08 June 2007

The Union Goon

Some of us here marvel at The-Thing-That-Is-The-Union. I hear more and more of my colleagues tempted to just be "fees payers," as they believe that The Union does not truly represent what they value...and yet in "leaving" its official membership, it only gives a stronger voice to the minority in the district. A minority which could never be satisfied. So, you either stay and try to effect change from within, or you just keep quiet, or you do like me and make a statement with your fees. I have enough on my plate trying to change things for kids from the inner workings of the district. I don't have the energy or capacity to deal with Union Goons, too.

This is a year where the entire contract is up for negotiations. I know this and yet I was caught completely off-guard when one of the Goons showed up at my desk on Tuesday afternoon.

"Hi! I'm Tracy, and I'm from The Union."

I eyed Tracy suspiciously. I was prepared for a science kit onslaught.

She continued. "I'm supposed to work with you and two of the principals on rewriting the Mentor Program portion of the contract."

Say what?

Participation for beginning teachers (a/k/a "noobs") is part of the contract and there are some parameters around the selection of mentors. But frankly, it's not something that would seem contentious. In a year of school closures, concerns about RIFs in coming years, program changes, etc...we're going to focus on noobs as part of the contract reopener? Whose idiotic idea was it to make this a big fish to fry?

I redirected her and handed her off to the person who will be supporting that group (if we have any) in the fall. After all, that person will have to live with whatever is negotiated. Later, after I'd had some time to recover, I got kinda indignant about the whole thing. Is it assumed that I must participate in this folly? What made Miss Tracy think I would be on the side of The Union? Is there no such thing as courtesy in giving me a "heads up" about this or perhaps making something invitational? The assumption seemed to be that I would drop to my knees in rapture over the idea. Her leadership must know better than that. I did have thoughts about meeting with Tracy and the admins and just telling the admins there and then that whatever they wanted, I would agree should go into the revision. Maybe I should contact her and tell her I've changed my mind and would love to work with her on this.

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