Friday, December 31, 2021

Lydia Howrilka and UFT Solidarity File For Court Hearing

The Grim Reaper
Yesterday, Lydia Howrilka took the bull by the proverbial goodies and decided to show Mike Mulgrew how to lead. She filed an Article 75 on her on time and dime. 

Read on from Lydia:

Yesterday, I filed an Article 78 proceeding in NYC Civil Court protesting the reopening of NYC schools without adequate testing, mitigation measures, and allowing for a pivot of instruction to remote for January 3 to January 18, 2022. I have submitted the legal documents- a petition, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), an affidavit, an Order to Show Cause (OSC), and a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI)- and I am waiting for a judge to be assigned to our case. Many folks have been reaching out and want to know how they can help. A collective letter that we can send to the court with as many signatures as possible would be the best next step for members who want to support. Please click here and complete this form to e-sign the letter. Important note- No teacher has been disciplined for signing a petition or letter when they are not on contracted time. It is not illegal to sign a letter or petition either. Your signature will only be seen by Lydia, the judge, and the City’s Corporation Counsel.


So sign up and sign on. Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Mike Mulgrew Folds Like a Cheap Suit For Eric Adams and a Mayor Who is Gone in Three Days

First kudos to Mike Mulgrew. He knows when to talk a tough game as he did on NY1 last week. Yeah, he shows he is "there for the members," that he actually his doing something. But as usual, he folds like a cheap suit from the Johnny Carson Collection that used to be sold exclusively by Sears. 

I was driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge this afternoon when I heard word of the latest failing by Mulgrew. I shook my head and contemplated driving into the Hudson River. I thought better that I control the means of my demise rather than my union that is supposed to protect all its members in the schools and me. However, I changed my mind. I mean, who then would be able to blog about this complete and utter shirking of leadership and responsibility?

Not me. I can't do this. This plan, that I heard over WCBS 880 and later read in a personalized email sent by our leader, has so many obvious flaws and leaves so many questions unanswered. I was aghast and just speechless. The Crack Team and I have decided to ask my neighbor's 8 year old son Timmy to rebuke Mulgrew. Take it away Timmy. 

The staff of the Situation Room will double in size, making it bigger than ever before and able to handle the current surge.

Bigger doesn't mean better. How long will it take to get to the numbers that will make the Situation Room effective? What are the qualifications to be employed by the Situation Room? What is the pay? Are Situation Room employees employed by the DOE are by outside contractors? Who is in charge of the Situation Room? Are there any medical doctors employed? Consulted with? Shouldn't the UFT President Mike Mulgrew share this with the rank and file? 

The city will double in-school PCR testing in every school every week. These tests will now include both vaccinated and unvaccinated students as well as staff. The city will make another push to get parents to consent for their child to be tested regardless of vaccination status.

Big deal! Will this be testing anybody, anytime? Why test every other week? What happens if the shit hits the fan (My daddy says this all the time!)when during a week of non testing? Will teachers be allowed to be tested whenever? Will students be mandated to be tested without a parents permission?  Details please, Mike Mulgrew!

Close contacts and classmates of positive cases will now have immediate access to two at-home rapid tests that they can take to monitor themselves for the days after exposure. 

This has so many flaws that I can't believe that I, just a child of 8, can see this, but Dear Leader Mike Mulgrew can't.  

Schools reopen January 3 inn a city where their are shortages of materials and every conceivable item for teachers and students. Why should we believe that next Monday there will be over 1 million test kits available for every student and employee in DOE? 

Who and what determines a close contact? Read what Pete wrote on Sunday. What happens if there is a false negative? How does one know if there is a false negative? Are schools to rely on the honor system of parents? Can you imagine if a student tests positive and yet is asymptomatic? Is it possible that a parent will not keep the child home but rather send the child to school? What if there is a choice between work and keeping a child home? What if the parent loses the test kit? 

But I keep coming back to this being a logistics issue. The DOE can't be trusted to do jack. How can the DOE be trusted to keep its word not only on getting test kits to everyone?  And at the same time keep its word on the Situation Room and the in school testing? 

There you have it. Timmy the 8 year old is able to take apart the agreement Mulgrew agreed to with the city. Let's look at the rest of Mulgrews email. 

Thanks to all of us working together to tell the city we will not accept unsafe schools

Bullocks. We are not working together nor Mulgrew for us. Mulgrew has a flush and is folding to de Blasio, Hochul, and Adams who each are holding just a pair. Besides, how can it be us when not one working stiff teacher has been consulted? 

We, as educators, are always prepared to do our jobs.

We are, Mulgrew still isn't.

The real issue is whether the city can do its job — ensuring that ample testing is available in every school and an improved Situation Room is actually in place by next week.

Timmy addressed these issues. He knows the real deal. Mulgrew doesn't.

We will continue to work through this week to advocate for you and our school communities and will update you on all the details of the new safety program before Jan. 3.

OMG! I laughed so hard reading this that I inhaled a Cheeto and had an accident. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

It's Official: The UFT Does Not Give a Shit and Mike Mulgrew is the Grim Reaper

 Who remembers Trixie the teacher? For those who don't remember, Trixie was the teacher that had sanitizer splashed in her eye and is teaching nuclear fission for grades K-2 without any coaching or anything from higher ups. Caught up? Good. Because the news gets nuttier. In fact so nutty, the news falls under the auspices of "This Shit Can't Be Made Up!"

Trixie teaches at the Speed Racer School. It is a K-5 school with a lot of students and teachers in the building. Whilst out caroling on Thursday with other teachers from her school Trixie found out news that made her so aghast, so upset that she puked.

For several days of last week (The days before break), an entire grade at the Speed Racer School was on quarantine. That includes the students, the teachers, the paras, and any wayward cucarachas. All students and their families, the teachers, the paras, and any wayward cucarachas were all notified. 


No, I am not making this up. 

"B-b-b-ut we did contact tracing," Trixie was told.

Yes Trixie was told that. But is contact tracing 100% effective? What happens if someone doesn't remember being near someone. Or someone is in the stall going #2 and someone else is at the urinal going #1? They are both in the same bathroom. How would the those at the stall and the urinal know who is in the bathroom with them? 

How would someone remember if they were just passing someone in the hallway? Or on the stairs? Or sitting together in the auditorium? Or, outside the building walking in?

Trixie is freaking out! She has health issues to begin with. But there are loved ones at home who are seriously immune-compromised.  Yes, Trixie and her loved ones are all vaccinated as well as having had boosters. But there is nothing guaranteed in this world except death and taxes.Wait, there is one more thing that is guaranteed: Mulgrew and the UFT leading from behind and not being proactive!

I'm not giving Mulgrew or the UFT and thumbs up, kudos, or job well done for last weeks email and presentation on NY1. It's all to little too late.

As much as a loath PBA President Patrick Lynch he would have the balls to tell his members to stay home. 

Trixie shouldn't be upset with her school administration. She should be upset with the DOE, the Situation  Room and the UFT.

But, the DOE and the Situation Room is not there for the teachers well being. They are not supposed to give a damn about us. However, at the very least the UFT is, at the very least, supposed to feign interest in its members well being. 

When Trixie came and shared this story with myself and The Crack Team we sat there incredulous. Yes, none of us expected the DOE to do anything? But the silence coming from the UFT on  this quarantine has been deafening as well as mind numbing. Of course the UFT knows about this shut down! How couldn't they? Why didn't the UFT notify the members of Trixie's school? And by the UFT, we want to know why 52 Broadway was silent, not the borough office. This falls upon those downtown to make sure are mitigation is being done right, to ensure there is social distancing, mask wearing, etc.. and to inform and allay concerns of the members as well as the parents. And what happens? NOTHING! BUPKUS! STUGOTS!

A kid with head lice or strep throat a note goes home. Head lice or strep are easily treatable and cured. COVID and Omicron it's "If we don't say it out loud or if we bury our head in the sand it'll go away."

How difficult is it for the UFT to lead?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Mulgrew Doesn't Care Anymore About COVID or the Health and Well Being of Members.

 Mulgrew's mouthpiece is silent on Twitter. Mulgrew is silent. De Blasio blabbers away with stupidity. People will get sick. Some will die. Paraphrasing my favorite De Blasio comment: "We're not going to shut down, we're just going to get a shitload of vaccines in people." Jeez.

There is a surge going on right now with COVID and this Omicron variant. De Blasio has less than two weeks left and doesn't care anymore and has his sights on a some warped quixotic fixation on Albany. Mulgrew, I'm confused. Isn't he supposed to be there for the rank and file? According to him, we are doing "God's work." Would not God be upset with Mike if teachers doing His (God, not Mulgrew. Though I am sure Mulgrew conflates this) work start getting infected and dying off? 

 I saw this on FOX5 news about and hour ago. Does this mean anything to Mulgrew? 


But right now, as of today,  Mulgrew has abdicated any leadership in this almost two year old crisis and has literally buried his head in the sand.

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten about the scores of deaths of UFT members in the last two years due to COVID?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten about the mental and physical health crisis that is affecting the rank and file as well as the communities?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that many UFT members live with a non UFT member that have weak immune systems?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that many students are not getting vaccines. 

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that the schools are overcrowded, not properly ventilated, zero mitigation happening, zero hand sanitizer and masks, nothing, bupkus?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that everyone is unique and that each person's body reacts differently to infection?

Maybe Mulgrew does not realize that one death, one hospitalization, is one too many and not in any way acceptable? 

Maybe Mulgrew has doesn't realize that while those who are vaccinated and/or have a booster if they get infected the repercussions will be much less. Thatthe infected are still carriers and can infect others.

Maybe Mulgrew doesn't realize that while reports show that Omicron is less virulent that shit happens? 

Does Mulgrew realize that there are teachers afraid to show for school tomorrow? 

Does Mulgrew care?

Where is Mulgrew? 

The answers: Not a bit and elsewhere.

Having said that, it is time to segue into what the UFT would be like in the hands of of a responsive caucus.  Click on link and find out how United for Change would respond to a crisis. Adults back in the room and control hopefully come July 1.

Camille Eterno has been nominated to run for UFT president. I have the utmost of respect for Camille. She will be there for the members.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

What United for Change Must Do When and If They Win

 It's December. The ballots for the upcoming UFT election will be sent out in April (Maybe this will be when we get our 2020 spring break pay?). Anecdotally The Crack Team is hearing many more rumblings and anti-Mulgrew fervor than in past elections. This could be a sign. The coalition needs to be ready. If
and when there is a changeover, there needs to be a plan.

The Crack Team and myself have spent the better part of today spitballing some ideas on how the coalition can show how it will be a true union, how it will be there for the rank and file, and how the UFT will governed and run for and by the rank and file. 

1. 100% Openness 

Can you imagine not watching Congress on C-Span? Not watching your local village, town, or city government on your local cable access channel? You can't. But if you are not a UFT delegate you are shit out of luck. Unless you schlep to 52 Broadway and watch a grainy feed on TV in a little cold room. 

In this day and age there is ZERO REASON for the UFT Delegate Assembly to be held in secret. The first thing the new ruling coalition must do is make the DA accessible for all! Live stream it across several platforms. Have the minutes of all DA's posted, as well as archived, on the UFT website as soon as possible.The same goes with the executive board. In fact, those who need to speak before the exec board should not be forced to come into lower Manhattan. Speakers can easily participate thorough video or streaming. Heck, even an email can be read into the record. 

Remember, a more participatory union is a STRONGER union. 

2. Voting

All voting at the DA and exec board will be done using technology. A simple add on to the UFT app will back this possible. We here at SBSB are darn sure there is enough bandwidth to go around at 52 Broadway to go around.

The same goes for union wide elections. There is no reason that union wide elections can't be done from one's UFT app or on the website. Mulgrew blustered at the DA on Monday about electronic balloting...

Electronic voting sounds great but how do we make sure it survives challenge. NLRB has frowned upon this. 

Yeah. Sure. Right.  Please if the UFT wanted to it could and would.

3. Avoid Cleaning House for the Sake of It

There are a lot of good, strong people working in the borough offices and at 52 Broadway. Find these people. Keep these people. 

4. Vote on Everything

Any change to the contract or to working conditions or if the DOE wishes to give us Zwieback in the morning it must be voted on by the entire rank and file and not approved by a few people. It's that simple. 

5. District and Borough Reps Must Be Elected

This goes without saying. The question is who does the electing? The chapter leaders are all members? 

6. Travel

There is one DA a month plus two exec board meetings a month. Why must both be limited to Lower Manhattan. Take the show out on the road. Why? Because participation is a good thing.

7. No Loyalty Oaths or Perks

If a CL is not a member of United for Change or any of it's member caucuses that CL still gets to spend the weekend in the Rye Town Hilton (It's been shut down for a year so wherever it is in the future) or gets to go to the AFT thingy, or is treated with the same respect that we would want.

8. No More Creamed Fish at Executive Board Meetings

It's gross. It makes Hank from The Crack Team puke. Please. This must end. 

9. The New UFT President Must Visit the Boroughs

How freaking difficult is it for Mulgrew to spend a week each month visiting the borough offices and having town hall meeting. There are five days in a work week and five boroughs. It works. And please, no per-ordained questions. 

10. Never, Ever Say "Doing God's Work"

This is a pet peeve of The Crack Team. We're not doing God's work. God (if there is one or one that cares about the DOE) can do God's work. In the opinion of The Crack Team ,this remark is patronizing, condescending, and reeks of desperation as well as empty nothingness. 

And last, but not least...


It goes without saying. Don't really need to elaborate. 

I am sure in the coming weeks and months myself and The Crack Team will come up with more ideas. Right now we are awaiting seeing the Bronx inundated with yard signs on all off ramps.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Mulgrew is Making Me Nervous

 I was reading Arthur Goldstein's blog with his minutes of last night's UFT executive board meeting and something caught my eye. What I read did not give me  happy feeling.

In his opening remarks Mike Mulgrew mentioned the spring break arbitration thusly (I added the bold)...

Cannot go into details, but we have made clear we must receive the value of our work. Arbitrator concerned about money. Car day not equivalent. Two for one upon retirement. We need value of 7 days work, which we did. Expecting to know something by next week.

Arbitrator concerned about money? What does this mean? Whose money? Which money? This statement is quite cryptic and can mean several things. 

1. The arbitrator is concerned that the city would have to pay out too much money and we will either get nothing, or at the very least each teacher will receive two 15% off coupons for Denny's

2. Mulgrew knows already that the arbitration failed and he's starting to grease the skids to blame the arbitrator. 

3. We will not get 100% of the spring break monies. Maybe like 50% or less. 

4. He's making it look bad on purpose so when if we do get total restitution he will come out looking like the white knight on the white horse.

5. We will get 7 days added to our CAR.

6. We're screwed and getting bupkus.

Something is just nit sitting right with that statement he made. A SBSB nearly octogenarian fanboi shared with me that he doesn't think we will be made whole. I really don't want to think that way. I mean, how can anyone work seven days without being compensated for their time? Oh yeah. Only teachers can. Or rather, made to.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Possible Upcoming UFT Election Surprise

 I think there is going to be a big surprise just before the UFT elections. Call me jaded, call me a cynic, but the UFT never does anything without a reason. 

Think about this. We lost our spring vacation almost two years ago. April 2020. Twenty months ago. At the October 2020 town hall Mulgrew said...

When arbitration is back up, we will move forward on Spring Break. Medical accommodations are based on a medical condition. We would have to do another one in Jan. Same documentation and everything.

The September 2020 town hall Mulgrew sayeth to the masses...

Dealing with the craziness that included Spring break which still needs to be dealt with.

I asked this almost a year ago on December 27, 2020...

For the answer President Mulgrew gave at the town hall of October 15, again, it seems that arbitration is now back up. Where in the pipeline is our monies? How long does the process take?  

We were told not too long ago that the final arbitration on our spring break pay will come this month, December 2021. 

But a question remains. If the arbitration is a victory, when will we get the money? 

The Crack Team has been trying to crack this mystery. There were many a late night session in which there was bickering and disagreement. Many a late night were had. Finally, a member of The Crack Team decided to go the computer. The algorithm was fed and the results were spat out.

Some might say The Crack Team's computer and/or the algorithm is skewed. Or, the information fed to the computer was jaded and cynical.

We will get the monies owed in our direct deposits week or two before the UFT election. And of course who gets to call the date for the election? Of course. UFT/Unity.

The computer must be right. Think about it. Why wouldn't it be?

Thousands of teachers get thousands of dollars they are owed for almost two years. Guess who will puff out his chest and say, "See what I did? I fought for you! I made you whole again!" 

And UFT/Unity will be like Justin Trudeau and call for early elections in just a few weeks. Or, and this is even more cynical, the election date will be already called and the checks will be mailed out just before the election starts. But either way, teachers will vote while having several thousand dollars more in their accounts and the great many of unwashed will thank UFT/Unity. And then vote Unity.  

But when these teachers vote for those that blessed them with money, what will they say when they want to see Dr Vinnie Boombotz for a prostate issue and find out he doesn't accept any Medicare (Dis)Advantage  patients?

I hope the computer is wrong. We shouldn't need to feel jaded and cynical when it comes to our union. We should feel we are partners with our union. We shouldn't have waited almost two years for A HEARING for our monies. 

But watch. The spring break money and the election will be intertwined.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

A Possible Roadmap to Beat Unity (Or At Least to Hurt Their Vote Total)

 The UFT elections are right around the corner. It will be hard to put a dent into Unity's vote total, let alone to win the entire thing. I do believe that if certain things are done, serious headway can be made. 

My dad was in advertising and marketing. He had a one man business in the basement of our house. I
learned a lot from him. I shared some of these ideas in 2016 but was shot down. I understand not everything is feasible, but the thinking has to be akin to throwing against the wall. Some things will stick, some won't. 

Too much of what I see on Facebook and Twitter is being done in a vacuum. Most teachers who are in the FB groups of the UFC are teachers that DO WANT CHANGE. We are just preaching to the choir. The base needs to be expanded. Memes are swell, but there is so much more that can and should be done. 

1. Yard Signs

Cheapest and easiest way to get the word out. This website offers 100 yard signs for $84. There is not much room on a yard sign and the message has to be clear and readable. But if yard signs are strategically placed throughout the boroughs and the suburbs teachers will be in informed of the upcoming election.

For example; a yard sign touting the United for Change at every exit ramp on the Major Deegan Expressway (I am going to use the Deegan as the example because I take it every day). Teachers in their cars will see these signs every day. They will be sitting at the red lights on the exit ramps every day. They will read the yard signs everyday. Whatever message is put on the yard sign will get ingrained. It will sink in. 

Same for the Dunkin Donuts on the southbound Deegan. Teachers stop there early to get their coffee. A couple of yard signs at the entrance or exit can be effective. 

This can be done on all major highways in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Each exit ramp with a yard sign. The same with any and all rest stops. If memory serves there is a Mobil Station on the Grand Central Parkway.  

2. Leafleting 

Leaflets need to be to the point and quick to read. There are too easily disposable. I once suggested giving a homeless person $10 and leaflet the cars that are parked with placards at each school. Better, leave leaflets in stores teachers frequent in around the neighborhood of a school. Or better, ask a shop owner if something can be put up in a window. 

3. Talk It Up to Anyone

Think where teachers spend time and money. Staples, education stores, bars. Go to these places and not just hand out leaflets, but talk to the teachers. Sell the teachers on what UFC has to sell. I did this back in 2016. I hit a couple of the bars in the Bronx where teachers congregate and talked up the elections, talked up why Mulgrew must be voted out. I did the same in front of Lakeshore Learning Store on Central Ave in Greenburgh. I don't know if all I did was effective, but contacts were made and got plenty of email addresses. But speaking to one teacher brings out the possibility of those teachers talking to another teacher and so on.

Last Sunday I was on line waiting for my booster shot at CVS and got talking to someone. Turns out he is a teacher at Bronx Science. What do you think I did?  

Set up a information stand in front of Madison Square Garden on 7th Ave before a game. Same with the Barclays Center or UBS Arena, or anywhere which draws large crowds. 

Have mixers, meet and greets in the suburbs on Weekends. A SBSB fanboi and myself have talked about having one in Ardsley.

Which leads me to...

4. Think of Getting Votes as Multi Level Marketing. 

Speak to one teacher ask them to speak to ten teachers. Give them enough leaflets, information, websites, emails, to share with their colleagues. United for Change must think of itself as Amway or Mary Kay.

5. Direct Mail

I've said it before, and I will say it again. I have a friend who is in direct mail. Let's see what he can do for UFC. 

6. Real Social Media Ads

Ad buys on Facebook and Google will be more effective than memes on a closed Facebook page. 

7. Go to Hospitals

But don't go inside. The UFT represents nurses at (I forget how many) city hospitals. Don't go in the operating room but rather linger outside and follow some of the above ideas. And go to other non education places that the UFT represents. 

8. Raise Money!!!!

For the life of me I do not understand why there is not a GoFundMe for UFC. Or have a car wash, a bake sale, or better a golf tournament; the United for Change Pro-Am.

9. The Message

Veteran teachers close to retirement shouldn't hear the same message as new teachers. Veteran teachers want to be assured about their pensions, and now, this debacle going on with Medicare (Dis)Advantage. New teachers are concerned about tenure, job security. Speak about what will be done in contrast to what is being done.

Keep everything to the bread and butter issues and what will keep food on the plates of teachers families. I am hearing from several sources that some are spending time just bashing Unity as a reason to vote them out. Sources are sharing that this has been turning members who want to hear the issues. 

That's it for now. I have several other ideas but can't share those ideas here. But isn't time to try a different way? The same old way hasn't worked in the past. Time to think outside the box.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Friday Night Videos: It's Just a Step to the Right (Time Warp)

 The first time I saw Rocky Horror was my senior year in high school back in 1982. It was a midnight showing at, I believe, the RKO Proctor in New Rochelle.

We brought all the props. I just really remember the water guns and throwing the toast. I don't recall much of the movie other than a shitload of people dressed as Dr Frank N. Furter and other characters up in front of the screen acting out the movie word for word.

Flash forward about 39 1/'2 years later I finally went to see Rocky Horror for the second time. This time in Peekskill. But sadly, the water pistols and the toast were not allowed. But the other props were. 

And the call outs! I forgot all about them!

"He's got no fucking neck!"

"So's Brad!"

"What the heck is a radio picture? It’s a picture of a radio. What else?"

And there are others...

So in honor of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, let's do the Time Warp!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

My Own Story Why I am Wary of Medicare Advantage

 I'm 57. I will be 58 in April. I am getting thisclose to retiring, or at least contemplating it. One thing I was looking forward to was continuing to have a great health plan when I turned 65. But this Medicare (Dis)Advantage that might be awaiting be is making me nervous.

I have two concerns how Medicare (Dis)Advantage can affect me if and when it comes into effect.

The photo on the right is my right shoulder. Actually, my new right shoulder. 

In 1987 I fell hard on it and tore the labrum. Bad. My shoulder was unstable for years. Arthritis set in. Pain. It was bad. I didn't have insurance when I hurt it and I suffered the consequences. In 2002 I had it scoped out but all it did was put off the inevitable.

In 2019 the pain was the worse it had ever been. I was popping Aleve like M&M's. I went to a shoulder surgeon. He said I needed a new shoulder but want to give physical therapy I try. I had bone on bone. How the hell was PT going to help?

I went to a second doctor. He said PT was a waste of time, but agreed I needed a new shoulder. However, I just didn't feel right with him.

I went to a third doctor, Dr Young Kwon at NYU (Yes, a shameless plug, but he is the best shoulder surgeon!). He saved me. He made me feel whole. 

Here's my issue. Artificial shoulders last from 10-15 years. I'm lucky, I'm a lefty. The artificial joint is in my non dominant arm, but you never know. Dr Kwon even told me that I was a bit too young for shoulder replacement.

What happens when I am between 65 and 70, on Medicare (Dis)Advantage and need another shoulder? I will need to get pre-approval? Will I be considered too old to get a replacement? I might be told since it is my right shoulder and that being left handed, a new joint is not a priority. Heck, will I be allowed to see Dr Kwon again? 

My dad had his hip replaced at Special Surgery at the age of 74 in 2005. My step mom was retired from DOE and everything copacetic. No fuss, no muss. 

Will Medicare (Dis)Advantage let me visit three doctors? I doubt it. 

My other concern is I am Type 2 diabetic. My numbers are great. My A1C is very close to where it should be. My weight is the best since high school. I go to the gym three times a week. I eat better than I have, but of course I can do better. But I am on several medications. I'm not on insulin and don't plan on it. I see the eye doctor every year. I don't want anything chopped off or to go blind.

But what happens if  insulin is needed? Will I be sufficiently covered? Will my medications be covered? Even if I am covered what out of pocket charges will I face? I see my endocrinologist every three months. Will I be able to continue this? Like Dr Kwon, my diabetes doctor is one of the top in her field. Under Medicare (Dis)Advantage will I still be able to see my doctors or still be able to choose from the best physicians? Or will I be left to choose between Dr Nick and Dr Hartman?

I don't like what I have read or heard of Medicare (Dis)Advantage. Someone, somewhere is getting rich over this being forced upon us and it's not someone at Emblem/Blue Cross or Joe Namath. 

I have a fantasy of moving to Corning NY, for a year after I retire. How many providers will I find there? One? None? Or maybe Hudson NY. There might be three providers in Hudson.

I don't need nor want a Fitbit. I don't need or want rides to and fro. I don't want meals sent to me. There is one thing I want with my health insurance when I am 65. 

I want certainty. And I want myself and my health professional to make the decisions what is best .

Sunday, November 28, 2021

United for Change and UFT Solidarity Bronx Happy Hour on December 10


 It's that time of the year. No, not the traditional holiday season, but rather the UFT election season. And what does that mean? Plenty of opportunities to partake in adult beverages, fine food, and good people. 

For those not aware, UFT Solidarity, ICE/UFT, New Action, Educators of NYC, Retiree Advocate and the MORE Caucus have formed a coalition slate to run against Mike Mulgrew and his Unity caucus in the upcoming spring UFT Elections. Henceforth to be known as "United for Change".

United for Change is kicking off it's first Bronx Happy Hour on December 10, 2021, at the 
G Bar which is below Giovanni's at
579 Grand Concourse in the Bronx @149th St from 3:15 to 7:30. The entrance for the G Bar is on 150th St.

G Bar is easy to get to and easy to get home. The 2/4/5 trains are a few blocks away 149th St. If you are coming by car G Bar is just a few blocks away from the Deegan, Yankee Stadium, and the 149th St Bridge. And there is a dedicated parking lot on 150th St. Use this form (click here) to RSVP and let us know you are coming. The form just helps with the head count. If you don't want to fill out the form just show up and come have fun while hanging out with some great people. 

This is just a start. Thus far there is a Westchester County Happy Hour already being planned for January, as well as discussions on the possibility of a Saturday afternoon something in Orange and/or Rockland counties. So be on the look out for that!

Remember, Friday, December 10, at the G Bar which is below Giovanni's at 579 Grand Concourse in the Bronx @149th St from 3:15 to 7:30. The entrance for G B around the corner on 150th St.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday Music Videos Featuring Les Claypool

It's Friday. It's a slow news day here at the SBSB offices. What to do?

Back in June I was counting down to the last day of school on these pages and accompanying the posts with music videos that touched on that days theme. One fanboi commented...

I liked the countdown better when you stuck to music!

I retorted...

Tell you what. For you I will make every Friday through the summer "Music Friday" and find a song that fits into some educational theme. Even if I have to shoehorn it. So next Friday, July 5. OK?

The fanboi replied...

Sounds good! Enjoy your Summer Pete!

July 5 came and went and so did the rest of July, August, September, October, and almost all of November until today. 

Back on September 26 I was able to see live music for the first time in almost 18 months. Who did I see? I saw Primus. It was my first time ever seeing them.  Why did I go? Because they were to play Rush's 1977 album, "A Farewell to Kings" in its entirety. The show was at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT where they were supposed to play in July of 2020. But due to the COVID craziness everything was postponed. 

But being there is no more Rush ever again (Unless Geddy and Alex can recruit Ringo to take over the drums or maybe even Mike Portnoy) I need to get a Rush fix whenever possible. Les Claypool took care of it for a night. By the way, I really enjoyed the show and I like Primus.

So I am embedding the the first three songs of AFTK. The title track, Closer to the Heart, and Xanadu. Enjoy. 

I will continue, or at least try to, this new Friday "tradition." 






Saturday, November 20, 2021

Mulgrew's Conniption. Now How do we Battle Apathy and Ignorance?

I'm supposed to be with my high school friends right now. Right now I am in a hotel room in Schenectady spending the weekend at the Rivers Casino. But I was checking the blogs and came across James Eterno's ICE blog. I was reading about the disaster Mulgrew had at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly meeting and
decided to take the laptop out. 

Since I am no longer a delegate, I now have to hear about things through the blogs or second hand. From what I have read it is about time something like this happened. 

Back in 2019 I wrote how to make the DA more transparent and more inclusive. Two ideas that I had were to allow live streaming of the DA to all members. There are many platforms available and at not really much cost. Well, that seemed to have happened Wednesday when someone, somewhere transmitted the live DA to opponents in front of 52 Broadway. Good. About time. But the dirty little secret is; this has been happening for some time, especially the last 18 months when the DA's were phone based.

Oh yeah. The UFT will say, "Anyone can watch." Sure, anyone can. If they schlep down to 52 Broadway and then whisked off to a cold room with a live feed off of a shit poor monitor. The time is now to make all DAs available on the UFT website, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else possible. Want us to sign in with logins we use to go on UFT website, fine. There are methods to keep non members out. 

As for the voting? I love the voting system that is used by phone. It's awesome. True democracy. The ability for delegates to not fear reprisals. However, one should wonder if the union knows how someone  voted by phone number. 

It's time for the delegate assembly to enter the 21st century. The UFT has an app, let delegates vote by using the UFT app. I can get a high school student to help the UFT add such abilities. In fact, the same high school student can also help the UFT add any possible bandwidth it might need.  

Is this damaging to Unity in the long run? No, not really. It might change some people's minds. Those who stay on top of what is going on with the UFT. Delegates, bloggers, people who read the blogs, other activists, but that is not enough to cause a major disruption. The people who already give a shit are out there. Be they on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media. 

How do you reach the apathetic or the ignorant? No one has come up with the answer. I think I have and I tried. I tried in 2016 but was brushed aside with "we have memes." The memes being read by the same people that already share the same views. Nothing is better than campaigning in an echo chamber. 

A few weeks ago in my school we had an election for a vacant delegate position. I threw my hat in at the last minute. Someone ran against me, a teacher that has been at the school for several years. I have been at the school since September. I lost. I got six votes. The other person got 13 votes. Twenty people voted in a school with almost 100 UFT members. No one cared nor did anyone really know what a delegate does or why a delegate is important. Why? Many, many young and new teachers. Will these teachers be voting come the spring when the get their ballots at home? Will they take the time to not only fill out the ballots but to mail the ballots as well? 

How to get to the apathetic? They need to know there is a choice and a reason to vote. They need to be identified. Think of multi level marketing (This is the only idea I am sharing). Each person speaks to ten people. Talk to their needs. Listen to their needs. MAKE THE MESSAGES to their needs. This is why the Democrats are losing the rural areas. They don't talk to nor do they listen to the needs of other voters outside of their own bubble. This has been the problem for the last several elections by some. Some refuse to get out of their comfort zone.

There must be a recognizable name at the head of the ticket. A name that is known and has experience advocating for the rank and file as well has had run in previous elections. A veteran teacher. A teacher that has been through the ups and downs of the DOE. A teacher that has been on national TV, not once, but several times. 

Unity will be very, very hard to beat. But to even put a sizeable dent will take more than just leafleting schools. It will take rolling up the sleeves and thinking outside the box. But sadly, I am seeing some want to cut off their noses to spite their faces and refuse to play with others. Those others who know how to fight. Know how to roll up their sleeves. And those that really and truly want to win.

Thank you. There is a $5 blackjack table awaiting me.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Elections Are Important

 Many many years ago when I was in first grade at the Concord Road School in Ardsley there was a student government. All grades, K-5 were represented. This first grader, Muttley Schwartz was the president of the student council and he was practically unbeatable. There were five classrooms in each grade for a total of 30. Each class elected their own safety monitor but the "best buddies" board of the student council selected cronies to be classroom leaders. They oversaw the safety monitors, but they owed their positions to the student council and Muttley Schwartz. Muttley's faction was known as the Dick Dasterdly faction.

Not many of the students cared much for Muttley. Yeah, once in a while he fought for us. Got five minutes added to recess. Made sure that kindergarten had nap time every day, and talked tough but never really followed through. His one big accomplishment came when I was in second grade and he got us chocolate milk to be served in the cafeteria. I remember the press conference Muttley had with the school newspaper. He talked a big game. How tough negotiations were with the principal. That he was "there for us." Blah, blah blah. 

It was also that year that he faced his first real test as a leader. Two factions; the Underdog faction and the Minute Mouse faction decided to run against Muttley and the Dick Dasterdly faction. It was tough. They didn't expect to win but were looking for seats on the "best buddies" board. Nobody really expected They just wanted to get some seats on the "best buddies" board. 

And guess what? The Minute Mouse faction got four seats on the board. Now, there were 50 seats but this was a big victory. Some great kids were on that board. Sadly, those kids had to deal with the controlling nature of the Minute Mouse faction de facto boss The Frog.

The Underdog faction was led at the time by Simon Bar Sinister. Yes, that Simon Bar Sinister. Hey, they thought he was a mensch, but they learned the hard way.

But between this election and the next safety monitor elections things began to change. Yes, the Minute Mouse faction started to win some safety monitor elections. But they were mostly in small classes with few students. There soon was some unhappiness going on and soon there was a purge. It also didn't help that in the elections when I was in grade, Dick Dasterdly didn't really put much of an effort in the election except for some memes. 

Meanwhile, the Underdog faction was rolling up its sleeves and listening to the students of the Concord Road School. It turned no one away. It became a version of the Island of Misfit Toys. Simon Bar Sinister was no longer there and a collective release of sphincters made everyone feel relieved. But they plugged away. They too won some safety monitor positions. In big classrooms, with influential students who lived in the rich part of Ardsley as well as in Hartsdale. They also had a new leader; Sweet Polly Purebred. 

Which brings me to the elections when I was in fourth grade. All three factions squared off again. But this time something big happened. Yes, the Snidely Whiplash faction won big. Minute Mouse faction was expecting to at least come in second place. It was not to be. 

Underdog came in second place with Minute Mouse coming in a distant third. People were surprised. I was. Minstrels will be writing songs about the Underdog faction and Sweet Polly Purebred for years to come. 

But then there were the elections the years I was in fifth grade. The Minute Mouse and Underdog factions decided to combine forces to defeat Muttley and Dick Dasterdly.

But there are problems. For some reason, the Minute Mouse faction and the Frog believe that they get to call the shots. That they can dictate who gets to play and be friends with this combined force. That Sweet Polly Purebred and her Bullwinkle faction don't deserve much of a say. They act as if the Bullwinkle faction should feel honored just to be allowed to run with them. 

I remember thinking in fifth grade, "What the fuck?" How the fuck can a third place finisher--third place by quite a bit-- dictate terms to a second place finisher? How fucked up is that? 

If anyone or anybody should be calling the shots, it should be the Underdog faction and Sweet Polly Purebred. At the very least they have no scores to settle with other students. 

I remember that year as an important election. That there was a chance to take down Muttley and Dick Dasterdly. One faction thought of themselves, the other of the students. I don't remember who won that year or anything else about the election. I remember the Minute Mouse faction trying to bogart everything. But I do know what I felt was right. That coming in second place that year in the Concord Road School student council elections gives you gravitas and the right to be treated with respect. And to run the show.


Friday, November 12, 2021

SBSB Groupie Trixie Sanitized in the Eye

When last we left Trixie, a SBSB groupie, Trixie had her schedule and program changed. Again and again. 

Trixie is again in the SBSB news. This time for a student copying something from Tik Tok.

Trixie was teaching her nuclear fission class. A student, let's call this student Shlomo Rubenstein decided to get up out of his seat. Why? Because all of the sudden Shlomo decided he needed to sanitize his hands. 

Now Trixie has no problem with the proper sanitizing of hands. Especially when there is little to no mitigation against the COVID. In fact Trixie encourages all mitigation. But not in this instance. 

Shlomo is well known and causes quite a ruckus in class. Shlomo just wanted to get out of his seat. Trixie asked Shlomo several times to return to his seat but Shlomo was just gosh darn determined to get to the hand sanitizer. 

Shlomo then proceeded to put globs and globs of hand sanitizer on his hands. So much, that it was dripping. As Shlomo walked past Trixie he proceed to cup his hands with the hand sanitizer and flicked it over his head and some of the sanitizer got in Trixie's eyes. 

Trixie soon felt the sting in her eyes and summoned the proper school authority. Shlomo was removed from class and from all Trixie was able to ascertain received a stern "talking to." As of press time The Crack Team still has not been able to find out if the "talking to" involved any finger wagging. 

Trixie of course filled out an occurrence report and left to seek medical care. According to this website, hand sanitizer in the eyes can...

 ...can be quite dangerous if not handled correctly, and even lead to vision loss

This can be ungood.  

After this incident several staff members shared with Trixie that a stunt like this is being encouraged on Tik Tok. The Crack Team doesn't care for Tik Tok but did Google search and came up with this.

And guess what? Yeah, it is always the teacher's fault. It would be nice to see the UFT take a more proactive stance in such a situation. Patrick Lynch would be screaming at cops being abused. Where is Mike Mulgrew in such matters?

Monday, November 8, 2021

Retirement Just Around My Corner

 I have the years and the age to retire. I just owe some money for my first few years that I hadn't paid into TRS and wanted to get some clarification.

Back in the good old days I was able to dial the Bronx UFT and either a) get through to someone at the switchboard, or b) call the pension people directly. Not anymore. The UFT has a new way to avoid your calls. It's non award winning concierge service

On October 26 I decided to make place the phone call to the Bronx UFT. I got the concierge service and promptly placed on hold.

I placed the phone call while on the Deegan at Fordham Rd. No one picked up until I was up on Elmsford where you get onto I-287 from the Thruway. I was then told that I would hear back from someone within 48 hours. It took a week. I got a date for a consultation. November 17. In person. In the Bronx. 

I'm excited and scared at the same time.

As much as I can’t stand the DOE and what it’s done to me, I’m looking at retirement with trepidation. It’s like I’m losing my identity. For 25 years this is all I have known and been. It's not that I got my identity from being a teacher, but this all I have known for 25 years. My year doesn't go from January to December, it goes from September to June.

I feel I need to decompress for at least a year after I retire from the DOE. It's the same feeling I had during my 3020a hearings. After the hearing I needed down time and stopped at IHop each night. I will need more than IHop.

My firsts choice to move to some cabin in the Adirondacks or the Catskills where my nearest neighbor is 5 miles away. I would live in this cabin for a year completely off the grid. I will forage and hunt for my food each day and chop wood for fire and heat. I will grow my hair long and have a manly beard. But this is just a fantasy.

My other dream is to live in Corning for a year or two (I lived there for about 6 months in 1986. In fact I nearly caused an international incident there. I must share one day). Kinda like reliving my youth, but this time as a so called "responsible" and "mature" adult. I figure I can sock my pension away and sell cars to
pay my bills. I've always wanted to sell cars. Or sell anything. Maybe I could be a greeter in Walmart. 

If Corning doesn't pan out there is always Binghamton or Hudson to live in. I really like both towns. But selling cars. 

I can't do the Florida thing. One more retired Jew from New York moving to Florida has become a stereotype. I used to ask my dad about why he hadn't retired to Florida. His answer was, "Florida is death's waiting room." Yeah a waiting room with the 4:30 early bird special.

I doubt I will retire anytime soon. My son is a junior in college, and he has another year to go. Also, I am not retiring without having another gig lined up. Part of me wants to write the book the late, great, Stu Schmelz and I discussed writing: "We Can't Make This Shit Up!" Just like Sparky Lyle and Graig Nettles had in their last years with the Yankees I can as well in my last year with the DOE. 

Something hit me as I was writing this. I'm sure there will be people I still communicate with and see. I don't think I will wither away in the night. But then there are people I was close to but will never ever see again due to distance or whatever reason. Sad.

Let's see what happens and what I hear on the 17th. Maybe I will hit mega millions.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Crack Team Has A Mole Within UNITY

I have been thinking on how to handle all these accusations that have befallen me the last week and how to fix the hazarai that I unintentionally created. What can I do? 

I thought about it long and hard driving up to Ithaca yesterday. Suddenly, a light bulb popped over my
head when I stopped in Hancock NY. I promptly contacted The Crack Team and instructed that at least 10 members (We need at least 10 to have a minyan) meet me in Binghamton. Hancock being about 45 minutes from Binghamton forced The Crack Team to charter a jet and meet me at the Spieidie and Rib Pit on Front Street just off of I-81 in Binghamtom. The Crack Team had shared with me that they had planned for such an occasion and on this blog post for the first time ever,  some of the evil planning will be revealed

The Crack Team has not only a mole within in the UFT and Unity but has surreptitiously bugged the Unity Election War Room. All what you are about to read took place on Monday, November 1, 2020 the day after a certain blog post that had been posted but since deleted. 

Names have been changed to protect the evil.

Larry the Lobster: Did you read Zucker's blog last nigh?

Squidward: Yeah, we are fucked. XXXX is going to be part of this so called coalition.

Pearl: We are. What are we going to do?

Mr Crabs: We have to call out the big guns. I have placed a call to Plankton and Man Ray. We will have them do our dirty work while it will keep our hands clean and we will have plausible deniability.

A few minutes later Plankton and Man Ray enter. All Unity members greet them with raised fists and chant, "All bow to the evilness of Plankton and Man Ray."

Mr Crabs: Welcome Plankton and Man Ray, what evil plans do you have for our enemies?

Plankton: We have already begun our evil plan against the others. On November 7, 2021 I will leave a paper bag of doody on the leader of XXXX's doorstep, light the bag on fire, ring the bell and run away. The leader will be forced to stomp out the fire and only then will realize he had fecal matter all over his feet. 

Mr Crabs: Excellent and diabolical! That plan will surely make the leader of XXXX  run away and hide. Man Ray, what is your plan? 

Man Ray: My plan is pure evil. I will make several phone calls on November 8 to (inaudible) and ask him, "We are calling from the electric company and doing a survey. Is your refrigerator running?" When he answers "Yes!" I will tell him that he "needs to go and get it! (An evil laugh is heard on the audio). 

The next day I will call (Again, inaudible), and ask "Do you have King Arthur in a can?" These two phone calls are what we in the evil business call "psych ops." (Inaudible) will be left to a shriveling shaking mass, left to sucking his thumb in the corner and rocking back and forth.

Plankton: Who gives a shit about (inaudible)? (Inaudible) is just a bit player, no one really takes (Inaudible) seriously!

Man Ray: No, you dick! (Inaudible) is the glue that holds them together. 

Plankton: Fuck off Man Ray! 

At this point Plankton and Man Ray start to brawl. Plankton's Karen comes in and starts to mock Plankton for getting his ass kicked by shouting, "You are not a real man!" Mr Crabs just sits back with an evil laugh and knows that all is going according to plan. The gloves have come off of Unity. It is now a fight of Good vs. Evil.

Come back to these pages as The Crack Team deciphers audio obtained from the Unity Election War Room and continues to debrief it's Unity mole.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Red Lenses

 I just felt like posting this video of Rush from November 1984 from the Grace Under Pressure Tour. I was 20 years old at the time and I missed this tour. In fact after seeing them for the first time during the Exit...Stage Left Tour in 1981 I did not see them again until the Presto tour in 1990.

Grace Under Pressure album was heavy on the keyboards, but that was Rush in the mid 80's. I know of lots of fans who did not like their turn towards keyboards but I liked it. It was different. 

Two red songs on GUP or as us in Rush fandom say, "p/g." Get it? Leave comment with what "p/g" means and win a prize. 

So below are the lyrics and then the bootleg video.

I see red
And it hurts my head
I 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
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
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead
And the mercury is rising
Barometer starts to fall
You know it gets to us all
The pain that is learning
And the rain that is burning
Feel red, still, go ahead
You see black and white
And I see red, red
Not blue

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

False Accusations Laid on Me

 Hey how about that top ranked and award winning UFT Concierge service? 

FUCK THAT. Save it for another time. I got to get something off my chest. 

On Sunday I was planning to blog with those 12 crossed out words above. I came across something else that I thought was more newsworthy so I published that. What a shit storm? Out of deep respect for
someone else, I deleted it. It's gone. The link is dead. Don't go trying to find it. 

I want to clear up several accusations that have been made against me. 

Accusation of Mining for Blog Hits

First, I did not post what I posted on Sunday for "blog hits." I don't give a shit about blog hits. I care if something is newsworthy. It was newsworthy. Simple as that. I also don't need people to parrot that comment. Be fucking original. Be fresh.

If I cared about blog hits I would be blogging so much more frequently. If I blog twice a month that is a lot now. So go figure it out. Or as one SBSB fanboi said to me, "What's the big deal about wanting blog hits? I mean, you don't not date a girl because she is pretty."

Oh yeah, I forgot. I never sent out an email that I updated the blog nor did I tweet out the link. Wouldn't that add to the hits? 

Accusation of Being a Unity Plant and/or Working Undercover for Unity

Really? This has got to be one of the dumbest things I have heard about me EVER!

My Hatred of XXXX Has Clouded my Judgement

No, it hasn't. And it isn't hate. It's knowing that I don't need to see the sun rise in the East to know it is has risen in the East. However, I do know that to go forward, XXXX must be involved. If my hatred was so intense, I would have editorialized in the now deleted blog post. But I didn't.

Oh, and I never said I how awful XXXX is. Well, maybe several years ago. But now I say "I don't xxxxx XXXX. At least I don't act as someone's little xxxxx

Lest we forget comparing me to Porty about how I feel about XXXX is a double face palm.

But I can look in the mirror and say I am my own person and have my dignity. I don't go running back with my tail between my legs after being publicly and literally shat upon XXXX.

I Triggered People

Triggered? Now we are woke? Boo fucking hoo. Get over it.  I told my son when he left for college to be wary of those who whine about being triggered and people accusing others of micro-aggressions. Oops, does typing this now make me a MAGA? "Yeah, fucking god damn liberal Right Wingers."

This shit I posted on Sunday is not super duper classified information. Big fucking deal it was leaked by me. Own up to it. Run with it. But, really. I believe someone might be projecting,.

Accuse me of something, you better back it up. I been accused of too much shit lately that I haven't done. Worse, I don't need to be texted this shit when I am fucking teaching. 



Sunday, October 31, 2021

BREAKING!! Draft Joint Announcement of Anti-Unity Caucuses

The rumors are true. There is a coalition forming to take on Unity in next year's UFT elections. The details are being worked out. Nothing is official yet, but Solidarity, New Action, ICE, Educators of NYC, Retired Advocate, and MORE are in negotiations and discussions. It's still wait and see but one never knows. 

That being said, The Crack Team has received a copy of the joint statement draft put out by all parties involved. I am publishing it on these pages without editorializing, commenting, or making suggestions. However, anyone who is reading this is free to to add their two cents in the comments section and should feel assured that the comments will at the very least be read by all the caucuses. There is a lot that an be agreed on I am sure, And the disagreements can surely be turned into agreements. Please let the ideas flow

The Joint Announcement:

Are you feeling overworked and underappreciated?

Are you angry about a failed pandemic response that closed schools too late, and has failed to protect health and safety as we returned to work?

Are you upset that your union is complicit in so many of these dangerous decisions?  

Are you wishing there were more counselors, teachers, social workers, librarians, related service providers, and  just educators altogether?

Are you angry that the union instead settled for modest influxes of funds that can’t be spent on hiring long-term non unionized employees?

Are you angry about all the backroom deals, givebacks, and weakness on school segregation, healthcare, and standardized testing?

What about failing to file any grievances from rank-and-file members for almost 18 months while our rights, health, safety, pay, and overall power and respect in schools were under attack by a school bureaucracy that constantly disrespects the New York City community?

Do you wish our union would actually listen to us and organize us towards acting for change? It’s been proven to work in LA, Chicago, West Virginia, and many more regions. The opposite approach has been followed by our current union leaders. This spring, we have a choice for what union we can have.

We don’t want to settle anymore. Back to normal won’t be good enough. It never was good enough.

This spring, vote for A Better Union [placeholder phrase- Our UFT can do more and be better.].

We stand for a new union leadership that reverses the damage done by our current leadership and charts a new path forward. We stand for………

  1. PROTECTIONS FOR EDUCATORS: Approximately 40% of new teachers leave within their first few years. Many of these teachers reach out to use and explain that they are being discontinued or are resigning because of the toxic work environments in their schools. If a young teacher is able to make it to tenure by “escaping” to a different school, often their probation is extended an extra year or too. Unity allowed the DOE to extend tenure to four years with extensions, if desired by principals. We need to bring back the three-year probationary period for all teachers. Unity has allowed pensions to be weakened through a 62 retirement age and continual staff contributions (Tier 6). We will support better pensions by restoring 30 year and age 55 retirements, with ten year vesting and an end to staff contributions at that time.
  2. LOWERED CLASS SIZES: NYC public schools are fully funded and there is no reason why schools cannot earmark funds to reduce class sizes for the 2021-22 School Year. The City Council is proposing a bill that would reduce class size in schools starting in 2022 and continuing gradually over three more years.
  3. ANTI-PRIVATIZATION (REGARDING HEALTH CARE AND CHARTERS): No private businesses or profit-motives in our schools, our union, or our benefits.
  4. A MILITANT UNION- Taylor Law is contrary to Human Rights Law. We need a union who will empower its members by adding back the 'strike power,' which has been used successfully by educators in many other cities/states, by fighting to amend the Taylor Law.
  5. RESPECT: Fair pay for all underpaid educators, including but not limited to paraprofessionals, school secretaries, and therapists. Hire more full-time classroom teachers and school counselors, instead of funding long-time substitute positions and allowing corporate outsourcing of related services. Full benefits and protections for all UFT members. Restore the right to grieve letters in the file and add a victim-centered definition of harassment to the contract. Add protections against retaliatory observations. Restore the culture of educators being able to apply for and receive sabbaticals and realistically expecting to be approved.
  6. STAFF AND SUPPORT: More counselors and social workers, teachers and librarians, therapists and secretaries. These must be negotiated into our contract and made part of state law via caseload and class size caps, through concerted and aggressive action with statewide coalitions.
  7. EMPOWERMENT: More emphasis on rank-and-file organizing in chapters and districts that focuses on knowing the contract and fighting for stronger contracts. No more top-down placating in our union. We want cuts to the salaries of upper management union bureaucrats and we want our dues, COPE dollars [a]and power reinjected into organizing rank-and-file members and chapters.
  8. AUTONOMY AND EQUITY: End mayoral control. More worker control in schools and community control of the city school districts. Work with city and state communities, families, parents, and students to bargain for the common good. End school admissions segregation and standardized tests now. End the school-to-prison pipeline in New York City. Teachers should have control over their own curriculum and be given resources to make liberatory lessons that center student experience and provide culturally relevant and real-world context for the skills and knowledge they are learning. Fight for oversight powers, instead of just consultative tasks, to C30 committees and to make district executive positions elected by communities. Encourage more informal peer-to-peer classroom visits and lower the amount of evaluative classroom observations.
  9. HEALTH AND SAFETY: Our union and city both failed us during this pandemic. Health and safety must be priorities permanently going forward. No more givebacks on healthcare and safety protocols. We want stronger contractual enforcement tools and more nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff and resources to establish the 21st century schools we need, green-friendly and free of lead, asbestos, and other contaminants. These are our schools and we won’t let learning take place in dangerous conditions ever again.  

Educators of New York City: Let’s make a change in our union leadership. This spring, vote for A Better Union [placeholder phrase].

[a]This is money specifically set aside to give the UFT some political clout via endorsing candidates.  Are you suggesting we get out of politics all together and never endorse political candidates?  That may make us less appealing to those politicians who hold sway over educational policy in the city.