Interview with Dolores Torres
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

What do you think, the union shortly went on strike soon after that. What was the heart of conflict as you saw it? The conflict between Ocean Hill-Brownsville community and the teachers. What was there really at the heart of the conflict?

DOLORES TORRES:

The heart of the conflict was this: the unions were running the school, the UFT was running the schools, and we felt that the parents on this local school should, should be the ones to run the schools. Ah. They were doing what the union told them to do. They were very strong union people. They felt they didn't have to go and do a little extra work or a little extra in that community. And we felt that our children were being used. They were, they were there. They were collecting a pay check. They were running back to the union telling everything that we were doing. And we felt that they were undermining everything that we were trying to do. And see, the thing of it was, we did not fire these people. We could not fire the nineteen teachers. We had no power over firing. We had power over hiring. We could not fire anybody. So we really didn't have that much power. The only way you can have total power is to be able to hire and fire at will. OK? We did not have this power. All we did was dismiss these teachers. We reassigned them to 110 Livingston Street. We did not have the power to fire them. The UFT said we fired them. And they called the teachers from all of New York out on strike because we dismissed or reassigned nineteen teachers to 110 Livingston. But we had no power to fire. We couldn't fire. All these years our kids were stuck with teachers that didn't have their interests at hand.