Gong Hey Fat Choy- Happy New Year! It's the Year of the Sheep (UFT)!
I had lunch with a recently retired UFT delegate on Saturday. We endened up hanging out for about 15 hours - talking, listening to music and playing backgammon . George related his experience of going out of state and voting on union matters. As a highly ethical and intellectual person, I was surprised to see him become agitated and emotional when speaking of his final days as a delegate (and teacher).
George traveled to an assembly meeting and shared a room with another delegate. He was excited to be part of intellectual debates and voting for his school's members wishes. Items were discussed and George attempted to vote according to his own directives. He was told that he could not. All members were to vote as a block and he had to vote accordingly. He questioned why the traveling, meetings, expense and purpose. They were told to follow Mulgrew's directives as a unified force. There was no tolerance for dissension. George voted the way he wanted. What happened to that dissenting vote?
That autumn began an extremely difficult year in which George was targeted by his AP and principal. He decided he had enough and retired.
George was recently invited to the Hilton by the UFT and asked to support certain requests from the union. Certain perks were offered and promised. Retirees out of the trenches are actively seduced as they vote in elections, but have no real involvement in the day to day concerns of active teachers and their respective schools. As such they are a valuable resource. George told the head honchos what he thought of them and how he had been treated as a teacher -"But George, you now have a chance to make a real difference for teachers and education!"