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UTD REJECTED: Teacher and Education Advocate's membership denied - not once but TWICE in one ye

Ms. Thais Alvarez has been fighting the fight for education for a few years now.

In 2013, Ms. Alvarez fought against the Common Core.

For a year now, Ms. Alvarez has been fighting to restore teacher salaries (and pension benefits) for teachers.

And this is how the union responds to Ms. Alvarez's earnest attempts to join the union where she was hopeful she her activism would have a further reaching effect?

But, wait. Maybe. Just Maybe. Could it be? That this is EXACTLY what the union does not want?

Could it be that they do not want someone like Ms. Alvarez? After all, she is PRO-labor despite their desperate attempts to paint Ms. Alvarez like an anti-union, radical right winger!

When we consider all the members who have truly advocated for teachers' bargaining rights have historically been kicked - wiped - out from the United Teachers of Dade, well it starts getting a little suspicious, wouldn't ya say?

Did I hear Ingram say, "Democracy" in one of his speeches last year? Yep. I sure did!

Again, the re-defining of "democracy."

This is the part where we should all be calling out our not-so-democratic and dictatorial leadership, no?

Scroll down to see how I responded to this rejection.

September 8, 2016

Mr. Molnar, I hope this e-mail finds you well. On Monday, August 29, 2016, I submitted an application for membership through my union steward, Dan Goodfriend. On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, I contacted the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) to ask whether my application was accepted, as I am eager to join the union. You told me that my letter was forwarded to the attorney’s office. I commented that that was interesting because applications are usually accepted right away – without being sent to the attorney’s office for review. When I commented that that was odd, you stated, “We know who you are.” I am not sure what to make of that comment, but it is clear that I am being singled out. As an aside, I want to take this opportunity to explain that I was prompted to re-apply to the union, despite the rejection of my application in November 2015 because on Friday, August 26, 2016 after the hearing with the Public Employees Relations Commission, Mr. Mark Richards, one of the UTD attorneys, insinuated that I was anti-teacher and anti-union because I had filed a complaint against the UTD. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact, it is all the contrary. Mr. Richards stated that I was going after the union when instead, I should be fighting the Florida Legislature. First, I am not anti-teacher/labor nor anti-union. Secondly, whereas it may be that the legislature is not acting in favor of teachers, in my opinion, that would still not condone the UTD from failing to adhere to the Florida Statute; the union has a duty to adhere to the law, especially when not doing so is to the detriment of the teachers. I also want to take this opportunity to state that when the UTD rejected my application in November 2015, my union steward, Ms. Goodfriend, who wants me to join the union, called former UTD president, Fedrick Ingram to inquire as to why I was being rejected. Mr. Ingram told Mr. Goodfriend to address his concern to the Executive Board. For this reason, in December 2015, Mr. Goodfriend went out of his way to attend the Executive Board meeting to inquire why my application had been rejected. The Executive Board told Mr. Goodfriend that they would get back to him after the meeting with an explanation, but they never did. In summary, we do not understand or know why I am being denied membership because the UTD is silent as to the reason why I am not accepted as a member. That is, the letter that I was sent to me today, September 8, 2016, makes reference to the November 2015 letter only to say that just as my application was rejected then, it will be rejected again. In November 2015, I also asked for an explanation, but Mr. Ingram refused to answer me. Is it proper etiquette, to ignore members of the bargaining unit? At this juncture, I am respectfully requesting a reason as to why I am being rejected again. I have reason to believe that the reason I am not allowed into the union is because I am, in fact, advocating for teachers’ collective bargaining rights, as evidenced by the fact that I have been very vociferous about what I perceive to be a violation of Florida Statute 1012.22 by the UTD and that which is working to decimate not only teachers’ salaries but also their pensions. This is why I filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). Clearly, if you or the UTD attorneys read my complaint, it is plain to see that I am very much pro-labor. In fact, many teachers tell me that I am doing the union’s job and that if I join they will consider re-joining. I am certain that you know that as of late the UTD membership has plummeted. Given the foregoing, I am inclined to deduce that the reason why my membership has been declined is discriminatory and retaliatory in nature because of my pro-teacher/labor activism and the unfair labor practice charge that I filed on February 3, 2016 against the UTD. I would also deduce that it is very convenient for the UTD to not accept my membership so that its representative can continue to brand me as a radical right winger who wants to destroy unionism, as Mr. Richards also insinuated. Just as the e-mail you sent me stated that I was to be provided with a written request, and the UTD complied. I also want to see if you will comply with my respectful request that I be told why I am being denied. I look forward to hearing from you or another UTD representative in the very near future with an explanation. In Unity, Thais Alvarez

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