Thursday, September 17, 2009

Delegate Assembly Ramblings

Some would think that the major item at yesterday's first UFT Delegate Assembly of the year was all about contract. But it was way more than that, with the physical conditions of trying to hold a meeting that could potentially attract 3300 people in a space meant to hold 850 creating just a few logistical problems, that issue became as much a story as the contract. Add the greater security and the fact that it was turned from a chapter chairman meeting that usually attracts no more than 600 people into a DA on a few days notice and there was mass chaos, to such an extent that a few first timers said they would never come back.

James Eterno (ICE/TJC candidate running for UFT President) posted a brief report on the ICE blog:
James came out the hero to many people for standing up to the leqdership on a point of order and speaking against the basic contract proposals for leaving out any call for taking back the givebacks. One delegate came out disgusted after his first meeting saying, "I can't f** believe it. They voted down seniority protection with any discussion. Mulgrew sucks." He vowed never to return to a DA, significantly improving the odds of my getting a banana.

I avoided the "cone" by leaving as they were beginning to talk about the contract so they could not accuse me of being the leaker, as they so often have done in the past. I hung out outside with Anna Philips from Gotham Schools and send various people over to talk to her as they came out of the meeting. Anna was there from around 3pm until well after 7. Give that woman a raise, Gotham. Here is her report:
Speaking to UFT, Mulgrew calls for a new contract, and fast.

I saw so many new chapter leaders and delegates at the meeting that I knew. All told I hear there may be a thousand new people, with about 350 new chapter leaders. I asked a bunch of them to write up some impressions of the the UFT in action at this level at first glance after hearing words like "bizarre" and "surrealistic."

One of them, an old buddy, was the first out of the box:

As a newly elected chapter leader attending my very first delegate assembly I was tickled with excitement. The atmosphere was like the seventh game of a playoff series. Having finally made it up the stairs amid all the chaos I was not allowed into the hall. My first thought was "You gotta be f'ing kidding me? I'm a chapter leader now!" I guess she's seen it all before and kindly mentioned that I may have better luck around the other way. Well no luck there either so I watched Mulgrew on tv outside the hall along with other blue card carrying orange eating sticky fingered members. I finally found a standing room only spot near the doors and began to absorb the proceedings. At the end of the DA, I walked away believing change won't ever come at this level. Change is going to have to come with us from the trenches.

If you attended your first DA, send me your impressions or add to the comments.

I got home at 9:30 (one has to eat, doesn't one) and was so tired I hit the sack. Now it's 3 AM and I have lots to report and comment on but I want to go back to sleep so I'll add to this post later or post a second piece – if I survive a dental appointment. And the eye doctor. And the gym. (I am falling apart. And then there is tonight's CEC hearing on the slimebag PAVE charter school attempt to move into PS 15 for eternity. You should hear these stories, which I will be posting.) Check back in, especially if you are a subscriber. I may actually report on some nice things I heard said about Mike Mulgrew by unnamed UFT staffers who were clearly suffering from Randi fatigue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unity will be extremely happy if delegates never come back. They fear the independents as they are afraid of the rank and file.