I have a suggestion that will really get UFT and RW's attention, organize a COPE Boycott. Distribute COPE termination cards at your school and urge teachers to opt out. This will hit the UFT where it hurts them the most, their bottom line. We have paid millions of COPE dollars over the years to influence New York's politicians. Randi has not been using this political capital to change mayoral control. She has completely ignored the will of her members. She is secretly
supporting the re-authorization of mayoral control. This will be her grand finale before she leaves for Washington.
Hit the UFT where it hurts the most by organizing a COPE boycott in your school. Its the only real power that the average member has.
----Posted on the ICE listserve.
Getting into COPE, the political action arm of the UFT, is easy. But it is like a black hole and almost impossible to escape - at least as I remember the difficulty people had when I was chapter leader. They would fill out the removal cards and somehow they never got processed.
This is not the first time this has been suggested and the opposition parties in the UFT always seemed reluctant to go along, fearing they would come under attack for undermining the union. (Remember: the opposition supports the union but opposes the leadership.)
Mainly, that the concept of COPE is a good one and the struggle is to get the money used in the right way. But these internal struggles are very difficult in a union that is totally controlled and manipulated and there's a sense of increasing frustration as the UFT has not only been unable to oppose the ed deformer polices, but has actually aided and abetted so much of their program, from merit pay to closing schools to charter schools and beyond.
I personally am more inclined to take another look at this issue (I speak as an individual here and not as ICE - you know how the Unity hacks will take a statement from Ed Notes and try to make to ICE policy.) There is no question the money is used to further the narrow ends of the leadership, with the rank and file coming last. Do you see the UFT using the money to end mayoral control? Or force class size reductions? Or reduce the power of the principals?
I would look at this in another way. Get people to withdraw from COPE but set up an escrow fund that will be held as a means of forcing democratizing changes in the union structure. Send a message to the leadership: Make the union more democratic or the money will be released to opposition groups to organize. Who would run this escrow fund and how it would be managed is beyond me at this time but it is an idea worth looking at.