Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Union News Update from PJSTA - Buffalo, Hawaii and NY State

While Rumore has shown to be a Unity Caucus supporter at the state level, Stronger Together member Kevin Gibson won re-election on the BTF’s executive committee.  He was joined by Teresa Leatherbarrow, a member of the same Renew slate that Gibson ran on, and Sean Crowley, writer of the always entertaining B-LoEdScene blog. 
Momentum is building for the Stronger Together Caucus in NYSUT to challenge the absolute Unity Caucus control of the state and national (AFT) teacher union. MORE from its small outpost here in NYC, the belly of the Unity beast, is working with groups statewide and nationally to provide support. Note the report on Buffalo, where despite Revile NYSUT supporter Phil Rumore's re-election, Stronger Together people won a slice of the Exec Bd. This PJSTA report refers to James Eterno's excellent piece on the ICE blog regarding my debate with Schirtzer over MORE's running in the 2016 election, where he pretty much prevailed.

One of our bones of contention is that the only slice of the UFT Exec Bd MORE could win are the 7 high school seats and keeping MORE or any real opposition off the Board and out of those seats is the heart of the dirty deal between Unity and New Action. It's an old trick for people in power to run a trick 3rd party like New Action to split the vote and keep a phony in-house "loyal" opposition. My position is that even if MORE won 7 out of 100 Ex Bd seats - which New Action used to do as a legitimate opposition in 91, 95, 97, 99, 01 -- so what? It's like deja vu all over again. But the yutes in MORE must go through the process before turning into total cynics like me.

Mike Schirtzer produced a fabulous leaflet for today's DA elucidating the differences between MORE and Unity. I'll publish it later for those who want to download and share in your school. Call it the first shot in the 2016 election that Mike (and others) insist MORE has to run.

From our pals in Port Jefferson Station:

Some Union News

Phil Rumore won re-election in Buffalo.
Some interesting teacher union tidbits coming in this week…
  • One of the largest NYSUT locals, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, concluded a contested election for it’s leadership.  President Phil Rumore, won re-election with 707 votes.  Challengers Pat Foster and Marc Bruno had 344 and 299 votes respectively.  What is interesting is that Rumore had about 52% of the vote.  Had he not received 51% or more a runoff would have been forced between he and Foster.  Had Bruno supporters decided to back the other challenger in Foster there could have been a real threat to Rumore.  Some rumors suggest Rumore would have retired rather than try to win in the runoff.
  • While Rumore has shown to be a Unity Caucus supporter at the state level, Stronger Together member Kevin Gibson won re-election on the BTF’s executive committee.  He was joined by Teresa Leatherbarrow, a member of the same Renew slate that Gibson ran on, and Sean Crowley, writer of the always entertaining B-LoEdScene blog.  How this election impacts things at the NYSUT and AFT levels remains to be seen.
  • Out in Hawaii, a slate of opposition candidates called Hawaii Teachers for Change challenged for the leadership of their statewide union.  After they won the president and secretary treasurer seats, the incumbents voted not to certify the election yet have failed to provide any reason for doing so, other than citing “irregularities.”  It’s the old “If you lose, just keep having elections until you win!” trick.  Norm Scott says that it reminds him of the UFT circa 1985.
  • The above mentioned Scott and Mike Schirtzer, both of MORE, held a debate in a Manhattan diner over whether or not it was worth it for MORE to run a slate of candidates in the 2016 UFT elections.  My favorite part was also James Eterno’s…
via ICEUFT Blog
It was a healthy exchange of ideas but the best part of the evening for me was passing the application sheets around and having almost everyone there fill out the form and pay the fee to join the new statewide opposition to Michael Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus called Stronger Together.

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