Monday, October 11, 2021

Delegate AssemblyGate: UFT Leaders blink, opposition organizes for Oct. 13 DA over medicare and health and safety issues

EdNotes - BREAKING - 3:15PM, Oct. 7 --  Notice to Attend DA Sent out during school day as UFT Leadership Packs Upcoming Delegate Assembly with Unity Caucus Members  ---  IMAGINE -- Actual working chapter leaders and delegates were sent a notice - purposefully when they were in the classroom, thus giving the vast Unity Caucus network, many not in classrooms an advantage in registering - and all seats were filled almost immediately -- thus shutting out the many newly elected (spring 2021) chapter leaders and delegates --- one of the stories was that MORE elected 100 of them and few of them will be able to get into the DA next Wednesday -- but we (Retiree Advocate) will be outside and will urge every ch and del shut out to join us outside shouting -- let us in....  - UFT Closes Doors to DA -- UFT Update: Ant...

Coming Wednesday (Oct. 13), ICE-UFT will be joining with multiple other opposition groups for a Healthcare-Health and Safety rally at the UFT's first Delegate Assembly of this school year. Delegates, Chapter Leaders, rank and file active UFTers, retirees and others will all be there. I have never seen this kind of excited pulling together among opposition groups in the UFT.... James Eterno at ICEUFT blog

Monday, October 11, 2021 - Good morning - happy day off (I barely noticed).

It's in the DNA of the UFT leadership over 60 years of Unity Caucus existence to hold on to power at all costs. This didn't play well with some.

How is this at all reasonable? A teachers union that locks teachers out of its meetings because they're...teaching? Space is certainly an issue, but if there are caps on attendees who want to be there, then this is de facto suppression of full delegate participation. ... A delegate

Chapter leaders and delegates are elected to FULLY REPRESENT their respective chapters endowed with FULL POWER TO LEGISLATE. This is yet another example of seeking to make the DA a rubber stamp for a @UFT leadership that doesn’t consult the rank and file. We must be & do better..... Delegate

Over decades, that has been the major thing they have been good at -- managing the membership. When it comes to the DOE or big progressive ideas or aligning with progressive politicians, the UFT leadership has been mush -- think Schumer compared to Mitch -- they have the same mentality -- it's not in their DNA to fight back, other than to fight back against dissident members of the UFT. That's where they show some level of militancy.

At some point, that single-minded focus on control, especially a leadership totally out of touch with the members, begins to fail. The attempt to pack the upcoming DA with Unity Caucus members while retirees rally outside over the Medicare issue (Rallies, Lawsuit Updates - Retirees go to court ), joined by newly united opposition protesting the way the leadership has handled safety in the schools, may seem like a minor failure, but it is indicative of an increasingly isolated leadership, even within the confines of Unity Caucus and middle management at the district rep level. 

Last Wednesday night Oct. 6), a joint zoom event was held where parents and teachers told their stories. Zoom -- ICEUFT, Educators of NYC (EONYC): Educators Speak Out on Unsafe Schools -

Of even greater concern to the UFT leadership was this posting by Daniel Alicea, of Educators of NYC, promoting the rally outside the Oct. 13 DA:

Note the logos at the bottom -- just about every group involved in the UFT other than Unity is listed -- possibly with more to come -- and of course independent non-affiliated who are always heavily recruited by Unity, especially the newly elected chapter leaders, of which there are many, might be tempted. That MORE can claim 100 CL and Del is significant.

Plus the delegates and Ch Ldrs connected to the other groups would be the first real threat to Unity control of the DA since the early 60s. Making sure to keep as many activists out of the in-person DA is right in the wheel alley of the UFT/Unity leadership.

If these groups can actually deliver getting their people to show up that would put icing on the cake and present a real long-time threat to Unity control of the DA -- just imagine if they have to drag out all their people every month -- why they'd have to offer them a post-DA dinner as a bribe.

Was it a glitch?

I was told after posting the breaking story of an attempt to pack the DA (rivaling FDR's attempt to pack the court) by someone with inside info that I was wrong - it was just a glitch and reversed a few hours later. 

I maintain it wasn't a glitch (I had info that for the Sept 22 CL meeting, some Unity people were sort of told to make sure to be there in person) but intentional.

By 5PM, the meeting that was supposed to be socially distanced - the excuse to limit in person attendance -- had been opened up. 

The reversal to open up the space inside the DA was incited by the outrage of chapter leaders and delegates calling and tweeting at union officials. By 5PM the so-called artificial "safety distance rules" set up for the DA - and for the Sept. 22 chapter leader meeting -- where Retiree Advocate/UFT Caucus people were also outside in force.

Let's follow the bouncing ball.

Since the registration [for Oct. 13 Delegate ASSEMBLY] email was sent during the work day, I opened it and registered less than 15 minutes after dismissing my kids. Virtual available only. No other option. Locked out of the full democratic process. Thanks for such a warm welcome to the DA, @UFT! ....Classroom teacher, newly elected delegate

The UFT executive board recently voted to allow a hybrid delegate assembly. While I support giving this option to members, I received an email to register for the DA at about 1:50. When I tried to register in person it said it’s at capacity… Classroom teacher, chapter leader

Response of Brian Gibbons, UFT social media head:

From reports, Brian Gibbons has not been a classroom teacher.

I do find it ironic that the UFT leadership seems fine with sending its members into crowded non-socially distance schools while using the safety issue to restrict attendance and limit democracy at union events. For instance, all Ex Bd meetings are supposed to be open to all members but right now you must be vaxed to attend (interesting that the unvaxed members the UFT is supporting in court would not be allowed in). All retiree meetings this year will be remote - there is one Oct. 13 from 1-3PM -- interesting how that meeting was moved from the usual Tuesday to just before the DA which starts at 4 -- the leadership knew we were planning to rally.

I'm proud of the work Retiree Advocate/UFT has done over the past year -- we are a group of people from various caucuses and have worked very well together - a model of sorts. I wrote this in April, 2021 -- The United Front: Retiree Advocate/UFT brings friends and former opponents together for Retiree Chapter election.

In some ways the actual issues pale compared to the fact that all groups are talking to each other at various levels - privately and in more official ways from what I hear. Working together for the Oct. 13 DA -- the first DA for many who had been elected last spring --- might turn into actually bringing a long-time dream of mine to fruition -- a united slate in this spring's UFT elections. 

Wishful thinking? I'm torn because I don't look forward to getting involved in another UFT election but if wishes come through I will be there.

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