Friday, April 26, 2019

UFT Election 2019 - Functional Chapters Based on Halabi Data

Functional chapters (non-teaching) are the mystery ship of the UFT - we address the fundamentals. There are about 40,000 working functionals - non-classroom plus 60,000 retirees and they are lumped together when they vote in UFT elections and get 19 Ex Bd seats. Thanks to Jonathan Halabi's efforts, we are getting some of the data from the UFT elections with his comparisons to previous elections. In this piece he provides info on the often mysterious functional chapter(s).
Actual teachers in the three divisions total over 70,000 so even if a strategy of winning the three teacher ex bd divisions (total- 23 seats) where retirees don't vote was successful, the UFT would still be under Unity control, but seriously threatened if the opposition could gain control of the functionals. Below I delve into why that would be so difficult. Even if the opposition were to win these 19 and add them to the 23 teaching seats the 42 seats would still fall short since there are 48 Ex Bd at-large seats where retirees vote. And in fact retirees vote and run for the functional ex bd seats too so that is how the election is rigged.
9000 non-retiree functional voted in this election out of the 40,000. Unity got 7200, a drop of around 400 from 2016 - maybe due to the OT/PT people. MORE received 824 and New Action 212 while together in 2016 they got 2200. So they lost 50% of the previous vote together but MORE even got less than they did in 2013, which is remarkable since they opportunistically focused their attention on the OT/PT chapter and ran one of the big voices in opposition to the contract as an officer. Let's assume a batch of their 824 came from that chapter.

The surprise was the showing of Solidarity (referring to them as Portelos' clique by Jonathan is disrespectful to the people involved) which got 917 votes, following their trend of tripling their 2016 votes across the board. I assume some of the unhappy OT/PT people went for them too. And secretaries are not happy either. Paras seemed to get some improvements in their contract and I would assume they went big for Unity.

I hear over 21000 retirees voted. (Some MORE supporters are whining about a phony issue where some retirees cut off the ballot in the middle and sent it in - we are addled, you know. And to count those the machines had to be reset. It seems that somehow counting these caused some to start charging it was fraud -- sure.)

In previous posts Jonathan covered the other divisions of the union and also did an overall summation (which we have yet to publish). I've been trying to break down the data with some analysis. Why? Because the past counts no matter how much people want to deny it and the patter in UFT elections is consistent. Yet we will see once again in 2022 caucuses claiming we need to vote in new leadership in the UFT. My goal is to get people to stop wasting everyone's time and energy unless you have built a massive and united opposition going head to head with Unity. That won't happen as long as caucuses see their priority as building their own narrow caucus instead of an opposition united on some basic principles. Let me know when that happens.

Here are my previous reports in reverse order of publishing with links to Jonathan's posts.
Also read Arthur's take: MORE Plans to Fail, Fails to Plan to Fail Sufficiently, and Comes in Second Among Working Teachers

About the functional chapters: 
There were 13 colored ballots during the contract vote for the functionals. The biggest one is the para chapter with I am told 19,000 members. Secretaries were usually over 3000. Guidance counselors and social workers and OT/PT and school nurses and hospital nurses. Others are much smaller.

Each chapter elects its own chapter leader and delegates and an ex bd to run the chapter and Unity makes sure to control this process and make sure the chapters remain loyal and don't go off the reservation. They have been pretty successful in this -- I was in a functional in my last few years in the system - the teacher assigned chapter -- I worked for the district - and I believe Randi opened up a delegate position for me since I was not in critical mode at the time --- I was sort of told that they wanted to be pushed - a little -- but when my pushing went over a line they were not happy.

Functionals help Unity control elections and the delegate assembly
Retirees are a functional and there are 63,000 retirees with 300 delegates to the DA - and add all the other chapter delegates -- like paras etc -- all pretty much under Unity control - so the functional chapters when added to the Unity chapter leaders and delegates in the schools give Unity control over the DA too.

Retirees don't vote for contracts but do vote in UFT elections. But their vote is broken out separately because there is a cap on retiree votes - I think 21,000  - which means if more than 21,000 vote - as I think happened this time -- each vote becomes a fraction. Like this time maybe .95 or something.

The little trick Unity plays with the 19 functional ex bd seats is to lump them together instead of allowing each functional to elect its own member(s) to the Ex Bd. One reform of the UFT Ex Bd to open it up would be stop lumping them. And to manage the retiree issue I would give retirees a bunch of seats on the Ex Bd since they are such a big chapter -- say 5. But I would also cut down on the 300 Unity delegates they get in the DA. And I would also give retirees a seat on the ad com. But they would not vote for the rest of the adcom or at large ex bd. In fact, I would fundamentally eliminate the at-large seats or maybe reserve 10.

Well, I hope you understand more about the UFT functionals. If my plan to win the 23 ex bd teacher seats ever came about, an opposition would have make some inroads into some of the functionals. Ironically, the only chapter with even a semblance of an opposition is the retiree chapter where the Retiree Advocate operates with New Action and some of the former MOREs who are also still involved. We run in the chapter elections and put out a newsletter but of course getting retirees to go against Unity is a useless operation because who are the happiest people in the UFT?

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