Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UFT Contract Vote Scorecard Update - Who's For and Who's Against?

There is Joy in Unityland as Opposition Splits on Contract Vote.

I'm back from a two week trip to the former Yugoslavia's Croatia where I learned a lot about the transition of a socialism to capitalism with some pros and cons for both. Tito was a more complex leader than I imagined.

I note some tensions locally as I attempt to break down where the different voices are coming from on the contract and possibly why. Verrrrry interesting.

New Action co-chair Jonathan Halabi, voting as an individual not a formal declaration from NA, says YES with reservations -
I wish I knew what Jonathan really means "But keep talking" other than a way out of giving unequivocal support, especially with possible talks with MORE and New Action over a joint UFT election campaign where the contract will be a major issue for MORE. How could MORE and New Action work together in an election if each group takes different positions on the contract? 

Jonathan ends with:  
And we must challenge Unity’s practice of making deals at the MLC without membership oversight. Overall, the good far outweighs these reservations. We should urge a yes vote.

Sorry Jonathan, but the only way to challenge Unity's practice is to vote NO as the bigger the YES vote the more brazen Unity will be.
There are people in New Action who agree with me.

Maybe New Action will also take a NO position - an equivocal NO position like they did in 2005 --- so they can work with MORE. Did I mention there is a split in opinion in NA over whether to work with MORE, Solidarity or both or not? Oy!

Leonie Haimson and class size matters say NO due to is not happy about class size issues at NYC Public School Parents:
Instead of addressing the need to lower the caps, the contract creates lots of new out-of-classroom positions, especially at the high-needs schools branded as “Bronx Collaborative Schools.”  These new positions will have questionable value to students, as I explained here:
More great contract stuff from Leonie:
In the old days, Randi would have rushed to Leonie to get her to tone down her criticism but Mulgrew doesn't seem to give a crap about Leonie's views.
Leonie sent this update:
Hey Norm – I have never told UFT members to vote no on the contract, nor would I.  I don’t think it’s my place.  
There are obviously good things in the contract that members have been asking for, like cutting down on the number of formal teacher observations etc.  Nor am I capable of judging issues re salary or benefits. All I have written about is that the contract is disappointing for me as an advocate primarily concerned with class size. I also think the comment Mulgrew made about supporting mayoral control in return for the contract was regrettable.
Please revise your blog accordingly.  And please forward this message to the ICE and MORE News groups to which I am not subscribed.
Thanks Leonie
Ed Notes' board of directors consisting of me, says NO:  UFT CONTRACT: Why Vote NO? It’s a matter of trust.
But more from me in coming days.

I don't follow much of what goes on in Solidarity caucus but from what I've seen is they are a solid NO.

Chaz's School Daze says NO -- The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of The Contract. - UFT members are voting for the new UFT contract and while I will vote no. I can understand some people voting for it. --- link.

Former MORE John Giambalvo of the Doenuts Blog says YES:
The Doenuts Blog Vote Yes - Something crazy happened on the way to the teacher contract negotiations: My union stopped acting like a monolith top-down structure and showed sincere...
Former MORE (sort of) and ICEUFT's James Eterno says NO - numerous times. His most recent piece also appeared on the Diane Ravitch Blog as a counter point to Arthur Goldstein's YES column.
James has loads of stuff on why the contract is not a good one.
James talks for himself but I would assume many active in ICEUFT would line up with him, though Mike Schirtzer and Giambalvo are also connected to ICE. I've suggested a meeting on Nov. 2 even if too late to address the contract.
Schirtzer wrote his Vote Yes on the NYC Educator blog and also distributed a VOTE YES Leaflet at his school, Leon Goldstein, where an interesting debate between his former mentor, CL Kit Wainer, and he took place at the chapter meeting. The school had been one of the strongest anti-Unity schools for 25 years and now the MORE splits as exemplified by the one between Schirtzer and Wainer have spilled into the school that can no longer be counted on to stand up to Unity with a strong voice. As a friend of Mike who supported him in his struggles in MORE, I don't view the loss of a strong anti-Unity schools as a good thing. (I have more to say on this issue as I keep sorting it out.) - 

Arthur Goldstein, also a YES on the contract, also was connected to ICE but no longer due to what he perceives as the blog supporting a climate of anti-unionism due to the comments promoting people leaving the union. Arthur has also broken with his support for MORE due to all the shit that has gone on there.

And YES I blame the ideologues in the faction that now runs MORE, not Mike or Arthur, for this split. I'm working on a piece: How did MORE lose two of its 4 elected seats to the Ex Bd as Unity woos them?
Arthur's pro-YES vote appeared on the Ravitch blog and his blog: Why I Support the 2018 UFT Contract and is running at City Limits.

MORE says NO with some strong pieces from former TJC Caucus leader Marian Swerdlow and Dan Lupkin.

Dan is is one of the reasons I remain with MORE. A great chapter leader -- one of the few elementary people in MORE -- and he nails Unity on class size in this piece:
Class Size Limits, Militancy, and the 2019 UFT Contract
Dan says:
The core issue here is conciliatory bargaining- it is taken as a given by UFT leadership and their very cozy counterparts in the NYCDOE that the slice of pie we got in the 60’s is all the pie we’re going to get, and contracts are just a question of how we want that slice of pie apportioned; in fact, we are frequently reminded that if we make a fuss, we’re liable to lose the slice of pie we already have. It’s rarely discussed at the Delegate Assembly, at district meetings, or in official UFT communications that militancy was how our slice of pie was achieved in the first place, and if we want more, that’s how we’re going to have to get it.
I wish he would avoid using the term "militancy" -- the old TJC line that the union leadership does not organize people for militancy - as if they are even capable of doing so when in fact the very structure of the UFT hinges on not being militant.

The left condemns the militant 1968 strike - the most militant the UFT has been -- so I would be careful.

Marian brings her strong powers of analysis in this piece:
A Contract for Collaboration with the DOE.
I have had political disagreements with Marian over the years and probably continue to do so. She represented the TJC caucus point of view and she chose not to participate in MORE but seems to have returned as MORE turns back to the ideology of TJC.  An ideology that over the 20 years of TJC's existence (1993-2012) did not exactly resonate with the UFT membership.

MORE is holding two meetings this Saturday -- one to talk about the contract battle and one internal to address the splits in MORE and with the faction that fomented the split in control, I expect there some to be some interesting explanations. I will attempt to avoid laughing out loud.

Can I stand 5 hours of MORE meeting? Well, they are serving lunch at noon. There's also a nor'easter coming Saturday, so why not go?


  1. "the only way to challenge Unity's practice is to vote NO as the bigger the YES vote the more brazen Unity will be. " 100% agree and don't understand how so few see this as giving Unity license to continue to fail us. Roseanne McCosh

  2. Here's the problem Roseanne. Once MORE unhinged democratically, Unity began to look like a better alternative to the people under attack -- if there is no real alternative and the ability to organized on a mass basis to go after them the battle becomes a mute point for some and the ability to work inside begins to look good.

    1. If working on the inside means telling Unity their Kool-Aid tastes good, then being an outsider is where I still belong. Roseanne


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