Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mulgrew the Carpenter: Measure Once, Vote Twice in UFT Backing for Politician Supporting School Closing

....When thinking chapter leaders and delegates reasonably supported Jamaica chapter leader James Eterno's request not to endorse Lancman, Mulgrew called for a second vote. The fact that a leader would instantly call for a second vote when things do not go his way is, in itself, quite a statement. ---NYC Educator, UFT Leadership: Those With Conscience Need Not Apply.
NYC Educator was writing about James Eterno's DA report on the ICE blog: (OPPOSITION TO SCHOOL CLOSING SHOULD BE REQUIRED FOR A POLITICIAN TO RECEIVE UFT ENDORSEMENT)

Unity Caucus hacks are out in force on the MORE blog bragging about how Mulgrew stood up against closing schools. But as I always say, watch what they do not what they say.

So what do these hacks do when faced with endorsing a candidate who backed the DOE closing of Jamaica HS? Read on and weep. James wrote:

strong opposition to school closings should be a make or break issue for our endorsement and on the phase out of Jamaica High School, Assemblyman Lancman was not our friend.

When Jamaica was first put on the proposed phase out list at the end of 2009, not only was Lancman not friendly to a delegation that came to visit him, that included the Jamaica PTA President some students and me, he was spewing DOE talking points while simultaneously he was also involved in community meetings with DOE officials to help start the replacement schools.  When he saw that we had organized the community in January 2010 and pretty much filled up our one thousand seat auditorium against the closure, he temporarily changed his tune and spoke against the closure but then did nothing after to help us.

A year later after we won lawsuit one to stop the closure of Jamaica and many other schools, but Joel Klein deprived us any help and proposed phasing us out again, Assemblyman Lancman was back in our building to endorse not only phasing us out but also a DOE plan to take the best students out of Jamaica High School to put them in the new Jamaica Gateway to Sciences High School. Our top sophomores and juniors were transferred out to the new school with Lancman's full support....Other local politicians such as Senator Tony Avella and Councilman Mark Weprin signed on to the 2011 UFT second lawsuit to stop Jamaica's closure which I hope the UFT is not abandoning.  (President Michael Mulgrew interrupted me to say the UFT was not abandoning the suit to which I replied that this is very good news) Councilman Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman David Weprin have been great friends too (as have the local community boards, civic organizations, churches and others). Meanwhile, Lancman in the spring of 2011 told a delegation of students who went with the NAACP to Albany to lobby for Jamaica that there was nothing he could do.

Opposing school closings should be mandatory for any politician to get a UFT endorsement.  Rory Lancman by his actions has shown that he favored the totally unjustified phase out of Jamaica High School.  I strongly oppose this endorsement.

So James made all these points at the DA and actually seemed to win even Unity people over. Until the Mulgrew count once, vote twice dictum came down.
When I finished speaking, I received some nice applause from the Delegates.  Barbara Silberman, a retiree who was the political action person for Queens UFT, spoke next and pointed out that Lancman was good on UFT issues and in fact introduced a bill to lower class sizes.  She then said she was sorry for what happened at Jamaica. That was the end of the discussion.
The vote followed and clearly the Lancman endorsement did not have enough votes to carry.  Mulgrew must have been stunned that a recommendation from the leadership was going down to defeat so he called for a second vote.

From where I was sitting it was clear that a number of Unity Delegates, who all sign a pledge to support caucus positions in union and public forums as one of their caucus obligations, were moved by what I said and decided to abstain rather than support Lancman.  This was not good enough for Mulgrew.  Hence, the call for another vote.  This time, knowing that the leadership was watching close, the Unity faithful woke up and supported Lancman. His endorsement carried.
James then makes the important point about the UFT and school closings:
... the UFT leadership talks a good game about opposing school closings but when it's time to put their money where their mouth is, they sometimes come up short. The Lancman endorsement is proof.
NYC Educator takes a strong stand:
The fact that a leader would instantly call for a second vote when things do not go his way is, in itself, quite a statement. In any case, thus were all the Unity faithful aroused from their momentary bout with conscience, and pressed into carrying their promise to support whatever they are told. To characterize those chapter leaders as activists or supporters of teacher interests is ridiculous. How can you represent teacher interests if your prime directive is to carry out the leaders' will without question?
What is the purpose of union? Is it to stand up for member interests?  Or is it rather to sway at the whim of corporate media and hope for the best?

12 comments:

  1. Oh my god! What a misrepresentation of facts. At the end of the day, it was the UFT that filed the lawsuit that kept schools open. And, the first vote was NOT even close to carrying a majority, as it was evidenced on the SECOND vote. I guess it hurt twice. And that is that!

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    Replies
    1. Your god must be misinforming you. If it wasn't close why vote twice?

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    2. Only Mulgrew would know why there was a second vote. If you ask me, I think it was to make sure the majority wanted to endorce Lancman.

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  2. I noticed that.... why the reference to "carpenter?" You got something against blue collar workers?

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    Replies
    1. Mulgrew was a carpenter in real life. Sorrow you missed that reference. You should read my Sandy stories to see the respect I have for blue collar workers. If I had to do it all over again I would have been an electrician.

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  3. Norm, I guess only you know why you chose "Mulgrew the carpenter" as the headline. I've heard the "i have friends who are..." line before.

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  4. I guess school doesn't start too early for you guys. Oh, I forgot that your full time job is to monitor blogs. Nice 200 grand for that.

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  5. Really Norm? Someone gets paid 200 grand to leave comments on your blog? Sounds like some more or your petty, lying, jealous BS.

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  6. ka-ching. Yes I am jealous of people making 200 grand who spend the day following blogs - when they are not going to schools to lie to the members about the evaluation plan. You guys must believe we really don't know who you are. You give it away in so many ways.

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    Replies
    1. And nobody's making any money doing that. Hell, hardly anyone in the union is making that kind of money. You're so full of shit.

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    2. Love the "hardly any" as if some people should be making over 200 grand at all - double the highest teacher salary. We will be posting all your salaries from the LM-2 real soon. So have fun.

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  7. Hey Norm. If you want to track where these slugs are commenting from just email me -- JC -- u know who I am.

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