Sunday, January 14, 2007

Oh, Those UFT Commercials

It is always nice to see our money being shovelled into the hands of high priced consultants (Howard Wolfson's Grover Park, Hillary Clinton's people) who design commercials that have zero impact on the public for the benefit of teachers.

"Oh, please, please, please give teachers a voice. They (boo, hoo) work so hard. And by the way, reduce class size." That oughta do it. Convinced me. So why are we spending millions that could be used for things like, say, a dues rebate?

You just don't get it. This is not about the teachers. It is about the future of our maximum leader, also known on some blogs as Le Gran Fromage. That this commercial just appeared (along with the $750) during a UFT election period is not surprising. But with Le Gran assured of winning by big numbers we hear from Unity insiders that she considers anything less than 90% a defeat ("90% or Bust"). What a relief to ICE-TJC to know that all they need is 11% of the vote to win. Most leaders seem to be happy with numbers over 60% but even the 6 (out of 89) ICE-TJC members of the Ex Bd must be stamped out by the Unity rubber stamp, New Action.

I personally don't mind seeing all those millions being spent to promote the career of Le Gran Fromage. She has sacrificed so much for us all. Remember how BloomKlein supposedly sent people to look through her garbage? And all those supposed personal attacks by the likes of ---wait, that's me.

The New York stage is no longer big enough to contain her and besides, she is sick of having to deal with the Kaufmans and Eternos of this world. Imagine, one minute consulting with Hillary and an hour later dealing with Kaufman. Ugh!

We are paying teams of consultants to mull things over: run for office (first task-- learn Spanish -- bet we are paying for that too) or work for a future Democratic administration in Washington (even the Cabinet-- Labor Secty or Ed secty).

But the betting is that the next move is to AFT President in the summer of '08 at the usual Unity junket where 800 of our favorite people get to eat, drink and be merry. The only problem is that AFT Pres. is a ceremonial position with no real power, which resides on the locals, the biggest enchilada of which is Local 2, ye ole UFT. Can LGF control the UFT while AFT Pres. as Shanker did? Why not just keep both positions and leave Michael Mendel to clean up the mess? There really is no obvious successor to LGF (Feldman hand-picked and groomed LGF many years before she left to take her place) who can so consistently pull the wool over the eyes of the members so slickly as LGF. That there is no clear successor is an important sign. A strong successor would in itself be a threat. (Bring back Alan Lubin from exhile upsate in NYSUT --- Alan, who had a good rep even with the opposition, was thought by many to be a potential threat to Feldman's plans.)

And as LGF did to the old Shanker-Feldman machine, a strong successor might do unto LGF and undermine the UFT power base in the AFT. So it is not such a simple move to the AFT Presidency, which really requires a lot of schlepping around all over the country. Oh, the problems!

Let's think bigger for our LGF. How about targeting Pres. of the AFL-CIO after John Sweeney leaves? Now that idea makes the AFT Pres. as a way station an attractive idea. Sweeney might want to look into hiring a food taster.

Just don't count on LGF immediately disappearing from the NY UFT stage, too big a platform to just walk away from. Look to the Shanker model of control where the precedent of remaining Pres of both organizations will be used. Hey! Maybe we can pay for surveys of members to see how that will fly? Or better, let's pay to run commercials nationally so the entire country can get to know LGF.

I've given lots of reason to vote ICE-TJC. Keeping Kaufman-Eterno, to be joined by Bryant HS CL Sam Lazarus, a former cab driver and organizer in the taxi union, on the Exec. Bd. will cause complications for LGF who would have to explain why she cannot get 100% control of the Ex. Bd. Right now she has to miss all too many meetings and all that good food because of these louts. And think of the repercussions if LGF should get less total votes than three years ago. Oh, da pain!


  1. I'm very dismayed you got around to writing about this before I do. Seriously, it's truly remarkable that the timing of these ad campaigns gets so little attention.

  2. This happens around every UFT election.


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