Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ignore the UFT Elections At Your Own Peril


The closing of schools and the invasion of charter schools seems to have put the UFT elections, which begin in earnest in early January, on the back burner.

With James Eterno, the ICE/TJC candidate for UFT president to oppose Mulgrew being in the awkward position of having to put his main energy into leading the defense of his closing Jamaica High School (and having to work with Mulgrew to accomplish that) the campaign has not been a priority. I have been racing around covering charter and closing school issues and certainly have neglected my responsibility in discussing the election. Thanks to ICE's Ellen Fox who has kept her nose to the grindstone, and Joan Seedorf, who has done amazing work as the Manhattan rubber room rep, I have been reminded about my responsibilities. We met last night to work on our candidate list.

More teachers and even students have been activated than ever. Even the UFT is being moved to a higher level of activity. The closing schools ties into the creation of ATRs. Unless Tweed gets the UFT to give up on ATRs through public pressure and the use of the state legislature to do something there will be lots of instability. Imagine a floating crew of thousands of dislocated teachers and students. Closing 20 schools was done intentionally and there is no clearer sign that this is a political not an educational agenda that may come back to bite them.

Rumors are floating that Bloomberg will issue an order to give no teachers tenure that is not tied to test scores. Expect some vicious attack as a follow-up to the closing schools to force the issue. There will not be a UFT contract for years unless the UFT gives on these issues, something they cannot afford to do, especially with a UFT election coming up. But if Unity wins by the usual 80% margin all bets are off.

That is why the larger the vote for ICE/TJC the more that will stiffen the spine of the leadership.
Readers of this blog often rail against the UFT but when it comes time to sign up to run against Unity many back off. There is fear out there that the UFT will leave you hanging if you end up under attack or in the rubber room if you are openly with the opposition when in reality, the UFT often bends over backwards to assist activists who they fear have the ability to spread the word.

It is important for people to see this election as part of the fightback against BloomKlein. I don't expect to win much in actual positions but just as the high Thompson totals has made Bloomberg less able to do his thing, a high vote total for ICE/TJC will accomplish the same thing. Even if you don't want to run, ICE/TJC needs lots of help in getting petitions signed and turning out the vote and making sure people don't screw up their ballots. Ignore this election at your own peril.

What do you have to do? Contact me to let me know how you can help. If I don't hear from too many of you, you're all goners.

7 comments:

  1. As for Unity protecting it's own, that is an illusion.

    I know of a chapter leader who was screwed by the 3020a process.

    A true activist and a unity faithful. He was a true believer in that Unity would pull his coals out of the fire.

    Unity sacrifices it's own. With the collusion and racketeering that the Unity Patronage Mill engages in, one would surmise that Unity could have saved their boy by making a simple phone call.

    Not Unity, they burned him.

    p.s. There is an awful rumor that the DoE is going to reorganize yet again!

    Angry Teacher

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  2. Again for the million time, KNOW BODY KNOWS ABOUT ICE AND WHAT THEY STAND FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You guys are making the same mistake Bill Thomspon made! Pass out fliers, come to schools and give a speech. Do something!!!!!!
    Let the teachers know that there is another choose beside Unity!!!!!
    Again you will never stop Jamica or anyother School from closing no matter what you do unless you become the UFT President. Then you will have the real power to fight Bloomberg! And now is the time to do it while most teachers are pissed off at the Uft-unity. Now is the time to offer them a chance! But again NOBODY KNOWS ICE IS OUT THERE OFFERING A CHANGE!!!!!
    Get moving before it to late.
    P.S. where do we contact you to help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Anon. give everyone a break.

    Sure. Eterno should quit his job and go to all the schools like Mulgrew spends his days doing on our dime. Or he should abandon his school and do politicking.

    The problem is not ICE's campaign but that you are sitting on the sidelines and waiting for ICE to do it for you. What have you done to organize your school?

    You are anonymous and people in ICE and TJC openly put themselves out there fighting a war against both the UFT and the DOE.

    Jeez, you don't know where and how to contact ICE?

    Is the extent of your activity is leaving little comments on blogs? ICE shouldn't waste one dime investing in a campaign until people like you come out of the closet and put yourself on the front lines.

    You don't get it. It is not ICE's campaign or lack thereof. Look in the mirror and you will see the reason why Unity is so dominant.

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  4. Out of curiosity - can members do a recall election, as it's done with chapter leader, with a UFT president if the members are not pleased with his performance/leader?

    Here's another issue with having a president that will look for the best interest of the members. Please note that there are many New Action members now working with Unity. I learned that some of the New Action members are now PM staffers at the various borough offices.


    The next issue - there are many members who don't know the various caucases that are out there in the UFT. People vote for a particular candidate, not because of that person's platform, but because of the media exposure. Look at how Bloomberg won - media blitz and exposure!

    If the Unity has to be challenged, then the other caucas should use the media as their election tool.

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  5. CORRECTION:

    Here's another issue with having a president who will NOT look out for the best interest of the members.

    SORRY. EXHAUSTED.

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  6. Anon 8:16
    I don't think there is much chance of a recall. Until you get into the muck with Unity you don't realize the total lock they have on the union. As to the opposition using a media campaign, there is no money for that to be effective. Unity is a 100 million dollar operation. See the NY Teacher and how Mulgrew spends his days visiting schools while the opposition is in the classroom.

    Thus elections are about trying to build outreach and capacity and I will be the first to admit we have not done a great job of that. But one day someone will and Unity will be on the run. They just don't have the capacity to defend teachers and public education from the attacks.

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  7. Norm,
    Thank you for your response. I truly get insight from reading your blog. Thank you for union activism even after retirement.

    Enjoy your holiday.

    ReplyDelete

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