Unless there are some very big surprises in the outcomes that would offer hope for the future, I will consider myself on F-U time - my sense of obligation to do UFT work and try to build an opposition crap ends. I have no intention to be involved in another election. I may continue to do stuff but guilt will no longer be a driving force because if MORE/NA can't make even a bit of a dent this time then what is the point for someone like me to stay deeply involved? There will still be an opposition and I intend to report more openly on goings on in MORE and the rest of the opposition. In other words, be more of reporter than an organizer. And I have a lot to report, including doing a detailed tell-all history of MORE.
Retirees Largest Block in UFT
Check out the numbers of ballots sent out. Aside from the outcomes, we will be watching how many were returned in each division. Note that the biggest batch of ballots sent out were the 62,991 to retirees and about 30-33% generally return their ballots, with roughly 80-85% going to Unity. Assume 23000 return this time and retiree preferences stay the same, the election starts with Unity having almost 20,000 votes and MORE/NA with about 3,000 based on past numbers.
If MORE/NA can get over 20% of the retiree vote that would be a breakthrough.
Let's assume a bump for MORE/NA due to the recent retirees not being all that happy.
Give Unity - 17-8,000, MORE/NA - 4-5000. Can MORE/NA make up a 12- 14,000 initial vote gap by outpolling Unity in the other divisions? Before I address that issue here is some relevant info on the retiree vote.
Up to 23,000 of these retiree votes count for a full vote. If the number or returns goes above that then they are prorated. So theoretically if 46,000 retirees vote each counts as a .5 vote. Unity Caucus has adjusted the number allowed up from 15000 to 18000 to 23000 as more retirees vote. Only one time did the actual vote totals go about the limit.
If retirees break much above the 23,000 number this year will Unity try to raise the number again? I am not sure they will raise the limit again. I was an observer at the 2013 count and when we were told that 52% of the returns were retirees some of the union leaders there look extremely uncomfortable with that number. If we get more of a turnout from the working divisions and MORE/NA make serious gains Unity will probably raise the retiree cap to 25000 for next time.
127,000 working UFT members, 66,000 teachers to vote. Can MORE/NA make up a 14,000 gap?
Of course what Unity does in the future depends on the outcomes in the 3 key divisions: elementary, middle school and high school which is where the 66,000 teacher votes reside. (Below I'll address the large block of the over 46,000 non-teaching functionals).
One of the reasons I don't focus on challenging the retiree vote is that the opposition must show it can win the 3 divisional teacher vote first. Until that time there is no point in wasting energy on that battle. If the day comes where MORE wins the majority of teacher votes then a court case becomes feasible on the retiree vote.
If the day comes that the opposition wins these 23 executive board seats it will be a new ball game.
What percentage of teachers will vote?
Look at how many ballots were sent out yesterday:
The above numbers are roughly in line with the 2013 numbers except for a 5000 bump in retiree votes.
In the 2013 election about 9000 elementary, 1800 middle and 3500 high school teachers voted.
These are the crucial areas of concern because retirees don't vote in these divisions, thus giving the opposition a fighting chance. Unless MORE/NA can make a dent in all these divisions little will change in the UFT.
Expect the high schools to roughly break 50-50 as they have done over the past 25 years. In 2013 MORE and New Action together got about 2000 votes while Unity got around 1600 but the NA votes went to Unity. If nothing changes it would be a slam dunk for MORE/NA. If Unity numbers go up (though why anyone in high school would vote for Unity) say 4000 and MORE/NA stay the same as last time it is a horse race. I would hope MORE/NA can do better than last time and force Unity to really hustle for those 7 high school seats. If MORE/NA managed 60% that would be a wowzer. Sometimes I have the feeling that Unity is ambivalent about having 100% of the exec bd if we lose the high schools, thus pulling away their fiction of bi-partisanship, one of the benefits of New Action and Unity breaking. But knowing Unity they want the whole enchilada. The only negative if MORE/NA wins the high schools is that I have to treat Schirtzer to a Peter Lugar steak.
The middle schools are interesting given the low vote totals in the past -- out of 12,000 ballots sent out in 2013 Unity only got about 1100 votes. MORE and New Action combined got less than 700 together. How much fun would it be if MORE/NA was competitive in the middle schools? It would take only a flip of a few hundred votes.
Elementary schools are worth watching to see if Unity totals drop and MORE/NA go up. Unity totals dropped seriously from 2010 to 2013 but MORE/NA were roughly stable.
The elementary outcome will be a key indicator of an anti-Unity movement in the union. If MORE/NA break the 35% barrier I consider that movement. Anything approaching 40% would create panic in Unity.
They are all lumped together which I believe is undemocratic. Note the large number of non-teacher functional ballots - almost 47,000. Pro Unity totals always come in higher in the functionals. My guess is that Unity maintains very tight control of the individual chapters in the functionals - especially the paras which is the biggest block.
Unity gets higher numbers than in the school divisions even if so many functionals are getting screwed.
Some people knock the opposition for focusing on teachers at this point. I believe this is due to the inability to get much traction in the functionals without some strong leadership coming out of those divisions to work with the opposition. Thus a secretary of para who is ready to help organize in their chapter is a necessary antecedent for making a dent there. What I find is that there are complaints about Unity but an expectation that MORE/NA teachers will do that organizing, which to me is not organic - believe me over my 40 years I've been there, done that and it doesn't get very far.
If you don't get your ballot
No matter what the outcome join us at the MORE party at the Dark Horse on May 26 to celebrate the hard work people have been doing.