Saturday, February 13, 2016

Building the Ground Game: Petition Signing with Rugelach and Cookies

I will work for cookies. And rugelach.

Arthur Goldstein, Chapter Leader at Francis Lewis HS in Queens and the great blogger NYC Educator, enticed me over to the school Friday to help him organize some petition signing for the UFT elections.

Oh what people wouldn't do for rugelach and some fine cookies? I spent over 3 hours there yesterday in the teacher lunchroom as teachers came in to eat lunch. Arthur paid for the goodies as a donation to MORE. After the staff signed the row of petitions, the goodies were waiting for them. Due to the popularity of Arthur and the support he has, the response was overwhelming and I could see that appreciation in the way people were interacting with him. It is no surprise to his readers that he would have a special relationship with the people he works with, especially with the Spanish speaking people who really appreciate his fluency in their language. His good humor and fellowship is evident to all. I should have stayed around to observe one of his classes to enjoy how he interacts with his kids.

It was great being in a school and chatting with teachers, paras, guidance counselors, etc and also got a batch of signatures for the MORE/New Action functional Ex Bd package which can only be signed by the non-teaching staff. I walked out with at least 20 out of the 100 we need and another 130 for the officer slate. Not a bad catch for the day.

Petitions tallies are coming in. One of our elementary guys got over 50 for the Ex Bd in his own school, half the number we need. I  think we are pretty close to 100 already and I would expect we may double that.

I've been coordinating the MORE and New Action candidates with Jonathan Halabi and we are going to hit around 300 candidates in total and could have many more if we wanted but decided to leave some trees alive in North America.

I have UFT elections in my blood but my main role now is handing the front end of the petitions. One of the beauties of the MORE melding of ICE and TJC is having experienced hands like Kit Wainer and Peter Lamphere aboard to join Ellen Fox and Gloria Brandman and gives us a good team and lessons the work. And now having the super experienced New Action people to work with as partners on this project really makes it easy. The petitions are due March 10. I expect my piece will be done by the time I celebrate my birthday on March 3 or soon after. Given what I had to do in ICE this is vacation time for me.

As I see our old pal Schoolgal having fun down in Florida, I have to miss our annual lunch down there. If we had a few weeks of this weekend's weather I would be down there in a heartbeat but being mid-Feb already and looking forward to a Feb. 28 reunion with some of my 5th and 6th grade students from my 1978 and 1979 classes. They are now in their late 40s, some are nearing retirement and some are grandparents. Maybe I should get out of town before I start feeling old.

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