Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Randi Position on NYSUT Revealed in Interview


-...if the divisiveness wasn't so sad, the blog post would be a fun piece of fiction to read cc:
Thus Randi tweeted in response to PerdidoStSchool when he posted my contention that she is behind the entire thing. She contended the AFT was neutral -- note she said AFT not her -- parsing, as usual.

So read this selection from a Capital Pro article and you decide which side Randi is on:
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a former president of U.F.T., disputed Iannuzzi's argument at a union rally in Albany last week. She said she will not endorse a candidate in the election, which she called “divisive.” [ED NOTE: Exactly who is the incumbent here and who is being divisive?]
“There is no U.F.T. president I know, including myself, who ever would want to take over NYSUT,” she said. “And so, when that becomes the argument, that means that this has become not about the issues.
“It's not about a U.F.T. takeover,” she continued. “No U.F.T. president would ever want that. It is about different slates with a different sense of how to move the state union forward, and they have a right to make their arguments. They have a right to make their case, and then the people at the convention have a right to make their decision.”
This is the same Randi who bought off the opposition in 2003 so they would not run a candidate against her and had her Unity Caucus attack ICE as her successor had them attack MORE for "being divisive" for criticizing the Unity led leadership.

Read the comments below from Andy Pallotta. Let's see now, Andy goes from being District 10 Rep -- a mid-level UFT/Unity Caucus functionary to NYSUT VP under Randi's watch as UFT President before she went to the AFT. Does anyone think he just decided that on his own? Does anyone think he is making this move on his own?

Check out this criticism of Iannuzzi --
For example, critics have argued Iannuzzi's push for a vote of no confidence against Education Commissioner John King came too late and was in reaction to the upcoming contested election.
This is the RBE argument that in this world up is down when we hear Mulgrew praise King to death but not supports the argument that Iannuzzi should have called for no confidence earlier. Has Mulgrew put forth such a resolution to the UFT? Call me when he does.

As I tweeted back to Randi -- we have observed the UFT/NYSUT/AFT machine in action for over 40 years and that top-down control set up by Shanker to Feldman to Weingarten to Mulgrew has not changed one iota. The UFT tail wags the NYSUT dog and that combination wags the AFT. Why she and Mulgrew would decide to blow up NYSUT over Cuomo is beyond me.

Full Capital article below the break.



NYSUT president calls internal challenge a U.F.T. power grab

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ALBANY—New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi said a slate of challengers running against his administration are aiming to concentrate power in New York City, a claim that his executive vice president and now indirect opponent calls “fearmongering.”
Speaking about the April election told Capital on Monday that the race “is not about policy. It's about concentrating power and potentially limiting voice.”
He said Andrew Pallotta, his No. 2 who is spearheading a slate of candidates running against him, including presidential candidate Karen Magee, is “a U.F.T. selection,” referring to New York City's teachers' union, the United Federation of Teachers. Pallotta was a U.F.T. official before coming to NYSUT.
“I get that. I respect that,” Iannuzzi said. “My job, my responsibility is to be sure that any group of elected officers represents the entire state, and that's what I plan on doing.”
Pallotta, who is running for re-election with the challengers, said Iannuzzi's claim is one made in desperation as the president attempts to hold onto his seat. Iannuzzi, who is from Long Island, has led NYSUT since 2005; the union holds elections every three years.
U.F.T. president Michael Mulgrew has come out in support of Magee and Pallotta's crew, and several other major urban unions are leaning in that direction, Capital has reported.
Mulgrew didn't immediately return a request for comment Monday.
“His new line is that this is going to be a U.F.T. takeover. It's fearmongering,” Pallotta said. “We shouldn’t be pitting upstate against New York City. That's a terrible direction for this to be taking.”
Pallotta pointed to a number of initiatives he has worked on as executive vice president of NYSUT that did not benefit New York City exclusively. He pushed for increases in K-12, community-college and SUNY hospital funding in recent years, grant money to fund pre-kindergarten expansion in eligible districts and an increase in the minimum wage, he argued.
“So, obviously, he misses the point,” Pallotta said. “It's really a sign of desperation.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a former president of U.F.T., disputed Iannuzzi's argument at a union rally in Albany last week. She said she will not endorse a candidate in the election, which she called “divisive.”
“There is no U.F.T. president I know, including myself, who ever would want to take over NYSUT,” she said. “And so, when that becomes the argument, that means that this has become not about the issues.
“It's not about a U.F.T. takeover,” she continued. “No U.F.T. president would ever want that. It is about different slates with a different sense of how to move the state union forward, and they have a right to make their arguments. They have a right to make their case, and then the people at the convention have a right to make their decision.”
There is an unwritten rule that a U.F.T. leader would not run for president of NYSUT, since New York City's union is large and powerful on its own and could overshadow the needs of local unions in the rest of the state. Magee, the presidential candidate, is a local union president in Westchester County.
Pallotta and Catalina Fortino, who is running for first vice president on the challengers' slate, are from New York City. Paul Pecorale, candidate for second vice president, is from Long Island, and Martin Messner, for secretary/treasurer, is from Schoharie, a rural county in the Capital Region.
Local union leaders pushing the challengers have argued that Iannuzzi hasn't moved quickly enough or acted strongly enough in response to controversial issues affecting teachers in recent years. For example, critics have argued Iannuzzi's push for a vote of no confidence against Education Commissioner John King came too late and was in reaction to the upcoming contested election.
“Maybe we should have an election every month, so we actually see movement from the president,” Pallotta told Capital.
Iannuzzi argued that he began pushing back on Common Core testing before students took exams in April 2013, and the union attracted 20,000 people to a June rally in Albany. The union has been advocating for a moratorium on using Common Core-aligned test scores for teacher evaluations since fall.
Iannuzzi described his approach as a “long-game strategy.”
“We have continued to escalate pressure on [the state Education Department], the Legislature and the governor,” he said. “Our timing is no different than that of parent groups, advocacy groups and leaders in both houses—in fact, even the governor. A long-term strategy is much more effective than a feel-good moment or posturing for personal gain.”

UPDATE: The original version of this article neglected to mention that Iannuzzi spoke to YNN's Liz Benjamin earlier about the election. You can read her write-up here: http://goo.gl/wYotJd

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