United Federation of Teachers not defending members

TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues?

This is the question many teachers are asking. So many of us are being harassed, abused and even brought up on false charges. In the age of “accountabi­lity,” the only accountable people seem to be teachers. Administrators do not need to account for anything, even abusing their employees. Teachers will call on their chapter leader and district reps only to be given false information. The UFT does NOT want members to know their rights. Why?

When teachers find themselves unfairly targeted by their principal, even after an excellent career, there is very little they can do. Their only course of action is to get an attorney. Expensive veteran teachers are encouraged by their union representatives to retire. Whether they are financially able or not is irrelevant. Untenured teachers are told to just resign and move on to other careers. It doesn’t matter if the accusations against the teacher are founded or not. If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it.

That’s the little secret the UFT doesn’t want to get out: they are powerless and they don’t want members to know.

My question is why pay union dues to a union that doesn’t support its members and only exists to pay fat salaries to union leaders who do absolutely nothing?

New York City teachers deserve better. They deserve new union leadership — one that will advocate for its members.

Kim Janos


Fresh Meadows

Posted 12:00 am, January 18, 2015
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Francesco Portelos from Staten Island says:
Ms. Janos,
You are correct. Litigation is the recourse most use. Grievance? Please...a joke and the UFT knows it. 98% denial at Step 2.

Administrators are not worried about the UFT and neither is anyone at Tweed. This leaves UFT members as sitting ducks.

Not anymore. For this reason, a growing number of us have joined together to create UFT Solidarity Caucus. Only 4 months old and already beginning to be a force to be reckoned with. Consider joining us and "building a stronger union."

In solidarity,

Francesco Portelos
Jan. 18, 2015, 9:08 am
Ms.B says:
I have a similar situation in my district. I would like to tell my story. How can I get it published. I am being constantly harassed by my principal and I have reported it to the union many times and nothing is bing done. I am facing racism from the principal and my Union representatives.
Jan. 19, 2015, 12:14 am
Ms.B says:
I have filed a civil lawsuit against my school because I can't get much help from the union.
Jan. 19, 2015, 12:18 am
Francesco Portelos from Staten Island says:
Ms. B,
Contact UFT Solidarity, a new group within the UFT and then report your administration to our Administrator in Need of Improvement (ANOI) list at

We can publish there too.

my email is
Jan. 19, 2015, 9:16 am
William Frias from washington Heights says:
Your article hit it right on the head . I retired as a school psychologist in the year '12 after about 30 years with the DOE . I experienced a great deal of abuse directed to teachers , children and myself . During my first 25 years as an UFT the member i never had the need to grieve any issues . The last couple of years were just infernal . The union was of little help in spite of my efforts to call , fax and/or visit my chapter leader . The attitude of the union was basically that i was tenure and nothing was going to happen to me . Well , as part of my battle with my principal i suffered a stroke . I was not exactly ready for retirement but thank god i did .
Jan. 21, 2015, 12:06 pm
Ms. H from Bensonhurst says:
My principal is a horror! She is a coward who targets those individuals who have disabilities. The union representative is in the principal's "pocket". The union rep is in the principal's office every single day and has visited her home on many occasions. The 'rep 'was responsible for having a teacher who is vision impaired sent for a "fit for duty exam". The teacher was found "fit". The person was not the only "victim". It's a scare tactic concocted by the principal and supported by the union to control those people who contact lawyers or outside agencies.

Call the union ask them if principals are allowed to send people for a "fit for duty" and "what role the 'bogus' union plays" in this process.
July 1, 2015, 10:07 pm
Al from Elmhurst ny says:
I would like to file a civil lawsuit but don't know a lawyer who would take a case like that
Dec. 14, 2015, 10:54 pm
Al from Elmhurst ny says:
I would like to file a civil lawsuit but don't know a lawyer who would take a case like that
Dec. 14, 2015, 10:54 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.


Do you know an immigrant in Queens who has made an impact on the community? Nominate a person who has made a difference for the 2018 Queens Ambassador Awards.
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!