I assume most of the ed notes readers know the results. The wins were in the high schools and the fact that the officer slate topped 10,800 - a big jump for the opposition.
I had scheduled an ICE meeting at 4PM and to have them tell us that we would not be done until 5 was bothersome. I wasn't going to miss my rice pudding.
|ICEers - Julie, Gloria, Michael, Lisa, James, Vera and me- Ellen Fox took the photo|
As usual, meeting with ICE people is one of the highlights and I aim do this more often - probably in a few weeks - and if any Ed Notes readers are interested let me know.
When I got to the ICE meeting the news was coming in and as usual this is the best group of people to be with to talk about reality. Vera said the most important work MORE and its new Ex Bd members could do was become a shadow union where Unity is not doing the work - strengthen the movement at the school level - by inviting and meeting with teachers from schools where chapter organizing efforts could be feasible. Figuring out how to do that will be a real challenge and efforts in the past have been very spotty.
It was great having my old pal Julie Woodward showing interest again after a long hiatus - Julie came down from upstate to help on the petition gathering day in March. Julie was one of the most respected voices in the UFT by everyone - including Unity for her detailed knowledge of the contract and her fierce attempts to enforce it - as chapter leader and beyond her time as CL. Last night Julie came up with the idea of asking for people in the schools - the people not active in the groups but some of the 11,000 who voted MORE/NA to volunteer to attend one Exec Bd meeting during the year to show support for our Ex Bd people. Julie offered to take charge of the project and keep track of people who respond -- like have at least 5-10 rank and filers sit as judges at each Ex Bd meeting. We'll keep you posted as I expect many ed notes readers to join this endeavor - and at least you get a free dinner on the Unity house.
Julie, who used to do the amazing blog, Under Assault, is the kind of voice in defense of teachers that is much needed.
Retirees like Julie and Vera and Gloria Brandman and soon to be retired Lisa North and the Eternos and Ellen and Michael Fiorillo who were at the meeting are typical of the ICE mentality - I call them rational leftists who see that defense of the working UFT member is at the top of the list.That voice must be a strong factor in MORE going forward so we keep our eyes on the prize.
Not having to contend with Solidarity on the slate probably saved the high schools for us as their HS vote totals did not take too many votes from MORE/NA - besides - I think those may be people who may not have voted in the first place. Together MORE/NA and Solidarity have over 50% of the high school vote -- the first time since 2001 the opposition has been able to do that. Close to 2500 teachers voted against Unity in the HS. When we started talking about this project almost 2 years ago we had an ultimate target of 3000 HS votes and that is still a number to shoot for in the future - though it looks almost funny since over 19000 HS ballots are sent out.
The bad news is that Unity did a much better job in getting out their votes in the elementary school and topped 7000 - a nice jump for them. I predicted that Unity would hit between 6500 and 7000. MORE/NA hit around 2300 -- I was hoping to hit 3000 which would have showed progress.
The Middle Schools were the usual disaster - Unity got a big boost. Poretlos told me his strength was in the middle schools and they did their best there - with about 6% of the vote. Even adding them to ours we are still far behind Unity.
In functionals and retirees there was no progress.
So the upshot is that we basically held serve in all the divisions but the high school where we made some moves and hopefully the Ex bd seats will give us a firm base -- but I also warn that
Portelos and I did a lot of talking during the 2 days of ballot watching and I feel we broke some ground in our relationship as we aired each other's gripes. I was also good to see Paul Hogan, one of the MORE people who decided to work with Portelos. I got insight into some of the issues between the 2 groups. We will look for some common ground, though as I pointed out there are a lot of bridges to rebuild - call it our own infrastructure project. Now that the election is over I think the rancor will die down. We have very different world views -- but then I was like him in some ways when I was his age -- I will share some of the things we discussed at some future time.
When I left I shook his hand and wished him luck and told him that getting 2000 votes would be a big victory. He didn't hit that number but I still want to congratulate Portelos and Solidarity for their 1400 votes, many of them I believe are new voters, making the opposition totals around 12,000 vs the Unity totals of around 40,000. I believe that gives us a serious base to work from - if only we can get even a fraction of that 12,000 to become active participants in their schools.
After the ICE meeting I headed back to Rockaway for the first time in 3 days and I still had to go to the RTC rehearsal of Follies - where I got to hang with my pal Tony and act like we were having a good time at a party on stage.
I finally got 8 hours sleep. And we have an 11AM call on Sunday - and every night next week before we open on June 3 - and I have as inconsequential a part as you can imagine.