Friday, September 18, 2015

Join the #MORE2016 slate for one of the 750 AFT/NYSUT Representative/Delegates

With the announcement of a joint MORE/New Action slate, it become feasible to take aim at filling all 750 slots even if they can't be won. (I wrote most of this before the announcement, so some of it is not up to date.)

Running for these Representative/Delegate positions allows UFT members to make a statement to the city, state and national union leadership that they are sick and tired of how these 750 Unity shock troops have been used on the state and national levels to make too many compromises with the ed deformers and have left rank and file
teachers in the lurch. The 750 Unity people elected in April 2016 will go to Minneapolis in July 2016 to runner stamp common core,  teachers rated by test scores, annual testing, oppose opt out, and so on. By signing on to run with MORE/New Action you are saying NO.

What do you have to do to run for AFT/NYSUT representative on the  slate:
  • Get 100 UFT members to sign your petition.
A hundred signatures is needed on the petition to get on the ballot as an AFT/NYSUT representative to national and state conventions -  we aim for 110 to cover doubles and possible eliminations. The process of getting signatures in the schools is a way to chat up the election. It is understood that it is not always easy to get 100 signatures in smaller schools. MORE and New Action will hold signing parties to help make up any shortfall. Petitions will be made available in January or February - and you will have 3 weeks to gather them.
  • Donate to the election campaign
You don't have to officially join MORE to run for AFT/NYSUT delegate though joining would give you voting rights in MORE for the next year. Even a small donation to the election cause is welcome.

  • Email me and I will send you the  candidate info form to fill out.
  • Fill it out and email it back to me which will count as your having signed it.
MORE does not accept cross endorsed candidates - meaning you cannot run on 2 different caucus lines.

Running for the AFT/NYSUT delegate doesn't preclude running for other positions like Executive Board or officers.

There are 3 levels of positions being voted on in the triennial UFT elections.
  • Officers - 12
  • Executive Board - 89
  • AFT/NYSUT Reps - 750
People put way too much attention on the officers, especially the president. I prefer to focus on the least noticed and understood - the 750 delegate positions which rewards the Unity loyalists with all expense paid trips to state and national conventions. These 750 are the heart of the Unity machine that not only controls NYSUT and the AFT but also controls the districts and schools - people who function as arms of the Unity propaganda machine which has successfully - so far - convinced rank and file teachers that, yes, things are bad, but none of it are their fault - blame everyone but them. As the late Gene Prisco used to say -- the arrow is aimed right at them but they have a massive deflection machine.

I left this comment on the ICE blog in response to someone who focused on the need for a credible presidential candidate. Yes - we need a credible candidate for sure - and I am sure MORE, which has a wide choice of credible people, will choose one - nominations will opened at this Saturday's general meeting. is not about a credible opponent but about building from the school levels up to challenge Unity every day, every month, every year, not every 3 years. As long as Unity has chapter leaders and other people in the majority of the schools without anyone to push back the elections every 3 years reflect that fact. Look at some of the school standing up to support Seattle - not very many but some signs that something is stirring at the rank and file level in schools where there are people to raise these points and engage in an active refutation of the distorted world Unity is selling where they are blameless.
Unless an opposition challenges these 750 mostly school based Unity at the school level, elections will continue the way they have been.

While I am less active in MORE as the younger gen with so much energy takes over, I have taken on the project to help organize as large a number of people running for these 750 seats as possible. I just don't count numbers but how many schools - some people have offered to sign up everyone in their school - and we can do that - but expanding the numbers of schools with at least someone running is a bigger goal.

We have found that where there are active people who talk up the election and why they are running, their colleagues do vote. That is the best way to get out the vote, not various election schemes like electronic voting or in school voting where the Unity machine could actually steal votes.

MORE doesn't necessarily expect to get the full complement of 750 filled but will make a serious attempt to get as many as possible.

What do you have to do if you win?
Don't worry - you can't win the way the UFT election process is run.
Let me say it out right. None of these these 750 positions can be won. Not even 1 out of the 750 even if a caucus gets 49.9% of the votes. In the UFT oligarchy it's winner take all.

So why bother to run for AFT/NYSUT delegates at all?
In the last 4 elections cycles I've been involved in - 04, 07, 10, 13 - the opposition groups I've been involved with - ICE and MORE - and TJC in joint slates - did not make a concerted effort to get people to run for these seats because the petitioning turned out to be a pain in the ass. In 1981 all the opposition  parties joined together to actually fill the entire slate with about 800 people - the only time I remember that happening.

Now I think is the time to try it once again. Why? For me it has been attending some AFT and NYSUT conventions where I get to see the outcome of these 750 Unity Caucus people acting as a battering ram against people fighting for democratic unionism and for a progressive agenda for teacher unions that includes fighting full bore against ed deform.

So, if you decide to run with MORE/New Action you won't be going to Minneapolis in July 2016 on the 750 Unity Caucus gravy train - though you are welcome to join the MORE contingent that is paying its own way to be a presence and to support other locals battling the Unity machine. Or to 2016, 17, 18 NYSUT conventions - especially the 2017 at the NY Hilton where NY State version of Unity will use these 750 Unity BORGS to control the city, state and national union policy that has proved so harmful to rank and file teachers all over the nation.

More background
Some people confuse these 750 AFT/NYSUT positions with the delegates elected by each school to the monthly UFT Delegate Assembly. There is no relation at all, though if you go to the regular DA and to the AFT/NYSUT conventions you see the same Unity people and you get a deeper understanding of how these people are used to control every level of the union. They are Unity chapter leaders, district reps and also loads of Unity retirees. The Unity BORG machine in action.

In the past few elections, the opposition has pretty much ignored these positions. When ICE ran with TJC, the people running TJC put up only a few people. ICE people felt that getting a nice list of people would help in the election but in reality it had little if any impact. People were just told to sign up and they didn't have to do anything - we would get them the 100 signatures. So they often barely knew they were running for anything and were just names to fill in enough positions to make us look credible.

Unity Winner-take-all disenfranchises Unity opponents
In a democratic union, MORE's percentage of the vote in the 2013 election would have given it a share of these 750 delegates. But the 5000 people who voted for MORE in the election get no representation at the AFT and NYSUT. And a good chunk of dues goes to AFT and NYSUT - taxation without representation. Anyone know where Unity keeps the tea?

MORE will be putting forth some proposals in the election to  change how these representatives are elected to remove the "Unity is the sole option" process.

But I don't want to make a case for a simple proportional representation for caucuses like MORE. That leaves out too many people who are not involved in caucuses. I am for separating the 750 delegate election from the rest of the UFT general elections for Officers and Exec Board and get schools involved in choosing these candidates. Arthur Goldstein often points out that he is elected by 300 UFT members and doesn't get a voice at the state and national levels.

If you need motivation, here is the mock Apple 1984 video David Bellel and I made during the AFT2010 Seattle Bill Gates convention.

Bill Gates' appearance at the AFT Convention was cheered wildly by most of the delegates. But about 60 walked out and others held a silent protest inside. Here is a parody of the famous Apple intro to Mac at the 1984 Super Bowl, the only time it was ever shown.

The idea was hatched at Sunday night dinner in Seattle with George Schmidt and some CORE members. I am realizing that so many people have no idea of the significance and irony of that commercial, which was shown just once at the 1984 Super Bowl as an Apple ad to introduce the revolutionary Macintosh, which introduced the mouse and the graphical interface. It was also a political attack on the then dominant IBM, which has entered the personal computer field that Apple had invented in 1976/7. But with Microsoft capturing the operating system - in pre Windows days, which was copied from the MAC, it could also be seen as an attack on Gates 26 years ago. We made sure to add the complicit AFT/UFT - that's Randi in the background mocking the protesters leaving the hall to the cheers of Unity Caucus.


  1. Each potential aft delegate needs 100 signatures on a petition to run. Can a UFT member sign 3 separate petitions for 3 potential MORE delegates?

    1. A UFT member can sign a thousand petitions from any caucus. Sometimes people trade with Unity people seeking sigs in their schools. In other words if a MORE candidate is in the same school as a UNITY candidate the people can sign both petitions. MORE will hold a signing party and try to get close to a 100 people together to sign each other's petitons - but the best way to help pull out the vote is to get people in your school to sign. In addition we also ask people to carry a petition for all our officers -- all their names are on one sheet -- we need 900 for them.

  2. Do we know yet who will be running in the UFT election against Mulgrew? Hoping it's either Jia or Julie :)


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