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Friday, September 16, 2011

Is there strength in the UFT Unity Coalition?

NYCATR is proud to present the thoughts of E.M. Greenspan, a teacher who is now retired after 33 years of service.  Be careful; Mr. Greenspan holds no punches about the past, the present, or the future. 

Though I've been retired for 10 years now, let me comment on the terrible situation facing ATR's. This is a travesty and disgrace beyond belief.

ATRs,  I sympathize with you. How many of you have continued to believe the lies of Unity Caucus? How many of you continue to vote for these people each time there is an election? How many of you didn't even bother to vote in the elections?

Unity has been out of the classroom for too many years. They constantly win in landslides. There is little to no motivation for them to do anything for the membership. If they were made to teach under the conditions they have negotiated, they'd sing a different tune entirely. There must be term-limits for elected UFT officials. In addition, a proviso must be added that at the end of their respective terms, UFT elected officials must go back to the classroom and teach for at least 5 years.

Why aren't ATRs being used to lower class sizes? ATR's did not obtain Master's degrees and in many cases teach for over 15 years to be relegated to substitute status.

Remember how everyone was told to teach in their own subject area? Why are ATR's being put into subject areas they have little to no experience in? Why? It will be easier for principals to find fault with them and ultimately drive them out. I understand that after Oct. 7 ATR's can be moved around from school to school. This will make it easier for principals to unload you. This will lead to unhappiness and the Board's hope along with Unity's is that you will leave.

Since ATR's are being treated like substitutes, let them pay substitute dues to the union. Then, maybe the union would wake up and demand that ATR's be treated as professionals.

Whatever happened to the expedited grievance procedures? Does Unity ever win any concessions from the city anymore? Years ago, we couldn't wait for another contract. Now, we dread it. Unity has created this by giving up so much that we were on the picket lines for in 1968 and 1975. How dare Unity give up seniority transfers and bumping rights for excessed, disenfranchised teachers? This helped to create this mess. Did you vote "yes" on Unity Caucus contracts? As a result, everyone is now suffering.
Unity Caucus must be made to come back down to earth. They are NOT management. They are not the PERSONNEL directors at Tweed. They are a union for teachers. They are not the union for parents or disruptive brats. Why have they kept quiet about the restoring of the 600 school concept for such children? Sure, they're not in the classroom and don't have to deal with recalcitrant children. 

We need separate bargaining units for all members of the school system. School secretaries need their own bargaining and voting unit. They don't know about what a teacher goes through, but they're literally in the pocket of Unity before the votes are tabulated. Ditto for school psychologists, social workers and others. They deserve their benefits and rights; however, teachers need a totally separate bargaining unit.

We could lower class size by demanding that teachers be paid additional money for each child in their class above contractual limits.

When I taught, Unity would say: "In strength there is Unity." Could they really say that today? Methinks not. (They may have said that in Unity there is strength, but what a joke that statement is.)
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