The union lackeys were back.
I tried to keep quiet. I really did, but those guys know how to push my buttons. Well, maybe they don't know they are doing it, but every time they open their mouths I lose control.
These guys come into our cafeteria and sit around with teachers, pretending to be our friends. They are always telling us how much the union is doing for us. Today was no different.
When union lackey number one mentioned ways the city could save money, aside from taking money away from the classroom, I asked him why the union wasn't doing similar things with our money. I wanted to know why the union was running commercials on prime time television showing an art teacher interacting with two students in a room with facilities no NYC public school student will ever experience. His reply? Hope you are sitting down! The union has to run these kind of ads to counteract vouchers and charter schools. The union has to make NYC schools look as good or better than any of these schools or we are in trouble. He told me I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.
At that point, I lost it. I told him the campaign was the equivalent of the mayor's NYC Keep It Going campaign and I resented my $47 a paycheck being used to foster the cities falsehoods. I asked him why the money couldn't be spent on ads showing how hard teachers work, but in a realistic setting. I told him to focus on the teachers sitting in hallways because there is no classroom space available. I told him to focus on the teacher who gives his own time and stays after school to help students. I told him to focus on trailer rooms with leaky roofs and holes in walls and the teacher that goes on in there despite these conditions. He had no answer.
I then asked him why the ads were doing nothing to promote finding jobs for ATRs. His answer? Sit down if you got up after reading the last paragraph. The public knows that the ATRs are out of the classroom because no one wants them. Many have gone on over 30 interviews and have found no jobs so they must be awful. Union ads touting these people would not gain public sympathy. I suggested the union run ads dispelling these myths. Talk about the wonderful ATRs in my building, talk about the ATR whose story was in the Chief a few months ago, or better yet, let them be in the commercial. Why not say on television the real reason these people won't be hired. Tell the public the city does not want to pay their salaries. Again, there was no answer.
Union lackey brought up something about rubber room teachers. I told him that the union was the reason lawyers like Ed Wolf from Teachers In Trouble
I also asked the lackeys why Norm Scott was not allowed to speak or video tape at any of these meetings. This comment got me the look of death.
I soon realized that continuing this discussion was pointless and got up to leave. I was afraid that if I stayed any longer I would have to be forcefully removed from the premises. I saw myself seriously hurting these guys. As I left one of the quiet lackeys followed me out. He told me to become more active in the union if I feel so strong about these issues. Right now, I am working two jobs and don't have time. I told him not to worry. As soon as I retire, I am going to join Norm Scott and his group and I am going to fight for a just contract for all teachers. Once again union lackey was quieted.