Saturday, February 20, 2016

The ICEman and Woman Meeteth

Yesterday afternoon we had an ICE meeting and as usual some great conversation and analysis of current union events plus some heavy duty petition signing - like 300 of them. I felt like a slave driver keeping Mike Schirtzer from eating his bagel until he had signed a batch.

James and Camille Eterno called in from their car on the way home from Georgia. Too bad they couldn't sign the 300 petitions virtually.
But I'll get to them when they come home.

Once petitions were signed and we were fed we tackled a draft of an upcoming MORE leaflet and that is where the deep experience of ICEers shone brightly as paragraphs, sentences and words were parced and sliced and diced until more clarity emerged. We don't get the luxury of engaging in this process very often in MORE due to the larger numbers of people at meetings, so work is often done in committee on the phone. Having some time in a mixed group of working teachers and retirees was a real treat.

And then there was the gossip.
My lips are sealed.

Working with New Action
We talked about the relationships with New Action. There is no group that has been more critical of New Action over the last decade than ICE. And when the new arrangement between MORE and New Action was first being explored there was some raised eyebrows coming from some ICEers. But people seem to have accepted things and I didn't hear much in the way of criticism.

There was some discussion of the New Action leaflet going out to schools that talks about their arrangement with Unity over the years and what broke that and why they went with MORE. People did not agree with the case New Action is making for that having hd that arrangement. ICE has been more heavily critical of the UFT/Unity leadership and many in ICE consider the leadership as being lined up with the deformers and politicians who have gone after public education. Even in MORE, the ICE crew is more vehement about the MulGarten leadership than some of the younger recruits. But I think that is due to our relative age - we've been through the wars with Unity. On the other hand, most of New Action is in the same age range as the ICEers and they do not seem to have that same level of vehemence.

People did point out yesterday that ICE and MORE have been consistent in the position that once the New Action deal with Unity was over, we could work together. And so we have and as far as I can tell things have gone fairly smoothly, though there have been a few glitches here and there.

I believe the way ICE has dealt with MORE is a potential model for New Action going forward. ICE people had a choice: join MORE and work within MORE while also maintaining ICE as a group, though not an official caucus that would run in elections. A few ICE people did not join MORE or have any interest in working with MORE. They have not been involved with ICE very much if at all.

I feel after the elections, New Action has the opportunity to do something similar to ICE. MORE would welcome those in New Action who wanted to work within MORE while still being connected to New Action, which could take positions in support or even counter to MORE.

No loyalty oaths here.

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