May 16, 2019 - Is Randi After Trumpka's Job? Would that make Mulgrew AFT President? No Way I say.
And "No way for Mulgrew" it will be.
Evelyn, who I've always found amenable and likeable, has clearly been a rising star inside the UFT, zooming from district rep in a relatively short time. She showed her worth by playing a big role in converting former critics of the leadership who had left MORE into allies which also helped undermine the opposition.
Watching power structure changes inside the Randi empire is like trying to penetrate the Kremlin, though I have often said that Putin aspires to be as successful as the Unity Caucus machine. Remember Michelle Bodden who was supposedly Randi's successor but was kicked over to running the UFT charter school? It was never a good idea to be more popular than Randi.
The power structure in the American Federation of Teachers has been clearly defined since Al Shanker took control of the AFT in 1974 when he used the dominance of the UFT within the AFT as a path to power. Shanker held onto the UFT presidency though 1985 (along with the Executive VP of NYSUT). We used to speculate about his successor for a decade with one after another (remember Herb Magidson) rising and falling until he settled on the obvious choice of Sandy Feldman. Around the time she took over the UFT in the mid-80s, it was clear that Shanker and Feldman were beginning to think of a succession plan and began to groom a lawyer instead of a teacher with the appearance of Randi Weingarten in the late 80s who within a short time was being set up to take over for Sandy, especially once Shanker came down with cancer. (My Unity CL was telling me in 1990 about Sandy's successor. So when you hear about "elections" you know the real deal.
Sandy's tenure was also cut short by cancer and that accelerated successor plans. When she died, Randi wasn't yet ready to leave since she had not yet groomed a clear successor in the UFT. So a placeholder head of the AFT was found for 4 years while Randi groomed Mulgrew.
But Randi is clearly not following the plan of a 45 year path of power directly from UFT to AFT presidency with the DeJesus appointment by skipping over Mulgrew, who even Unity insiders do not think would be up to that job -- clues were how little of a role Mulgrew played at AFT conventions.
A few years ago Randi seemed to tap a successor in a dynamic
Still, would I bet on Evelyn being Randi's successor at the AFT or is she yet another placeholder for someone else? Who knows?
Would Randi et al trust a non-UFT/Unity person in that position?
Are there others in the Unity machine being groomed? Watch the people rising on the UFT Ex Bd (There's a lot of talk about Mike Sill) and see who are being given prominent roles at the AFT 2020 convention in Houston, which I just may attend with my former MORE buddies Mike, Arthur and Mindy who were elected with Unity, (wouldn't one want to question what states our union wants to give its business to?)
As for Mulgrew leaving the UFT, I don't see that happening, (Leroy Barr is considered an heir apparent by some though with a union 70% women, I would think a woman would be in line -- but who? I have some ideas but am not sharing). I don't think Mulgrew would even want the AFT presidency. He seems to enjoy being UFT president with no overriding ambition beyond that but that is on the surface. I don't know him at all.
Here's the report from the AFT:
UFT Vice President Evelyn DeJesus Elected Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers
First Latina to serve in the Union’s Top Leadership
DeJesus began her career when one of her daughters became ill during a school construction project, and she courageously exposed the toxic environment to the public. Since then, she has risen through the ranks of the UFT, first as an early childhood teacher and reading specialist, then as a school chapter leader and the UFT’s District 2 representative, to finally being elected a vice president.