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Friday, October 15, 2010

From Hal Lanse: I Received No Help From Mike Mulgrew, UFT President

Mulgrew Gives Rank and File the Cold Shoulder
by Hal Lanse

Here’s the update on my case. First, I have requested that Michael Mulgrew, UFT President become personally involved in my case. His office has read my request, but Mr. Mulgrew has elected to respond with silence. Since this test case has implications for the entire teaching force, Mulgrew has in essence given the entire rank and file the cold shoulder.

There was a step 1 grievance which was a joke. The so-called supervisor (the one who took two weeks to introduce herself to me) now knows that she has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement. She has proceeded to suspend my pay and health care.

Oh sure, the UFT will go through the standard grievance process but here’s the problem: By permitting the DOE to allow this procedure to move at the typical snail’s pace the Union (or what’s left of it) has given tacit approval to a dangerous precedent. In the future, we may no longer see the 3020a process—which teachers are permitted by law. Instead, teachers will be illegally terminated without pay. How many of us can last a year or more without pay and without health care? We will be forced to resign in order to take lower paying jobs (if any are available) just to have some money coming in. And how many of us can afford private lawyers to litigate?
Do you see? By taking a hands-off approach, the UFT President has in effect given away your right to due process. If you are outraged, email him and tell him so. And I’d appreciate a copy of your email just so I can know if anyone takes this as seriously as I do. Mulgrew’s email is:

From Betsy Combier:

Another teacher called Leroy Barr and told him that she has been in a rubber room since December 2009, without any charges and no notice of an investigation by either the SCI or OSI. She asked what she could do to get back to her school. The answer: "Sorry, we can't help you".

By the way, Mr. Mulgrew, why were you removed from Grady High School in 2004 and moved to the UFT, along with teacher Eva Mendez? Please let me know.



Here is the previous email from Mr. Lanse:

Email from Hal Lanse, former Rubber Room teacher at 501 Courtlandt Avenue in the Bronx:

After blowing the whistle on my principal and contacting the Daily News after he ordered teachers to falsify grades, I was hit with false charges and sent to the rubber room for the better part of a year. Although my case was dismissed in August the DOE refused to honor their agreement to make me an ATR. They have kept me in a rubber room at 1 Fordham Plaza. (Yes, there ARE still rubber rooms!) My agreement with the DOE was that I'd become an ATR. The DOE's agreement with the UFT stipulates that teachers like me should be sent back to our schools. None of this has happened. I was given no work for two weeks until I fell asleep on a couch. (I refused to sit in the corner as ordered. My lawyer says this is corporal punishment.)

Then, I was given a few menial tasks like collating papers and stuffing folders with papers. I refused, however, when the DOE stooped to ordering me to put paper clips on stacks of papers. (A job that can be done in seconds by the office coy machine.) I pointed out that my contract stipulated a particular job: ATR--a substitute teacher.

Last week, my supervisor yelled at me in front of other to "Get back to your seat, NOW"; and when she followed this up the next day by closing the distance between us when I said to her "I don't want to be verbally harassed again; please move away from me," I filed a complaint. The DOE refused to log-in the complaint, so I followed the UFT's advice and called the police.

The result: More retaliation. I have been suspended without pay just five weeks before going on terminal leave. The DOE cited no law or regulations allowing them to do this. Below is my letter to Michael Mulgrew regarding this matter. This suspension has citywide and possibly national implications.

If you think Mulgrew's reacting should be swift and strong contact him and tell him so.

Dear Michael Mulgrew,

I am involved in a situation that is so unprecedented it could put an end to due process as we know it. I have been suspended without pay even though the DOE failed to cite any law or regulation justifying such an action. I believe this is a test case. If the situation is allowed to stand then the DOE can argue in the future that the UFT has given tacit approval of this action and has set a precedent by failing to protest. I believe that we will see the 3020a process replaced by blanket, open-ended, unpaid suspensions.

I am asking you to personally handle my case. I am scheduled to meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3 PM with Bronx Special Rep. David Kazansky. Can you please attend?


Hal Lanse