December 6, 2012
By: Isaac Castineira
Hello, my name is Isaac Castineira. I have been a science teacher for 8 years at Homestead Sr. High and a UTD member since I first was able to join. Today I am announcing my candidacy for Vice President of United Teachers of Dade. I grew up the son of a Teamster and was taught the value and necessity for a strong, cohesive, and organized labor. So I have grown more and more frustrated over the years with the complete lack of organization with in UTD. I have seen the current leadership go to the bargaining table year after year and walk away with less for its members. The current leadership uses fear, intimidation and divide and conquer strategies over its own members to get substandard contracts passed.
Over the years if I had to describe our union, I would say it has become one of blame and excuse. Union leadership has a blame or an excuse for all of our ills. They like to blame Tallahassee, the school board, the superintendent, healthcare costs and even its own members. They also like to give excuses, for example “This is best contract we could negotiate but, we kept no cost healthcare and saved jobs.” Too long has our union allowed the school board to use healthcare and jobs as excuse for substandard contracts. It’s long overdue that we send a message to all politicians who oppose teachers, that message. We are professionals and need to be compensated as such. Ask yourself this question, when was the last time our union was active away from the bargaining table? Our union needs to do more than to tell its members to wear red! We need to demand more for our dues than we are currently receiving.
If you elect me as Vice-President, I will work tirelessly in defending all employees’ teacher and support staff. As Vice-President I will demand that there is transparency in our elections. I will demand that our members have a forum to express their frustrations. I will demand that their comments won’t be blocked or deleted. I will demand for UTD to be more vocal against this wave of political attacks and agendas. In the end, I WILL demand more from our union!
I have a vision for United Teachers of Dade; it is a vision that is filled with hope and prosperity. My vision doesn’t have a union being sued by its own members. It is a vision, where members stand united against our common foes. It is vision where membership isn’t some idea that needs to be sold. But rather an expense that employees are happily making for the common good. My vision is for UTD to be strong, hardworking, and organized labor unit.
As a current teacher, I feel that I have the knowledge and the passion to be your eyes and ears and most importantly voice on UTD’s leadership team. For eight long years I have seen our profession being transformed into “just a job”. Allow me to put the “professional” back in our profession. I ask today for your support in my campaign for real change in UTD.
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