Friday, January 17, 2014

Looming Battle: Mulgrew vs Iannuzzi For NYSUT Leadership - Split Over Cuomo Endorsement?

Oh, the tangled web at NYSUT and the UFT. A very intriguing story is emerging in what has been viewed as a monolithic UFT dominated NYSUT (NY State United Teachers). Some of this is hearsay and we may have follow-ups with new information and new interpretations over the next few days. But here is what we have heard so far. (WARNING- YOU MAY HAVE PROBLEMS WADING THROUGH THIS WEB -I'M STILL WORKING MY WAY THROUGH IT ) BUT IF YOU HAVE INFO LEAVE A COMMENT).

Few have questioned that the UFT/Unity Caucus has been running the state teachers organization, NYSUT, since it was founded in the 70's and Al Shanker installed Tom Hobart as a front for President, with himself as Exec VP. The UFT/Unity leadership has always wanted the NYSUT president to be someone from outside NYC to give the impression that the UFT isn't in complete control -- Unity Caucus in NYC has about one third the total NYSUT delegates -- the very same 7-800 Unity people that were elected in the winner-take-all UFT election in March 2013.

I should point out something I recently learned: that the statewide caucus is also called Unity - the only game in town - in other words, there is no equivalent like MORE to run against it in elections. This is similar to the national AFT where Unity is known as the Progressive Caucus, also pretty much the only game in town.

When Hobart retired Dick Iannuzzi was installed as President and the UFT's Andy Pallotta, a Bronx Unity Caucus staffer, as Exec VP. The other 3 VPs are split with 2 from outside NYC and one from the local NYC Unity. The other NYSUT VP from the local NYC Unity Caucus is Maria Neira, who has always garnered the respect of most UFT members, even those from the opposition.

Let me give you some more background. When Randi Weingarten emerged as Sandy Feldman's successor c. early 1990's, the highly respected Alan Lubin (many of us in the opposition also liked him) who was the Brooklyn Borough head and a popular choice for Sandy's heir apparent was "kicked" upstairs to NYSUT as Executive VP. But it turns out this position is the real power in many ways in NYSUT in that the person in charge controls the massive amount of COPE money going to politicians. More important than the president in some eyes, Lubin had free reign on the use of this money so he was a major power broker in Albany.

But Alan had a heart condition I believe and retired -- (I saw him at the AFT convention in Seattle and he looked great and here's to continued good health to him.) So that was how Andy Pallotta was elected Exec VP - the NYSUT elections are every 3 years with the next one taking place this April at the NYSUT convention which will be held here in NYC at the Hilton April 4-6, 2014.

With Lubin no longer riding herd and Andy Pallotta viewed as somewhat of a weak link, Dick Iannuzzi assumed a stronger role in managing the COPE money and didn't give Andy the same unlimited range Lubin enjoyed. Lubin supposedly despises Iannuzzi and remained a prop to Andy as resentment soared. The story is that Dick put a 50 grand limit to Andy's spending.

Then there was what seemed some head-scratching differences between NYSUT and the UFT arising when Dick Iannuzzi began to take some positions against the evaluation system, common core and raising a greater share of criticism of the State Ed Department - Tisch and King in particular with his call for "no confidence -- while Mulgrew was relatively silent. In essence, Mulgrew has been forced to take a more critical stance than he might have wanted to. (See Eterno's DA report on the MORE and ICE blogs where James' call for a non-endorsement of Cuomo was rejected by the Unity faithful - and to see just how bad Cuomo is for us read the daily reports at Perdido Street School.)

Then there's the Cuomo endorsement factor. Iannuzzi seems flat out opposed to a naked Cuomo endorsement. Then this came in over the transom.
On November 21, 2013, Andy Pallotta, in charge of legislative action, used Vote Cope money to make a $10,000 donation to "Cuomo 2014". The purposes of this was to purchase an entire table at Cuomo's birthday celebration.  An entire table, in lieu of just sending one or two people (or none!).  This was done without Iannuzzi's knowledge.
Word is that Mulgrew is backing a slate to run against Iannuzzi and all the VPs (including the UFT's own Maria Neira who seems to be backing Iannuzzi with the exception of Andy Pallotta. They have a hand-picked candidate to oppose Dick (more on all that in a follow-up.)

Then the other day an anonymous Twitter account and Facebook page was created with the handle @ReviveNYSUT.  They are calling for a change in NYSUT leadership. The tweets are anti-Iannuzzi and seem to be coming from people who would normally be allied with us but insiders have challenged them for being phony shills for the Mulgrew/Pallotta team since they attack Dick but not Andy. We received this message:
THE ACCOUNT IS ANDY PALLOTTA.  The Mulgrew/Pallotta crew is behind it.
With tweets like this:
  1. & because they call for change yet leave one of our most ineffective "leaders" in place
  2. nice try. take pallotta off your slate then come talk to me about grassroots.
And to top it off, a new Facebook page appeared called  ReviveNYSUT Lies which is calling out the supposed Mulgrew choice to oppose Iannuzzi, Karen Magee:
At tonight’s ED 15-16 meeting NYSUT Presidential candidate Karen Magee said nothing to her constituents about running for NYSUT President. Nothing! Does this mean she is afraid that she doesn’t have the support of her region?? Maybe she feels that she doesn’t need it because she has the support of the UFT or maybe the UFT has not given her permission to talk about it yet.
And this:
Photo: Good News: There are some independent candidates looking to run for the Executive Vice President position if he does not resign soon.

Good News: There are some independent candidates looking to run for the Executive Vice President position if he does not resign soon.

There could be a contested election for NYSUT leadership with Mulgrew leading the charge against Iannuzzi.

Officers and Board Of Directors

Officers At Large

  • president richard c iannuzzi
    Executive Board Member
  • executive vice president andrew pallotta
    Executive Vice President
    Executive Board Member
  • vice president maria neira
    Vice President
    Executive Board Member
  • vice president kathleen donahue
    Vice President
    Executive Board Member
  • secretary treasurer lee cutler
    Secretary Treasurer
    Executive Board Member 
    NYSUT Election District Directors:

    NYSUT Election District Directors

    Of 84 election districts -- 53 plus 31 at-large, UFT connected - the names I recognize - and I may be missing some -- total 21 - all of them the usual suspects. Those who won't support the Unity move against Iannuzzi may face opposition for their position.
    • Janet Utz

      E.D. 2
    • Thomas Parker

      E.D. 3
    • Joseph Sweeny

      E.D. 4
    • Adam Urbanski

      ED 5
      Executive Board Member
    • Michael Herlan

      ED 6
    • Sylvia Matousek

      E.D. 7
    • Diana Giffune

      E.D. 8
    • Jeanette Stapley

      E.D. 9
    • Anthony McCann

      E.D. 10
    • Kenneth Smith

      E.D. 11
    • Stacey Caruso-Sharpe

      E.D. 12
      Executive Board Member
    • Kathleen Taylor

      E.D. 13
    • Paul Ellis-Graham

      E.D. 14
    • Karen Magee

      E.D. 15
    • Jeffrey Yonkers

      E.D. 16
    • Kenneth Ulric

      E.D. 17
    • Barbara Hafner

      E.D. 18
    • Christine Vasilev

      E.D. 19
    • John Mansfield

      E.D. 20
    • Tim Southerton

      E.D. 21
    • Paul Pecorale

      E.D. 22
    • Antoinette Blanck

      E.D. 23
    • Karen Blackwell Alford

      E.D. 24 (UFT)
    • Jose Vargas

      E.D. 25 (UFT)
    • Evelyn DeJesus

      E.D. 26 (UFT)
    • Rona Freiser

      E.D. 27 (UFT)
    • Arthur Pepper

      E.D. 28 (UFT)
    • Emil Pietromonaco

      E.D. 29 (UFT)
    • Anthony Harmon

      E.D. 30 (UFT)
    • Bob Astrowsky

      E.D. 31 (UFT)
      Executive Board Member
    • Catalina Fortino

      E.D. 32 (UFT)
    • Paul Egan

      E.D. 33 (UFT)
    • Michael Mendel

      E.D. 34 (UFT)
      Executive Board Member
    • LeRoy Barr

      E.D. 35 (UFT)
    • Iris DeLutro

      E.D. 37 (City & Private Higher Ed.)
    • Steven London

      E.D. 38 Steven London
    • Ellen Schuler Mauk

      E.D. 39 (Community Colleges)
      Executive Board Member
    • Edward Quinn

      E.D. 40 (State Higher Ed. – UUP)
    • Rowena Blackman-Stroud

      E.D. 41 (State Higher Ed. – UUP)
    • Thomas Matthews

      E.D. 42 (State Higher Ed. – UUP)
    • Philip Rumore

      E.D. 44
    • Catherine Savage

      E.D. 45
    • Matthew Hill

      E.D. 46
    • Loretta Donlon

      E.D. 51 (Retiree)
    • Joan Perrini

      E.D. 52 (Retiree)
    • Thomas Murphy

      E.D. 53 (Retiree)

    At Large Directors

    • Kristin Sterling

      E.D. 1 & 3
    • John Burns

      E.D. 2 & 44
    • Eileen Healy

      E.D. 4 & 46
    • David DeFelice

      E.D. 5 & 6
    • Paul Farfaglia

      E.D. 7 & 8
      Executive Board Member
    • Rod Sherman

      E.D. 9 & 10
      Executive Board Member
    • Dona Murray

      E.D. 11, 12 & 45
    • Carla McLaud

      E.D. 13 & 14
    • Patricia Puleo

      E.D. 15 & 16
      Executive Board Member
    • Selina Durio

      E.D. 17-20
    • Edward Vasta

      E.D. 18-19
    • Nadia Resnikoff

      E.D. 21-22-23
      Executive Board Member
    • Richard Farkas

      E.D. 24-25
    • Howard Schoor

      E.D. 26-27
    • Carmen Alvarez

      E.D. 28-29
    • Michael Mulgrew

      E.D. 30-31
      Executive Board Member
    • Janella Hinds

      E.D. 32-33
    • Sterling Roberson

      E.D. 34-35
    • Barbara Bowen

      E.D. 37-38-39
      Executive Board Member
    • Phillip H. Smith

      E.D. 40-41-42
      Executive Board Member
    • Joseph McLaughlin

      E.D. 51-52-53
    • Shelvy Young Abrams

      Executive Board Member
    • Margie Brumfield

      SRP At-Large
    • Sandra Carner-Shafran

      SRP At-Large
      Executive Board Member
    • Catherine Rienth

      SRP At Large
    • Deborah Paulin

      SRP At-Large
    • Anne Goldman

      Health Care At-Large
    • Stephen Rechner

      Private Sector Higher Ed At-Large
    • Andrew Sako

      Community College At-Large
    • Morton Rosenfeld

      At-Large National Unification

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