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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:45 AM


Anger at UFT Building (Significant because NYC's UFT is the linchpin of control for AFT)

The UFT leadership are a smug bunch. They've been in power for a long time and the swagger they exhibit whenever they deign to come and talk to the rank and file makes me think that they think they're going to be in power for a lot longer... but I got an eye-opening look into something this week that I haven't seen much of in my 12 years as a UFT member - genuine outrage, anger and frustration aimed at the UFT leadership.

I graded Regents exams this week with teachers from a dozen different schools around Manhattan. Many of them expressed outrage over the DOE, anger at Bloomberg and Walcott...over the latest ed deforms that are wreaking havoc across the system. But there was also a lot of fire and brimstone aimed at Mulgrew and the UFT leadership for their collaboration with the deform movement and the DOE.

One teacher said, as we were talking about all the ways the UFT has caved to Bloomberg and the DOE since the infamous 2005 contract, "I can't think of one thing that they've really said no too that ended up really being no." And it's true - they say there's too much emphasis on high stakes testing, but then they help develop the APPR system; they give the okay on the Teacher Data Reports with the assurance that the numbers will never see the light of day in public and when the DOE decides to publish them in the media, they half-heartedly fight that with ineffective lawsuits and the TDR's end up in the papers with names attached.

One teacher, now working in high school but then working in a middle school said "I can't tell you how angry that made me, when they published the Teacher Data Reports - angry at Bloomberg for doing it and angry at the union for not stopping him from doing it." Someone else told a story about working in one of the SIG schools and how unhelpful and indeed toxic the union people were, almost as unhelpful and toxic as the DOE and network people were during the turnaround battles..."the union people never really want to hear from you. They want you to listen to them, not the other way around. And that makes me really, really angry. Why am I paying union dues? What am I getting out of this...?"

My sense is that Mulgrew and his Unity hacks think they can bullshit their way through the APPR fallout just the way they have bullshitted their way through the odious '05 contract and the '07 extension... all the closings and the turnarounds, the TDR reports and the naming of names in the papers, and now the evaluation negotiations... But the anger, outrage and frustration I saw at the grading sessions this week leads me to believe that the UFT leadership will have a harder time bullshitting their way through the APPR fallout than they have over the other stuff in the past.

First, because all this stuff has built up...second, because we are now seeing anger, outrage and frustration aimed at the UFT leadership from teachers who used to be pretty apolitical folk but have found themselves politicized by the crimes perpetrated on them by the Tweedies that the UFT either ignored or couldn't do anything about.... I think after a year or two (of more) devastation, the anger, outrage and frustration at the smug, swaggering Unity guys is going to be at a fever pitch and that will give some new blood - hopefully MORE - a real opening to do to Unity what CORE did to the entrenched CTU leadership.


According to several bloggers I read, UFT is the linchpin of the Unity Caucus's power over AFT (Unity being the caucus that's run AFT for something like 50 years).

It would sure be nice if there was a rebellion in NYC on the scale of what happened in chicago.

MORE is a caucus that wants to overturn Unity.


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:49 AM

1. There HAS to be an election this Spring. It will be interesting to see how MORE does....


... given the fact that the ruling UNITY caucus polled over 90% 3 years ago. Intelligently, the new caucus expanded the traditional dialogue to include corruption in the system as a whole and the suppression of free speech and democracy in the workplace. "Academic freedom" we called it, once upon a time. The korporate slugs running the system these days are all about barbed wire and hierarchy, and have no idea how to counter that charge.

And Perdido Street is right: there is a tidal wave of resentment toward UFT in the ranks. Most UFTers I meet think of the current leadership as a modern day Vichy... even if most don't use that particular political frame of reference.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:03 AM

2. I'm glad to see that confirmed. I hope it will lead to revolution. If UFT went, that would be two


important big city unions actually fighting ed deform -- & would have repercussions for AFT too. And maybe for NEA -- half-a-mill roeckl came out (a bit late) for the garfield teachers...there was some earlier controversy where he never said boo, just ignored it, so maybe the winds are shifting...

I read a convoluted explanation once of how UFT is key for maintaining the power of unity caucus within AFT, so convoluted that i can't recall the details now, but I remember that it seemed so sewed up that overturning that power would be fairly difficult. Which is why i guess the same faction has run AFT for so long.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:51 AM

3. NYS unions ( which includes UFT) also have the added onus of the Taylor Law.


Which... because it pretty much makes the strike as an instrument a "no-go ( the penalties are just too severe)... contributes to the pusillanimous nature of this... alas "linchpin" for the rest of teacher-dom.... local union.

But the same crew's been in place since forever... and really the membership can only blame itself for continuing to reelect these people (90% last time!!)... and the sense of entitlement that that breeds also breeds arrogance , insularity, corruption.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:20 PM

4. BUT, there is also a lot of apathy that I think is coming from feelings of helplessness.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:45 AM

5. Less helplessness than FEAR. That's why the MORE insurgency is so interesting.


Rank and file people can't really claim to feel "helpless" if they elected their leadership w. 90% of the vote.

As I counseled people in my bldg at the time: no one ( NO ONE) should ever get 90% of the vote in a democracy. If they weren't corrupt before... there's a strong likelihood that they'll be corrupt after.

That's just the way politics works and there are plenty of historical examples.

Now... since the union leadership has decided it's part of the educational establishment ( it IS, btw; they got at least THAT right)...
rank and filers are waking up to the fact that there's nothing standing in between themselves and the unemployment line.

At this point they can't afford "apathy".

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:26 PM

6. I agree, and I hope they hurry up about their waking up!

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