By Kim Janos
The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues?
This is the question many teachers are asking. So many of us are being harassed, abused and even brought up on false charges. In the age of “accountability,” the only accountable people seem to be teachers. Administrators do not need to account for anything, even abusing their employees. Teachers will call on their chapter leader and district reps only to be given false information. The UFT does NOT want members to know their rights. Why?
When teachers find themselves unfairly targeted by their principal, even after an excellent career, there is very little they can do. Their only course of action is to get an attorney. Expensive veteran teachers are encouraged by their union representatives to retire. Whether they are financially able or not is irrelevant. Untenured teachers are told to just resign and move on to other careers. It doesn’t matter if the accusations against the teacher are founded or not. If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it.
That’s the little secret the UFT doesn’t want to get out: they are powerless and they don’t want members to know.
My question is why pay union dues to a union that doesn’t support its members and only exists to pay fat salaries to union leaders who do absolutely nothing?
New York City teachers deserve better. They deserve new union leadership — one that will advocate for its members.