, my cat has a colon issue. If she splatters cat doody on the walls, should I just do nothing? I mean I do have a co-teacher. Or should a teacher not do anything if a loved one they live with suddenly starts dying? Or what to do about a crying baby? Or a fire?

Please Sue, don't compare the ethics of NYC teachers to the people at the Post who decide to take a washed up mayor's word on what is on a hard drive. There is a big difference. 

It must have been a slow news day to just out of the blue vilify to teachers for no reason at all. 

Sue, I am disappointed. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

When a UFT Victory is Not Really a Victory

 We are hearing the word "victory" bandied about quite a bit, in the last several days since Friday's arbitration hearing. The UFT is claiming victory for defending our earned retro pay that is owed us from 2009-2014. Yes, I am happy that we will be getting it. Though not quite as happy receiving two payments as opposed to one. This is a victory for the city and a loss for the UFT and the rank and file. De Blasio knew exactly what he was doing. 

It was no coincidence that DeB notified the city a week before our we would have received our retro. DeB and the city knew over the summer they were going to try to pull this off. But if they announced it in the summer there would have been talks first. Talks drag on. That would not have benefited the city. 

What to do? Take advantage of the clause in the MOA that anything concerning the retro would go straight to arbitration. Yes, the rank and file should be grateful that the UFT made the clause was part of the MOA. But guess what? That clause was taken advantage of by the city as well. In fact they were hoping for it to be invoked. They got their wish.

Why did the city wish to go to arbitration? Think of this old saying; "You never know how a jury will rule." In this case, an arbitrator. The city had nothing to lose, the UFT everything to lose. There's already a doo-doo storm (The Crack Team had informed me that in the last blog post there were too many naughty words) over the retro being split in two payments. Imagine what would happen if the arbitrator found for the city? 

pyrrhic the UFT was forced to negotiate from a defensive posture. It had no choice but, and for lack of a better word, to cave. James Eterno made a good point on his blog that the arbitrator did not decide this. But rather,  the case was settled between the parties. It was a consent degree. The city had Mulgrew by his proverbial goodies (Again, no naughty words). 

I do disagree slightly with James about that if we didn't get our entire payment in full we should have gone right to court. Again, using the old adage, there is no assurance how a judge would rule. But that's a chance we would have had to take. 

The city wanted something in return, and they got it. After my initial shock on hearing the news Thursday night I figured that out. But what did the city want? My guess was that we would have to furlough 5 days. I was wrong. But no one gets something for nothing. And it is always the UFT giving something for nothing. 

This stunt the city pulled never would have been attempted with the cops, the firefighters, sanitation workers, corrections officers, or any other city union. Again and again the teachers and the UFT are used to go #2 on (again, no naughty words). 

There are many teacher's that adjusted their TDA's and now are screwed. There are many teachers that were counting on this check to catch up on bills and now are screwed. But again, the perception is WE DON'T MATTER. 

This is nothing but a pyrrhic win by the UFT and they are backslapping themselves whilst sipping champagne. This was a gimme putt an inch from the hole.  

What should be done? Openness to begin with. Make public the transcript between the parties and the arbitrator. Put it up on the UFT website. We should demand it. Show us proof there was some negotiations. Show us proof what the UFT had to offer and/or say. Same with the city. These time demand clear candor on the part of the UFT. It is time. 

And the UFT must answer these questions post haste: 1)What is the status of the upcoming per session retro pay and, 2)what of those that are in my situation that will still be owed a payment in October 2021? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Time For De Blasio to F**k the Cops Same Way He Does Teachers

I am really getting tired of this shit with the retro pay. How can such a simple thing

be so fucked up? 

I was suspended in 2015 when the first payment went out. Of course I found out that suspended meant technically "on leave" so I was to get nothing. In 2016 there was to be no retro pay for anyone, some type of religious and/or spiritual retro leap year. For 2017, I was all excited because I was told that since I did not get retro in 2015 my retro check would be doubled. This info coming from several within the UFT. Nope. I just got 12 1/2%. Same in 2018, but my check was short by $700 or so because the DOE claimed they overpaid me the previous year. I did a payroll grievance and never really saw definitive proof. This year, well, we know how we are getting fucked for 2020. And this is not supposed to be my last payment. I still have a payment next year.

My 2018 Per Session retro check never came. Why you ask? Because even though I got a per session retro check the previous year, when I called per session payroll they shared with me that I had not worked per session between 2009-2014. But, I implored the crazy person I was talking to, if this were true how then did I get per session last year? On the day of the grievance, they realized they were wrong (I really wish there were a faceplam emoji on this dang blogger).

But enough of me.

So now it has come to this. Something so simple to handle became a shitstorm. Every union in the city got a lump sum retro check except the UFT. Of course, that is how the universe is supposed to work. Other unions get over on the city we take it up the ass day after fucking day. 

But why do we have to give back in this time of need? What about the NYPD? 

Did you know that each and every non-disability retired member of the NYPD, and the FDNY receives a Christmas bonus of $12k? Why, you ask? 

Let's go to Staten Island Live and find out...

The payment emerged from an agreement made between union and city leaders in 1968 at a time when the city was trying to increase its investment return of pension funds by diversifying portfolios.

Wait, there is more. A report by the non-partisan Citizens Budget Commission says these so called bonuses weaken the pension plans of of all city employees. In fact CBC Vice President Maria Doulis says...

“Phasing out or eliminating the VSF should be part of the mayor and City Council’s agenda in Albany next year,”

Think how much money the city can save? Yet, the rank and file cop will never have his or her "perks" cut. Because God forbid someone says something or does something bad against the cops. Mind you, I am not denouncing police nor for defunding the police. I'm just pointing out unfairness/

But if a FDNY or NYPD member retires in their mid 40's they can be collection for over forty years. Can't the NYPD or FDNY share the pain? Of course not, their union presidents would go batshit crazy!!!!!!

NYPD officers also receive almost $1k a year, $980 in uniform allowance. For a few shirts and pants? And black Skechers? Every uniform cop? Or is this every cop, including detectives? What about a cop that is a house mouse? He or she is never getting the uniform dirty. Can't that be reduced during this time of need? Our Teacher's Choice money is always fucked with. Why not fuck with NYPD's uniform allowance? Aren't materials for our students just as important as nice looking uniforms for cops? Besides a lot of cops still live with their mommies so mom can clean and press the uniforms to keep it looking nice. Mommy can clean the donut stains.

NYPD officers also receive $2k in January and July for holiday pay. Why not not give it out this January and this past July? Can't the cops of New York City take one for the team? 

Cops are still getting their overtime? Heck, guess what? In a few short weeks NYPD will be on 12 hour shifts. Every day. Where is our overtime?

But as I was writing this just about 10 minutes ago at 6:01 PM EDT I found that the UFT and the city reached agreement. 50% in October, 50% in July, no layoffs, 3% raise in May.

 Back to our regularly scheduled program.

If De Blasio really wished to save money within the DOE? Stop with the waste. Stop with elementary schools with enrollment under 500 students have multiple AP's. Across the board 20% pay cuts for all non union sycophantic wastes of human life that work at Tweed. Two coaches or whatever they are called per school. There are too many schools that are top heavy with positions filled by those that suckle at the sphincter of the principal. Shit the school I am at has 2 principals, about 4 or 5 useless coaches as well as a useless UFT center person. Go figure.

Time for the De Blasio to grow a set of balls with the NYPD. Make cuts to their perks. Not permanent of course, but temporary. Teachers are just as important, but in a different way, than cops. At least we don't kill people of color. 

And while we are at it. Where the frig is my pay for giving up my spring vacation? I figure that is about $4500 I am missing out on. Yeah, I know. The cops gave up their days off and vacations in July when they went to 12 shifts, 7 days a week. But they were getting OVERTIME. It helps.

Lastly, my dad used to tell me that no one can take advantage of you unless you give them permission. Think about it. We and the UFT keep getting fucked. We give the UFT permission. The UFT gives De Blasio permission. Time we do the fucking.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Time for the UFT to Retain Lawyer Bryan Glass

Have you ever had the "what the fuck" moment with the UFT? Wait, dumb question. We all
Über Teacher Lawyer Bryan Glass
have. Again, what the fuck are they thinking or waiting for?

One would kind of assume that after last night's news dump that it will be OK for students to have asynchronous learning four days a week that a light bulb would have appeared over 52 Broadway. Not just a light bulb representing an idea but as a beacon for the students, the communities, and the teachers of New York City. Sadly it was not to be.

The city and the DOE keep on trying to create chicken salad out of chicken shit. They show time and time again that they have know idea what their doing. There is no plan. There is "let's see if this works," and cross their fingers it will. They do this not only due to their incompetency, but the enabling and silence coming from the UFT.

This afternoon as I was walking into Pet Smart, I get a news alert from LoHud. NYSUT, unhappy with looming budget cuts decided to sue the state. This was around 4 PM if memory serves. Not too long ago a New York State budget spokesman announced that the state will not withhold any money. The threat of a lawsuit apparently works. See?

Hint, hint UFT. Lawsuits work. Lawyers can do the job. Here's some free advice. 

Hire Bryan Glass. Not tomorrow, not next week when their is chaos, hire him now. Tonight. Right this very minute. This is a no-brainer. I can attest to Bryan's professionalism and resourcefulness. Hundreds of teachers within the DOE can do the same. This makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to hire Bryan?

Bryan has saved the careers of many a teacher and won many teachers a nice cash settlement. Bryan has also gone up against big odds and pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. 

Bryan's consultation fee is quite reasonable as is his retainer. His email address was posted on last night's post,or contact him through his website.

Bryan has an office in Lower Manhattan with could be an amiable meeting place or he can come to you. Or if you wish, Bryan can meet you at the Wegmans in Montvale.

Let Bryan take the city and DOE to court. He has a track record. He won a case on Monday. He can do this again. The schools shouldn't open. Bryan can make the UFT look good. 

The ball is in your court UFT. Pick up the phone and call Bryan Glass. It might be the best phone call the UFT has ever made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The UFT Never Misses an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity

For those that have lived in a cave for the last 24 hours, Solidarity, led by Lydia Howrilka here) who did not have underlying medical conditions but lived in fear for those they lived one did. and represented in court by über teacher lawyer Bryan Glass won a Temporary Restraining Order for the five plaintiffs (Read decision

What happens next? The TRO only pertains to the five plaintiffs and expires on Monday, September 21. Plus, the Corporation Counsel according to a source is not appealing the TRO, and the judge in the case is welcoming affidavits for other teachers who feel that they are in the same situation as the original five plaintiffs. Email Bryan Glass for more information. Immediately. Affidavits must be in no later than 6 PM EDT Thursday, September 17.

No on to bigger and sadder things.

The UFT, the Unity part of the UFT, could have had this victory. I saw this decision coming and not just because Bryan Glass is the attorney. It made sense. Five teachers, all with loved ones with Centers for Disease Control underlying conditions. A mayor and a schools chancellor that day in and day out not only spew inane contradictory blabber out of their mouths but have time and time again shown that the only reason to re-open school building is that each need to know that all is OK in the phallus department for them.

What does the UFT do? Does it play offense? Not exactly. They were playing what Warner Wolf termed the Giants offense back in the late 70's. The UFT was playing a "prevent offense." The UFT just didn't want to punch the ball into the end zone. They could've. The had the resources to. They just didn't want to.

Yes, Mike Mulgrew for most of August was talking strike. "Wow," some people said, "Mulgrew is being proactive." But striking would not have been a good idea. I laid down why a strike would not have worked two weeks ago. But seeking injunctive relief in keeping schools closed would have been a winner.

One of the advantages in going to court, the city and the DOE would be have not only been forced to lay out their re-opening plans but would have been forced to defend contradictory, ever changing, and unsafe reopening. The city and the DOE would be defending the indefensible. The UFT, on the other hand would show that only the union had the safety and welfare of the students, the school communities, and yes, the teachers as a priority.

With winning in court and keeping the school from reopening the UFT is letting the judge make the decision. The UFT won't have the public perception of turning it's backs on our most vulnerable. The UFT could've had the city and DOE as the villains, as the ones that are usurping education and the re-opening.

The UFT could have had their own plan for 100% remote learning which as of this evening, 9:01 PM EDT on September 15, 2020, the DOE hasn't figured out.

But with a strike, there is always the threat of scabs. Not so with a court ruling. With a court ruling no risk of 2 for 1, or losing automatic checkoff. Teachers would still get paid. The UFT would have had hand. They could've negotiated from a position of strength. The clock is running out for the UFT to proudly take its gonads show them off to the rank and file.

In the mean time the latest I heard is 55 teachers testing positive for COVID. In several schools the teachers are refusing to enter the buildings, photos on Facebook and Twitter of mold in classrooms, schmutz on vents, windows that open have an inch, and too many schools with not enough PPE. Hey, how is that agreement going so far?

And lest we forget the numbers are going up for students who are doing full remote and the DOE is still 10k teachers short.

Time for 52 Broadway to bring in the big guns, and act in a big way.