Monday, March 24, 2014

As the NYSUT World Turns: Some NYC Unity Caucus Delegates May Bolt and Vote Stronger Together

Leroy Barr Offer to Unity RA Delegates
Reports are surfacing that a small faction of Unity may just vote their conscience and damn the consequences at the April 5 NYSUT Representative Assembly.

Unity Caucus held a meeting at 52 Broadway (UFT HQ) after last Wednesday's (March 19) Delegate Assembly - with dinner served (were they using our dues money - did they pay rent? Can MORE hold caucus meetings there too?).

Leroy Barr strongly reminded the 800 Unityites who were elected as delegates to state and national conventions in the March 2013 elections that they were expected to vote as a block for the Mulgrew/Weingarten instigated Revive slate in the April 5 NYSUT election and they would be watched due to the open ballot.

There are early signs that Barr's message did not go over very well with at least a few of the Unity faithful, soon to be classified as traitors and drummed out of the Caucus if they should dare cast their vote for Stronger Together on April 5.

Barr also admonished them that they should not miss sessions to traipse around the city, as usual, using their meal money to eat at local restaurants. "Bring your own food and snacks into the convention hall" - paraphrasing Barr's comment from someone who was present. I'll bring them a bag of peanuts when I stop by late Saturday afternoon on April 5th after I work the FIRST LEGO League robotics tournament at the Javits Center.

Too bad I'll miss Arthur Goldstein's early morning speech that day. Arthur us running a piece this morning (On Timeliness and Learning) chronicling  his travels around the state speaking and making new friends as he goes head to head for NYSUT VP against former UFT District Rep Andy Pallotta, who by the way makes around $350,000 a year. I gotta hit Arthur for a loan when he wins - and by the way, if he does I bet we see Arthur make a move to reduce those crazy salaries of our union leaders, just as Karen Lewis did in Chicago.

Arthur has a funny piece running this morning on
The Sad Tale of UFT-Unity's Robo Voters with cartoons yet.

That Barr had to make this point so strongly as a reminder to the Unity faithful (and those soon to be not so faithful) is a sign there is some unhappiness inside Unity Caucus (in the UFT) with the way the NYSUT split was fomented.

In some of my personal contacts when the subject comes up there is a rolling of the eyes. Sometimes a shrug. Clearly, little enthusiasm for the initiative to dump the current NYSUT leadership minus Andy Pallotta, a leadership that has one of their popular former members - Maria Neira - being dumped too. Maria still has a lot of supporters in Unity. Her integrity is well-known and counts for something when she sticks with Dick Iannuzzi when she probably could have deserted him for what could have been a guaranteed win if she ran on the Revise slate.

We always know that there are some decent Unity Caucus people with a conscience, but a conscience that will be put on hold when it comes to supporting dictums from the top. (I remember on the bus to the airport in Seattle after the 2010 Bill Gates AFT convention, some Unity people approached me and said they agreed with Ed Notes on many positions and trashed Randi and the Gates appearance. That didn't stop them from booing the people who walked out on Gates.)

There are some Unity people planning on leaving the caucus on their own and this vote will be their form of resigning. If they are thrown out of the caucus before the AFT July convention in LA, do they still get to go, given they were elected? In 2010, a Unity delegate and chapter leader who had invited my pal Angel Gonzalez to her soon to be closed school was tossed from the convention trip because she hadn't paid her Unity dues on time. She sent me off to Seattle with a scathing criticism of Randi/Mulgrew and Unity and joined GEM (the pre-cursor to MORE and Change the Stakes).

How interesting if even a sliver of Unity actually joins Stronger Together, the first even minor break in Unity here in the city since the mid-to late 60s. (We saw in the 2013 elections a large rank and file desertion of Unity - votes that MORE was not able to pick up.)

There is so much going on behind the scenes that I can't talk about yet - if I did I would have to kill you. But you will read it here first.

Stay tuned to "As the NYSUT World Turns."


I noticed that... said...

The more I read about Randi's political reason to have a seat at the deformers' table, how she's misleading the members and misguiding them with her talk about giving back Gates' money (not all of it), and her puppet control of those at the UFT HQ, the more it seems to me that she's a Jim Jones preaching falsehood to her followers and making them drink her poison.

I hope to see it in my lifetime to finally see our union become democratic for the sake of the members and for all who strongly believe in social justice. When that day comes where those who followed Randi and the likes of her are voted, it will be a joy to sing:

Na na na na,
na na na na,
hey hey-ey,

Anonymous said...

I have known NYSUt for 20 plus years. I went through the directors coming up for election, and at 20+, I felt like a newbie. Coming from a rural area, I can understand an incumbent lasting a lifetime --- but when a majority of lifetime incumbents come from the most populated city in the state and are always voted in----- even with many complaints?..

I noticed that... said...

Correction: "Randi and the likes of her are voted OUT", it will be a joy to sing..."

Anonymous said...

Randi needs to go! She led NYC down the wrong road and now the rest of us!