Saturday, September 5, 2015

Letter to Miami-Dade School Deformers:

Team Fed, Karla, Joe, and Carvalho, 

I am sure that you have spent a good portion of the last couple of months scheming and thinking long and hard on how to try “selling” this garbage of a contract to the hardworking teachers and employees of MDCPS. Your well crafted message promoting this “historic” contract states that “this is the best way available to make a transition to a workable salary model for the future” and that “this contract sets the stage for a positive and long-term outcome for the employees we represent.” Do you seriously believe that MDCPS employees are that stupid and that we cannot see through your flowery language and platitudes to understand that this contract is the most detrimental agreement that has been made in the history of the United Teachers of Dade? Why can you not at least have the decency to admit this and to be honest with your members that entrust their careers in your leadership?

Fed, Karla, Joe and your team of UTD stooges, you put 100% of the blame on Tallahassee and its laws and lack of funding, yet refuse to admit your own shortcomings as (mis)leaders of our union. If you’re so concerned with the lack of funding then why have you never challenged the fact that MDCPS continues to lower the millage rate, thus robbing our public schools of millions of dollars each year? Are you scared of Carvalho, or are you in bed with him?

You have hijacked our union, contributed to the hemorrhaging of our union ranks, and then have the audacity to blame us teachers and employees for the sad state of our union. You say that we are apathetic by not being active in UTD committees or events, ignorant because we demand more steps than we are actually owed, reckless because we demand increased salary and benefits and more protections at work, and stupid because we supposedly make poor healthcare decisions that cause the rise in healthcare costs. But many of us frequently make suggestions to UTD for pro-education campaigns, offer recommendations on UTD surveys, and give our input for collective bargaining. We are never acknowledged and our input thus is worth nothing to you. Well, we condemn you for the overall dismantling of our union and collective power. You should accept responsibility for this once and for all, since your concessionary behavior allows the District to run rampant over teachers and employees.

So let’s focus on the most important component of this tentative agreement: the elimination of steps. Yes, this contract eliminates our Step salary schedule which has been in place for 40 years! You know full well that we do not have to kill our step schedule, but instead simply have to readjust it to make it compliant with the new law, SB-736. We want to keep our grandfathered Step schedule, even if it means reducing the dollar amount of each step so that we can decrease the variation in between steps. We demand that you break the law and postpone the performance pay requirement of SB-736, as we have done for the past couple of years. If Tallahassee and the District do not have the funding to pay teachers performance pay and steps, well then that is their problem and they should be responsible for dealing with it. Why do we as teachers and employees have to fix the mess that they created and give up our step schedule?

You have erroneously and deceitfully stated that teachers will actually get higher raises now and that those on the lower steps will get to the top salary bracket quicker under this new salary schedule. You are not fooling anyone with your faulty mathematics.  How do you even dare make these assertions? You are assuming a 3 or 4 percent annual raise, but you yourself acknowledge the fact that salaries are negotiated on an annual basis and thus raises are uncertain. Do you mean to say that you are guaranteeing us AT LEAST a 3 or 4% annual raise with this new contract? If so, please state it publically and put it in writing. Although the step schedule does not guarantee us annual steps, it at least provides us with a clear preview of what our future earnings will be at each step thus allowing us to properly plan for the future and our retirement. Many of us will vote NO on Sept 8th because we cannot vote on uncertainties, especially as it relates to our future earnings and retirement.

To top it all off, the misleadership of UTD has shown a blatant lack of democracy during the past couple of years. You have a UTD facebook page where you only post positive comments and erase any critical posts from members. You put together idiotic videos promoting your crappy proposals, and then disable the comment option so that nobody can post critical messages that state the truth. Fed, you recently said (see the last minute of this video) that politics is like a butcher shop: if we only knew what went into the meat in the back room, then we wouldn't buy it. Is that metaphor your pathetic argument for circumventing union democracy? Actually, Fed, we know about your dirty dealing and that is precisely why we want to shed light on what goes on "at the back of the butcher shop" where you, Karla and Carvalho prepare these concessionary contracts. We know it ain't pretty and we won't just trust you.

Karla is especially disgusting with her appeals to ethnic “solidarity,” especially given that she doesn’t like Black people. Karla, you need to stop your con-game of trying to win over Latino members by pretending that you care about immigrants and the struggle of Latinos. You only want Latino votes and that's why you act like Jeb Bush who thinks saying "Gracias" is enough to prove his worth to Latino voters. We all know that you only care about advancing your career by running for the UTD presidency, even though you are not even slightly qualified to lead our union. And Fed needs to stop pretending that he cares about teachers and employees. We all know that you also just care about your career and winning the VP positions with FEA. Both of you want to avoid ever having to go back into the classroom because you know how stressful and demanding the job is, yet you claim to be “teachers” and constantly speak as if you are still teachers. You are not teachers anymore. You are union bureaucrats and need to do everyone the favor of retiring from public education and going to work for the District where you belong.

We are calling on everyone to vote NO on Tuesday Sept 8th and send UTD and MDCPS back to the table. This contract is not good enough for the hardworking people that help our public schools in Miami-Dade run properly. Go back and get us some more! Do not steal our STEPS!!!

The REAL leaders of the United Teachers of Dade