Wednesday, June 16, 2021

UFT News Today- Retiree Election Vote Count at 52 Bway, Delegate Assembly votes on hybrid meetings -with restrictions

Liz Perez--Motivates--Was a lot of discussion and compromise. Want all members to be engaged and this addresses that. Members have a choice to come in person with ability to vote, speak, present and amend motions. Members from home will be able to speak, vote and ask questions. Want to make sure all members are engaged. 

Barr--People participating via telephone will not be able to make motions, Will have option to appear in person. 

Camille Eady--Rises in support. Members have been supportive. Flexibility unparalleled. Will give opportunity for those uncomfortable with appearing in person.

Mike Schirtzer

--Favor of option, thinks participation has been great, opposes motion, disenfranchises members. Want everyone at 52 but not all will fit. Some can't make it, hybrid should have all with full privileges.

Patty Crispino--Calls question.

Arthur reports from the UFT Executive Board June 14, 2021--Hybrid DA Proposal

"Perhaps DOENUTS has it right comparing the UFT to the Republicans."


At the UFT Executive Board this evening, the Board voted 94-6 to create a two-tiered hybrid system for Delegate Assemblies for the next school year. Those who can make it to 52 Broadway in Manhattan will get full rights to vote on motions, to ask questions, to make motions, to second motions, to move motions, to speak in a debate, to raise points of order, to raise parliamentary inquiries, to ask for points of information, to propose amendments, and more. On the other hand, those who are remote will get the right to listen to President Mulgrew filibuster, to speak in a debate, and then vote secretly. If you are a Delegate who is a parent who can't get to lower Manhattan by 4:15 P.M., or a Delegate who is incapacitated and or may have an emergency at school or home, Mulgrew, and the Unity Caucus are denying these Delegates some basic rights. 

It is 2021; the technology exists to put a system in place so that those attending remotely for whatever reason have the same basic rights as those attending a meeting in person.

Women make up the vast majority of the UFT membership and parents with child care responsibilities are probably a big share of Delegates but if they have to be remote for the Delegate Assembly, they get second-class status.

94-6 is a massive victory for democracy at an EB meeting where 100% ran on Unity slate. Mike led the charge.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021
I'm about to leave for 52 Broadway for the retiree chapter election vote count where Retiree Advocate is challenging Unity Caucus. 70 thousand are eligible to vote but expect at most 20-25,000, it even that. RA usually gets 20% - and since this edition is mostly about the DA, we theoretically should get a portion of the 300 Unity people elected to the DA - and I would be a delegate again. But winner take all by Unity disenfranchises the people who vote for us -- dues taxation without


If we get an uptick in votes it will be due to the attempt by the union to knock us out of Medicare and into a privatized program. Leadership will notice.
I'm going to be in the city for a few days, with a visit tomorrow to the Mus of Nat History so I won't be reporting directly but will inform James with results at the ICEUFT blog.

DA goes hybrid but with different rules for remote

A controversy erupted in the past few days over the proposal to have hybrid meetings next year at the DA (beginning in October) but limits on those who are remote. And of course it is always important to track Unity hacks who call the question to kill debate. Leroy Barr actually kept debate open because what does it cost to allow people to blow off steam when you know you have the room? The final vote was 94-6, which is actually pretty good at an EB meeting where at most we expect Mike Schirtzer to be the only independent voice that might challenge the union line -- I wonder if Unity will allow him to run with him again in next year's election? An irony would be for him to run with a united opposition slate and knock off the Unity high school EB people as we did in 2016.

The basic message: if you have something to say or a reso to offer, get your ass down to 52 Broadway. I have mixed feelings as someone who had gotten his ass down to 52 at almost every DA since 1994. But then again, I'm nuts, did not have kids nor did I come in from the Bronx or who knows where?

Mike Schirtzer, who was originally elected to the EB along with Arthur on the MORE slate in 2016 and after the MORE purges ran on Unity in 2019, opposed the motion while Arthur supported it. I agree with both of them.

[By the way, with UFT chapter elections ending this week, the 2021 general UFT election season opens -- I have loads of ideas on that in future posts.]

The technology exists to allow non attendees to play an active role. A key is that live DAs generally were attended by 5-600 people out of a potential 3500. And don't forget those 300 Unity retirees who vote as a block. Not all attend but enough to influence any vote. If RA had delegates they would team up with other voices of dissent. And RA people have decades - even a half century of UFT activism behind them.

That attendance is pretty weak. Allowing people to take an active part remotely would make the DA a more viable body. Mike raised the point that if you emphasize being there, at least hold meetings in a space that can accommodate more than 20% of potential attendees - before the union moved to 52 DAs were held in schools that could accomate a lot more and even in giant hotel ball rooms for contract votes.

But big attendance is a threat to the leadership which knows full well that it can get Unity people there, along with a small opposition and sees more participation as a danger. There were a few instances where they lost some important votes and had to maneuver the body.

In person still important for activists
The small number of activists in the UFT do get there and for them I believe in person, even if they had full rights remotely, is still important for organizing purposes.

My goal of course was to be there to hand out something since I could not participate once I retired in 2002 and was no longer a delegate. I saw the DA as a space to meet and greet people and try to influence their views. Where else do union people from schools gather monthly? Of course it is mostly Unity Caucus people but there were always enough independents - in fact Ed Notes morphed into ICEUFT Caucus as an outcome of my meeting people at the DA where I handed out the paper every meeting starting in 1998.

So I get the idea that being there is a key if you want to participate. This is especially true for the relatively tiny activist opposition to Unity. 

One of my biggest gripes with MORE over the years was the sporadic interest in using the DA as an effective organizing tool. My repeated attempts to formulate a newsletter that would attract readers with some real news and analysis vs caucus propaganda were rejected and I had to revert to Ed Notes or other vehicles. I knew people wanted to read stuff I was putting out over the decades because many who recognized me would come over to ask for a copy.

I am still floating an idea of forming an independent delegate group as an uncaucus thingy where participants from all caucuses plus independents would work together at the DA -- an idea I floated in MORE for years until I have up. I have had some interest from a few people -- the idea would be to put out a newsletter along the lines of ed notes -- I would volunteer to edit it.

 The more I think of how the UFT operates -- at best center-right Democratic Party, the more I see them as almost acting like Republicans. They oppose universal health care and support private health insurance and their massive profits.

DOENUTS is thinking the same way: UFT suppresses voting rights -- sound familiar?

Mitch McConnell, confident in his chinless repose, shocked the world tonight as he strode to the podium of UFT headquarters' Shanker Hall during their weekly Executive Board meeting.  After several uncomfortable moments of deafening silence from the 100 member UFT governing body,  McConnell proceeded to give a fiery speech which included a ringing endorsement of the UFT's new rules for remote Delegate Assembly next year.

"Should I register as a Republican now?", wondered another confused member after casting her vote. A colleague nearby just shrugged her shoulders in response and offered, "I guess, just wait for the email?". 

"This is incredible" said another upset member, "I have to watch them take away voting rights for people on TV and now my own union wants to make sure that duly elected delegates are second class representatives in their own Delegate Assembly. I can't believe these two people are working together"

Mitch McConnell Walks Into a Union Hall ... and approves

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