Monday, March 4, 2013

Misuse of Official Union Communication by UFT Chair of ESL/Bilingual Committee

[UFT District Rep] Charlie Turner was at Tilden for a UFT meeting today and used part of his time to get sigs for Unity officer petitions.  --- a correspondent
Ah, yes, using an official union position on your dime to lobby for Unity. So, what else is new?

The MORE blog has a piece Why We Need MORE written by a teacher, Colleen Adrion, who has tried twice to put MORE literature into mailboxes at District 22 middle school, only to be rebuffed by both the principal and the UFT chapter leader. With every rebuff, the MORE people get more incensed and determined. She went back and was rebuffed again. And she will be back. (In the 2010 election a Unity  CL slug at Fort Hamilton made me come back 3 times so nothing is new.)

While we get a good response from the union people at the top when we get stopped from distributing, behind the scenes we find it interesting that the message hasn't reached some chapter leaders.

Here are a few reports from the distribution field:
I just walked into office of JHS 210. I ran into the chapter leader and  delegate in the main office. I showed them the letter and pamphlets. The principal walked out and stated at 2001 letter confused. They didn't let me put them into mailboxes. They had to call legal. I will be back. The chapter leader is Mr. Zander.
We were successful in PS 3.  Office secretary was lovely and directed us to the mailboxes (and restroom)  She suggested that we speak to chapter leader who was as nice as could be.
PS 41M was another story.  We struck out completely.  AP in office got chapter leader down.  CL (Susan Schenker) refused to do anything without permission from DR (Dist 2), who she called but could not reach. We showed her the letter - which she noted is dated 2001, when Harold Levy was chancellor! - but no go.      ------------------
This problem goes away when every single school has someone in it willing to put MORE materials in the mailboxes on a regular basis. That is the real internal battle in this election --- not trolling for votes but using the election to build up the forces in the field for a ground game. So if you are in a school and have not seen MORE lit consider redressing this vast imbalance between Unity and MORE and get MORE info to your colleagues.

Now, Unity tries to control every chapter leader it can get its hands on so it can control its message in the schools with on the ground people. Only when MORE can begin to match this ground game can it truly challenge the Unity machine.

Unity has total control of the UFT functional chapters (guidance, social workers, retirees, secretaries, etc -- the largest voting block in the UFT) and uses them to manage the delegate assemblies. They also make sure to control the various UFT professional committees and use them to their political advantage.

Here is one communication from Josie Levine who heads the UFT ESL/Bilingual Committee who recently used her position to lobby for Unity, which some people tell me is a violation of the Landrum-Griffith Act which addresses internal union elections.
Thanks to those who've sent in their registrations for the March 7th workshop.  Please remember that I will be out of town until right before the workshop and that some of you may not receive confirmations. I have kept my word to the members of this listserv, never shared it (though many have tried to get your emails), and don't send you jokes. Though I have read some gems.

But it is that time of the year again when we will be holding UFT elections.  Many of you indicated three years ago that you appreciated my letting you know that I am a member of the UFT's Unity Caucus, the caucus, or party of the UFT Presidents.

This email is to keep you updated on the reasons why Mike Mulgrew deserves our vote:

UFT/Unity President Mulgrew's leadership has.....

--Taken a stand against Bloomberg's policies

--Fought to improve our working conditions

--Won the fight to prevent layoffs

--Preserved our tenure rights

--Protected ATRs from layoffs

--Won closing schools lawsuit and arbitration

--Won SESIS arbitration

--Provided assistance to thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims

--Restored the vacation days before Labor Day

--Increased Welfare Fund benefits twice in two years

For the above reasons, I am letting you know that I will be voting UNITY when the ballots are mailed and I urge you to do the same.

In Solidarity,

Josie Levine
UFT Chair:  ESL/Bilingual Committee
MORE's Karla Tobar is a member of the committee and wrote this in response:
Ms. Josie Levine,

My name is Karla Tobar. I am a bilingual teacher and a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) Caucus.

On 2/24/13 you sent an email to the UFT ESL/Bilingual Committee email list stating why UFT members should vote for UNITY Caucus in the upcoming UFT elections.

I strongly believe in democracy and to that end am asking to send an email to the UFT ESL/Bilingual Committee in a timely manner and of equal length to the one I received stating the reasons UFT members should vote for MORE in the upcoming UFT elections.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
So far Josie Levine has not responded. Karla will be back.

For MORE on this issue see DOENuts (Did Unity 'Jump the Shark' Somewhere Along the Way?) and Assailed Teacher MY GROWTH INTO A UNION ACTIVIST: A TRAGEDY IN THREE ACTS

1 comment:

  1. Chapter Leader at Fort Ham not Unity. Then or now


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