Monday, September 19, 2016

Today: MORE Members Elected to UFT Exec Board attend first meeting

The 5 members of MORE who were elected by the high schools to the UFT Executive Board will have their first opportunity to attend a meeting as voting members later tonight at 6 PM. They will be joining the 2 New Action members who were elected, one of whom, Jonathan Halabi, has already been a member of the board.

At this point a general working consensus between MORE and New Action is expected to be in operation though each caucus is free to operate independently, as are the individuals in MORE. To get a resolution on the agenda it must be signed by 5 EB members.

I'm going to be watching to see if MORE people become incrementalists like New Action has been -- where you trumpet a big victory because you get Unity to change a few words or support elements of a resolution you are bringing up. That is acting like the union leadership which will brag that class sizes didn't go up.

And yes I will be as critical of MORE as I will be of New Action -- that is if I actually go to some of these meetings.

Looking forward to Peter Luger catered meal

A few members of MORE will be attending to support their colleagues (all UFT Ex Bd meetings are open.) If I go I will report on anything significant but I'm sure Arthur Goldstein will do a comprehensive report on his blog. I hope he includes food ratings.

It is increasingly hard to get me to leave Rockaway, especially since I have some outdoor projects I'm working on - endlessly. But I may drag myself in and if I do my main reporting will be on the food served for dinner, which if I remember correctly has not been up to the quality of the good old days c. 2004-7.  (I miss you Gary Sprung).

A  G  E  N  D  A

Monday, September 19, 20166:00 P.M.
UFT Headquarters
52 Broadway, Shanker Hall, 2nd Floor
A.  Routine Items
1.  Open Mike (10 Minutes)
2.  Approval of Minutes
3.  President’s Report
4.  Staff Director’s Report
5.  Question Period

                                                    B.  Standing Committees

1.    Report from Districts
2.    Legislative Report

                                                    C.  Special Order of Business

1.      Resolution in Support of Streamlining the Process to Approve CTE Programs

This which came in last night from Francesco Portelos -
UFT Secretary Howie Schoor states these complaints will come to a vote at the UFT Executive Board on Monday.
Portelos has lodged a series of election protests. I believe 16 or 18. If I remember correctly I agreed with some of them and not with others. But none of them really affected the outcome. I looked for any evidence of possible vote tampering -- I guess that since the AAA can track the schools where the votes are coming from, if they worked hand in hand with Unity behind the scenes they could dump votes from opposition schools. But that is a far fetch since Unity doesn't have to do this to win. If we ever get close I can see it happening.

The answer to this is monitoring the number of votes from individual schools since AAA had that information but UFT people claimed they didn't pay for getting that data. Imagine a school where say 50 people say they voted and we only show 25?

We did get the district vote total data and that info has been pretty interesting though I haven't seen any MORE strategy emerge based on this data which I think may prove to be a fatal flaw in the ability of MORE to grow election totals much beyond where they are now. At none of the MORE summer series, the retreat or the first MORE meeting this past Saturday was there any mention of this data and what to do with it. Many MOREs have their heads on bigger things.

From what I hear the MORE people are not aware of the specifics and being asked to vote on these on short notice without hearing the arguments is ticklish.

If I were voting on this I would have a hard time because while some of the complaints make sense some are just throwing things
against the wall and hoping they will stick. I believe that is where Portelos makes a mistake -- thinking that being able to claim 18 violations even of some are flimsy has more impact that having 3 or 4 with a bullet. It reminds me of the DOE fatal mistake with his case -- they threw every charge (38) they can come up with to the point where even the hearing officer scoffed. At one point Portelos tripped over the phone wire and it pulled out of the wall. The hearing officer joked. "Another charge?"

Sifting through the series of charges is not easy without a lot of background info on the election process.

Some of his charges  relate to get out the vote campaigns to bring in the ballot to schools. I have no problems with that. Unity did that but so did MORE in a few schools I know of. Arthur and I ran a successful GOTV campaign in his school with giant cookies being offered. There is no way I would vote that this is a bad thing. If Portelos had loads of people in schools they would do the same thing.

I actually found it funny that given the vast amount of Unity chapter leaders and delegates their vote totals were so relatively low - in other words, their get out the vote campaign didn't work out very well - especially in the high schools where they have loads of CLs in some of the largest high schools, yet MORE/New Action with vastly lower numbers of people still got the majority of votes.

If anything Portelos should charge them with being ineffective.


  1. Thanks for the mention Norm, but they are not "Portelos'" complaints, but rather that of our caucus. We do throw a wide net, but we learned not to give Unity an inch. Surely a Bronx Chapter leader giving a dollar and a water bottle for every ballot she collected is troublesome. Sure I received a stipend as a chapter leader to get coffee and donuts for meetings, but assuming about 60 members at the school, $60 out of pocket isn't something we believe. Oh by the way, she is also a PM staffer. All that ballot collection and scanning and it winds up on a manually entered Excel file? Hmm... Everyone, MORE/NAC included, should have a problem with that.

    That's just 2 examples of our 16 complaints. The rest are here:

    I will see you tonight Norm.

    1. So far - and I'm not finished -- In reading the responses to your complaints they make perfect sense to me so far. You had someone on the election committee and voted to accept the ballot. If you had raised this point beforehand I imagine you could have had the 2013 ballot form. Fact is you were not prepared for this due to inexperience. chalk it up to a learning experience and be more ready next time. The low vote totals is what makes this so weak and in the long term, except with die hard supporters who think you might have won of done much better if only the wording were different, this weakens your credibility. That you want a non-UFT member to be an observer is a negative. Why isn't Vickers a UFT member? Why do you need to use non-UFT members? ANd if she had obsereved one day what does that even mean given there were 3 weeks of mail being received? Was she going to move in? It is all nitpicking on the whole. But Unity is sandbagging MORE on this putting us in a position of voting against you because most of this stuff is not credible. And then you will make a big deal about that which Unity will just love.

    2. UFT members mean they were in school teaching during the day as ballots were being handled. She wasn't teaching and available. (discontinued in 2013). Retirees were not available either. I personally have no trouble chalking up a lot to inexperience, but you have to start somewhere. Again, these complaints aren't about overturning the whole election. They are about fixing issues for future votes, including ratification of 2018 contract. Will that be tallied on Excel too?

    3. I see. But what do you expect to learn if she is allowed? And would she spend her days walking back and forth to the post office? Would she do it every day or spot check? Say they were doing something funny. They just would do it when she wasn't around. To me it is throwing one more thing against the wall. Let's concentrate on real election reform - this is something that weakens the overall case. My aim os to get school by school numbers of how many voted with check offs of the names so they can be crosschecked. I bet a lot more people would vote if the school lsits were published. Couldn't she as a former teacher join the union?

  2. Portellos, I applaud your effort(s) on this matter. I don't know enough to truly understand, but if these complaints can actually eventually be heard by the US Department of Labor, I think that is good. On the other hand if the USDOL finds nothing wrong, then that is a negative. Still think it's worth the chance. Good luck.

  3. Ok, but when you say "let's concentrate..." are you implying something jointly?

    As far as observer, yes. I think planned effectively, you can have people there for most times even ballots are handled.


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