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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

From UFT Solidarity To Principals: "We Are Going To Get You"

Francesco Portelos
The threats from Francesco Portelos and his group have had an effect, but I doubt it is the effect that Francesco and his cult followers are expecting. Administrators will, I believe, if Francesco were to win a seat on the UFT Executive Board, use his threats to target any teacher they think contacted him or that they dont like for any reason. He is putting all UFT members in danger of being charged or discontinued, I think.

Why do I think this? First, because I know his charges when he was brought to 3020-a. Second, anyone can read the degrading stuff posted in A.N.O.I. Thirdly, in my opinion, Francesco and his gang - Johnathan Hinesley, Lydia Howrilka, Lucio Celli, Victor Jordan, Claudia Giordano Lasky and Danielle Kushner, have put UFT and CSA members in danger by putting libelous statements on the website and the Administrators in Need of Improvement (A.N.O.I.) . This is shocking to me. As you can see in Francesco's edited version of the video of the speech given by Jim Callaghan on September 20, 2015 to about 50 teachers (at 31.09), Jim is calling me a "homophobe." Jim did not call me a homophobe, Francesco did.

In Francesco's world, it seems to me, which came out during his teacher trial (I was there several days), a chapter leader must never work with a Principal, but must be combative, bullying, and full of threats. The next thing that happens will be, I believe, that either the position of chapter leader will be eliminated, or the person(s) making the chapter leader suffer for working with the principal will be charged with something. One of the reasons Francesco was not terminated, wrote Arbitrator Busto in her decision after the 3020-a, was that he was never rude to the principal like "J.J." was, as 'proven' by the decision of the Arbitrator in J.J.'s 3020-a Opinion and Award.

"J.J." was my client, I worked on his legal team with an attorney at his 3020-a. J.J. was a chapter leader to spoke up about how his Principal removed the entire staff from access to data on any student. He was not rude, he was factual. The principal charged him with every sort of charge she could think of, and J.J. hired us to defend these charges. We got the principal to be removed from the school by Superintendent Gayle Reeves and given a job at Tweed during the 3020-a. And, we got all of the misconduct/corporal punishment bogus charges removed. But the Arbitrator found J.J. guilty of speaking to the principal about what the principal was doing wrong and in order to get around J.J.'s First Amendment rights as a chapter leader, made J.J. look like a combative, rude, obnoxious person, the exact opposite of who he is. The Arbitrator never mentioned J.J.'s First Amendment rights or free speech rights, even though we handed in a brief arguing this point. J.J. was given a fine and sent back to work as an ATR. He sued.

The ugly fact is, government/public employees do not have free speech rights. See the case Garcetti v Ceballos, the current law of the USA on public employee whistleblowing.

Everyone knows that the ways a senior teacher can move from a school is by being charged with something, resigning, retiring, or a sabbatical. Senior transfers are no longer allowed. So in order to get a teacher out of a school that may be harassing someone is for an administrator to file charges against that person.

In my opinion, Francesco and his gang - Johnathan Hinesley, Lydia Howrilka, Lucio Celli, Victor Jordan, Claudia Giordano Lasky and Danielle Kushner, have put UFT and CSA members in danger. The libelous statements made on the website and the Administrators in Need of Improvement (A.N.O.I.) are shocking to me. As you can see in Francesco's edited version of the video of the speech given by Jim Callaghan on September 20, 2015 to about 50 teachers (at 31.09), Jim is calling me a "homophobe."

Look at the page on Pauline Shakespeare:
"Her egotistical ways are personified by the larger than life portrait of, none other than, herself that greets you as you enter her office; which belongs on a bottle of syrup rather than in an academic setting....I would suggest you put her head on the bottle of arsenic instead. You can put the number for poison control on the bottle, I knew after 30 seconds working at ps34q for her she is toxic!
I know you are reading this you piece of garbage Pauline, and yes we have heard through you cronies you are not happy we are writing about you. If anyone ever reads up on you they will know don’t come to 34. It’s career suicide!
Pauline enjoy Halloween, you can go out today and no-one will notice how ugly your really are, both inside and out!.
You the most unprofessional piece of garbage on the planet. Eventually diabetes or heart disease will catch up with you and you will get exactly what you deserve! I wish you nothing but long term pain and suffering!"
"Let’s be adults here. If you worked there, you know that Pauline Shakespeare is a sadistic sociopath who enjoys torturing her staff. She is the bully in the playground and the disturbed child burning ants with a magnifying glass. One-day karma will knock on her door and I am sure there is a warm place in hell with her name waiting for her."
"that human being is Hitler! As I said before there is a warm place in hell waiting for this sick sociopath!
If you are a new teacher to the DOE or on the open market BE WARNED! If you ever hear the name Pauline Shakespeare P.S. 34Q John Harvard —run like the devil is after you, because that is exactly who Pauline Shakespeare is."

I’m thinking we get a leaflet together and hand out during parent teacher conferences. Email us at to contribute."
"Reckoning day is coming!
The chancellor is coming and this time unlike last year we are going to be heard.
AP Vera Tomaselli you are too smart to lie for Shakespeare. Pauline you better watch every word that comes out of here mouth. She is not going to risk her career over you.
There is no loyalty amongst theves How does it feel to be alone Pauline?"
Listen everyone. We, UFT Solidarity, created this forum to illicit conversation and improve working conditions and learning conditions at schools. As you can see, there are many administrators listed
Last night Jill Guttman’s husband and I went to speak to the chancellor about the situations at play here and many other schools.
We are not waiting for the DOE to do the right thing. We are not waiting for the Queens UFT office to do the right thing. I personally don’t trust Rona Freiser. Read how she throws UFT members under the bus. She needs to go too.
We are UFT Solidarity, we are running against Mulgrew and friends this April and we have your back! We will be outside your school next week handing out flyers to staff and parents.
Email us at to add material to the flyer.
This has to stop as the staff and students are suffering.
Principal Shakespeare and admins, back off with your attacks and support the staff.
In Solidarity,
Francesco Portelos
UFT Presidential Candidate

in response to Francesco Portelos:

PRINCIPAL PAULINE SHAKESPEARE PS 34Q In the news Here is a transcript of Principal Pauline Shakespeare committing perjury stating she never made a comment about the fact that the ” UFT can’t protect bad teachers.” Followed by the audio of her actually saying it to a teacher she targeted and discontinued after the teacher requested […]

Disbelief or should say Gwendolyn Brown-Waker, you are not fooling anyone. I don’t give a damn who you claim to be or not to be. You gave yourself away a few times and you are busted. Deny it if you want, I am not fooled. You really need a life, hobby, man or woman to occupy your time. Aren’t you tired of living in Pauline’s butt? YUK!!! To think that you are actually a Pastor makes my stomach turn. Why don’t you go spend your time preaching the Lord’s word or joining a gym or something, rather than doing what you do best which is being in everyone else’s business. Perhaps you can even go wig shopping. I’m sure that’s better than being all the way up Pauline’s butt.
I do not know this person, but to read that her face should be placed onto a bottle with a poison control number is abhorrent to me. Also, what Ms. Shakespeare may do now is that she must discontinue untenured employees and charge those tenured employees whom she believes made these comments. Thus these type of anonymous statements puts everyone in danger.

What Francesco and his gang do when they hear something they do not like is, attack. When Francesco Portelos edited Jim's speech so that Jim said I was a homophobe, editing out the part about how supposedly Randi said that I was a homophobe (Randi contacted me and told me that she never said that, and I believe her, because I would not have accepted the job offer if that had been the truth), and then Lucio Celli sent me the video, Francesco attacked him for sending me a copy (Lucio told me).

In July, Lucio sent me, Francesco, Jim Callaghan, and several others this facebook post:
Lucio Celli1:03pm Jul 19
To Jim an Betsey,

I would like to invite the both of you to speak to our Solidarity committee on corruption.

We already met with Sir Harvey and he's the best.

I know Betsey and there aren't words to describe how great she is as a reporter! We need to meet with her.

I saw Jim's comment in Fran's post and now is the time to meet with him!

Please provide us with dates that you could meet with our committee.
Lucio Celli
Lucio Celli1:06pm Jul 19
 you know I love you and think the world of you.

 Principals have not had unfettered power to destroy careers, they have tried to have this power but have failed, many times, thwarted by excellent detective work, good defense, and people who believe in negotiation, and mediation. I was in Egypt when the Camp David Accords took war off the table and peace became a possibility between Egypt, and Israel. How did it happen? People meeting and talking, not shooting barbs of harm and asking questions later.

Betsy Combier, Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
President, ADVOCATZ

I’m running for President of the United Federation of Teachers. It’s the largest union local in the United States, has 200,000 members and a war chest of over $170 million dollars. We have a great and growing team that is working on running and supporting members with me. See our candidates and platform
Our grassroots support is ever growing. We are in schools in every district, from early childhood to high school and gaining more and more retiree supporters daily. Please excuse my language, but our sources are telling us our “campaign is scaring the sh*t out of people.” As it should be. We are looking to take over a very rich political machine and use it for good. We did not expect them to roll out the red carpet, but tonight they overplayed their hand. We’ll get to that in a moment.
To make matters worse, UFT leadership’s own Unity caucus members are joining our group UFT Solidarity. Others are silent supporters who want to keep their job’s at the UFT central and district offices. Unity members do not have to leave Unity to support Solidarity. We will not be cleaning house of the many good reps that are out there. Democracy is scary to those who adamantly oppose it. When people are scared they will react and go into survival mode.
Tonight was the UFT Executive Board meeting. It takes place two Mondays a month, is comprised of about 100 members and has a lavish buffet that sets the UFT back about $12,000 a meeting. UFT Solidarity members and I have been going since September. In fact, we have been going to many events around the city. Remember we are trying to take over the union. I missed a few meetings for familial reasons, but I am glad I did not miss tonight’s meeting. Although I don’t think the speeches against me would have been made had I not been there. We are dealing with wannabe bullies here.
Every Executive Board meeting is open to all members, even though you will never find it publicized on the UFT’s calendar ( The first ten minutes of every meeting is allocated to member open mic. Something I do not see being used enough, or at all. Free food and open mic to speak your mind?? No wonder they do not openly publicize it. We do though here:
During open mic UFT President Mulgrew is never, NEVER, present. He always coincidentally walks in to give his report only after members speak. Once I spoke and Exec Board member Jonathan Halabi informed me after that he found Mulgrew standing alone in the next room where the buffet was listening during my speech.
Tonight, after I finished off some fillet of fish, chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, and other good stuff (leave me alone….I was hungry!), I decided to get up and get some more from the other room. Upon my return VP of Non-DOE members Anne Goldman was on the mic.  She is also the wife of former UFT Manhattan Representative Jerry Goldman and mother of UFT political guru Jason Goldman (next to Paul Egan of course).
VP for Non-DOE Members
Click to share

Anne Goldman
I wasn’t really listening to what she was saying, as I was trying to catch up on some messages that popped up on my phone, but could hear that she was getting louder and angrier. [PAUSE–>REWIND TO LAST WEEK]
I was driving home from school one day and stopped at a red light. My phone always sits on my dashboard, within arms reach, and I often use voice activation to call or text. A message reminder I had set popped up stating “Call Nurses.” Before the light changed I had quickly navigated to the UFT Nurses Chapter page. No, not school nurses. The UFT actually represents about 3,000 private hospital nurses.
The nurses page had links to every private hospital that employees UFT nurses. Each of those pages had the names and phone numbers of the representatives and what times they were available to be reached. By the next red light I started calling and quickly found out that the information was outdated both in phone numbers and in times of availability. “Nancy Barth-Miller? No she works during the morning.” “Anthony? Oh you mean Tony? He’s not here now.” “____? She retired.” That was mostly the conversations I had. What I wound up finding out through speaking to members who know nurses is:
§  nurses are not happy with the UFT representation,
§  they don’t know what the $100/month in dues is going to
§  do not feel represented “unless you know someone”
§  cronyism is involved
§  benefits are not great
§  staff to patient ratios are high
§  and much more
Education based UFT members, does that sound familiar? Not represented and high staff to student ration -er I mean staff to patient.
[FAST FORWARD TO EXECUTIVE BOARD TONIGHT] Back to my new friend Anne Goldman and her speech.
Apparently, as we expected, Anne Goldman found out about our calls, and maybe even some flyers others put up at the hospitals and online.
Now I truly believe most people in that room had no idea what she was talking about. I did though and I began to smirk as she glanced over at me and says “…AND I AM TALKING ABOUT MR. PORTELOS …AND I ASK THAT IS LEADERSHIP ORDER A CEASE AND DESIST, INVESTIGATE AND REPRIMAND THIS MEMBER.
As most in the room all turned to look at me, I kept my cool and was so, so glad I did not eat the BBQ ribs available. They would certainly have been all over my face.
I raise my hand to speak and respond, but UFT Secretary Emil Pietromonaco nodded no. Then another gentleman from the Executive Board, representing the nurses, gets on another microphone and adds something about “…the phone calls to the nurses are monitored and recorded. They violated our contract and could now face disciplinary charges. A cease and desist should be ordered and a full investigation by the board!
At this point I get up and go to a microphone after I saw Emil point to it giving the OK. Before I could speak, UFT President Michael Mulgrew gets up and starts to speak at a different microphone at the front dais. As he stood twenty feet away his face seemed red to me. You could cut the tension in the room with a knife.  He went on to say that we do not condone this type of behavior and that I will be investigated. I was not given an opportunity to respond.
“Could I just have a minute?”
“Ten seconds to respond?”
The meeting ended. Anne Goldman left before I could approach her.
UFT General Counsel Adam Ross approached me and asked what would be the best way to get in contact with me. I jokingly asked “Why? Am I really under investigation? For calling UFT members?”
His response seemed to indicate I really was.
You might be asking “What is the point?
Well, it may have been to scare UFT Solidarity into stopping their successful outreach. It didn’t work. However, the UFT already took down the links to the hospitals on their site
This is what it really comes down to…what their fear and desperation is leading them to do. 
According to the UFT Constitution (
Article 3 Section 6: The Executive Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its members present shall have the power to expel, or to suspend for a term not exceeding one year, any member of this organization, provided that such member shall have received reasonable opportunity to present a defense at a meeting of the Executive Board. Such member shall have the right to counsel. Action of the Executive Board relating to suspension or expulsion shall be reviewed, on petition, by a special review board created in accordance with the by-laws of this organization
Also, and this is where the election comes in:
Article 4 Section 5. No member shall be eligible to hold office who has not been a member in good standing for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the final date for nomination.
Desperate move, but it appears that a rigged panel will set up a rigged special review board to expel me and make me ineligible to run.
I wear that threat like a badge of honor. BRING IT! I have been under37 investigations before and I am still standing. Seems like we will have the DOL and NLRB involved as well as the Bar Association for any unethical legal counsel.
To any hospital that disciplines our members for picking up a phone, do some good reading about what we do, because you do not want the headache and exposure we bring.
To the nurses, please read, distribute and comment at We are ready to give all 3,000 of you better support than you are currently getting.

“Issues at Your School” – An email no 

NYC principal wants to receive

Turning the tables. That’s what progressive caucus UFT Solidarity began to do when members contact us that they are under warrantless attack. For almost a decade NYC DOE administrators had unfettered power to destroy careers. Problem with a teacher who grieves contractual violations or want to get rid of a pesky chapter leader? No problem. All a principal had to do was start building a paper trail of trumped up charges and fraudulent observations. Sometimes a simple phone call to the DOE’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) would do the trick. The teacher would be removed for months or years without knowing why they were removed. That’s if they were tenured. If not, the would be discontinued and out in a few days. The union? The UFT has been absent in thwarting attacks against members and sometimes is actually involved in helping the members get railroaded See [UPDATED] Bizarre Behavior Coming from Queens UFT Office.
So what is a member under attack to do? Well, luckily we live in the age of technology and have come up with some tools to fight back. This is how it works, and it does work. (Not all the time but it’s getting better.)
At UFT Solidarity, we have collaborated on an email we send to administrators who are bullying and harassing our members. The email is written in a way where we let the administrator know that the members in their school and not sitting ducks and will have support. We let the administrator know that we are educating their staff on how to fight back and encourage them to support and not continue their attacks. What we hope, or assume, happens is that that the administrator sends it to their superintendent and DOE lawyers. In turn we hope that the superintendent and lawyers respond to the administrator with something like this:
“Oh no. We have seen these before and it can get ugly. Expect there to be Freedom of Information Law requests on your records such as time cards, financial records and emails. They even obtain video surveillance footage. Your staff is probably already secretly recording you. Expect stories of you to be added to social media with comments being added by staff, students and parents. You will be added to their Administrator’s in Need of Improvement (ANOI) list online if you have not been Expect them to launch investigations on anything you have done that violates a chancellor’s regulation, policy or law. Investigators will be coming. Finally, expect a group of their members and your staff and students, albeit small, to be outside your school with flyers and signs. If you have not bought a Costco size bottle of Tylenol, then we suggest you do that.”
At least that is what we hope the lawyers tell the administrator and they second guess their future actions.
The Email:
Principal X,
Unfortunately your school has come to the attention of our teacher advocacy group. Apparently there are allegations of harassment and unwarranted attacks on educators at your school. As you could imagine, an atmosphere of workplace bullying and harassment is not conducive to a nurturing learning environment for our students.
Just as a courtesy, we are letting you know that we are educating your staff members with information on how to defend their careers so they may continue to instruct and nurture students to their fullest potential. Those tools can be in the form of legally audio recording, using the Freedom of Information Law to obtain information necessary to prove their allegations against you, organizing rallies and creating various social media articles.
Perhaps your best recourse would be to speak with the superintendent, your senior field counsel and Borough Support Center representative, to figure out ways to support educators rather than treading on their careers.
Thank you.
UFT Solidarity
“Building a stronger union.”

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