Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Clique (union) Follies.....

The few of you who periodically check this blog know I haven't posted in several weeks. Among other things, I have been busy with other things.

Our local union clique really fumbled the ball again. Our school district has three of the five board seats up for grabs in next months election. I started making noises about it at building rep meetings last spring. These querries were pretty much ignored by the clique that currently is enthroned in the local teachers union. When I brought up my questions at the September building rep meeting, I was told to talk to the person who was appointed PAC Committee leader. I asked this person several times, when the PAC committee was going to meet and begin the school board candidate interviews. I was told repeatedly, that this person (the committee chair), DID NOT KNOW. I'd volunteered to be on this committee, as I have done in the past.

On a Wednesday night, I got a call from one of the negotiators who also has been involved in our PAC and many other union things. She asked me if I was still interested in helping out with the school board candidate interviews on Thursday and Friday. (Yes, the next day !) I said yes, and asked her if the candidates had been scheduled. She told me she was working on it, but could not be involved in the interviews because her husband is one of the school board candidates. She had no answer to my question about the appointed by the union local president PAC chair doing this work and why they weren't doing what they'd agreed to do. BUT, it had to be done on such short notice because the local union was up against a deadline to request funds from CTA to help support local union "endorsed" school board candidates. In short, local union leadership fumbled badly on this issue.

Anyhow, the interviews were held. All five candidates for our school board election were interviewed. These candidates for our school board had been given, at the last minute, a set of ten poorly-worded questions that were to be answered by them at the interview. Some of these questions were no longer pertinent regarding local union - school district relations. It was embarrassing and a very incompetent introduction for these school board candidates to receive from the "teachers" of this school district.

At the building rep meeting the following week, I expressed my concerns about this process and how it was handled. Our local union president just brushed it off. Our local union president did not even respond to my offer of assistance to create new school board candidate questions for our future school board elections and to be involved with our PAC. Another local union "leader" said that those questions were from CTA, as if that was good enough.

Repeatedly, the so called local union leaders have failed to communicate in a professional manner with district leadership, be they district administrators or board members. They will go to board meetings and screech about this or that during the community concerns portion of the school board meeting. But the school board cannot respond (at that time) to questions or concerns expressed during this segment of the school board meetings. Local union leaders CAN LEGALLY request to have an informational discussion with the school board at a school board meeting if they request to be placed on the board meeting agenda. But they never do. I don't even know that they informally talk about teacher concerns with board members or our new superintendent. It is pathetic. It is making me think that maybe I should run for local union president or just say "to hell with them," and become an agency fee payer. But as a dues squeezed from my paycheck member, I can still try to raise a ruckus with these incompetents.

I could go on about the unprofessional manner in which building rep meetings are conducted, and a number of other things, but I won't do that yet.

For any of you newer teachers out there; since you may be forced to be in the teachers union weather you want to be or not, I encourage you to learn as much as possible about it as you can. Learn your locals bylaws. Speak up ! Ask questions ! Demand accountability for your local union leaders ! Get involved !
Don't just sit back and ignore or put up with it. Yes, I often bang me head on the brick bastions of ignorance,incompetence and apathy, but at least for now, me head hasn't fallen off or imploded.

Thanks for reading my blog.