Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Want Out

There's an interesting idea bouncing around at Ed Notes about opting out of COPE because of the latest UFT betrayal in tying test scores to teacher evaluations. I agree with that sentiment, but in fact, it doesn't feel like enough. I remember the moment that I read in the Times how teachers could be fired in 60 days after being rated "ineffective" for two years using bogus test scores. The first thing I said to myself was, "What the hell am I paying union dues for?"

It's not the first time I have asked myself that question. I can not remember the last time the UFT did anything for me, and yet I pay them over $1000 a year in dues no matter how much they screw me.

I've written about this before (sans identifying details), but I almost lost my job because of the UFT. I supported the union in my school, and was subsequently targeted by a vindictive principal who U rated me and tried to get me to the rubber room. (Note to the idiots at E4E: This had nothing to do with job performance). I would have willingly left that school but the 2005 contract eliminated seniority transfers so I was stuck. The District Rep, despite a vow to protect everyone who stood up, did nothing. A number of teachers I knew lost their jobs because they could not transfer and were purged from the system. They lost everything they had worked for over the course of 15-25 years in some cases. I got lucky because I was friends with someone who had influence and helped me get one of those "Open Market" positions that you simply can not get unless you are a newbie or you know someone who can help you.

So my question is, why am I paying the UFT to protect my rights when they are the ones who have all but given them away? The UFT rakes in over 120 million a year I believe, and I can't name you a single teacher who thinks his or her job is safe. I only know a few teachers who are even willing to take a stand anymore, because they know the union won't support them. Now, the union has inflicted a mortal wound to tenure and seniority with the lastest evaluation agreement. They have also effectively put an end to future pensions, as it seems unlikely that any teacher will be able to get through the minimum 27 years needed to collect.

I WANT OUT. I am tired of paying Mulgrew and his Unity puppets over $1000 dollars a year to sell me out. Paying dues to the UFT is like having to pay your own hit man. I don't know the law or rules on unions, but isn't there some way we can secede from the UFT and form a new union? I'd pay far more than a grand to a real union that actually protected my rights.

People have long said that Unity Must Go, but maybe the chant should be We Must Go. If anyone has an idea how we can do that, I'd love to hear.


Anonymous said...

You have the option not to join UFT but you will still have to pay the fee slightly less the your current dues to UFT even not being its member. They are one step ahead of you.

ed notes online said...

There has been lots of internal discussion on these issues within the opposition. See my post today - I'm glad I checked your blog before publishing.
What other union out there can we go to? Most are as bad or worse than the Unity/UFT. The NEA?

The problem is that blogs cannot organize people. It takes boots on the ground and people like you are needed at the barricades.

We are working on a forum to discuss the role the UFT/AFT play and how to educate and organize (without which nothing can get done). I hope you and others can take part when we develop the idea.

I know it seems difficult but if people start at their own school educating and organizing, it is a beginning. A long road, but a beginning. See my post on June 4th which is a hope we can jump start something. The UFT is also calling for organizing committees at the school level but we know where that will lead. Total control and manipulation.