When I went to pick Sasha up from daycare yesterday, a woman outside the building shoved a flyer in my hand. Tune into WBAI, it instructed, “to hear the real story of what is happening at Preschools of America from the teachers who have been fired for merely expressing their rights.”
The second page went on to explain that teachers at POA, which has dozens of locations throughout the city, had voted on August 2 to form a union. In response (allegedly), five of them were fired. Which (if this is accurate) is illegal. (This politicalaffairs.net story has more details.)
Which is frustrating. As a good little New York City liberal, I’m pro-union (despite the unions’ partial culpability for our current financial mess, a result of their inability/refusal to adapt to changing economic circumstances), not to mention pro-following-the-law, so I feel like I should do something. Fire off an angry e-mail! Text them into submission!
But because I live here, I also have no faith in my power to change anything. It’s like fighting a landlord, and on someone else’s behalf, too: Even if you win, years will have gone by, people moved on, and the next guy in power’s going to do exactly the same thing anyway. Add to that the fact that the fired teachers weren’t at our branch, and so seem almost fictional, like the people you read about in the New York Post.
Plus, there’s paranoia. If I come out publicly on behalf of the fired teachers, will the school’s management deny Sasha a place there? Or, conversely, if I threaten to pull Sasha out if POA doesn’t reinstate the teachers, and POA doesn’t, what do I do? How many bilingual Chinese-English preschools do you know of that operate out of brand-new buildings near the F train?
All of which is just a way of rationalizing my laziness. If someone hands me a petition, I may sign it. I might even work up to an e-mail. But most likely I’ll simply blog about it and save my energy for wrangling the toddler onto and off of the subway.