Friday, January 2, 2015

UFT Opposition Caucus Historical Reference -- UFT Election Results - 1977, 79, 81

Some of us are going to be meeting  to talk about the past history of opposition groups in the UFT. For those few interested in UFT historical trends over time, we have been looking back in order to move forward. If the opposition in the UFT over time has made little progress in denting the Unity machine then what exactly is the point of continuing the traditional route of running in elections every 3 (until 2004 it was every 2) years?

It is worth examining the entire concept of "opposition" caucuses.

I was one of 2 votes in ICE about a year before the 2010 election urging ICE not to run. I felt it was a fruitless endeavor, especially given the state ICE was in at the time and knowing I would have to do a lot of work. But the decision was to go ahead, and being a political junky I threw myself into the details of petitioning and other minutia of UFT elections - in fact I became an expert UFT election petionologist.

I was one of the few people as MORE was forming in 2012 urging MORE not to run in 2013. I went along with the majority even though it was pretty clear how things would end. I was following John Lawhead's "Uncaucus" proposal which is still intriguing (I will publish more about that idea soon.) "First build it from the bottom before running," I urged, feeling the mistakes of the past where caucuses focused on election cycles, were being relived.
There was so much enthusiasm at the time, I felt I had to support them and put my petionologist skills at their service. I

We uncovered this chart the other day in the files Vera had in her home. Lots of other good stuff too. All the caucuses in the late 70s put out 4 page tabloid editions of their newspapers - an incredible amount of production for those times.
Note the higher number of people voting and also how in 1981 the opposition got almost 2200 elementary school votes with 22,500 ballots sent out. Compare that to the 2013 election where 36000 elem ballots were sent out and MORE got about 1100 (New Action got around 400) and Unity got around the same number of votes as they did in 1981.

Caucus notes: (my memory may be short so correct me if I am off).
In the 1977 election our group - the Coalition of School Workers ran a joint slate with Teachers Action Caucus under the banner of United Action. Another caucus - New Directions ran separately -- the totals have been combined.
In 1979 I believe CSW didn't run with TAC - so it was TAC and New Directions on separate slates. Merry Tucker reminds me that Chalk Dust was also part of the coalitions either in 79 or 81.
In 1981 for the first time all opposition groups ran under one banner - New Action Coalition -- NAC - note the jump in numbers voting.
In 1985  NAC for the first time won the High school VP seat and HS Ex Bd seats but Unity contested the election and forced a new won for HS VP which NAC won again.
In 1990 Bruce Markens won the District Rep election for Manhattan High Schools - elected by the chapter leaders -- this was cataclysmic for Unity which spent the next decade trying to vote him out but couldn't until he retired around 2000. In 2002 Randi eliminated District Rep elections. I consider this as more grassroots than anything related to the elections. [Some of us are meeting with Bruce this week to get more historical background.]
In 1991 NAC won 13 seats on the Ex Bd. High school and middle schools.
In 1993 the opposition won no seats. At that point Unity changed the constitution to remove the VP positions from the divisions and make them at-large positions where everyone voted, thus making sure that there the opposition could never again repeat the 1985 election.
In 1995/6 TAC and New Directions merged into New Action which won HS Ex Bd seats in the 95, 97, 99, 01 elections.
Fearing they would lose in the 2004 elections (the UFT changed from 2 to 3 years terms) NA made the deal with Unity and at that point the new caucus - ICE and TJC ran and won the HS seats - (Unity did not run for those seats).
In 2007, 10 and 13 NA and Unity ran a joint slate for the HS seats and won them by combining the votes.
In 2013 - MORE got 1440 HS votes while Unity got 1580 and New Action around 400+. Over 19000 ballots were sent out
In 1981 12,000 HS ballots were sent out. (NAC got 2544) and Unity 3077.
So interesting how there has been a loss of interest in the UFT over time.

More historical results:

 UFT Election Results 1999-2013

Recent posts on this subject:

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