The way that the meetings were conducted were problematic. These were informational meetings, with Amy Arundell speaking in a yelling tone for about an hour. She repeated some points several times. Her taking up most of the time with a one-way delivery was similar to the way that President Mulgrew takes up over an hour with his running monologue at the Delegate Assemblies that leave little time at the end for member questions. As one commenter reported, her response to one member was, "OK, Mr. glass is half-empty." Is this any way for a representative to speak to a member? Shouldn't a union (or rather, Unity caucus) that staunchly refuses to allow members for represent themselves speak in a more cordial manner? Or is the union so arrogantly confident of its power that it doesn't need to consider how it speaks to members?
While the UFT could be facing the end of the union in terms of dues income, the UFT is acting in as cavalier a fashion as it ever has. Is it any wonder that Arundell speaks so flippantly? This is a union that takes a King George III approach to representation on the question of ATR representation. With this kind of attitude is there any way that the union expects to successfully appeal to ATRs for dues if the Friedrichs decision turns government employee unions into open shop unions? Is the UFT planning to cut us loose?
The comments below speak to the reactions that many ATRs have had about the UFT's position during these meetings, that the UFT is acting more as an arm of the NYC Department of Education, just echoing the DOE's line. ATRs have consistently said that observations of ATRs in subbing situations are deeply problematic and illogical. (On the issue of ATR observations, see here and here. Here is the UFT's justification of the observations. What clearer case do we have that the UFT is operating as the arm of the DOE?) Instead of hearing our concerns, the UFT representative has spoken in a scolding tone to the ATRs, delivering what the ATRs must do. It's interesting that past guideline sheets that the UFT gave the ATRs spoke of rights and responsibilities. This year's sheets just spoke of ATRs' responsibilities. Why the change? This is a union that speaks to the members, rather than being influenced by its members.
The DOE has succeeded in imposed on ATRs conditions that are imposed outside of the contract. Related to this comment: "Why is there not an official document from the UFT and DOE stating these expectations for ATRs? Instead, there is collusion between the UFT and DOE to allow harassment of ATRs behind the scenes." nowhere in the contract is there anything about conditions under which ATRs can be observed. It's not surprising that this is the case, because the UFT would probably not be able to logically justify the inappropriate conditions that it allows and that it directs ATRs to follow, through directives in the informational meetings.
The following is from an email addressed to UFT ATR rep Amy Arundell, UFT president Michael Mugrew, Queens boro rep Rona Freiser, Queens High Schools district rep James Vasquez and alternate district rep Washington Sanchez. Following that letter is an ATR's analysis of the UFT's position in the meetings.
Dear Ms. Arundell,
I went to a Queens UFT ATR meeting several days ago.
Instead to oppose the shameful treatment of ATRs by their field supervisors, UFT actually agrees with all of the DOE inhumane demands as:
1. Field Supervisors may conduct unannounced, informal observations. These may be done even if you are covering a class out-of-license.
(As [an arts] teacher, I'm required to actually teach [a foreign language]!?!)
2. If your Field Supervisor and you agree on a time to be formally observed, but on that day the needs of the school dictate that you must cover a class out-of-license, you can still be observed, but the observation must be informal.
(What a sudden psychological shock that can cause a heart attack!)
3. Field Supervisor may request a copy of your lesson plan, in conjunction with an observation. You should always have a copy of a lesson plan, either one you wrote, or one that was left for you.
(But, an absent teacher almost never leaves his/her lesson plan; usually they leave only a handout, if so.)
4. Whether you are observed or not, if you are covering a class out of license, and you are not provided with a sub-lesson plan, you may teach a lesson in your license area.
(This is crazy for several reasons - that the students will not listen to you since a) you teach a different subject b) they treat you as a substitute teacher whom usually they do not listen at all!)
Comments about these UFT recommendations???