Friday, April 16, 2021

UFT Leadership Shaken, Not Stirred: Electronic anonymous voting threat, Endorsement Chaos, Unity defections, is mayoral endorsement in trouble?

Analysis from a retired teacher:

I think that anger over the current UFT mayoral endorsement forums was a contributing factor to the rejection of Unity's endorsement reso at yesterday's DA.

First you had Unity Guy Pecararro throw a wrench into the works by feeling compelled to speak against the reso (ironically because of an anti-democratic, arbitrary Unity rule about amending resos, or unbundling endorsements, or something).

Then, the other speaker was also against the reso, and both he and Pecarraro were well spoken and clear. That presented a very negative overall picture before the vote. 

Add to that, that there is an institutional memory of similar DA objections to Unity endorsements in the past, often made very eloquently by Jonathan Halabi.

Then there is the burn factor: The fact that the UFT's mayoral endorsements are the kiss of death. (By the way, do you remember that Bill Thompson's education advisor, and probable choice for Chancellor was Meryl Tisch? Yes, Meryl fucking Tisch! And UFT endorsed him!)

Then there is the pandemic era anonymous digital voting that lets Unity members have some cover to vote their conscience.

And the cherry on top was the mayoral forum charade where Yang - because of "viability" - was invited at the expense of other more progressive, more pro-labor candidates; as though all the forums (crappy as they were) leading up to the "Final 4-um" meant nothing. All that mattered was public polling. That pissed off more people than Mulgrew realized.

Add it all up and you've got an endorsement smackdown and a very shaken Unity leadership..... Comment on ICE/UFT Listserve


 Friday, April 16: 

I wish I had written the above.

The UFT world was shocked when 55% of the delegates at Wednesday's DA rejected the laundry list of endorsements, a protest over process and some of the candidates. Can the leadership safely wade into the waters and guarantee a successful vote for their choice for mayoral endorsement? Clearly, the only way you get 55% against them is with some Unity Caucus defections.

See my post the other day for more background: (UFT Delegates REJECT Endorsements, including Johnson for Comptroller, by 55% - Is there a crack in Unity?

I included these points from a Politico report:

Union members tell us the endorsement process this year has been less than ideal — much of the traditional screening process has been via Zoom, and Dianne Morales, an unapologetic leftist and the only former teacher running for mayor, was not included in the union’s final four picks.

Union President Michael Mulgrew defended the process as thorough and inclusive.

So there is a lot of unhappiness with the leadership, from all quarters. 

MORE Caucus headline:

UFT Delegates Buck Leadership on Key Endorsements

Frustrated with package deal endorsement resolutions, rank and file reps reject leadership resolution in a historic vote as the union continues to consider a mayoral pick

The MORE press release expresses concerns over the UFT picking Yang or Adams. Everyone else seems to know that the choice will be Stringer and Wiley. MORE does complain about its real choice - Diane Morales, the designated leftist in this campaign and the only former teacher. I'm certainly considering her as one of my two choices, despite my nagging feelings over her taking a job with Joel Klein at some point. MORE (see below) disparages the UFT mayoral sweepstakes, but if they had picked Morales, who sat for an hour interview with MORE (maybe the final kiss of death for her with the UFT leaders - in addition to their being allergic to any leftists) but if they had picked Morales, there would be cheers.

While the significant rejection was over the Comptroller, does the outcome threaten the upcoming mayoral endorsement? Anonymous electronic voting is a threat to their control.

I imagine Mulgew might want to get the DA back to in person meetings ASAP - maybe with three feet apart.

I was wondering why they didn't just do it on Wednesday because time is running short and the May DA is too late. Maybe they were nervous about this outcome, though reports coming in indicate the leadership was taken by surprise. The assumption is that there will be an emergency DA next week to maximize the exposure, with the "winning" candidates - or losing if you consider the UFT record - being on the zoom to accept the nomination.

When they hold their emergency DA this week can they be sure of the outcome? They must be in touch with China for emergency software to monitor who votes and how.

See my comments on the mayoral endorsements with UFT officials running a fund raiser for Wiley --  UFT Mayoral Election Update: Wiley/Stringer vs Yang/Adams With a Twis.

I'll close with a pre-DA missive from MORE about the mayoral endorsement:

What Does a UFT Unity Endorsement Mean Anyway? Unfortunately, Not Much.

They slam the Unity leadership over the process which left out Diane Morales, clearly the MORE choice though from what I remember from my years there, we always decided to not get involved in an endorsement for office. Maybe that policy has changed with the influx of DSA Democratic Socialists who have had such an impact challenging the Democratic Party at the grassroots level. I imagine DSA would be for Morales, though most don't expect them to put their resources into the mayoral election, especially since Morales has no chance of winning.

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