Ms. Cristofaro is the Executive Director of the Western New York Charter School Coalition, a membership organization of charter schools in Erie and Niagara counties. Last Sunday the Buffalo News published a lengthy letter (here) from her hitting hard at NYSUT for its anti-charter school positions, even as it recruits charter school teachers to be members (and dues payers).
In particular, she is scornful of Michael Deeley, the NYSUT boss in Western New York whose job it is to convince teachers into joining NYSUT, even while he feigns ignorance of his state organization's anti-charter school behavior in the state Capitol. Ms. Cristofaro is clearly bothered by NYSUT's hypocrisy, saying: "it may sound ridiculous that an organization [NYSUT] that continues to fight against the existence of an organization [charter school] would be looking to represent them as a union. But it's true."
Being in the business of expanding union membership and dues collections means getting your story out to potential recruits, while also blocking others from giving a more balanced and fulsome presentation. This NYSUT does very effectively even to the point of stacking the legal deck by muzzling employers, including charter school trustees and leaders from raising concerns about the pitfalls of unionization. NYSUT will stop at nothing to accuse a charter school, or any employer of its members, from committing an "improper labor practice." The mere threat is enough for employers to tiptoe around and stay quiet during an organizing effort by NYSUT.
Ms. Cristofaro, a former teacher and NYSUT member herself, is more interested in getting facts to teachers before they sign cards to join based on a bias pitch by Mr. Deeley. She states flatly that Mr. Deeley "lied" by telling the Buffalo News that she told teachers they would lose their jobs if they signed cards to join NYSUT. No mincing words here, from Cristofaro.
It will be interesting to see any response of Mr. Deeley, or his organization, to this direct hit. NYSUT knows how to be a bully, but it just learned that Corrinne Cristofaro is no shrinking violet.
for The Chalkboard
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