SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: The Tone Deafness of the UFT Never Ceases

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Tone Deafness of the UFT Never Ceases

I spent time the last two days focused on the Taconic Mountains as well as the Berkshires. There's a spot I love up there. From about Copake, in southeast Columbia County, towards Millerton NY, as you look to the east driving down Route 22 and see the mountains rising along the Massachusetts border. It brings me out of reality into a world that I have been a part of for over forty years that has really not changed much. Sadly reality is about to come back. I escaped some sad UFT reality on Thursday.

I don't want to go into too much into detail other than to say I will soon have my right shoulder replaced. I dislocated it in 1987, and the roosters have come home to roost. The shoulder, sadly, is on life support.

But I'm planning ahead and something happened Thursday to throw a monkey wrench into my well laid plans. Of course, I thought to myself, call the UFT. Mind you, and this is about 1 PM on August 29.

Well, I did and this is where the Kafaesque, rabbit hole, of inanity began. The inanity and the tone deafness of the UFT is what really got my knickers in a bunch.

So I call. I hear, "Hi this is Mike Mulgrew, yada, yada, yada," I raise an eyebrow. Mike asks me to stay on hold. OK. Then I have to listen to New Age music for a minute or two until I hear...

"Hi, this is Tim, the UFT, concierge, how may I help you?"

"Is this the Bronx UFT?" I ask.

"This is the UFT," Tim replies.

"But is this the BRONX UFT?"

"This is the UFT."

I hang up and try back. I get Lance, another UFT concierge. Well, after listening to Mulgrew and more New Age music.

I inquire to Lance why am I getting 52 Broadway even though I am dialing 718-379-6200. Lance informs me that though the Bronx UFT has been open since Monday and apparently they have yet to turn on their phones.

"Can you transfer me there please?"

Lance responds, "We can't."

"Can you try?"

"OK, I'll try."

Lance gives it the old college try. While on hold I hear New Age music and Lance at the same time trying to transfer me and asking others how to transfer calls. This is my UFT and yours too, hard at work. And putting our union dues to good work.

I did eventually reach out to someone, a teacher, who actually knew what to do. So problem solved. For now. 

But, why are our dues not only going to Lance and Tim, but to a concierge service as well? The definition of a concierge as I know it is...
 a usually multilingual hotel staff member who handles luggage and mail, makes reservations, and arranges tours broadly : a person employed (as by a business) to make arrangements or run errands
Lance and Tim I believe are not concierges in the traditional sense. I believe they are receptionists/phone operators. But since they and the UFT are calling them concierges guess what? I want Mulgrew's US Open tickets for this week. I'll take quarter final tickets. Two. I'm not greedy.

Oh, and two tickets for The Who, good seats, at Jones Beach on September 15.

I don't think I am being out of line. Tim and Lance work for all of us dues paying over 100 dollars a month teachers. We here at SBSB suggest you pick up the phone ring Lance or Tim Tuesday and get what you need.

Hell, see if they can't send out fir your dry cleaning and get your shoes polished.


Anonymous said...

It's summer hours will not get any reasonable info until Summer hours end.

Pete Zucker said...

I get that. I knew it would be tough. But I would’ve at least like to have been able to leave a voice mail.

Anonymous said...

My friend found out she was excessed 2 years ago in a letter mailed 3 weeks late during the summer. Uft said nothing they can do it's legal move. On the first day of school, friend shows up to her first ATR school. She was given a note to REPORT back where she was excessed because the move actually was illegal (you can't excess your only guidance counselor out of a building).

(Adding on to my first anonymous comment)

James Eterno said...

Great post. I heard a similar story in Queens. Borough Offices opened last Monday but getting through is impossible.

Anonymous said...

The UFT has started a concierge service to answer all phone calls including those directed to individual boroughs. After the concierge answers the phone and you tell them what you need help with they will then connect you to an expert in that area. Those experts could be in any of the 5 boroughs. This was done to make it easier for the members who might have wound up speaking with someone who may not understand all the nuances of an individual member's issue.

John G said...

Sorry you had to go through that. But wait ... THE WHO is playing at Jones Beach on 9/15!?!? That's my birthday!! I want two tickets, too!!! I'll try The Queens Borough Office tomorrow.

Speaking of the Queens BO, back before Amy Arundel took over, it was known the ***only*** way to get through after 4PM was to A) Call the Manhattan Borough office B) Lay out your problem with a sense of urgency then C) IMMEDIATELY say "My school is in Queens and I couldn't get through". They simply would not pick up the phone unless in was transferred in.

For instance, if a person had a question about C6 assignments from the contract, that person might literally have to call the Manhattan office and say "I just fell down a flight of stairs at my school. I think I broke my leg. I'm on the floor bleeding and I don't know if I will be covered if I try to get up" then immediately say "MY SCHOOL IS IN QUEENS BUT I COULDN"T GET THROUGH" and without muttering another word to you, the Manhattan rep would transfer the call to Queens. THEN the phone would ring and someone would pick up. That's just how it was in the last two or so years before Amy came in. Just zero sense of professionalism on their end (and no heart whatsoever in Manhattan!) Sad to hear it's that way again this week. We should call Queens next week just to check in ;) ....

Anonymous said...

took me a half hour to ask a simple question that the concierge just typed up a ticket for and told me i would get a call in two days about my program which needs to be grieved within 2 days!! Concierge was useless and knowledge less , they should at least have a grasp of the contract or even teaching before writing our tickets, person had no idea what I was asking ({c6 stuff) and was paraphrasing and making the question not intelligible. I would have had an answer in 5 minutes had i called the borough

Pete Zucker said...

@8:06 PM did you speak to Lance or Tim?