Barrett was let go for budgetary reasons (i.e., he's a veteran who makes too much money) and Robbins left in protest.
Here is what Robbins told the Gothamist about Barrett's layoff and his own resignation:
Barrett reportedly made six figures. Is it realistic for journalists to expect that much given the harsh realities of today's print media landscape? Abso-fucking-lutely. Don't you value your work? The biggest hole reporters are digging themselves into this day and age is working for nothing or close to nothing. TV guys make a lot more money that that. It's crazy that people are willing to work for nothing or next to nothing. It's almost back the way it was before Heywood Broun founded the newspaper guild in the 1930s during Depression. That was a great union; now it's just a shell of itself.
Interesting that Robbins is so sad that his union is just a shell of itself when he wrote a piece last year that shilled for non-unionized charter schools, hawked b.s. stats about Geoffrey Canada's non-unionized Harlem Children's Zone/sweatshop and Eva Moskowitz's hedge fund-backed charters, and said that teachers unions are the problem with education and the soluti on is more non-unionized charters.
It's a shame that Robbins didn't do his homework as a journalist and discover that the Harlem charters are cherry-picking students and dumping the ones who don't do well, thus massaging their statistics.
It's a shame that Robbins didn't do his homework as a journalist and discover that the Harlem charters and traditional public schools are NOT playing on a level field - the amount of money funding these ventures, the small class sizes, the up-to-date facilities and the political connections both have at the top must be juxtaposed to the budget cuts traditional schools have taken, the larger class sizes, the falling apart facilities and the simple fact that nobody in power cares what happens to a traditional school.
It's a shame that Robbins didn't do his homework as a journalist and discover that most of the charter industry is based on the same old-fashioned union busting, labor-squeezing brand of management that he is decrying in his own field of journalism.
Barrett has also written more than once that the teachers unions are the problem with public education. Here was the last anti-union piece he wrote where he too hawked the wonders of non-unionized charter schools and criticized the UFT for opposing the lifting of the charter cap.
Not once did these two Voice "journalists" ever talk to actual teachers in actual traditional public schools to see if there is a counter-argument to the pro-charter/anti-UFT line that so many in education and politics promote these days.
Instead they just ran with the "non-unionized charter good/unionized traditional school bad" jive they have heard.
Frankly, I am glad Barrett got jobbed by the Voice because he made too much money.
Now he knows why it is important that teachers have a union to protect their rights and their jobs.
And now he knows why it is important for the UFT to NOT give on seniority rights or tenure.
The Voice didn't let him go because he's a "bad journalist."
They let him go because he makes too much money.
And that is EXACTLY what will happen to veteran teachers if the UFT caves on the seniority and tenure issues.
Every once in a while the universe provides a nice piece of karma for the hypocrites in journalism.
The Barrett layoff and Robbins quitting in protest and complaining about the powerlessness of his union is just that.
I hope both take steep pay cuts so that they might find some empathy with unionized teachers like myself who fear losing their jobs not because they are "bad teachers" but because they MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY.