As you know, I have been promoting a public 3020a hearing that began today. The principal will most likely testify today, so I encourage you all to show up to 49-51 Chambers Street at 10am if you can. Ask for the hearing being conducted by Joshua Javits.
My role as a potential witness precludes me from discussing the specifics of the case. I will just say that 3020a is a rotten process that is heavily biased against the teacher. Here is a brief video of former union lawyer Brain Glass on the 3020a process.
Betsy Combier of the New York City Rubber Room Reporter site has been saying this for years. I met Betsy for the first time yesterday. If you have not seen her website, take a look at the 3020a horror stories she describes. This is what “tenure” and “due process” has become in New York state. Imagine what it is like in these “right to work” states.
The process has become so biased that real courts of law are overturning more 3020a decisions than ever before. It happened in the case of Christine Rubino, whose case Betsy describes in her latest post:
Christine Rubino taught for 15 years and was, according to the Principal of her school, an “excellent” teacher. On June 23, 2010 Christine posted on her Facebook page to her 120 friends early in the morning that she felt terrible about a young girl drowning while on a trip with her class the previous day, as reported in the newspapers. Later that afternoon, she posted a comment that her kids were the “devil’s spawn”, which she took down a few days later, not thinking that anyone outside of her small circle of adult friends had seen it, and knowing that she did not treat her students abusively and that her comment was not reflective of her work, herself, or her feelings about her students.
A single arbitrator on the UFT-NYCDOE 3020-a Arbitration Panel, Randi Lowitt, terminated Ms. Rubino under what seems to be a “zero tolerance” mandate in NYC for tenured teachers, no matter how well or badly the tenured employee does in any classroom. Am I saying that arbitrators in NYC on the 3020-a panel chosen by, supposedly, NYSUT, the UFT and the DOE, are not “neutral” as required by statute and the rules of the American Arbitration Association?
Yes, I am.
Traditionally, courts of law are hesitant to overturn the decisions of independent labor arbitrators. They only do so when the decision of the arbitrator is “shocking to the conscience” of the court. What does it say about the process when so many cases are being overturned?
I can only hope my friend is able to get out of this process with her career. She has been through enough as it is and certainly does not deserve to lose her career over a joke. It would be “shocking to the conscience” if the worst were to happen.