Monday, September 3, 2018

The Heartache of Labor Day (Reposted -9/4/15)

It's Labor Day again and I find myself thinking about not only what it means for us as teachers, but what the UFT has descended into. We're different than most workers in that we don't break our backs doing manual labor, like many of our fathers and grandfathers did. Perhaps you come from such a family? Seeing the type of work they did helped me decide to get a higher education. They struggled to make a better life, and started unions to help protect workers from the abuses that were common place - low wages, dangerous working conditions, long hours, no vacations, six or seven day work weeks ... the list goes on and on.  They were beaten, imprisioned, fined, fired and died starting unions. Can you imagine the people running our union - Mulgrew and Weingarten doing any of that? Can you imagine any of us doing it? The UFT Poo-Bahs that are marching at the head of the Labor Day Parade had better start to remember the rich history and obligations they have inherited and must honor. Mulgrew and his toadies have not done right by ATRs, that are overwhelmingly veteran middle-aged teachers that have been turned into babysitters. They have not stood up and fought to end Fair Student Funding, the accounting scheme that individualizes school budgets - in order to make the experienced higher salaried teacher persona non grata. That means every working teacher has the likelihood of becoming an ATR. Working conditions for all teachers has declined markedly since the Weingarten endorsed 2005 contract. Teachers are fed up and want change. That may mean the ability to strike someday. The UFT won't even speak out on that right or endorse a gubernatorial candidate, Cynthia Nixon, that will fight for this right. The UFT doesn't want change and they certainly don't want the right to strike. It's leaders don't teach and haven't for many years. They are removed from the classroom and from reality. It's up to us to wake them up or keep getting abused.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Heartache of Labor Day 

 For the past 25 years I've spent my Labor Day in a U.S. Open trance. I watch it from the moment it starts until it's over. It's the end of my summer vacation and as such is a mix of melancholy, anxiety and dread. The mix of those ingredients has changed considerably over the years. During the beginning of my teaching career the anxiety was much stronger. When I was in a terrible school, the dread was palpable. I remember watching Jimmy Connors play Patrick McEnroe late into the night, hoping the match would never end. If it could go on forever, so would my summer vacation. It was Connors 39th birthday and I remember screaming for him. If he could win, we could all hang onto our youth for a little while longer. As an ATR I no longer feel the pangs of anxiety or dread. Indeed, I no longer feel like a teacher. Now as my children are growing up, the melancholy is stronger. A cocktail that is very bittersweet. I sacrificed a lot during those years for my family and my students. I've had some success on both fronts. Labor Day is a day of rest and recognition for all workers. Enjoy your labor, for there can be great fulfillment from a job well done.


  1. I watched the debate between Nixon and Cuomo. I wanted to vote for her. I believed in her. The debate made me a skeptic, She came across clueless and scared me. I really hope something happens to make me believe she will be a good governor.

  2. I'll take a scared (although it seemed more like nerves) Nixon over a confident Cuomo any day of the week. Cuomo is anti-teacher and an appalling reptile.

    1. I thought you left out the 'to'. I didn't feel she was clueless - I thought she hammered out some important points but did seem a little nervous. I could never vote for Cuomo. Cheers.


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Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.