Friday, December 28, 2018

The Color Red

Oy! Too little going on. Anyway...

I see red
And it hurts my head

Guess it must be something
That I read

It's the color of your heartbeat
A rising summer sun
The battle lost or won

The flash to fashion
And the pulse to passion
Feels red

Inside my head
And truth is often bitter
Left unsaid


Said red red
Thinking about the overhead
The underfed

Couldn't we talk about something else instead

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true!)

What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes

The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Continuing Implosion of the MORE Caucus

The MORE Caucus is at it again. Well, really the de facto leader of the MORE Caucus and his sidekick, but they are the faces of what is left of the MORE Caucus and one can't really see either without thinking of the MORE Caucus so ipso facto.

At last night's UFT Delegate Assembly, there was some old putz handing out what some considered anti-Semitic literature entitled, "Why the UFT Should Not Partner With the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) on Anti-Racist Initiatives." This was due to a resolution that was to be voted on last night (and ultimately passed)...
"Resolution to unite with orgs against toxic political atmosphere. Supports. News stories horrible, frequent, don’t want it to become norm. Sacred spaces, of religion, and schools under attack. Don’t even want to talk about 45’s role. Let us stand against all kinds of discrimination and with orgs that speak out against it." 
So the UFT wished to join with the ADL in this battle. Gee, why not? But come to think of it, what timing it was to show some people's true colors in passing this literature.
I mean just about six weeks after 11 Jews were slaughtered in their own synagogue in Pittsburgh while praying and celebrating a new life.
But six weeks later many are still awaiting to hear an official statement from the MORE Caucus condemning this barbaric act. I guess no one should be holding their breath, right?

Enough of that. Let's get into the flyer, as well as the accusations thrown, that was being handed out in front of 52 Broadway last night. Apologies to one MORE Caucus member for my rejoinders.

I'm getting tired of this Israel/Jew bashing from the MORE Caucus. First, it absolutely has ZERO to do with anything that the 75k+ members of the UFT want or need. Secondly, I have the same disdain for those from the right that continue to sycophantically support Israel. Both the MORE Caucus and it polar opposites on the Right don't have a clue in what they are talking about nor the good grace and knowledge on when to keep their moths shut and when to open them.

Has the ADL done some not good things? Yes! Has it done a lot of good things? Yes! But has the MORE Caucus, whilst looking at the world in it's ISO hazed glasses, fails to see, as does the Rightists in this country, is that there is something called nuance.
noun: nuance; plural noun: nuances

a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

The world is not a vacuum.Let's just look at Venezuela.


But the MORE Caucus just decides to live in its own purity bubble. That those who are not pure are cast out, calling out others who don't think like the collective (BORG), while refusing to look inward to wonder why at a MORE Caucus meeting 95% of the attendees are WHITE!! And of these WHITE MORE Caucus members, most of these members work in schools that a certifiable wet dreams to work in. 

I despise the Israeli government and Bibi with a passion. I KNOW the Settlements are illegal and wish it would stop. Israel is so far from its roots and it's core beliefs now I am saddened.

But I shall not back down from Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. And I shall not back away from my belief that Palestine should have a state. But, it takes two to tango and I know for a fact that Israel has done much more tangoing.

Can those in charge of the MORE Caucus have this kind of nuance and thinking when it comes to other matters? Such as BLM, cops, Unity, capitalism, or dare I say...MORE Caucus members that disagree with the "ideals" of some fruity little ISO club? 

Not only was handing out the flyer and the motion to amend not working with the ADL done in the wrong place, at the wrong time (Many teachers are Jews!!!), but it shows yet again, that the needs and wants of the rank and file are way down the list of those at the MORE Caucus.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you guys were out there supporting the OT/PT chapter last night. Big deal. Anyone can be opportunistic. It doesn't take much effort. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Been Thinking of My Blood Sugar, The UFT, and the MORE Caucus

In the summer of 2012 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In retrospect I think I had
been having symptoms, constant thirst and always running to the bathroom, for two years before that.

At the time of my diagnosis my blood sugar level was nearly 500 as as my cholesterol level. My A1C was over 13. And my weight was 30 pounds heavier than it is now. I went from a size 38 waist to 32.

I am not on insulin, yet I am on Metformin, Glimepiride, and Jardiance for the Diabetes and Lipitor for the cholesterol. My cholesterol is now normal and my blood sugar, well it can always be improved, but my A1C is usually around 7 (it should be less, closer to 6.5) but I have cut out a lot from my diet.

I'm saying this because I remember several years ago talking about going on a hunger strike. Hunger strikes are hard. No food at all. Only water.

What's easy is going off my medications (OK, I have opened myself up to a litany of jokes!) . Flush it down the toilet. Stop going to CVS once a month for refills (except my Lipitor which comes mail order).

Why am I sharing this? Because something needs to be done with how our union elections and how decisions are made.

The UFT is calling, or at least exploring, earlier than usual elections for 2019. ATRs still have no voice, no functional chapter, no nothing. All teachers, all members of the UFT vote for every single officer. Why as an elementary teacher am I voting for HS VP? What purpose does an at-large executive board serve? Why at the DA is modern technology not used for voting of resolutions (simple, use an app to vote yes or no). There are a slew of other things to complain about.

That is one group. The other group is the MORE Caucus.

The MORE Caucus has gone bat shit crazy of late and is controlled by its patróns at the ISO and Gus Hall Superfriends Club, not to mention some truly demented human beings there. Worse yet, the purges of earlier this year in which the MORE Caucus stuck to the playbook of Stalin, Mao, and Saddam Hussein. The MORE Caucus still cares more for all this extraneous bullshit stuff rather than for the rank and file.

So what am I thinking.

I am really think choosing one of these two groups, that if things don't change I am going to go off the meds and set myself if I go hypoglycemic, or worse, so be it. But at least I will be doing it for for change, for the rank and file, a for a cause that means something.

If I do this I will be all in. Live on camera and streaming I will take my blood sugar. Instead of seeing between 90 and 150 2 hours after I eat, what will be seen are numbers like 600, 700, 900 or higher two hours after I eat. If I stroke out let it be on the UFT or the MORE Caucus.

I'm getting tired of the bullshit. I don't know what else to do. I am open to other ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Is the MORE Caucus About to Defraud Members of the UFT?

Imagine if you will that the MORE Caucus (Movement of Rank and File Educators) has a baseball team. The team is down by a run, bottom of the ninth, no out, and a runner on third. The opposing team is so inept they are not even playing the infield in. A fly ball, a safety squeeze, a ground ball to the right side of the infield, almost anything will get that run home to tie the game. Heck, a dinger will win it. What would the MORE Caucus do?

In all probability refuse to send the next batter, or any batters up. This will necessitate a forfeit and the MORE Caucus will lose the game. Clutching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Crack Team was sent what appears to be the MORE's 2019 UFT election strategy. Not only does it follow the above scenario but worse. It is perpetrating a serious fraud among the rank and file. Read (click on image to enlarge)...

Some highlights of the fraud...

We did not want to exhaust ourselves in an election campaign to eke out as many votes as possible for the dubious goal of winning some seats on the UFT Executive Board. Instead, we want to organize, reach out and expand the caucus.

Why run then? Why give people false hope that the MORE Caucus finally gives a damn about the rank and file when all the MORE Caucus wishes to do is toe expand the brand? This can be done without giving the rank and file false hope. Want to expand the brand. Sit the election out and in the meantime expand the brand. Again, this is nothing other than the MORE Caucus putting themselves over others. 

If we agree at our next meeting that trying to capture the high school seats on the Executive Board should not be our priority, that frees us to run in a variety of different ways and to better use of the campaign to further the kinds of organizing we all want to do. First, it could make petitioning easier. 

So if it is not a priority to win HS exec seats why run? Why waste time of so many. Why waste the time and energy of those who sign the petitions? Why waste the money of those who give? Wait a minute. Will the MORE Caucus share with those that give money their real intentions? If not, is that not fraud? 

In 2016 we ran a joint slate with 300 candidates, including candidates for all 100 seats on the Executive Board. That meant we had to get petitions filled out for 300 people, many of whom were unwilling to help with petitioning themselves. 

Yeah, you know who put in the grunt work? Thanks to the trade unionists those petitions were filled out. Guess those who were unwilling for to busy supporting something tpotally irrelevant to the rank and file of the DOE or shopping for artisanal mayo in Brooklyn.

However, if we are not targeting particular seats, we could choose to run a much smaller slate (maybe 45-50) candidates for the officer and “at-large” seats on the executive board. Any UFT member can sign those petitions or run for those spots so it is much easier to get that petitioning done.

There you go. Yeah, go for the at large seats in which there is ZERO CHANCE of winning. God forbid if one has to take time from an ISO activity to do something for teachers. 

Second, once the petitioning is over, if our goal isn’t to win particular seats, we can campaign however we want.

Face palm. Why does this remind me of tee ball when my son was 4 1/2 and everyone got a trophy or the Wall of Gaylord

What we won’t have to do is figure out how to blanket every high school in the city with leaflets. That is the part that is exhausting and spreads us very thin.

Or find someone (a trade unionist) to stay in the South Bronx late and blanket practically every school in District 7.

Yes, there will be menial labor involved. Petitioning involves some tedious record-keeping and planning. 

Menial? Hard work? Isn't that the opposite of what we try to teach our offspring? That no work is menial. That we grow from tedium. 

Ya know, it is about sales. Selling yourself and selling what you believe in. Look like the MORE Caucus can't do neither. 

But frankly, I think we’ll be better off for the future if a few members from the younger generation get trained in how to do it. And somebody will have to represent us on the UFT election committee. But, usually, that isn’t much work.

Seriously, I can go down to the chimp house at the Bronx Zoo and train the chimps in about 5 minutes. The work is not hard, it is the dedication. And yes, it is difficult to be dedicated to something when you have lived a life of white privilege, gone to the best private high schools, gone to top notch universities and mummsy and dada, as well as Jeeves are shelling out for your apartment in Brooklyn. 

How can anyone trust the MORE Caucus now? How can anyone see any leadership qualities? The MORE Caucus is about to pull off the biggest con on the members of the UFT ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Francesco Portelos Puts Foot in Mouth Yet Again

Oh geez, it's coming up to that time. The UFT elections. Here we go again.

ICE has been meeting contemplating whether or not to run in the upcoming UFT elections. Recently members of Solidarity have reached out to us hoping to form a joint slate. Most of us, including myself, were amiable to this.

At one meeting, speaking only for myself, I took the position that for any "joint slate" to move forward that Portelos cannot be involved at all, though I left room open for something for him running downslate. Even him politicking for the election did not sit well for me. But I was open. One pre-condition was for Portelos to actually show up at an ICE meeting and eat crow, mend fences, and be a mensch. But curiously, each meeting in which we were told he will be there something always came up for him at the last minute.

But the more things change the more the stay the same.

Here we go again with alternative facts and whining. I'm not well informed about Portelos' accusation about Shulman to comment. I do know that Portelos did creepily show up at his house in 2016 to whine about not getting his way. But Mike, remember this. New York State has the Castle Doctrine. But I digress. As for the second paragraph, it will be revisited later on in this post.

But bashing Arthur Goldstein? Come on. I have had my disagreements with Arthur. But to accuse him of wanting to be a Unity hack, come on.

If there is an offer for Arthur to join with Unity for HS executive board, it's fine by me and if he doesn't want to, again, it is fine by me. In fact, I hope if he is offered he takes them up on it. With Arthur on exec board I am sure he'll keep Unity's feet to the fire and teachers will continue to have a voice. Portelos, Arthur has something you want. Actually two things you want and will never have, Being on the exec board and integrity.

And being a hypocrite. Portelos, come with me down memory lane (click here).

"You miss the point. Unity is laughing at the Portelos spectacle - they know he is nuts but are happy to be using him to divide the opposition. They even brag privately how Solidarity is doing their work for them - and they also spill the beans that Portelos was asking Unity for a job and when he didn't get it he figured he could win favor by creating a caucus that could prevent MORE from winning executive board seats. Is that what the meeting with Randi was about? Play the tape."
No onto the second paragraph and this little whine from Portelos...

It is you. It is always about you. That's the way you want it. Yes, we heard the right things. "Portelos is not involved," "Portelos is too busy," "Yada, yada, yada..." But face facts. You are the face and heartbeat of Solidarity. And you love it. But even if it is not true this is the perception others have. Remember, there is no such thing as reality only perception. 

I spoke to a revered member of NA a while back. Under no circumstances will this person work with Solidarity as long as you are involved. There are many who share the same thoughts at MORE and several with ICE. Are you noticing a pattern? 

Portelos, if you truly, truly care about the welfare of teachers everywhere perhaps it is time you fall on your sword? Divest yourself of Solidarity. Ride off into the sunset and let those who are not seeking fame and glory take the reins. You have some good people at Solidarity, it's time to set them free. You are the one holding back Solidarity.

Is this about you, or is it about the teachers? 

Monday, November 12, 2018

UFT President Mulgrew Gets $8,250 in US Open Tickets for Free

Dang. Our venerable UFT Presidenté Mike Mulgrew was in the Post yesterday. It seems that he has accepted...
...two tickets worth a total of $1,250 in 2012, and two tickets worth $1,300 in 2013. In 2014, he received $2,700 in tickets. In 2015 and 2016, he got tickets worth $1,500 each year.
That's a total of (Hang on The Crack Team is crunching the numbers.) $8,250. Who did he get these tickets from? According to the New York Post these tickets were obtained through.
a that firm represents the UFT and other city unions in litigation. In 2017, it collected $2.9 million in legal fees from the UFT...Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, the firm that collected $15.5 million in fees from the UFT in that time.

Yes, I get it. The UFT needs a law firm to do whatever it does. Virginia LoPreto, while probably less costly, can't do everything herself. I also understand that a business wishes to reward clients and throws them tickets. My dad had a business for years, and he would get tickets for his clients as well. It's the price of doing business.

But running a union, especially the UFT where time and time again it's leaders come across as tone deaf to the masses this is bad optics. James Eterno as quoted on the Post article as saying...
“It doesn’t pass the smell test. Your average teacher isn’t getting these kinds of perks — and nor should our union leaders.”
No, it doesn't James. Yes, Mulgrew can do this, but should he? That is the bigger question.

Just as out to lunch is Stoock partner Charles Moerdler who said he was unaware of the ticket exchange and went on to say...
“We have season tickets to a whole variety of sporting events, and we give them to clients who ask for them.”
So Uncle Mike asked for US Open tickets? Why? I used to the men's finals every year when  when I was a kid. I had to sit through a 5 1/2 hour match between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in 1980 (I think).

Sorry Norm, no raffle for winter coats. Technically, myself and every single UFT member are clients of Stroock. I am putting my request for tickets to Mr Moerdler. Other UFT members should do the same. Let's see if he comes through.

In order of preference this is my wish list I will present (I will accept two tickets please.).

Super Bowl LIII (I will find my own way to Atlanta.)

Opening Night (Can you believe? Game is scheduled at 6:35!) for Yankees April 1. If game is moved to the afternoon please disregard. And no substituting with Opening Day Mets tickets. I only watch Major League baseball. 

Giants vs Cowboys last game of 2018 and possible Eli's last game as a Giant. 

Any home Rangers game or a Devil's game. 

The 2020 US Open (golf) at Winged Foot. Final round. Mickelson might finally atone for his 2006 disaster.

2019 Masters.

Knicks or Nets home game. 

Islanders, only at the Coliseum. 

Oh, if Rush somehow starts touring again, Rush moves to top of the line.

If Mr Moerdler is kind enough to give me four tickets, I will take two UFT along with myself and my son. Beers on me. 

With Janus looming over the UFT and all public sector unions like the sword of Damocles the optics of our union leaders must improve.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The NYCDOE Has Stolen Retro Monies From Me and Other Teachers

I've Been laying low. Having to deal with Dr Evil and Mini-Me.

So, what's new? Tell you what's new from me. The DOE stole money from me, and it seems others as well. Not once but twice.

My son had saved up money to buy a car over the last six months. I promised him that I would kick in some cash towards the purchase but it would have to wait until the retro came in. When it came in, it was a real kick to the groin...

RESTR SETTL PR is probably "restructured settlement". But what is the PR?

Yeah, I am out $727.33. Why? A bit of a backstory first. I was under suspension when my the retro was dispersed. Last year when I got my first retro almost everyone else was getting there second retro check. As I was told, the checks are divided by 1/8, 1/7, and so on, or something like that. Anyway, the amount I received last year was equivalent to if it had been my second (Like everyone else) retro check. The amount I was blessed with this year is equivalent to what I would receive (which should have been my first) in 2015, which would have been less than last year's check. Therefore, last year I received more than I should have. So due to some bookkeeping method I am out over seven hundred dollars.

But if I received in the proper ordinal order...1st, 2nd, and so on, I never should have been out these monies. But looking at it with my non-mathematician mind, shouldn't the checks have the same total amount in whatever order they were dispersed? This seems like it is straight out of Abbott and Costello.

And guess what? I am not the only one this has happened to! I have heard from many teachers that feel that they have been robbed and want their money back. Like now!

My question is how do I, or those in the same predicament as I know that the numbers, or rather, the math is correct with what we are owed? Or for that matter what anyone is owed? Why has there not been something on the payroll portal a clear and concise accounting for each teacher, how much total money they are owed and the amount of each year's payout? This would solve so many problems and help teachers to plan accordingly.

Though the UFT has been quite helpful to me and has been on top of it, I've been cautioned that though I might get the seven hundred dollars back there is a chance that I might have it again deducted down the road.

That is why I filed a payroll grievance and hopefully I will not only get my money back but if and when it goes to arbitration it can be ruled that there will be no further deductions. Not to mention the hope, there will be accountability on the decision and the logic behind why I lost this money but a full accounting on how my retro is decided.

Fortunately, my son has a car. But not to soon after we had purchased the car, we learned that he needs a passenger side axle along with an inner tied rod.

The parts won't cost me much. I delivered auto parts during my suspension and can by the parts at the same price the garages pay (The mark up is obscene!). As for the labor, I know some good street mechanics in the Bronx and have a garage in White Plains that'll do the job for $200 (Gustavo's on Ferris Ave in White Plains---Shameless plug!).

"Not to worry," I told my son, "this can be fixed for on November 1 I shall be receiving yet another blessing from the DOE, my retro per session check."

"Oh blessed be Mayor de Blasio and Mike Mulgrew," my son said whilst smiling.

November 1 came. So did November 2. November 3. November 4. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing.

For some reason my per session retro is "not showing in the system." Why did this happen? No one knows. However, there is good news. I have been added to the list "of people who need to be paid." Let's see here. The definition of people is...
plural : human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest
The main takeaway from this definition is that people is plural. So ipso facto many a person (meaning many people) has yet to receive their retro per session.

I even called per session pay roll on Thursday. Iouldn't get an answer. What a surprise.

This is really from the files of "You Can't Make This Shit Up!" I'm out over $800. I am sure there are those that are worse off. But there is no transparency. No communication. No nothing.  

But UFT members have been in the dark since 2014 when this contract was ratified and we were told it will take until 2020 (And myself and others in 2021) to be made financially whole again. I want my money.  Maybe I will have it in time for Hanukkah. In 2020. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

BREAKING!! The ATRs and the New Contract!!!

Today was exciting. There is a new contract agreed upon between the UFT and the
NYCDOE. Yippee! We all got the emails today from Uncle Mike Mulgrew which was more or less highlights which barely touched on details.

But right now I just want to touch on the part of the contract that will pertain to ATRs.

First, I want to dispel the rumor that I have read first hand that ATRs will be disbanded, not by layoffs, but rather than placing ATRs in schools. Like forced placements. That is not happening.

As James Eterno and Arthur Goldstein mentioned, the date that ATRs are placed in openings in the license area has been moved from October 15 to day one of the school year. This makes sense. Does no one any good to start in October.

But there is more.

The Crack Team has learned through sources within the UFT that schools won't be penalized financially anymore for hiring an ATR with a high salary. For instance: Say a school has all first year teachers and 22 year ATR is hired. Ordinarily that ATRs salary would raise the average of the school's teachers salaries. Now, that ATR, that expensive ATR's salary will be seen as on par (Haven't a clue how this is being worked out) with the 1st year teachers salaries. That teacher making $119k won't skew the schools budget. Again, the devil is in the details.

Something else that is new is a new program that will hire ATRs into a program called 4x4. ATRs will be hired into schools (This will start of as a pilot program) in which ATRs will work with small groups of students in group literacy intervention. You won't need a reading license to do this. The curriculum will be scripted out and the cost borne by the DOE. In my opinion this is a long time coming. I have always wondered why ATRs are forced to do menial sub work when they could be better used to target in need students either individually or in small groups. But as usual, the devil is in the details.

But we don't have the details and neither will the DA tomorrow night until after a vote. Why the UFT couldn't wait until Monday to have the DA ratify the contract boggles the mind. Shabbas candles are lit tomorrow at 6:02 PM. It would be safe to assume that some CL's and delegates are Observant Jews.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

MORE Misses Yet Another Easy Target

You know what is easy? Standing on a pitchers mound and having just get the ball to home plate 60 feet, 6 inches away. I'm 54 and a lefty. Dang I can do it! Heck, my son was able to do it at the age of 8!

MORE is turning into the Ba Ba Booey (Gary Dell'abate) of UFT caucuses by completely fucking something that easy up.

Instead of fighting for ATRs, work rules, working conditions, getting rid of the lawyers that permeate the DOE, fair student funding, teacher safety, teacher happiness, or any other of the myriad of other wants and needs we have going forward as we approach a new contract next year. MORE has decided to do the opposite. Or as one member has said...
"Dwindling health care benefits in exchange for a raise that will not help us meet the rate of inflation in NYC is a major problem for us."
This is the priority.

Yes, there are things I do not like. I do not like paying $50 to go to an urgent care center when the alternative is to see my GP when I have a cold or need to get in last minute. That is unless I go to Advantage Care Physicians which there is a $0 copay. The only issue I have is that there are 0 ACP offices in Westchester County. It does me no good.

I don't care for the $150 copay for the ER. Yes, I know it is waived if admitted, but not all ER visits necessitate being admitted.

I am not happy that first year teachers will have to spend their first year in HIP. But,most of these teachers will be young and healthy and do not need the care that the more mature teacher desires. Besides, I'm sure a goodly amount of the MORE people are young or living still on mommy and daddy's insurance 

I have no problem if my copays go up another $5. I really don't care. I have had a life without insurance. My right shoulder is a mess because I did not have insurance when I dislocated it. A dear friend of mine is dead because he did not have insurance.

What I do like is that I am paying $0 a month for GHI. That my wife has about $200k of hardware in her back, spent a week in Lenox Hill Hospital and two weeks in BurkeRehab Hospital and we only owe about $200.

I'm grateful for the hernia surgery I had last month was $0. I'm grateful that when my son broke his hand and needed surgery 5 years ago that the only cost was driving to NYU.

But again, another problem with MORE is they just can't or refuse to roll up the sleeves and see the world around them. In others words, REALITY. They think we have it bad.

Well The Crack Team did roll up it's sleeves and wishes to share a major dose of reality on the kiddies at MORE about health coverage across the country. These are true stories from real teachers.

I pay a little more than $450 a month for my daughter and me and ewe each have a $3000 deductible with a $5600 out of pocket maximum per year. We live in Idaho.

$1200/month for family coverage. $15 copay for doctor visits. In NJ, our healthcare contribution is based on our salaries so if you make more, you pay more for the same coverage. That jackass Christie came up with that. Prick. Can't live on my take home anymore.

For Chicago Public schools I pay about $18 a month for insurance, put in about $100 a month to an HSA w/ $600 contributed by CPS for the year, w/ a $2000 deductible. The insurance helps negotiate prices but basically doesn't pay anything until the deductible is met.

$350 a month premium, matched by the state (HI teacher), so $700 a month in premiums, $20 copay for everything, extra for lab work, TONS of other fees. They wanted $700 for an MRI that traumatized me to the core of my being and am refusing to pay.

I am paying $1400+ per month for coverage for a family of three. I would cheerfully choke someone out to pay $600 per month.

Albuquerque Public Schools, high option plan for family of 4 - approx $650/month, plus co-pays and percentage cost-sharing (which seem to get higher all the time!) $25-$40 co-pays for appts, $50 Urgent Care,  $150 ER, percentage of everything else.

I'm a public school teacher in the state of Rhode Island and I pay almost $400 a month for a single healthcare plan. I have different deductibles to meet for different things but just for regular doctors I have to meet $250 and then my co-pays Kickin, to go to a walk-in clinic it's now $100 and to see your primary care it's $25. I am ashamed that our state does this. Good for you and your school district not charging the teachers are ridiculous amount for health care. Best of luck on the rest of your school year.

In Michigan (law change in 2012) we now are required to pay 20% of the cost of premium.  A high deductible ($2700) with HSA account costs $270 a month for full family.  Same policy with coinsurance (%20 after deductible) costs $140 month for full family.  We formed a county consortium to pool policy members and help reduce the costs.  Before the consortium, we were paying $320 a month for the full family high deductible policy; which was our only option.

We do not use our district insurance because the premium is $1265 per month for our family of 4. Yes you read that right. Nevada has the worst insurance coverage in the nation for teachers.

$104 a month for the least expensive choice through my district, which includes my husband and two kids, dental and vision.  $7000 deductible, $10 doctor, $25 specialist, $52 urgent care, $75 ER
(unless admitted, then there is no co-pay). 

It's time for MORE to stop sniffing its own farts and get a reality check not only concerning the rank and file but life as well. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The ATR Wah Wah

I've been listening to a lot of George Harrison's solo work of late. I was a big McCartney/Wings fan back in
the day and never thought John Lennon had done much with his solo work. I bought Harrison's "Somewhere in England" back in 1981 because it contained the tribute song to John Lennon "All Those Years Ago."

But his song, "Wah Wah" from "All Things Must Pass" is really hitting home of late. For those who are unaware of this song...
...Harrison wrote the song following his temporary departure from the Beatles in January 1969, during the troubled Get Back sessions that resulted in their Let It Be album and film. The lyrics reflect his frustration with the atmosphere in the group at that time... In his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison explains that the song title was a reference to "a 'headache'
Yeah, I am having a special fucking ATR headache. And it ain't happening from the students. The illogic in the banality and inanity of this fucking ATR shit is giving me a damn wah wah!!!! But I refuse to cave. I refuse to not do what I have to do to get through each day, each week, each month, each school year.

We, all of us, ATRs have that ATR wah wah. Don't cave, don't give them what they want. Stay strong, you can do it!

You've  They've given me a wah-wah
And I'm thinking of you me
And all the things that we I used to do
Wah-wah, wah-wah

You made me such a big star an ATR
Being there at the right wrong time
Cheaper than a dime
Wah-wah, you've they've given me your my
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Oh, you don't won't  see me crying
Oh, you don't might hear me sighing

I don't need no but I have a wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free, wah-wah
I don't need no but I have a  wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Hey baby, you don't hear me sighing
Oh, no, no, no, no

Now I don't need no wah-wahs
And I know how sweet life can be is
If I keep myself free in spite of wah-wah
I don't need no but still I have a wah-wah

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Timmy the ATR Widget

Meet Timmy. Tim says hi. Timmy is an ATR. Tim has been an ATR for some time now.
Timmy always puts his best face forward when arriving to a new school and always bent over backwards for the school community. Timmy, while he doesn't love being an ATR, wants to do what's best for the kids. The students in the schools where Timmy has been have liked him.

Timmy has a masters degree in Educational Widgets. Timmy at one time had been a widget staff developer as well as a widget coordinator in his school. Timmy knows his widgets. Timmy has been to many a school where the widgets are not being integrated with the curriculum. Timmy's widget knowledge would, in theory, be beneficial to whatever school he is in.

Over the summer there was a posting for a widget staff developer working out of the Widget Department at Central. Timmy was excited. Timmy read the requirements and while he did not have some, he had most. This position would be perfect for Timmy.

Timmy wrote a great cover letter and spruced up his resumé. He emailed it in by the deadline. All Tim wanted was an interview. Nothing more or nothing less. Timmy didn't want anything handed to him.

Timmy knew getting the position would be a long shot. But Timmy was thinking. Central is already paying his salary. Wouldn't Central rather pay Tim's salary having Timmy contributing and doing something that would benefit the students if not all of mankind?

It's been almost a month, and Timmy hasn't heard back. Timmy doubts he will get the position let alone be interviewed. Timmy is stoic. Timmy will not give up on getting a permanent position.

Poor Timmy.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The UFT Hides While Teacher Aida Sehic Suffers Alone

Here we go again.

In yesterday's Post there is a story about an ATR, who escaped war in Bosnia only to walk into another one within the NYCDOE.

This, according to the Post, is some of what happened to Aida Sehic...
"...rampaging pupils broke her nose with a bag of metal rulers, stabbed her with a mechanical pencil, demanded sex acts, trashed her classroom and hurled epithets at her including “white bitch.’’
Of course, guess whose fault this was? The system? The DOE? The schools in which she taught? The administrators? The students? The students parents? Nah.

It was, of course, the teacher herself. Heck, Aida even tried to take the high road in attempting to appeal to one student's mother only to have the student retort back...
“...When my mother comes in tomorrow, she’ll deck you,”
Aida reached out to anyone and everyone she could. The DOE, NYPD, and the UFT. She got nowhere other than being brought up on 3020-a charges in 2016 for incompetence.

Isn't it possible, that the constant threat to one's physical well being, the constant fear for one's safety, just might have an affect on one's pedagogy?

Aida was excessed in 2011. She has been teaching since 1999. Three schools, IS 218 in the Bronx, MS 322 in Manhattan (School site and Inside Schools), IS 143 (Which was closed for poor performance according to Inside Schools) in the Bronx were the schools where she was abused.

Anyway, Aida was lucky. I guess. She kept her job. She was fined, $7,500. But she could have lost her life at any moment and left her two children without a mom. As one colleague shared with me who had been through something very similar to what Aida had been through...
"Wait until a teacher is killed. It's coming, people."
I don't think so. I hope not! But sadly, if it did happen, I would not be surprised.

But something is bothering me more. I am not upset at the lack of any action by the DOE or the NYPD.What I'm upset about and sadly not surprised at all is the lack of any action by the UFT. 

Why would the UFT ignore this teacher's desperate pleas for help? Where was an action team from the UFT when Aida needed one? Where were her chapter leaders? District leaders? 

This story was in in yesterday's Post. It was on the Post's website Tuesday night. Today is Thursday, September 13.Where is a statement, a communique, and email to the rank and file in support of Aida and calling for outrage against the DOE for the way her situation was handled? Something. Anything?

But I'm able to get a robocall last night at 7 PM from the UFT imploring me to vote for Cuomo and his crew. And then, guess what? I got another robocall this afternoon (As did many other teachers) again requesting that I sell my soul for Cuomo. WTF????

The UFT has time for this inane electioneering for Cuomo but doesn't have the inclination nor the time to have a teacher's back? What the F*** gives? If Aida were a cop, Patrick Lynch (as much as I think he is a turd) would be front and center having her back!!

But not our union. Not the union we no longer have to pay $100 a month to (even though I will).

Well, Aida has filed a federal lawsuit. Good for her. Even better, she has hired Bryan Glass as her attorney. She can't go wrong there. She is damn good hands. Get some fuck you money from the DOE.

We, each and every teacher, must fight back in a united method against the UFT.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is MORE Becoming the Omega House of UFT Caucuses?

One of the reasons I chose to be on steering back in the halcyon days of MORE was I did
not think that MORE had done, nor was doing, enough to help teachers in who were having difficulty.

I thought, and others had as well, that MORE turned it's attention to too many of these irrelevant issues that just didn't affect teachers in any way. When it comes down to it teachers want bread and butter issues. They want to know when and if that next pay check is coming, will there be food on the table to feed my family, will I be able to put my kids through college. Will they have a job come September?

MORE showed no inclination to grab the real issues by the proverbial balls and lo and behold, this is why we are where we are now. Or why MORE was up in Ithaca trying to find itself.

The Crack Team has been pouring over the MORE retreat notes from their August retreat in Ithaca and many things (Which will be shared on these pages in the upcoming weeks) caught The Crack Team's eyes. One came from a session entitles, "Vision and Mission."

The question put forth to the standing room only crowd of 12 is...
...Role of a caucus in our union how do we imagine our caucus moving the union/acting within the union structure as a whole?  What should our approach to the Unity leadership be?
OK, fair enough. Good question or topic, or whatever it is called. So there was a good response from someone.
Some caucus have set up a grievance hotline – that’s effective – direct response to people. Sometimes you can help them directly, other times help them think about organizing on an issue.
Not bad. Very lucid and well thought out. Something like this is what I had been pushing for with MORE but sadly, they were disinterested. Kudos!

One response to the above caught our eyes here at SBSB.

The response is from Mike Stivers. He teaches at Millennium High School in Park Slope. For those that do not know about MHS in Park Slope, it is a ...
...a small, selective school with strong academics and a friendly vibe.
That's just super.

So Mike Stivers responded...
 MORE is not a consulting space. We can’t drop everything and help everyone who comes in
What are you talkin' about Willis Mike?

But Mike, that is real organizing. Rolling up your sleeves, getting your fingernails dirty, getting in the much and organizing and helping people. The very people you claim to want to help.

My 9th grade Algebra teacher Mr Tina would say when faced with an easy problem, "That's a piece of Entenmann's" or "It's a Twinkie." Both terms for "piece of cake." Millennium High School is an Entenmann's Cheese Danish Twist. Try some real organizing. Come to the South Bronx or try Boys and Girls High School. Leave Omega House and try Delta!

Can't drop everything? I have many a time when a teacher in need as contacted me. And I have a wife and a son. And Sparkles the Cat. Why can't you? 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Open Blog Post to a MORE Member

I got this email yesterday in regards to the piece I published on Wednesday night. I thought long and hard about whether or not to make my response private of public but decided to go with the latter for complete transparency and to clarify some things from from Wednesday's post and my general mindset when it comes to MORE.

I want to first thank the person who sent it. This person will remain anonymous and I want her to know that in no way does Wednesday's blog post nor my feelings towards MORE are not any reflection upon her. In fact I have a great deal of respect for her and find her an passionate organizer and supporter of teachers, students, the communities, and education. She is a person I would want in my foxhole.

I respect her for not only taking the time out to email me feeling that she can email me and share with me what is on her mind.

Here is the email:

Peter, why are you writing these articles against MORE? We are on the SAME side. You’re just creating divisions. With so many issues to tackle, can’t you find something worthy to talk about...perhaps on of the million of struggles we have? 

I understand there are many issues you might disagree with in regards to MORE. But how is this helping the cause in any way? I’ve done much work for MORE, and am deeply concerned about the plight of public education. Do you think it’s right to criticize people like me who are just trying to make a difference and help others?

In your article, you said, 

Time for MORE to stop worrying about itself and this "struggle" and agenda and trying to get kudos from the ISO crowd and start rolling up its sleeves and doing something for others, not themselves.”

 I’ve spent so much time working with MORE and other public education activism groups in general, at the cost of my own health, relationships, loss health & free time and time to just plain rest. It’s articles like this that dissuade me from the cause. Why should I bother when people who have the same concerns and struggles as I do write such offensive articles. Although there members from the ISO in MORE, they spend as much time and efforts in this struggle as you do, if not more. I am NOT an ISO member. But I respect the enormous amount of time, work and sweat they have put into this struggle. 

If you and others think that these kind of articles are indeed in any shape, way, or form productive to the struggles in public education, then perhaps there is no hope for the plight of public education after all. 

Although I have committed much time to MORE and other types of public education activism, there was NEVER a time when I looked forward to giving up my time with loved ones, my family and partner, and attending to my own health. I worked with MORE because I felt I had a duty to. For all of those teachers, students, parents and other public education employees who are voiceless and haven’t the faintest inkling that they can make a difference, it is for them that I continue the fight. In other words, my activism with MORE and elsewhere has always been a GREAT sacrifice, even though I have grown to respect and love SO many of the individuals involved. 

In essence, I am deeply offended by your article, saddened that someone from the same cause would write such a thing, and essentially, am wondering if the fight is really worth it or if it will get anywhere at all because of individuals like you who write viscous blogs against the very people who are on their side. 

Sincerely and deeply offended,
I'm going to try to address point by point but I'm to address the overall gist first.

If you will notice on the front of this blog on the right hand side there is a clock entitled, "Days The MORE Duo Have Been Banished." As of me typing these words the clock is at 139 days, 5 hours, 42 minutes, and 50 seconds. That is the amount since both Mike S and John S have been banished from MORE. I need not write once again what stand up people they are. We all know that. I however will link the posts of what MORE has turned into (here, here, here, here, and here). Let me ask you this. Would you not be abhorred  with these shenanigans from any administrator, the NYCDOE, or even the UFT to any staff member either in your school or one that you just met in line at Target? What would you comments be if you read this on Facebook and it was the DOE doing this to a teacher? Knowing you, knowing what a kind, caring, ethical person you are, you would not stand for it, would you? 
Both Mike and John were labeled  as nothing more than misogynistic pigs. John was labeled as violent for supposedly threatening someone. In fact this person he "threatened" threatened John!

It would have helped so much if in your own way (Unlike mine and others big mouths) you spoke up for John and Mike and for truth. You think that within about 6 weeks of a new Steering committee that 3 members were extra-judiciously removed from Steering?

Three like minded members that along with two others formed a majority that's sole purpose was the betterment of what you say is the "struggle." Members that the Man Wearing the Red Star (And it's not a Heineken red star!) could not control.

I am sure you sacrificed much in this "struggle" (Which I would rather call a cause) as have I. But I will be honest with you. I know MORE and myself don't have the same goals, and I'll tell you another thing. I don't think you and MORE have the same goals either. You and I are on the same side. It is a side that MORE isn't on. This "struggle" is not for just a few, it is for the many. Your work has shown me that you know this.

The point of my blog on Wednesday was that I was trying to show that MORE, of course this is my opinion, still doesn't get it. That where the retreat was located, the message of the place it was located is so elitist. That MORE time and time again shows that the rank and file, that the downtrodden and middle class means nothing. Take you car. Drive through the Catskills, Upstate, Western NY, or the Southern Tier and these are the towns and the people that are struggling and want help. But help that doesn't come from the end of someone's nose. 

Anyway, thank you for your time in reading this. I hope we can continue to communicate constructively in the future. In fact, if you still have my number, feel free to call anytime. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The MORE Caucus Can't Get It's Cheese Right

You know that seen from the Three Stooges in which Curly upon seeing a mouse goes batshit crazy screaming, "Moe, Larry, the cheese, Moe, Larry, the cheese..."? MORE has become Curly. Or rather, Curly is smarter than anyone currently in MORE.

Think about it. If Curly were in MORE and needed the cheese he would first be asked to assure those in MORE that the cheese he wants his not GMO and that it is pre-approved by PETA. Soon there will be breakout groups and discussions on the type of cheese and if the workers struggled to make the cheese. Then someone would throw a hissy fit because Curely would go "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk," when he he sees a female. Well, you know...

MORE would fuck up Curly's cheese. Just give him the damn cheese and be done.

I say this because while I had found out that MORE was planning a retreat, which I think was a great idea (In theory) they again overthought the matter a dang fucked up again.

Why choose Ithaca NY? I love Ithaca, I was there in February with my son touring Ithaca College. It was beautiful then. I can only imagine how nice it is in August. But Ithaca is super liberal town. Again, perception.

But once in Ithaca one can stay at one of the chain hotels? No, not with MORE. The EcoVillage, where one can be...

...part of a global movement of people seeking to create positive solutions to the social, environmental and economic crises our planet faces.

BARF! Again perception.

Right there MORE is showing it wants to make its bonafides with the Shining Path Red Star Javier Chavista Hipsters.

Want to do something right? There are plenty of small towns and small cities in upstate New York that are economic basket cases. Ithaca is not one of them. Hudson, Binghamton, Ellenville, Poughkeepsie, Monticello, Elmira, Corning (so-so), Columbia County, the Southern Tier, that a decent hotel could have been found, perhaps a golf course, or even better a casino. But MORE chose to make themselves feel good instead of putting money in the pockets of those who need it.

I touched on this topic back in April when I wrote about how the Democrats are out of touch. MORE is nothing better than the current state of the Democratic Party.

Two weeks go we drove through Western New York and the Southern Tier and I saw the towns that were dead. That are dying. That need help. I was going to write this blog about the rest of the agenda, which let me just quickly touch on.

Not one mention of anything to do with the desperate state of the emotional, financial, and professional needs of teachers as well as not one thing on the agenda about MORE looking inward in how it has gone off the rails and decides rules on the whim, how one person has become the de facto "big head" and rules by fiat. No mea culpas, no "OMG, what have we done," no nothing. But I digress.

MORE, or at least those members that just sit around and sniff their own farts all day...Dare I name them? OK, two of them are "The Special Little Boy" and Greg Marmalard. Dinner on me if you can guess who I am talking about. But I have digressed again.

As I was saying. Time for MORE to stop worrying about itself and this "stuggle" and agenda and trying to get kudos from the ISO crowd and start rolling up its sleeves and doing something for others, not themselves.


   MORE Retreat on Scribd

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Scarsdale Student Desperately Needs Help to Continue His Education

The following is written by a dear dear friend of mine from high school. His son is entering
his senior year at Scarsdale High School. They both are from rural Virginia and his son was sent to live with his aunt (My friend's sister who had guardianship) in Scarsdale before his freshman year. The boy being Asian was being bullied relentlessly in Virginia because of his ethnicity and his grades had suffered. Once he was ensconced at Scarsdale High (which happens to have a sizeable Asian population) he thrived academically and socially.

Well, as we know, families tend to fight. My friend's sister and his brother in law have just notified my friend and his son that he is no longer welcomed back. Yeah, you read that right, several weeks before his senior year. This young man deserves to graduate with his class and his friends. My friend is looking for a host family and it is all on the up and up. He will pay expenses, etc... Tuition at Scarsdale is $28k

Anyway, let him explain it. If you can help, please share this, email me (, leave a comment. School starts in about three weeks. Any advice, advocacy, whatever, will be helpful. Names have been changed. Bold added for emphasis.

I am looking for a family in Scarsdale who would be willing to be a host and guardian family to my 17 year old son.  
Hello, my name is Hank, my son’s name is Bill. Bill has been living in Scarsdale for the last 5 years, and should be a graduating senior at Scarsdale High School (SHS) this upcoming year. Bill lives with my sister and her husband in Scarsdale for the majority of the year, and then he comes home to rural, Virginia during his breaks and summer vacations. 

 The reason Bill is living in Scarsdale is because there are very few Asian students in our school district in Virginia. My son and daughter are both half Filipino and half Caucasian, and unfortunately his peers in school bullied him with racial jokes and taunts, making his school experience a pure hell.  My sister in Scarsdale whose youngest two children were recruited to Princeton for their fencing, offered to home school Bill and to make him an Epee fencer like his cousins. With hopes to get him into a great college, at the time it was an offer I could not refuse. My wife and I knew it was going to be hard sending our boy away, but it was with family, and it was the best we could do for him given the situation at school wasn’t going to get better. I prayed Bill would be able to handle being away from us at age twelve, but we felt the education he would receive would be extraordinary. We also felt Scarsdale is a beautiful community offering a much more diverse population, so we knew he would feel more welcome.

After two years of home schooling, my sister said it would be advantageous if Bill enrolled in SHS, and I agreed. Seeing our little boy, who was a C-D student in a not very academically challenging school system, to one of the top elite high schools in the country, my wife and were bursting with pride. 

Bill has been at Scarsdale High for 3 years now, he has challenged himself by taking some of the more difficult courses offered, and has been rewarded with great grades and teacher accolades. Right now after the end of his junior year, Bill boasts a 3.71 GPA and got an outstanding score on his ACT and is a member of the Honor Society. All his hard work has truly paid off, and he is quite proud of his accomplishments. 

 A few days ago, my brother-in-law called my wife Susan and said that Bill was no longer welcome in their house to finish his senior year! This was a decision made by both my brother in law and my sister. He told Susan that Bill talked to the school counselor without their permission. They felt Sam undermined their rules and he discussed family matters with outsiders and betrayed them. Bill had also gotten into a verbal argument  with his 23 year old cousin and they weren’t going to put up with that either. So they said Bill was not welcome to come back to their house after the summer vacation. Unfortunately, I have no way of changing or fixing this situation. My sister has already filed papers to dissolve their guardianship. I have tried to have other family members help or intervene but to no avail. My brother lives in Hartsdale (right down the street from my sister), said he was more than happy to take Bill, but because she is giving up Bill’s guardianship it also gives up his residency, so Bill can’t stay there and commute. Scarsdale High School does offer a $28,000 out of district fee for graduating seniors who have completed 11th grade which he has. Unfortunately this is not an option we are able to afford. 

I would happily pay all attorney costs, all Bill’s food, clothing, medical and anything I might be forgetting if someone would be kind enough to open their heart and their home to a boy who wasn’t divulging deep family secrets. He was only discussing what every 16 year old who is trying to keep up his grades, his fencing, and social life , basically anxiety... I’m proud he made the choice to talk to someone and not keep it bottled up, just sorry for the drastic consequences. Please help, I don’t know anyone in Scarsdale and have run out of options.
Thank you for your time,

Hank Henry

Please, if anyone has any ideas, any one that can advocate, facilitate, come up with an idea please let me know.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Crack Team Announces It's Contract Demands

With DC 37 caving into the City and setting a pattern with a 7.42% raise over 44 months that's what it looks like UFT members will get once we get a new contract.

The Crack Team has gotten together and is willing to endorse such a pay raise but the support is conditional. Conditional upon what The Crack Team wants in return. This shall be known as The Crack Team's contract demands.

All ATRs must be placed. Not force placed, but rather intelligently placed. Each to the best of their abilities and each to a school in which the ATR can thrive and work in an environment that is conducive to the growth of said ATR and the school's students.

End Fair Student Funding. Mulgrew has said that the UFT cannot bargain budgetary demands. The Crack Team calls bullocks! When there is a will there is a way.

Bye-Bye Monday PD. A complete waste of time. There is no real professional development occurring.  I'd much rather watch hours upon hours of Kathy Griffin.

ATRs must be observed and rated as per diem substitutes are. In lieu of all ATRs being placed, ATRs must be treated as the DOE sees us. As nothing more than substitutes. Treat us the same way.

End Field Supervisors. If the above is impractical than do away with the field supervisors. Create with the UFT a truly transparent and fair method of observing and rating the ATRs. However the guiding philosophy must still be Teaching for the 21st Century.

Two observations per year for tenured teachers. I'm getting tired of meeting teachers from all over New York State and looking at their faces as I share with them we have 4 observations.

Bye-Bye Danielson. 'Nough said.

Discipline must be scaffolded. The contract states a "Counseling Memo." How often is a counseling memo used? All discipline at the school level should and must begin with a counseling memo. Too much mundane bullshit is settled with a letter to the file.

Clearly define what one needs to attain tenure. Too often now newb teachers are left in the lurch with subjective decisions on whether or not they will receive tenure.

All letters to file can be grieved. This was an injustice was this ended. Not being able to grieve all letters to the file just gave principals the ability to pile on the mundane crud.

Ability to face your accuser. Principals testifying by telephone? So much is missed when one can't see body language.

Principals held accountable. It is time that these principals are treated and subjected to the same methods as teachers are. Principals who are sued should stop being indemnified.

Bye Bye lawyers. Better uses for these lowest of pond scum can be put to better use by keeping the Trumps out of prison.

Bye bye 75% of the dead weight at Tweed and 65 Court St. McDonald's has been using computers to place orders. Stop and Shop has more self check out registers than manned ones. It's all the same.

Supply all ATRs with M&M's. Once a month all ATRs receive a bowl of M&M's, but there is a caveat. No bowl shall contain blue M&M's (Thanks to Van Halen for that idea).

If these demands are enacted (And any others I have missed) The Crack Team can live with the shitty raise.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pay Dues. Don't Freeload.

The Westchester Journal News has reported that New York State has stopped collecting
agency fees from 31,000 state workers. As far as I am concerned that is 31k freeloaders and rats.

I am getting tired of this whining from UFT "members" who are threatening to withhold dues in light of Janus. Yes, as I ahve said in the past, I empathize with them. But a dysfunctional union is better than no union or not being in a union.

I have been reading a lot of the comments on James Eterno's blog. Yes, the grievances and feelings are real. But the one question I brought up and could not be answered to the complainers is, "What have you ever done for 'the cause'"? The question has been met with silence. Instead of cursing the darkness light a god damn candle.

I ask those that are thinking of freeloading that are reading this, what have you done? Where have you been? And please, anonymous comments on blogs don't count.

Even under the best of circumstances if the UFT was strong and proactive there would be people complaining and kvetching. Nothing is perfect. Too many are looking for a perfect fit on an off the rack world.

Yeah, our working conditions and the way we have been treated pretty much sucks. But we make more than most teachers in the country, let alone New York State. We have solid pensions awaiting us. We have rights that are bargained for. And, we have great health benefits.

Yeah, Mulgrew got stupid again about saying health benefits can be bargained. Would you rather have no health benefits? Crappier health benefits? A friend of mine that teaches in Armonk NY told me that he has a family deductible of about $6k on his health plan and pays into it 10% (or a little less) or so of his pay. If you have GHI you pay $0 and with the out of network rider (which I have) $16 a month.

I have been without insurance and on insurance. Guess which I prefer? Thirty years ago I dislocated my right shoulder (I am a lefty). It was popped back in never saw a doctor because I had no way to pay for it. I have developed horrible arthritis, I have bone grinding against bone, I'm in pain, can't golf, and I will need a shoulder replacement eventually.

In January my wife had almost her entire back fused. We saw the hospital bill. It cames to about $550k, with about $200k for the hardware in her back. Maybe another $95k for the bed. We owe $200.

This is what you can give up if you fail to join the union and other things as well. Under law freeloaders are covered by the CBA. Well, what happens if the next CBA there are provisions for freeloaders to be own their own? Too bad.

Remember, how the UFT got the family leave (Yes, it's not parental, stop bitching.). And something that was just shared with me. Family leave was negotiated outside of the contract so we would not have to do a quid pro quo. Yeah, sometimes the UFT gets it right.

But the worst thing, aside from being a freeloader, for not paying dues is that you will hurt each and every member staying in the union (I've been to a union meeting already. The anger at the freeloaders is just beginning), in negotiations, in solidarity, in advancing our needs, and more importantly, the needs and wants of the communities we teach in.

Being angry and frustrated is fine. Acting out on being angry and frustrated impulsively and for spite will hurt others and worse, yourself.