Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fear and Loathing at the UFT Delegate Assembly Contract Vote As Mulgrew Filibusters

Mulgrew purposely shut down the debate with Julie Cavanagh, his opponent in the UFT elections last year, waiting at the microphone to speak. Mulgrew will never let Julie get up in front of a DA -- look for them to call a fire drill if she ever manages to get the mic.
Who would think that Mulgrew could turn the UFT into a more undemocratic institution than Randi Weingarten? Give me the days of Shanker and Feldman who at least followed basic rules of order. Lesson to people opposing Unity: Don't expect to be able to use the floor at a DA to make any points -- most of your time will be spent fighting for time.

Even I, the ultimate cynic, expected there to be a debate of sorts. The fact that Mulgrew purposely chewed up almost all the time, then called on a Unity Caucus hack to speak and followed with another -- until James Eterno temporarily put a stop to the farce -- means they know their arguments in favor of the contract can't stand up to scrutiny. I mean, how do you jive the DA vote with so many reports coming in from schools where almost everyone is saying NO? Not just from schools where MORE has activists. People at the DA who I didn't know - I was handing out VOTE NO leaflets -- told me their schools were opposed.

Of course this is before the UFT sends out its horde of people -- working on our dime -- to sell the contract with all sorts of distracting and specious arguments. Too bad the number of schools with a strong voice countering the Unity spin are a minority -- how much a minority will influence the final outcome.

This comment from JP at facebook:

Would have loved to have a chance to hear different perspectives; however at today's Delegate Assembly, the vote was pushed through to send the contract to a member wide vote. Four were allowed to speak for and two against before our union leader stopped the debate and went to a vote. The big scare tactic to rush to a vote was the claim that if we don't do this today, we'll be placed at the back of the line while the other 150 unions get negotiated with. By then, we may not get what we have right now. As a union of professionals, is this how we operate? Rushed and without consideration to the multitude of perspectives, questions and to discuss, this is not professionalism. S,o here's our chance before the member wide vote
Movement of Rank and File Educators's photo.
Vote No UFT Contract Organizing Meeting
Saturday at 12:00pm
Ya Ya Network - 224 W. 29th St., 14th floor
MORE held a post DA press conferences outside the Hilton -- I will put up some video -- and issued a press release - which I will put up with the video -- and will lead a campaign against starting with a meeting this Saturday beginning at noon. All invited who want to give us a shot at winning this vote -- or at the very least, turning this into a referendum on the Mulgrew leadership.

I'll be posting stuff through the day so don't get worn out.

Our pal Urban Ed was at the meeting and has a report:
How Did Mulgrew Get a Such a Sizable Majority At the DA on Wednesday? - He talked! He talked so long that people who don't usually go to Delegate Assemblies (many of whom feel out of place just being at one) were afraid they'd ...
And here is the first part of James' report on the ICE blog:


It was a very sad day indeed in the history of democracy at the May Delegate Assembly.  The meeting was moved to the NY Hilton.  I am going to dispense with my usual lengthy summary of what President Mulgrew said because you've already seen most of it in the UFT propaganda literature or you will hear it when union representatives come to your schools.

Mulgrew made the case for the contract for over an hour and then doubled the question period to half an hour to speak some more.  He finally allowed for debate on the contract after 6:00 pm when there is an automatic adjournment at 6:15 p.m. His basic argument is that the city has no money for raises because former Mayor Bloomberg depleted the labor reserve. The one sided discussion was worse than even the usual DA mangling of democracy.  It was a complete sham.

After Mulgrew finally finished talking, one Unity person (majority caucus of the UFT which does not allow dissent) spoke in favor of sending the contract to the membership for ratification and then Mulgrew pointed to a second Unity member and that is when I sprung forward and called for a point of order.  As everyone who regularly reads this blog knows, debate is supposed to alternate between speakers for and against every topic according to Robert's Rules.  Since there was a speaker for the contract, there should be one against.  The Unity speaker was willing to yield the floor so Mulgrew gave it to me.

I had a thorough speech ready (see below) where I was about to go point for point to refute much of what Mulgrew said.  I started right out on the economics. 

"Up until two months ago at the DA, Mulgrew was telling us that the city has money but they always say they are broke.  I keep reading in the papers that the city surplus is growing."

(Mulgrew in February:
“We look at the city’s fiscal numbers all the time; it is clear to us that there is money out there. We need our teachers to be paid at least at the level of the school districts around us, which we are not.”)

I continued: "The city is not in bad shape financially so why are we settling for so little.  If we take out the 4% + 4% for the first two years that just equals the last pattern (and we won't see until between 2015 and 2020), the pattern we set for the rest of municipal labor is 10% total over 7 years."  That is the worst pattern in municipal labor history (at least as long as I have been around)."  At this point, Mulgrew stopped me and said I was wrong.  I responded that according to Robert's Rules when I have the floor, he has no right to interrupt me. I also told him that I have an interpretation of what's in the agreement and so does he and that doesn't make me wrong.

Someone then called a point of order and said that during the question period we agreed that people would only get 30 seconds to ask a question so I was only entitled to the floor for 30 seconds and my time was up.  Mulgrew said I could make one more point and I responded by telling him that the 30 second rule was for the question period.  I also stated that I sat and listened to him politely for an hour motivating the contract and now it was my turn.  He claimed that was my one point and time was up.  I then proceeded to say that I wished I was being recorded (earlier he said UFT policy is no recording) because the entire membership should be permitted to see how he treats people who are dissidents.  There was fairly loud applause as I walked away. 

Maybe I should have stayed and further held my ground but I felt I blew away his no money argument and other people could handle some of the other issues as well or better than I could.

Unfortunately, they never had the chance.  The opposition's next speaker took his 30 seconds to point out how Mulgrew was wrong on his 30 second rule as it pertained to the question period.  We had one other Delegate who had the chance to speak.

Mulgrew then stopped the debate at exactly 6:15 p.m. and called for the vote.  The overwhelming Unity majority obeyed their caucus obligation and supported the contract.

Time allotted for contract discussion:
  • Pro contract side talked for well over an hour. 
  • The opposition was given about 3 minutes of which half of the time was spent trying to keep the floor and tell the president he was out of order.  Would you call that a fair debate?
I have written out the points I wanted to make and will instead make them here.  Below that is a statement on health care.  We don't have to make up anything about the contract.  It is bad enough to fall on its own.

Read the rest of James' report.


Michael Fiorillo said...

No matter how cynical you think you might be, the behavior of Weingrew will show that you're naive.

It's official, in case anybody needed any more proof: Weingrew are here to assist the so-called reformers in devolving and winding down public education.

Anonymous said...

They are almost done winding down in Newark. Randi was here yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Katr Mulgrew, as CFO of a " vendor", copped 40 MILLION dollars during last years of Bloomturds admin...!

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew is nothing more than a thug and the Soprano would have more of a conscience than Weingrew. I'm so disgusted by their betrayal of what's best for the members. What kind of faustian deal did Mulgrew make with randi and her mass marauders of public education.