SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Why The UFT is Weak by Guest Blogger Mr Mackey

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Why The UFT is Weak by Guest Blogger Mr Mackey

 I had surgery on my left wrist and elbow yesterday so writing big long blog posts are not easy right now.

However, I turned to OpenAI to write an essay in the voice of Mr Mackey from South Park. The bot pretty much nails it. 

Mmmkay, let's talk about the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and why some people think it's a weak union. As a school counselor, I've seen the impact of the UFT's actions on our teachers and students, so I have some thoughts on the matter.

First of all, the UFT has been criticized for being too cozy with the political establishment. They've been known to support Democratic Party politicians, and some of their own union leaders have gone on to hold political office themselves. This relationship with politicians can be a double-edged sword for the union. On one hand, it gives them access to people who can make decisions that affect teachers and students. On the other hand, it can make them look like they're more interested in politics than in advocating for their members.

Another issue with the UFT is that it's not very militant. They don't seem to be willing to take bold actions, like strikes, to achieve their goals. This can be frustrating for teachers who want to see more aggressive action from their union. However, it's important to remember that public employee strikes are illegal in New York State. So, the UFT is limited in what they can do to pressure the city and state to give them what they want.

Additionally, the UFT's bargaining position is weakened by the fact that New York City has a large pool of unemployed teachers who can be used as replacement workers in the event of a strike. This means that the UFT doesn't have as much leverage as they would in a situation where there was a shortage of teachers. It's hard to negotiate for better working conditions and pay when the city knows they can replace teachers who strike.

The UFT has also been criticized for failing to build strong alliances with other unions and community organizations. It's important for unions to work together and with other groups that share their goals. When you have a broad-based coalition, you're more likely to achieve your goals. The UFT has not been able to build these kinds of alliances, and it's left them vulnerable to attacks from management and politicians.

Another issue is that the UFT is divided along racial and ethnic lines. The majority of UFT members are white, while the majority of New York City public school students are people of color. This has led to tensions within the union over issues such as school funding, teacher evaluation, and school discipline. The UFT has not been able to effectively address these issues and has been criticized for not doing enough to support its members of color.

So, what can the UFT do to become a stronger union? First, they need to focus more on organizing and building power from the ground up. They should be working to mobilize their members and create a more active and engaged membership. This could include things like more regular union meetings and events, more opportunities for members to get involved in decision-making, and more direct action.

The UFT also needs to build stronger alliances with other unions and community organizations. They should be working to identify common goals and find ways to work together. For example, the UFT could partner with other unions to advocate for better working conditions and pay for all public employees. They could also work with community groups to advocate for more funding for public schools.

Another way the UFT can become stronger is by addressing the divisions within the union. They need to be more proactive in supporting their members of color and addressing the issues that affect them. This could include things like training for teachers on cultural competency and implicit bias, and advocating for more resources for schools with high numbers of students of color.

Overall, the UFT has a lot of work to do if they want to become a stronger union. They need to be more militant and willing to take bold action to achieve their goals.


Ros Kliban said...

Sometimes you just have to strike regardless of the Taylor Law. Even if you just do a three day strike. Just enough to make the powers that be know it’s a possibility and what it would be like. Second, are there really enough unemployed teachers to cover those striking? Some will not cross a picket line.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure scabs would be appropriately dealt with

Anonymous said...

I’m a little baffled, half the union leadership are folks of color, and the union works closely with AQE, Class Size Matters and other advocacy organizations, the passage of the class size law was monumental … as far as strikes, there are thousands of public employee unions in NYS and no strikes… the severity of the Taylor Law penalties… the “entering class” each September, predominantly CUNY graduates are predominantly of color.

Strike ms alienate Allie’s, parents and the public school advocacy community…
The union has run hundreds of “actions” over the few months, have you participated?

The most important action is at the polling place, electing pro labor, pro public education candidates… are you active? Join your local political club, attend meetings.. all politics is local

Anonymous said...

I’d like to learn more about the unemployed teachers who would step in if there was a strike. Is there some link talking about that? I thought we were in an acute shortage, I know my school is understaffed for 2 years now.

Anonymous said...

UFT "leaders" like Luther Lohr (P.S 287) and Mary Wade (Brooklyn School District 13) are part of the problem. Lohr represents himself as the principal's rep at teacher discipline meetings. He did not report the physical abuse committed by an assistant principal. Because the victim was a teacher.

Mary Wade maintains close relationships with school principals, at the expense of teachers. On any given day, she can be found gossiping with school leaders. And snacking. Wade is despised by teachers because of her treacherous behavior. She gets teachers to confide in her. Then sells them out to abusive school leaders.

Anonymous said...

Luther Lohr agreed to be a UFT representative at the request of his principal. In return for his blind loyalty to the school principal, he was given a cushy position. During his long tenure as a UFT rep, dozens of teachers and hundreds of students left the school. The school rating went from a B to a F. The school now is the worst performing in the city.