Friday, July 22, 2022

Time for UFT to Dump Walgreen's

It's convenient to go to a local pharmacy and get a 90-day prescription. For UFT members, if you have a Walgreen's near you, you can do that. You could also get a 30-day prescription somewhere else, and mail to Express Scripts for a 90-day supply. For me, that's not too much trouble. 

But I won't set foot in Walgreen's until they stop allowing the people to work there to deny us contraception based on their personal beliefs. If I were vehemently opposed to contraception, I'd decline to work in a place that enabled it. In Walgreen's, instead, they're allowing their employees the freedom to decline sales of birth control pills and condoms to customers. 

Imagine some kid deciding to humiliate someone because of personal beliefs. Imagine some kid doing so just for the hell of it, to exercise the little bit of power this job enables. Either way, Walgreen's is good with it.

There are a lot of jokes and skits about people buying condoms, and how awkward they feel. They buy 500 other things and the clerk asks over the PA for a price check on the condoms, humiliating the already nervous customer. You need not be a nervous customer to feel embarrassed when an 18-year-old clerk says, no, you can't have your condoms because I don't personally believe you should have protected sex. Likely as not, these are the same people who support abortion bans, so they've got you one way or the other. 

Walgreen's, of course, is free to humiliate customers looking to live their lives, and in fact looking to prevent abortions. But I won't set foot in one until they end the policy.

UFT has a partnership with Walgreen's. This is problematic. If we continue to do business with them, we are tacitly supporting their odious policy. Walgreen's, for my money, is not the best judge of what UFT members should and should not do about their reproductive choices. In fact, leaving it to the whim of their employees is an even worse decision. They're saying it's not their responsibility, but rather that of the individual employee. I don't want to be treated like that by Walgreen's or their employees, so I can't differentiate.

If Walgreen's really cared about its employees, it would encourage them to unionize and collectively bargain. It would make sure they had full health benefits. It would offer them a prescription plan as good or better than ours. It would offer them better terms than its competitors. Instead, it indulges the whims of those who wish to express moral superiority to those of us who make the bad choice of keeping them in business. That's unacceptable. 

We need to let Walgreen's know that it is there to serve us. If it chooses to allow employees to insult and humiliate customers, it does not deserve our business. We should cut our partnership until and unless it stops indulging the worst instincts of the fanatical ideologues in its employ. 

Unless they come to their senses, let's cut them off and work to replace them with a partner that respects not only our needs, but also those of all Americans. If I wanted to go somewhere and be insulted, I'd go to frigging Tweed and talk to Chancellor Soaring High.

Thursday, July 07, 2022


We're all the same, you know. Remember, when your favorite MAGA commentator is trashing whatever it is we're all supposed to hate this week, that we're likely as not on next week's menu. 

I've got a love-hate relationship with the Post. They have one of the very best education reporters I've ever seen in Sue Edelman. She's relentlessly curious and inquisitive, and doesn't hesitate to speak to real live teachers to get information she wouldn't hear from the Tweedies. 

NY Times education reporters, even when they deign to step off their pedestals, can't be bothered looking for points of view that diverge from their own. Truth be told, their point of view is not much different from that of the Post, despite all the talk about their being "liberal."

Naturally, Chalkbeat highlighted this Post editorial. Though it appears evidence free, they deemed it worthy of mention in their morning round up. The Post is delighted that Adams got two more years of mayoral control, but regrets that it wasn't four. Nowhere in this piece do they give any reason for extending it, or any evidence whatsoever that mayoral control helps anyone (let alone city kids, who merit only one cursory mention).

The Post seems to assume we all just know that mayoral control is a good thing. And I suppose, had you been relying on that particular page for info, you'd buy that. The Post complains control is being watered down by extension of the PEP, and I can only infer that it's a bad thing. Of course, having been to PEP meetings, it's very clear to me that the PEP has been a rubber stamp for the mayor, and that public comments meant absolutely nothing at these meetings. 

Actually, though the headline involves mayoral control, that's not really the topic. The main topic is the perfidy of the United Federation of Teachers (and if you're wondering who that is, it's us). The Assembly are "pawns of the teachers union." That's why they're extending the PEP and giving Adams only two years, evidently. Also, Hochul is terrible for having gone along with this. The Post gives her no credit at all for failing to sign the class size bill, which they hate, and urges us to vote for her Republican opponent. 

Take a look at this:

Fact is, the UFT has always hated mayoral control. It fought against it when it was first proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002 — and whenever its renewal came up.

The fact, I'm sorry to say, is that UFT has repeatedly supported mayoral control. I think that's a huge mistake, and I wrote against it in the Daily News back in 2009. Diane Ravitch, in The Death and Life of the Great American School System, goes into chapter and verse about how mayoral control is a favored tool of billionaires to thwart all that messy democracy that people who don't own the NY Post seem to like. It's a terrible system, and it's at its very worst in New York City, where it's amounted to mayoral dictatorship. Hopefully, it will be improved by PEP expansion, but only time will tell. 

As for class size reduction, the Post just hates it. Not only that, but as usual, they give no real reason, except that it's somehow good for the UFT. Anything that makes us happy is awful, a waste of money. Bigger classes mean fewer expenses, and fewer expenses means more money in the pockets of Rupert Murdoch. (In fairness, he's going through a divorce, so he may need the extra odd billion here and there.)

It's really disappointing that such a poorly thought out piece of crap like this passes for an editorial. If you assume that class size is meaningless, mayoral control is good, and working teachers are bad, it's just fine. However, the writers of this piece didn't bother providing evidence for any of that. Were I to write such a piece, I couldn't get it published anywhere.

That's why guys like Murdoch buy their own newspapers, and cable networks, and Supreme Court Justices. That's why they fight so hard for boogiemen to vilify. Otherwise there would be something akin to democracy, and who who wants that?  Remember, when you hear them talk about CRT, and trans people, and whatever other boogeymen they come up with, we're right there on their list of scapegoats, wherever and whenever it becomes convenient. In fact, someone on Murdoch's Fox just called us "the KKK with summers off."

I'm not at all surprised to see bigots projecting their racism on us, and there's a lot of precedent for authoritarians going after teachers. It's happening here and now, and this is just the beginning.