Marjorie Stamberg reports:
At the Wednesday, May 16 meeting of the UFT's Delegate Assembly , I raised the issue of the union's cynical "solution" to the UFT's disenfranchisment of ATRs in the union elections. Many ATRs had no place to vote in the union elections as they trudge from school to school on a weekly basis, where they are treated as non-people until they move on the next week. This week-to-week trek was agreed upon by the union and the DOE last spring, as part of the deal that there be no teacher layoffs. Last fall, I and others put forward motions that the ATRs be accorded their full voting rights with their own chapter. We have been fighting for this for several years, and it has always been brushed off with the excuse that their situation is only "temporary."
Last week, the UFT leadership announced a "solution"--with chapter elections upon us, they decided that ATRs would vote at the school where they are for the week the elections are held. This is outrageous--how can ATR teachers effectively advocate for their needs when they are "here today, gone tomorrow," and the chapter representatives are not accountable to them?
|UFT President, Michael Mulgrew|
Yesterday, when I raised this issue in the question period at the delegate assembly, Mulgrew refused to let me get a sentence out, interrupting me, harassing and yelling, "What's your question," "Make it a question," "That's not a question!" Following his lead, a passel of Unity delegates obediently picked up the jeer. Over the din, I was finally able to get out, "My question is, how do you justify this outrageous cynical disenfranchisement of the ATRs' right to vote?" and saying "the ATRs need their own chapter."
|The Artful Dodger|
Mulgrew answered with a time-honored evasion: The union is in arbitration, he said, because the DOE has not kept to its commitment to place ATRs in open positions and long-term vacancies. Until this arbitration is settled, the union is doing the "best it can" to give ATRs voting rights. He was silent on the fact that the weekly trek of ATRs is happening with the consent of the UFT leadership, which agreed to it as part of the deal on layoffs last spring.
Don't worry, I will keep on raising this issue. With more schools closing than ever, there will be a huge swelling of the ATR pool next fall. As we all know, "If you're not ATR, you could be soon." The fight for rights of ATR teachers is everyone's fight.