Sunday, March 20, 2022

UFT Unity The Smell of Fear

 Smell that? It's fear. Desperation. It's exuding from 52 Broadway.

This is my fifth go round of being involved one way or the other with these union elections. What I've seen from the UFT Unity caucus this year is unprecedented.

The Crack Team assembled this afternoon to see if my hypothesis is correct. They crunched the data and looked back at the last two election cycles, 2016 and 2019, to use as a control group. They decided not to use 2010 because it was too far back and social media was still in its infancy and 2013 was excluded due to it being MORE was still in its infancy (I'm not trying to disparage MORE here, in fact I forget if MORE ran anyone in this election).

If we look at 2016 MORE was building up steam and was well organized. But there was also Solidarity which, if memory serves, was running in its first election. 

Both opposition groups were pretty much at loggerheads then and one could reasonably say they split ticket, however MORE did win the high school seats. But, could be seen as a wake up call for UFT Unity, but it wasn't. In the past, the opposition had won high school seats and in my opinion UFT Unity just dealt with it.

In 2019, was a real hullabaloo. MORE was in disarray and not really trying (Again, I am not disparaging MORE) and Solidarity was trying to pick up the pieces from... how do I say this? Shit happening. Yet, with all this Solidarity made a surprise second place showing. 

So this is the extreme brief take as well as history on the previous two elections. I am sure there are many who can fill in the missing pieces in the comments section and I welcome them to.

Social media started to "take off" as well in the previous two elections. Even on the UFT Unity side. The Crack Team did a search on Twitter for January 1-May 15 for both years. In both those election cycles the UFT Unity Twitter account was basically used to tout Unity and to get out the vote (Click here and here for search of UFT Unity tweets for those years). As you can see, nothing even mentioning opposition groups. 

This year, things apparently have changed. The UFT Unity twitter account seems to be mirroring the same type of tweets by United for Change in which executive board members and other candidates are introduced. Usage of Unity's "blog" and/or website to dig at the opposition. Mayhem at the Delegate Assemblies. UFT officers attacking the rank and file. Claiming others are not doing the work when others are not in power to. 

Even a plethora of disingenuous blog posts.

Why is UFT Unity running scared? Two reasons I have noticed. 

Anecdotally, in speaking with in service members I personally (Again this is from my personal experience. There is nothing scientific about this data ) am hearing from many disaffected members of the rank and file. Members are done with the lack of leadership from COVID, to constant abuse by administrators, to bogus AARP ratings, to justs a general mistrust of the union leadership in particular how out of touch Mike Mulgrew is. 

But that is not UFT Unity's biggest problem. Like a boil on the buttocks of the UFT that needs to be either lanced or popped the faction that was most loyal and actually votes is fed up. Care to guess? 

The retirees.

How the gosh darn does one turn against their most loyal votes as Mulgrew has by shoving Medicare (Dis)Advantage down retirees throats? Where is the logic? Why is this done without ANY input from retirees? Why is this done with nothing but, "Trust us, it'll be great," when there is nothing but a blank paper to show?

How can Mulgrew force retirees into Medicare (Dis)Advantage buy claiming, "You will be able to continue with your own medical providers," when there is no list of doctors, therapists, hospitals, that are on the plan! How does this make any sense? 

What does Mulgrew have to say to an 85 year old retiree who lives on a fixed income, as several medical ailments and is being forced to choose between Medicare (Dis)Advantage in which the retiree has no idea what to expect or paying $190 a month to keep their Medicare.

Yeah, I know a judge just sided with the retirees. But does anyone really trust Mulgrew? I know I don't. 

UFT Unity is in a lose lose situation. If the percentage of their vote dips below 65 percent there will be a bloodletting in Unity and if not we will have a hobbled union when contract negotiations start in earnest.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Does Unity/UFT Do the Work?

 Does Unity/UFT "Do the Work" as they claim to be? You know what? I now have an open mind concerning that statement and willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the UFT that they do the work.

What we need is an example of someone going to the UFT for something as simple as scheduling an
appointment for a pension consultation. I wonder if there are anyone's stories I can use? Hey! How about my story. OK, I convinced myself. 

Back in November I called the UFT to make an appointment for my pension consultation. I placed the call when I got onto the Major Deegan at Yankee Stadium. Immediately I was told that my call was important and that someone would answer it shortly. Bad music was played and I kept on hearing the voice of Él Presidenté'(Is this renaming?) Mike Mulgrew.

My usual route home is north on the Deegan, get on the Cross County going east to the Bronx River north, merge onto the Sprain and then east on I-287 to White Plains.

As I approached the Cross County I was still on hold. Now, I had a decision to make. Continue on my normal route and risk the call being dropped. There is a dead zone for AT&T right around Jackson Ave on the Sprain. There is also a shaky cell area on the Bronx River around Harney Road in Eastchester. I couldn't risk it. 

So I decided to continue up the Thruway to 287. At this point I was on hold about 30 minutes (traffic up the Deegan in the afternoon means about 30 minutes just to Yonkers). I got on to 287 in Elmsford and just then, someone picked up. I was on hold for about 45 minutes! But nonetheless, Praise be to Moses and Golem!!

Several days later I get this email from Bluna Poderhertz (Is this bad renaming?)regarding my appointment with Chaim Rosenbaum (Renaming?).

Unfortunately, a week or so later I found out I got an after school per session gig and promptly emailed Bluna. 

Bless his hear, but Chaim called me that day at 4:20 wondering where I was. I guess Chaim didn't get the memo. I told him I would call to reschedule, but again had a long time on hold and no one ever go back to me. I should have been more proactive.

With Thanksgiving happening, the holidays coming up, Omicron, me getting COVID, I put it off. I should have reached out myself. Too much mishagas and chazerei happening at the same time. And just the fact that four days a week the earliest I was getting home was 5:30 two days a week, and 6:30 the other two nights.

BUT! I did reach out to the UFT this past Tuesday for a pension consult and was told that in a few days, yes a few days, someone will be contacting me. 

I'm still waiting.


Sunday, March 13, 2022

Mulgrew Goes Missing Yet Again

 I have a routine on Sunday mornings. I get up, get dressed and go out and get myself a breakfast. Usually it's a breakfast burrito and black coffee from McDonald's or I substitute the burrito for a bagel. But it's good alone time. The one thing that never changes is picking up a copy of the Daily News. Even at $3.50 and the sports section a shell of what it used to be, old habits are hard to drop. 

Today's News had an interesting article. Apparently, PS 211 in District 12 has an abusive principal and things on in an uproar. 

According to the News...

Parents and teachers are calling for the ouster of a Bronx elementary school principal they say has bullied educators, denigrated kids and parents, and turned a once warm and loving school culture into a hostile and chaotic environment.

And even more important...

...principal Tanya Drummond has waged a years-long war with teachers, sparking a mass educator exodus and prompting 55 of the school’s 64 unionized employees to sign a scathing letter of no confidence in 2019 blasting the “toxic work environment,” according to records reviewed by the Daily News.

I did a Google search on the school and found that James Eterno blogged about this school two years ago. So think about this. Let's do a timeline. 

In 2019 eighty five percent of the unionized employees of 211 voted no confidence in the principal. 

On February 27, 2020, James Eterno blogged about this school.

Today, Sunday, March 13, 2022 the Daily News reported basically reported information that is over two years old. A wee bit late, but better late than never. 

Anyone notice something? Or something missing? Not sure? Read the Daily News article again. I'll wait. 

OK, I'll tell you. There is not one person quote from the UFT. Nothing. Nada. Bupkus. Where is the outrage from OUR (REMEMBER THIS! IT IS OUR UNION. THE RANK AND FILE.) union? OUR union that should be rolling up its sleeves and supporting the staff, and just as important, the students and community of CS 211. 

Where is the outrage from 52 Broadway for this...?

That same year, 18 classroom teachers, a full third of the school’s teaching force, left the school — a turnover rate nearly 20 percentage points higher than that year’s city average, according to figures provided by the United Federation of Teachers.

Since 2014, 78 of the 127 educators who worked at P.S. 211 had left by the start of this school year, according to the UFT.

Does this kind of turnover not have an effect on the learning outcomes of students? If the UFT won't be there for the staff of the school at the very least be there for those at the school who are most vulnerable.

Will Mike Mulgrew be at CS 211 tomorrow morning to support the teachers and the community? Hell no! If this were a police precinct, you can bet your life that Pat Lynch would be in front of the precinct before the crack of dawn showing his support. 

This is all the more reason why a change is needed. Camille Eterno would not only be at the school first thing tomorrow morning, but she would be working all day on a Sunday coordinating with local UFT leaders on how to address this issue. She would be reaching out to staff and the community to give her support, while hitting the media outlets like there was no tomorrow. 

This is what a leader does. A leader doesn't hide out on Staten Island. We need a leader that is proactive and takes the bull by the balls and leads. At what point do the members of the UFT 

It's time for a change. Time to say UFT President elect Eterno and say goodbye to UFT President Potemkin. The time of smoke and mirrors is over.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Unity UFT Claims it's the "Social Justice" Caucus!

 I'm not going to get into a debate regarding what is and what isn't social justice. I have shared my own ideas on these pages how social justice should be handled. But as to paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart "I know social justice when I see it." UFT Unity's attempt at claiming it is the true social justice party is quite laughable.

While the opposition caucuses seem to think that tweeting is how you do political action, they couldn’t find it in themselves to contribute a single tweet to the work of passing the paraprofessional pension legislation. Reading their social media, one would not even know that paraprofessionals existed.

It’s easy to ‘talk the talk’ of social justice unionism.

This not social justice. This should be called, "Doing what you should be doing and because it is the right thing to do and putting members dues to good work justice." 

The definition of Social Justice is as follows...

"justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society."

Yes, I will give kudos and props to the UFT increasing the rights, pay, and working conditions of paras. Paras are underrated and overworked. They deserve so much more. I have worked with some fantastic paras over the years and they make life so much easier. I hope they get more in the next contract and continue to for years. But this is not social justice.  

But let's use UFT Unity's skewed logic on social justice and see what they should do since UFT Unity is the "true blue social justice" caucus.

Medicare (Dis)Advantage aka Mulgrewcare

Explain how throwing thousands upon thousands of retirees into MAP is social justice? These are retirees with years of relationships with their current doctors. Many retirees who live on an extremely fixed income. Retirees who are scared and anxious of this sudden and illegal change. How is this social justice?

Teacher Harassment

Teachers are being harassed left and right by abusive administrators. Still. There was supposed to be an avenue on the latest contract on how to fight back against abusive administrators. Has the UFT ever successfully, let alone brought a case to either a chancellor's hearing or arbitration against a abusive administrator? I mean just for one individual teacher, not an entire chapter (While we here at SBSB to applaud this). How is this social justice?

Better yet, if Unity UFT really wants to show how social justicey they really are why are there not workshops at UFT borough offices on how to document and fight back against abusive administrators? 

One SBSB groupie is still fighting back against years of abuse


Do I need to elaborate? Is this social justice. Oh wait, how much time and energy did the "true blue social justice" caucus of the UFT put into blocking an ATR chapter from forming? How is this social justice?

Retro Pay

Bad enough that teachers had to wait 11 years to get what was owed them. But to pour salt into the wound of teachers that were terminated, quit, or died without their well deserved as well earned back pay was just wrong. How is this social justice?

Concierge Service

I freaking hate it!  How is this social justice?

Abuse of Camille Eterno

How is defaming Camille Eterno, a proud unionist and mommy to two wonderful children social justice?  

Lack of Democracy and Transparency

The DA's are nothing more than propaganda. Rules aren't followed. There is no real debate. For some perverse reason I as an elementary teacher must vote for VP of High Schools. District Leader s are anointed. Those that suckle on the colon are rewarded. How is this social justice? 

I can go on and on, but the above is what popped into my head. I am sure there will be more in the comments. 

But please, Unity UFT is not, nor will ever be, the social justice caucus.  

And lastly....

The UFT election is right around the corner!

United for Change is running in this year's UFT Elections against Unity Caucus and independents. Come learn more about us, meet the candidates, and ask questions.  

✅ Our informational meeting is happening TOMORROW at 4pm over Zoom!