Union head under fire for ‘educational’ trip to Cuba
By Carl CampanileMarch 24, 2014 | 2:57am
The head of the city public school union representing 23,000 parent
coordinators, crossing guards and cafeteria workers is under fire for
taking an “educational trip” to Cuba while his members have toiled for
years without a contract.
Opponents of Local 372 president Santos Crespo Jr. are using the 2012
Cuba trip and other spending issues as ammo in their effort to oust him
in upcoming union elections in June.
Meanwhile Crespo filed a motion in Manhattan state Supreme Court to keep
secret the records regarding a legal payout and settlement the union
made with its former political director, Monica Davids. Crespo fired
Davids in a dispute but she filed counterclaims for more than $7,000 in
back pay and plus $150,000 in legal expanses – and it is believed the
secret settlement cost Local 372 tens of thousands of dollars.
“Cuba is on the international list of human rights violators. How can he
go there under Local 372’s name?,” said Donald Nesbitt, a candidate for
vice president. “What can he bring back from Cuba that will help our
members with their issues? Absolutely nothing!”
The union has been without a contract since March of 2010.
Crespo — who opposes the US trade embargo and supports the campaign to
help the convicted “Cuban 5” spies imprisoned in the U.S. – raved about
his trip to the community country in a special Local 372 newsletter that
included a picture of the Cuban flag and the heading “We are One – Somos
“I was in awe and felt inspired,” Crespo, who is of Puerto Rican
descent, gushed of his trip in the union newsletter. “The education
system in Cuba is not a profit driven or politically driven system.”
Crespo said there’s “zero illiteracy and marveled that virtually all
workers belong to the union – though failed to mention there’s no free
speech and that talking against the government could lead to imprisonment.
Local 372 executive board member Shaun Francois is challenging Crespo
for the presidency.
Crespo declined requests for comment.
Source: Union head under fire for ‘educational’ trip to Cuba | New York