Monday, April 17, 2017

Remove the teachers' union?

Anonymous wrote:

"I am a teacher and former union REP. Would any teacher be interested in filing a mass class action suit against our own Union and/or signing a petition to get them out, or better yet, back into the classrooms? They are the culprit, the weak, and the circle of traitors. "

27 comments:

Questioner said...

Would this be a movement to decertify the union?

Anonymous said...

Questioner, you asked if this would be a movement to decertify the union. One could only hope so! The PFT has not represented the membership for many years now, not since 2005 at the latest. That's when Mark Roosevelt became superintendent. The PFT became not a counterbalance to, but a partner of Roosevelt.

As a PPS teacher, I can tell you of many instances where good, solid teachers were targeted, and then fired, while the union just stood by and did nothing. And that's because the union is no longer willing to rock the boat. The union now sees itself as being in some sort of partnership with the district. Partners don't rock the boat.

Would you accept as your own lawyer someone who is in partnership with your opponent? Of course not. But that's the situation in the Pittsburgh schools today. It's not PFT vs. PPS. It's PFT + PPS.

Decertification of the union is one way out. But that won't happen. The PFT leaders have everything locked down tight. Their propaganda machine is awesome, and relentless.

Care to guess how many PFT staff members are independent (not part of the ruling clique)? The answer is zero. Care to guess how many PFT executive board members are independent (not part of the ruling clique)? Again, the answer is zero.

The PFT leaders have everything locked down tight.

Remember what happened to Bernie Sanders last year? Try to buck the PFT leadership and you will be treated just the way the DNC treated Bernie. Except that Bernie didn't lose his job. But you might.

Anonymous said...

Way outside observer here...but it has seemed to me that PPS and PFT seemed to join forces in order to lobby or solicit Harrisburg. I think if happened early In MR's time in office when he had to move to prevent Harrisburg from assuming control of PPS. I know this blog does not have a huge following, but can anyone point to a teacher who was not fired or forced to resign when admin targeted him/her? Does the union have any wins in that column?

Questioner said...

You might be surprised at the number of people following the blog, especially when there is an important issue at stake.

Anonymous said...

In the words of Lincoln - " Put your feet in the right place and stand firm."
Any movement - David and Goliath in nature - needs that kind of commitment to succeed. One needs to be willing to lose his or her job.

The 'Will of the People' is the foundation of our democracy. It is a powerful force. Harness that power and you will move mountains 12:50 AM.

Anonymous said...

Okay. So every plan needs a solution. What replaces the union? So teachers are just left out there dangling to survive? If you think MR et al forced teachers out, NO union would create more hiring and staff injustices. MR et all forced many experienced loyal PPS teachers out for two reasons and two reasons only - ageism and hiring less expensive (and less, less) experienced teachers. Certainly, a couple bad apples may have rightly been forced to end their time teaching, but many more, strong-good-solid folks were squeezed out. I'm surprised we have not had more lawsuits around ageism. And let's look really closely at progress. Since the start of MR (and a little before that even) with right-sizing and poor decision making, on our districts fault, our test scores are static or going down. I remember a time before all of this, with those experienced teachers, when we were making gains. We really were progressing and now we are stuck. The union may not fulfill our expectations, but without one, it would be anyone's game and heads would roll... But not necessarily the ones that should. It would be politically and economically motivated. Not motivated by what's best for students, but what other's (less experienced and knowledgeable about education) believe is best for our students. And, well, that isn't going very well. So we can't have the free for all that would occur without our union, even with the blemishes. So what is your plan to replace the union for the protection of our teachers???? We cannot keep having this chaos and transiency of teachers moving in and out and about. We need stability badly. It takes years to build relationships with students and colleagues. Very difficult to do in constant chaos. So, in your master plan to remove the union, what do you suggest will replace the union???

Anonymous said...

They Union has not been on our side for a long time. You are either in "the Group" or you are not. If you ever had anything to say at union meetings that was questioning or critical, you are now "a crazy teacher". I have heard those at the top say this many times. Tarka couldn't take ANYONE questioning him. If you did so and you ever needed help, you were completely ignored. Tarka was so in awe of MR, it was sickening. As to getting rid of the union, I wouldn't do it. I would try to build a movement to TAKE BACK our union.

Anonymous said...

Here is the problem with trying to change the status quo. Indifference. In most elections at the Union, about half of the teachers don't even bother to vote. Many teachers never attend any union meetings. And guess what? When they have a problem and call the Union, they often get lots of help from the union people. Why? No one knows them but they do know that they never said anything to oppose them or be of any danger to their position. This has been the M.O. since Tarka took over the Union till the present day group, i.e. "Isn't Rise wonderful" Nina.

Anonymous said...

No union would leave teachers hung out with no help. Right now we have "basic structure" - ending times, regulations on number of meetings, prep periods, a salary schedule-- there were times without these things. And yes, many things have just been "forgotten"- but you really dont want to throw the baby out with the bath-- imagine principals hand picking staff and deciding their salaries-- history says yeah it was that bad. So fight hard to keep what we have, and then...add to it.

PPS teacher said...

10:03, you are right. Having no union would be worse than what we have now (a bad union).

But if the PTF is decertified, that would not necessarily mean no union. It could become a remove-and-replace situation. Get rid of the unresponsive union we have now, and replace it with a more vibrant and caring union.

And the membership could associate with any union. It doesn't have to be a so-called "teachers union". It could be any union, even the Teamsters!

Anonymous said...

Wake up! Having no union in our case is so much better. The triumvirate of fools, Esposito, Grant, and Heilmann are weak and are traitors. Heilman advocated for the tripod. Grant advocates so that he can buy new suits, and Esposito advocates so that she can buy more Manila folders. What I want most are for these three charlatans and traitors is to be placed back in the classroom, to experience a tripod, a have a walk-through, to live through a data audit, and to have a restorative circle performed on them. Wake up! No one even seems to acknowledge that these three traitors will be bargaining for our lives soon. The triumvirate is hiding in fear, but also in greed. Let's call for the biggest union meeting with these three front and center. Who remembers the meeting two years ago when Bill Heilmann said to all the teachers,"I don't care about displaced teachers. I only care about the students"? Do the students pay your salaries, Brutas? Wake up! Have guts! Let's stop all union contributions now and get them out now. If not, YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU WILL MOST CERTAINLY GET. Just so I make this clear, I am beyond step 10. I have multiple, consecutive distinguished ratings, and VAMS off the charts. This is not about me. It's about the lives of teachers destroyed by these three. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

You are not lying about Tarka. At the strike meeting the one blogster alludes to above, Tarka bullied teachers into NOT STRIKING. That was disgusting. What was really disgusting is that we allowed for it to happen. Stop worrying about your money, everyone. The union is selling us out now as I type this. I hope everyone knows about the 10-20% staff reduction coming. We need that for the circles, the tripod, and high end coffee for our union leaders.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 555. You are amazing. Some of the best teachers my kids ever had retired early. Certainly earlier than they should have because every battle they lost was "for the kids" and they did not have the clout of the union behind them and were worn out. So, these people like this guy Bill, do they 6th grade mentor, or attend PSCC meetings, or maybe sub for a teacher, or attend a field trip as a chaperone? I hope to see a real response to the question. Those union jobs should have term limits, like maybe one term or two at the most. An even better idea might be only retired teaches or those eligible to retire can run for an office.

Anonymous said...

1040, over and out- This guy bill and the duplicitous duo, Esposito and Grant, do nothing but hinder normalcy. They must be ousted now. However, the inky way to do this is in unison. We must gather in front of the Union and picket them. I guarantee with today's media that the mother of us all, the AFT, will be down with us. Talk will not do it. Tell every teacher you know to get on here. Tell them to speak out. It's the start we need to get them out ad leaders. How anyone voted for them is astounding, but the PSSA tests were easy then. Middle school teachers had it easy. Now, all elementary teachers are feeling the wrath of real tests, so I guarantee that they will be asking, "What does our union do except hurt us?"

Anonymous said...

10:40- To answer your question, all that they do is bribe teachers with donuts and coffee. They are terrified to be in a classroom now. That is why they work for the district.

Anonymous said...

1:21- I understand what you are implying; the elementary school teachers voted for them, or they didn't vote at all, because K-8 teachers had nothing to worry about. They had no reason to complain. Their scores were high as kites, their ratings were higher, and the money was rolling in. Now, red and yellow flags are all over their VAMS. So, when the U's start rolling in like the money, whom will they look for to get them out of it? The Union! HA! HA! HA! Take your U and resign; you already have one U on your record which you have to disclose when you try to teach at a real district. It's just like the one blogger says on here,you deserve what you will most certainly get.

Anonymous said...

Relevant - GOP trying to cut union staff off from district salaries and benefits
http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/12142715-74/pennsylvania-gop-targets-teachers-paid-to-do-union-work

Anonymous said...

The article referenced in the Trib states Nina represents about 3,000 teachers. Name one. The other ones...
Look at the clerks and custodians. They do not have a full time union staff and have settled some nice contracts in the past. Cant remember the last time they had a strike. 1988?

Anonymous said...

Esposito, Heilman, and Grant are ghosts. They've been haunting us all along.

Anonymous said...

A great gig - your salary (keep moving up the scale), credit towards pension years, and health care - all the while sitting in the PFT building saying, "Let them eat cake." Oh, and you never have to teach again! We at least need term limits for these "ghosts."

Anonymous said...

8:41-- I agree. Last contract where we actually had a ratification meeting, I got really mad at then exec Sylvia Wilson because she went on and on about how HARD they worked on this ...
Whoa-- I had to fuss-- hmm she can go to the bathroom when she wants to and has A/C-- dont tell me about what HARD WORK is when I am working with inhumane work conditions-- and that doesnt even count snotty principals ;)

Anonymous said...

8:41 and 9:36-Your words are concise, yet poignant. Sylvia has AC in the summer and heat that works in the winter. Can you imagine Harold Grant teaching in a room with no AC after spending years in this cushy job and in his cushy seat(literally and figuratively)?On another note, can you imagine what Nina is doing for the district to secure her loyalty and trust with them? Listen, middle school teachers have finally awakened from their coddled state of complacency. I guarantee that except for a few middle school teachers who are trained to understand the tough concepts in Mathematics and ELA, the other teachers' VAMS will look like bloodshot eyes.

Anonymous said...

Here's a line from Henry Fonda in the film "Mr. Roberts" when Roberts is speaking to the solipsistic captain of the Naval ship played by James Cagney,"How did you get in the Navy? How did you get on our side? These words are applicable to Esposito, Grant, and Heilman. Question: How did they get on our side? The literal answer is the scary part: our union members voted her in as president. That is horrifying. I got to go. That depressed me more than seeing Harold Grant showing up to defend me with the six foot umbrella.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who started this blog, but it should be the longest following ever on this site. When the next contract is settled, then you will see all of the gutless, greedy, selfish teachers on here spilling their guts. Teachers do not even have to put their name in here. Show your antipathy toward the Union on here, speak against them in public, and then finally vote them out. The stories I am hearing about the heads of the union working for the district are not stories. They are facts.

Anonymous said...

Why should we give up the concept of a teachers union because the people running the one we have do not really serve it's members. We must get rid of them. The problem is that many teachers don't care about the union or about other teachers. They are afraid-I know. You can't ever engage them in any conversation about the union after school, out of the building, anywhere. They always want someone else to fight their battles.

Anonymous said...

I agree that unions saved workers from abominable malfeasance. However, esposito, grant, and heilman, work for the district, so let's not be so harsh. These three go out of their way for the district. Give them credit. They are loyal to the district. Heck, Nina made sure the district wouldn't lose money by paying us in August. Nina knows teachers are loaded and have an excess of money to buy supplies after summer, and she knows we have credit cards too. Our union advocated for the Tripod. We are the only union in Pa, and who knows how far that bragging right goes, that even has a tripod, let alone bring up the idea to have one. I mean, this is a unique union. It is the only union who not only shows the district our playbook, they let them take a page out of it. If you're wondering why the names of our illustrious leaders are lower-cased, it is neither by accident, nor error. It is because esposito, grant, and heilman are so humble that they never want to be seen.

Anonymous said...

During the past ten years or so, teachers have been steadily losing ground. Then it started to feel that we were being stabbed in the back. Who could be doing this?
We know where the Mark and Linda show was coming from but there was another force working against us on so many levels. As a former union rep, I didn't want to believe it was people from my union. After talking quietly to many teachers and hearing comments at union meetings(Isn't RISE great!), I now know the answer which makes me very sad. It is our own union leadership who seem to identify with people at the Board more than the members.