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.