Sunday, July 5, 2015

Can Unity Caucus Take Over the NEA? Over Their Dead Body - Plus - What Role for Stronger Together?

July 5, 2015, 9AM
Control of NYSUT could be even bigger than you think. It doesn't look likely to pass, but NEA will vote on a constitutional amendment that would give NYSUT (and the other merged affiliates) full representation at the NEA convention. Were that to happen, NYSUT could send twice as many delegates as California - and California wags the NEA dog on a lot of things currently. NYSUT would gain a huge amount of influence in NEA - which explains why they're low-keying their involvement in this and why there will be a big campaign to vote it down... Mike Antonucci in email to Ed Notes, June 21, 2015
Mike A will be reporting today or tomorrow on this AFT attempt to embed the NYC Unity machine in the NEA. Don't bet that the larger NEA will allow the smaller AFT shark to chew them up.

With the NEA convention wrapping up in New Orleans we hear words of the Lilly/Randi lovefest. Lilly spoke at the AFT convention last year and Randi did the same this year at the NEA. But don't look for a merger of the two national unions. Maybe more cooperation, but merger, no. Remember - Lilly is term-limited as all NEA presidents are. Randi is a monarchical system of NYC Unity Caucus controlling NY State Unity Caucus (over 650 thousand of the 1.5 million member AFT) which controls the national version of Unity, Progressive Caucus (unlike Unity NYC in that there is no loyalty oath - even I'm a member for $25.)

But the almost 100 year war between the NEA and AFT has underlying reasons and the NEA will never accept the AFT distorted version of democracy. Shanker's idea of merger at the state level as a way to force Unity troops into the NEA was thwarted by poison pill like restrictions on merged state unions. Thus the merged NYSUT cannot just pile in its 800 Unity NYC delegates to take control. There is a limited formula.

Apparently Randi and Mulgrew are trying another end run at the NEA convention to create the Unity machine there and it will fail once again.

The wrinkle Mike didn't report on was the revolt inside NYSUT by Stronger Together in 2014 with many small locals signing on to ST - many of them pre-merger NEA locals - the historic divide between the AFT big city vs the NEA smaller towns. None of the big city teacher unions in NY State have deserted state Unity - which was briefly known as Revive - or Revile as we prefer to call them.

Funny stories emerging from inside NYC Unity about how annoyed they are about ST and actually blame MORE for it - Mike Schirtzer was elected to the ST Exec Board as a MORE rep -- but the reality is that the people who began ST contacted MORE first in the fall of 2013 - and since then a strong alliance has grown. At Monday's ICE meeting we informed people of the backroom stuff we can't talk about in public - in fact I had to ask certain people to leave temporarily due to concerns about leaking to Unity.

I posted commentary on June 21 EIA's Mike Antonucci's piece The Growing National Teacher Union Militancy Movement (earlier today I posted sections of another piece he wrote at Ed Next Teacher Unions and The War Within.)

I emailed Mike because he didn't cover the Stronger Together and he wrote back.
I had actually written several paragraphs about the last NYSUT election, but I cut them before posting because it was too much of a tangent to explain about Iannuzzi and Mulgrew and Magee. It doesn't fit neatly into the box I created, though I think NYSUT is ripe for a similar contest between establishmentarians and militants.

The hurdle, as you well know, is UFT. It's hard to imagine anyone upending Unity under the rules in place. Probably would take a corruption scandal involving Mulgrew and his entourage to topple the structure.
Or maybe a Supreme Court decision abolishing the agency fees.

[See Arthur Goldstein July 4th special: Baby, Baby, Where Did Our Union Go?]

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