We want to make it clear that we are not seeking Unity Caucus endorsement as we oppose one party systems that limit democracy within our statewide union. We believe in an active and informed rank and file. We believe in true democratic, bottom up, member driven unionism. We stand for social justice unionism that not only fights for teachers and our working conditions, but simultaneously our students and their learning conditions.... PJSTAThe growing alliance between PJSTA, a Long Island local and MORE, a caucus in the UFT was strengthened with today's joint announcement of 7 candidates who will oppose incumbents for at-large Directors of NYSUT in an election that will take place on April 5 at the NY Hilton (54th and 6th Ave).
Below are the announcements from MORE and PJSTA. Some words of clarification before you read on.
- There are 2 versions of Unity Caucus. The statewide version is the only caucus that currently exists on the state level -- it was an open caucus open to any delegate (elected in NYC in the 2013 UFT elections) to the NYSUT Representative Assembly (RA) to be held April 4-5 (but not open to non-delegates).
- There has been a split in NY State Unity Caucus. Four of the five current NYSUT officers are being challenged by the 5th, Exec VP Andrew Pallotta, who has formed his own slate, Revive NYSUT, which is fueled by the power of Michael Mulgrew and the UFT, which makes up 40% of NYSUT. The 4 incumbents led by NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi have formed a slate called Stronger Together.
- NYC teacher Arthur Goldstein, Chapter Leader of Francis Lewis HS, is challenging Pallotta for Exec VP of NYSUT as an independent candidate. It is to be determined if he will run on the Stronger Together slate. Rumor is that there will not be a 3rd candidate from that slate but that has not been confirmed.
- The NYC Unity is a closed caucus that has controlled the UFT since its inception in 1960-61. In the undemocratic winner-take-all UFT elections in 2013, Unity gets to send 800 delegates to the RA who will vote party discipline in this election as a block. (Their vote is not secret and any variation from the party line will result in banishment).
- Needless to say, since none of the candidates listed are seeking statewide Unity Caucus endorsement, or under any circumstances would have received it, they will get ZERO votes from these 800 delegates or from their allies. Thus they must capture most of the rest of the state to have a chance to win.
- There has never been a contested election in the 42 year history of NYSUT.
- ...the relationship of these candidates from MORE and PJSTA, and Goldstein, to the Stronger Together slate.
- ...the possibility of a statewide caucus to challenge Unity on that level in the future - or will all coalitions end after the April 5th election?
- ....will the non-Unity group on the state level build national alliances with other groups to put up resistance to Randi Weingarten's leadership of the AFT?
Here are the joint announcements.
Our candidates are a diverse collection of working classroom teachers, representing a variety of certifications within our profession and an even greater array of students they serve.
An important part of our decision to announce our candidacy now is that it is after the deadline to seek endorsement from the statewide Unity Caucus. We want to make it clear that we are not seeking Unity Caucus endorsement as we oppose one party systems that limit democracy within our statewide union. We believe in an active and informed rank and file. We believe in true democratic, bottom up, member driven unionism. We stand for social justice unionism that not only fights for teachers and our working conditions, but simultaneously our students and their learning conditions.
We believe that this declaration is not just the beginning of our candidacy for the positions we seek, but also the beginning of a movement towards a new direction for the statewide union that we all love dearly.
Our candidates for the At-Large Director positions…
- Beth Dimino, President of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, Middle School Science Teacher
- Mike Schirtzer, UFT Delegate- MORE Caucus, High School Social Studies Teacher
- James Eterno- UFT Chapter Leader- MORE Caucus, 2010 candidate for UFT President, High School Social Studies Teacher
- Lauren Cohen- UFT Delegate- MORE Caucus, 5th Grade General Education Teacher
- Julie Cavanagh, UFT Chapter Leader- MORE Caucus, 2013 candidate for UFT President, Elementary Special Education Teacher
- Francesco Portelos, UFT Chapter Leader- MORE Caucus, Intermediate School Science and Technology Teacher
- Jia Lee, UFT Chapter Leader-MORE Caucus, Earth School Elementary Teacher