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Forging the UFT Unity Wilderness

This school year I went to UFT Executive Board twice a month. The only one I missed was the last one, as I'm told that was some catered affair with waiters and such, in which we celebrate our achievements. I was not in a particularly celebratory mood after a year of unnecessarily adversarial episodes.

There are seven of us who represent the high schools, and 95 who ostensibly represent everyone else. We are outvoted at every turn, so it can be discouraging. I can generally shrug it off, as I am not surprised when Unity fails to display capacity for growth or change. The only time I was really quite upset was the night I brought a substantive and detailed class size resolution and they voted it down based on nonsense. However, I got over it and I doubt they will be able to shock me again unless they suddenly turn supportive.

If you've been reading my notes, the thing that most stands out is that virtually nothing would happen if we were not there. They'd probab…
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Executive Board Takeaway--Being Unity Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

First, Mulgrew said something very interesting Monday night.. He seemed to suggest that there was some workaround to the Janus decision that would come around next year being negotiated statewide. That might explain why there's all the cozying up to Cuomo and a potential endorsement. But then he said both the country and state would be right to work next year, so it was kind of a mixed message.

I sometimes have issues with what UFT Secretary Howard Schoor says but in retrospect, he said two of the most important things I heard all night. First of all, in answer to my question as to why no one got to vote on the ATR agreement, he gave the only credible and honest answer, stating they don't need no stinking votes, thank you very much. Perhaps more importantly, he unwittingly answered the question that haunted me for much of Monday night's meeting--how could so many people get up in public and say so many stupid things? I'll get to that later.

I sat for …

UFT Executive Board June 5th--Homophobes Yes, ATRs No

6 PM—Howard Schoor calls us to order.

Speakers—

Not here at the moment.

Minutes—

Approved

President's Report--Mulgrew not here.

Staff Director’s Report—LeRoy Bar
r—PS 15 book giveaway event Saturday, Brooklyn PS 105 book event, also Saturday. DA June 14, Last EB June 19.


Questions:


Arthur Goldstein
--MORE--Given the near certainty of impending US Supreme Court decisions it seems a good idea for our union to expand, rather than abridge fundamental democracy.

In 2011, there was an ATR agreement voted on by the Executive Board and the DA. In 2014, there was an ATR agreement that was part of the UFT Contract, and of course we voted on that too. This year, we have an ATR agreement that was not voted on by the DA, or any rank and file, let alone ATRs. Clearly there is precedent for us to vote on ATR agreements.

Why was that precedent not followed this year?

Schoor—No obligation for us to have a vote on ATR agreements. I see there is a resolution and we can debate that.

Mike Schirzer
M…

Contrary

That's what leadership calls us. Contrary implies simple-mindedness, as though you're a two-year-old who just says "no" to everything. Unity contends, during campaigns, that we oppose whatever they bring up, just for the sake of doing so. We disagree with everything, just because, they say. I've observed UFT elections pretty closely and that's one of their big arguments.

We in MORE are now aligned with New Action, and I couldn't be happier about that. Back when New Action was opposing us, they portrayed themselves as a more reasonable opposition. In fact, I agreed with many of their positions. The only major stumbling block, for me, was their endorsement of the UFT Unity President. I have, in fact, had differences with some things UFT Presidents supported, like mayoral control, the ATR, charter schools, co-locations, school closings, junk science ratings, Common Core, and failure to oppose Bloomberg or Cuomo, just to name a few.

But let'…

May 22 Executive Board Takeaway--Chutzpah on Parade

There were both good and bad moments last Monday. My favorite was when CPE teachers presented Howard Schoor with their t-shirt. I asked him to wear it and indeed he did. He spent the rest of the evening with a green CPE 1 shirt over his shirt and tie. This was an indisputable victory, and of course it merited celebration.

Another bright spot was Janella Hinds, who told us she was meeting with DOE to bring back Regents grading to high schools. Visiting other schools has been disastrous for lots of my members, and our administration, among others, has tried scheduling midterms exams and even classes during January Regents week, with miserable results. It's ridiculous that the Board of Regents doesn't trust us to grade our students, something we do all the time. It's even more ridiculous that the city doesn't trust us to grade students in our buildings, and spends millions that could be used to reduce class sizes to pay us for what used to be part of our jo…

UFT Executive Board May 22--Good News at CPE 1 y Problemas en Puerto Rico

Howard Schoor, Secretary calls Anika and Cindi from CPE 1, they thank us for our support. Principal asked to step down. Two teachers returned to classroom as of tomorrow. Giving CPE t-shirts for people in dais.

Schoor—CPE 1 great success for UFT, for our work, very proud. Day Marilyn went back he was there, parents were celebrating, great response from kids. Jackie Bennett was there today. Howard wears CPE t-shirt.

Speakers—


Aixa Rodriguez—on resolution for support for Puerto Rican teachers. Asks that all unions be named and FMPR be included. President coming in June, would be great gesture of solidarity to include them. Super important to create sense of unity with all parents, kids and teachers. Situation worsening daily. Would mean a lot if we stand with them regardless.

Schoor—says we’re with you.

Fran Meyers
—Adult ed.—says union members unite to fight abusive administrators—says adult ed. principals and APs have been abusing powers to give U ratings. Says they are impo…

Exec. Board Takeaway May 8

Last night was unusual in many ways. Not so unusual, in what's becoming a trend, we had speakers from various schools. The first was the High School of Applied Communication, which appears to have yet another Principal from Hell. Now the thing about Principals from Hell is they are not always universally despised. Sometimes they garner favor via the issue of perks. I suppose, to some extent, this is human nature. But when staff is under vicious attack for no good reason it's particularly egregious.

For example, a new teacher from CPE 1 stood up and defended Principal Monica Garg, who likely hired him. I've known principals I've liked when my chapter leader did not. When I was at John Adams my first principal was named Lou Acerra. He made himself accessible to me, unlike most principals when I was not chapter leader. I would go in, speak to him, and he would either help me or throw me out of his office. I kind of liked knowing where I stood. Now he was ve…