Friday, July 10, 2009
UFT Exec Bd Nominates Mulgrew As Lone Candidate for Pres as ICE Attempt to Nominate Eterno is Rejected
Putin, Ahmadinejad, Kim Il Jong Jealous of Model of Undemocratic Precedure
Continuing a 25 year tradition, the UFT executive board again rubber stamped a hand-picked successor as the lone nominee to fill out a term of office. Given that Unity Caucus controls all the seats on the Board, Mulgrew is expected to win with 100% of the vote. Saddam Hussein is rolling over in his grave with consternation over how he could never figure out a way to get more than 98% of the vote. Even Ahmadinejad got only 2/3 of the vote. (The Mullahs are having the UFT Constitution translated into Farsi.)
A large group of ICEers, who have no seats on the Board, attended in the hope they would get an opportunity to speak and nominate James Eterno from the floor (read Anna Philips profile of James at Gotham). The vote on July 29 will still result in 100% for Mulgrew and having a 2nd candidate would only be symbolic, but ICE figured, why not try? Worse case scenario, get a few cookies and some fruit (that giant chocolate chip was fab).
James Eterno, a member of ICE, is running for president of the UFT. (Photo via GothamSchools' Flickr)
Figuring to use the EB rule giving any union member speaking time before the meeting as an opportunity to point out the lack of democratic procedure, I called ahead and asked for speaking time and was not told this was not allowed. I was recovering from my Bikram Yoga class, but I dropped my cigar and left the beach in Rockaway and schlepped over, but I was told by Michael Mendel that I would not be allowed to speak, as the speaking rule was suspended for these types of meetings. Former EB member (when she was with New Action) Ellen Fox of ICE also attempted to speak, but was turned away.
We were armed with the UFT Constitution, which has some of the more ambiguous language than credit default swap explanations. ICE's interpretation was that the Mulgew nomination was illegal, as the Constitution says an officer cannot run for another office unless he/she resigned as of July 1. It also says anyone can make a nomination without specifying that only applies to EB members. But if you read the Constitution backwardsor standing on your head, it is all legal.
I had the most fun watching the New Action EB crew, all elected with Unity support, sit there and blandly accept the situation without attempting to nominate anyone. Their fearless leader, Michael Shulman, even got up to ask why there was a need to hold the pro forma election on July 29 if there was one candidate and why not just put on the crown immediately? Mendel said the Constitution calls for two separate meetings. Hey Mike, nice to see the Constitution being followed at times. (Actually, Unity has made the Constitution ironclad undemocratic with few if any loopholes.)
New Action is praying Mulgrew will give them a quarter of the attention Weingarten gave them. ICE expects New Action to run another bogus slate in 2010, with a small group of candidates endorsed by Unity in an attempt to claim there is bipartisanship and to keep any ICE/TJC people off the board.
For the record, in the last election (2007) ICE/TJC received 5500 votes while New Action got 3500, yet NA got 8 seats and ICE/TJC got none. Ahhhh, that fresh air of democracy.
George Schmidt, editor of the widely read Chicago-based resistance newspaper and web site, Substance, joined ICE at the meeting as an observer. "At least you can attend EB meetings even though you are gagged," Schmidt said. "The Chicago TU EB meetings are closed." Ah, more fresh air of UFT democracy, with the reigning theme being, "You can attend, as long as you eat your cookies and fruit and shut up."
Eterno Comments on Mulgrew Nomination at the ICE blog
MULGREW CORONATION: MEET THE NEW BOSS SAME AS THE OLD BOSS