Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blame Game

I'm tired of reading about retired UFT members voting and giving the election to UNITY.  Sure we are allowed to vote and many follow the "party line."   No one has a problem collecting our dues.  There are issues that still affect us.  But, our votes count less and let's face it, most retirees have no idea what they have done with the ballot by the time some one reminds them to vote and very few even bother with the election.  Our biggest concerns are trying to get into the Photoshop or Tai Chi classes and getting a good parking spot while attending them and not getting closed out of desirable walking tours.

The real problem with the union is apathy among teachers.  When I was still teaching, many had no idea who Mulgrew was, what UNITY, NEW ACTION, or ICE stood for or even what the election was for.  They were too lazy to walk to the first floor to cast a vote for chapter chairman and no one wanted to sit on the executive board at the school.  Some were afraid of displeasing the Principal, and in return receiving a bad write up or a terrible program.  One guy asked what sitting on the committee would do for him and he only agreed if it would get him released from his building assignment.  When something was not going right, they stuck their heads under the covers in hopes of admins not finding them.  They never stood up for what they knew were contractual rights.

If MORE is serious about gaining control of the union, they have got to reach the teachers on the job and get them to care and to vote.  They also need to reach out to retirees, to let them know what is going on in schools today, let them know the things they fought and went on strike for are being taken away.  They need to gain a foothold in UFT retiree centers and spread their message loud and clear.

I know people like NYC Educator and South Bronx mean well, but this blame game has got to stop.  It is non productive.  It does nothing to get people who will make a difference in power.


burntoutteacher said...

You are so very right. If they don't like the way retirees are voting, get the information to them! File court challenges to the UNITY monopoly of mailing lists, take out ads in the union rag, attend retiree classes/sessions and hand out literature, etc. Don't blame those UFT members who obviously care enough to vote because they don't vote the way you want them to. Educate them. You are educators, act like educators. So very many of us recent retirees are still very active and concerned and want a very real change to the union, to the teaching environment. We are angry and want change. Don't demonize retirees, use them. And don't tell me that I don't have a stake in what goes on in the classroom just because I am no longer there.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is that many active teachers think that retirees should NOT be allowed to vote on issues that do not have an effect on them. The UFT is one of the only unions that I am aware of that even allows retirees to vote. However, I agree 100% that the problem facing teachers in the trenches is apathy. Too many teachers, young and old have no clue as to what is going on.

burntoutteacher said...

I disagree with the phrase, "issue that do no have an effect on them" since what happens in the classroom affects all of us. But school secretaries vote on classroom issues, reg ed teachers vote of sped concerns, guidance counselors vote on teacher issues, etc. Unless you create a ballot based on each specific job description, you can not say that retirees shouldn't vote. And we were in the classroom and know what works and what doesn't. Maybe, just maybe, the percentage of vote counting for retirees could be adjusted, I am not sure of that, but you can't disenfranchise me because you think I vote the easy way. I for one don't and I am sure that recent retirees like myself are angry, often forced out early, and did not vote UNITY. Again, the need is for the other factions, MORE and ICE and the like, to make sure that retirees are made aware of alternatives.