Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Action, Positioning Itself for UFT 2016 Election Sellout to Unity, Favors "Democracy" - When it Doesn't Affect Seats on UFT Exec Bd

[New Action] want[s] democracy except where it interferes with their keeping seats on the Exec. Board. Unfortunately democracy is not something we grant when it serves us, and deny when it doesn't. I would be happy to work toward democracy with New Action. The very best thing New Action could do would be to ally with MORE and work toward democracy across the board.... NYC Educator, New Action Takes a Position on Semi-Democracy

When Mike Schirtzer sent around a piece from New Action (I didn't even know they had a functioning blog) last night on how they support democracy, I laughed out loud -- louder than at anything I saw on Letterman's last show, which I was watching at the time.

More from Arthur Goldstein-
New Action is now embracing democracy, and rejecting the winner take all mode that shuts out the activists who speak their minds rather than that of Big Brother, Randi Weingarten, or whoever the hell it is that makes the calamitous decisions that have led us to the lowest point in teacher morale I've ever seen. They've taken the same position this blog has taken for years--that high schools ought to select the high school VPs, that NYSUT and AFT reps ought to represent everyone, not just those who sign oaths to vote as told, and that chapter leaders ought to select the District Reps who will support them.
Some facts on how New Action, working with Unity, subverts democracy in the UFT by keeping MORE, which got more votes than New Action in the last election, off the Exec Bd while New Action gets 10 seats via also have those 10 candidates run on the Unity slate. All they have to do in exchange is run Mulgrew (and Weingarten before him) as their presidential candidate.

For instance, MORE received almost 40% of the High School Ex Bd votes in the 2013 election -- 1335 and New Action around 700. Unity got around 1590. Do the math. 

MORE got NO high school seats on the Exec Bd while New Action and Unity split the 7 HS seats between them.

If New Action were not a dishonest organization, putting up a phony piece on how they are for democracy, since they supposedly believe in proportional representation for AFT/NYSUT delegates, they should offer to turn over 40% of the high school ex bd seats to MORE.

Or better yet, let New Action renounce its deal with Unity and rejoin the world of the opposition.

Arthur agrees:
I would be happy to work toward democracy with New Action. The very best thing New Action could do would be to ally with MORE and work toward democracy across the board. Our union has been unsuccessful in mobilizing membership, fighting apathy and cynicism, and that's why the overwhelming majority of members don't find it worth their while to even vote in union elections. 

It's time for leadership to stop building brick walls around opposition voices. I will help with that, if they choose. And if New Action wants to genuinely work toward that, I'll help with that too.
Despite the hectoring from New Action pal Francesco Portelos who has built his house of cards on an alliance with New Action, MORE has made it clear. It will work with New Action in partnership when they stop working in partnership with Michael Mulgrew and Unity Caucus.


Bronx ATR said...

I have to agree with you, New Action should rename itself Old Nonsense. They're about as relevant to teachers as a piece of chalk for a whiteboard.

Anonymous said...

I remembered when I first joined NA in 1991, especially in the middle school where they were predominately against the Unity Machine. As time moved on and Michael Shulman was unable to retain his VP seat because Randi, in her ever power-hunger MO, changed the constitution to vote at large, the NA has managed to grease the Unity machine in order to hold on to those seats. Unfortunately, NA's affinity to those seats at the cost of their own members has made members from their own caucus and from the rank-and-file say ENOUGH. The demand for democracy in our union is vibrantly being heard by the various caucuses when members are seeing that the only way to democracy for all the members is to change caucus; hence, they want MORE.

You know the old saying: "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, or in Latin, qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent." NA need to ask themselves the question was it worth it to associate themselves with Unity when their reputation is being questioned and going down the drain very fast. I say to all NA members join MORE and let's bring democracy back to our union. We have this year to build a strong MORE caucus before the 2016 UFT election in May. I say that to have the present Unity caucus lose the union election would be a "victory" for all the members.

Anonymous said...

New Action dropped their propaganda off at our school. It coincidentally happened on the same day our chapter leader was having a meeting with us. The staff was told that New Action supports Mulgrew. New Action materials were promptly tossed in the trash. Not one teacher in my school respects Mulgrew and they want nothing to do with anyone who supports him in any way, shape or form. Roseanne McCosh PS 8x

Francesco Portelos said...

Roseanne, our group, UFT Solidarity, is strongly against Mulgrew, however if we rally against abusive administrators and the epidemic of arbitrary firing of probationary teachers, should we not stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who feels the same?

Anonymous said...

Here's what I would say to Portelos: New Action put Mulgrew on their ticket for UFT prez. Portelos' group is okay with that? It's not ok with me. I can't support any group that enables the dysfunction. New Action had their chance and blew it. I can't support Portelos bc he supports the very same people (New Action) who made a deal with the devil. ...Roseanne

Francesco Portelos said...

What UFT Solidarity supports is rights for teachers.
What we support is school community members who are being attacked by abusive administrators.
UFT Solidarity supports the hundreds of non tenured teachers that have had their careers destroyed because of corruption and corporate agenda.
We support the rights of ATRs who are great teachers and should be treated as such.
We support a positive change in the UFT.

No UFT Solidarity member that I met will be voting for Mulgrew (if he runs in 2016).

So when another group, such as New Action, approaches us for talks and says "Hey, we also support those things." why would we turn them away. We aren't MORE. The MORE leadership has refused to even talk or answer to countless emails about the topics I mentioned above. When members of New Action, who have been involved in this since I was crapping my diaper, say we will stand in solidarity outside Bryant HS, outside Tweed etc, why would we say "No voted for Mulgrew."

Remember that Democrats and republicans have joint bipartisan efforts for the greater good despite voting for their candidate every four years. Roseanne and everyone else, you think the nontenured, fired teachers who are trying to figure out how to feed their families, give a crap who the people standing outside Tweed them voted for in 2013?

Wake up!

ed notes online said...


Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that Mr. Portelos supports the things on his list. What I doubt is the ability to make any real and very necessary changes within our union by supporting any group with ties to Mulgrew's Unity Caucus. New Action has ties to Unity, and now UFT Solidarity has ties to New Action. 2015 ties----heading toward 2016 ties in another election year where Mulgrew will once again appear as the presidential candidate on the New Action and Unity Slate. All ties to Unity/New Action are fruit from a poisonous tree. The people who are trying to figure out how to feed their families are not better off today bc New Action stood on a line somewhere. They would have been better off if New Action had helped to get Mulgrew out in 2013 instead of putting him on their slate as the presidential candidate. The very people who are offering these dejected teachers a helping hand are the people who helped perpetuate poor leadership in 2013----and more importantly will do so again in 2016. Splitting the votes away from MORE into the hands of Mulgrew is an unforgivable sin. I want nothing to do with New Action or any group that doesn't want them to pay for their sins. I know Portelos went through hell and back but I can't agree with taking help from people I consider traitors to the true cause. Getting Mulgrew/Unity out of power is what is needed. MORE drew a hard line in the sand----and it's a line I agree with. We can't change our union by cozying up to Mulgrew/Unity or anyone in bed with them. Hard times require hard lines. Roseanne McCosh

ed notes online said...

Let's follow the bouncing ball - and believe me, I had this same conversation with Portelos for years - that even recognizing New Action in any way only helps prop them up as a continuing Mulgrew prop - Mulgrew who supports the new awful state ed commissioner, for instance. The friends of our traitors are our enemies - and Portelos positions himself as a friend of the friend of the traitors and tries to dance around justifying it. It is easy to say you are against Unity - but when your actions ultimately support Unity that doesn't make you really against. New Action is desperately trying to show itself as viable - and in the next election they need some creds, which Portelos is trying to give them. He can scream all he wants in denying his coffee date with Randi back in August had no quid quo pro --- but soon after he splits from MORE and forms yet another caucus aligned with New Action, a caucus Randi bought off over a decade ago. Portelos should Wake up - people are capable of connecting the dots.

Francesco Portelos said...

What? You took out that old rumor you and Arthur convicted and dusted it off? Still?

Yes, I'm up to phase 4 of Randi's plan. Sue the UFT and criticize them greatly. Hold rallies and then admonish district offices for not supporting. Check!

She told me that MORE wasn't going to play nice and they would help divide opposition. 27 unanswered emails to MORE steering. Check!

ed notes online said...

Wait. Let me get this straight. The guy who did everything he could to undermine and destroy MORE and then formed a caucus of his own after putting up a web site in May 2014 saying "portelos in 2016" and then has done everything to promote New Action is accusing MORE of dividing the opposition? You are living in fantasy world.