Monday, November 22, 2021

DA UPDATE: Class Size Amendment Passes Over Unity Oppo, Mulgrew ballistic over retirees listening outside, UFT/Unity Staffers on payroll challenged

WTF -- 

A Delegate argues that the contract is not the right place for lower class sizes. We have a committee to negotiate. Class size should not be there in contract negotiations ... Double WTF
Above reported by Eterno LIVE BLOGGING FROM NOVEMBER DA (Mostly unedited).  
Undoubtably a Unity Caucus delegate who seems clueless that we ACTUALLY HAVE NEGOTIATED CLASS SIZE LIMITS IN THE CONTRACT.

Thank goodness there was some sanity in the house - 

A chapter leader speaks in favor of the amendment because it allows chapter leaders to enforce class sizes through the grievance process. I've been making this point:

Should UFT staffers and other Unity hacks be called out as speaking for the leadership, not the membership at DAs? They may be elected delegates in their schools but they are working for the leadership, not the people they were elected to rep. 
So, Hell yes - people making way more money than even the highest paid member should be held publicly accountable. I was so glad to see Daniel Alicea call out Unity hack non-elected District Rep Bill (Ruff Ruff) Woodruff at the Nov. 17 DA for calling the question.
Monday, November 22, 2021

What a yummy Delegate Assembly Nov. 17 was. I didn't even need to eat dinner that night. There's lots to report and I will need a few blog posts over the next few days to do it all.
 
But first take a look at an opposition slate that won in the Teamsters election: https://portside.org/2021-11-20/teamsters-united-takes-wheel . Not that I think this might happen in the UFT -
 
Class size debate
Background -- UFT leadership comes up with an nice gimmick to get class size reductions -- using pandemic health issue. But they refuse to entertain making it a contract demand, which has been the only true protection over decades, even with loopholes. Think of the outcome if the ancestors of the current leadership took the same position on class size in the 60s? You'd have whatever amount the principal decided. Like take 45 so he could decorate his office.
 
Why is the leadership opposed? Because they sell a zero sum game that any class size contract reduction will come out of salary -- like the UFT can't join with communities to fight for a funding strand for class size reduction.

And how about that Unity bogus argument that the DA, by UFT constitution the highest decision making body in the union, can't dictate terms to the hand-picked negotiating committee of hundreds picked by the leadership? We need to affirm the DA right to make demands on the suddenly sacrosanct Unity controlled negotiating committee.

I don't know who all the speakers listed in Arthur's report below are,  but I will venture a guess: anyone who spoke against the amendment asking for class size to be a contract demand is in some way associated with Unity Caucus and most in some manner on the UFT payroll or get union perks. At the very least, they are part of some Unity DA speakers bureau that plans their actions at the DA in advance. There are some reports there is even a seating chart so Mulgrew can find them. 
 
The Unity hierarchy tried very hard to kill the amendment in the days before the meeting, so they knew it was coming and made sure to have their people in place to oppose it. 
 
They lost anyway as the people on the phone voted over 60% in favor of the amendment.
 
Let's drill further: 
 
added notations [] are mine.

[UFT VP Elementary schools] Karen Alford--Supports reso to strengthen commitment to lower class size and hold DOE responsible. Can't wait. Thinks about days in overcrowded schools and classrooms, and how impossible it was to teach. We need to recognize public health challenge and look through this lens. We will make children safer. 84% could do this now. We know there are infrastructure and covid relief dollars. We don't want to trade pay for class size and we must seize this opportunity.

Ryan Bockenthal--Very much in favor, Moves to amend. Adds resolved--We wll follow up with actions, support related state legislation, prioritize in collective bargaining, go to court if necessary. We have power and showed it by mobilizing toward strike. 

Loretta Tamborello--Rises in opposition. As we said, negotiation for contract not right place. Trying to make difference using health code. We are forming committee. Will drive us. Class size action now as we're doing. Should not be contract negotiaton.

Farah Alexander--Teachers overworked, overextended, at capacity. We want this now, before contract, don't want it mandatory item. 

Ali ?--In favor of amendment. Empowers CLs to enforce this. Can make it school issue. Policies meaningless until enforced. 

Shane McAndrew--Opposes. We have health crisis, must lower class sizes, social-emotional crisis too. Smaller class sizes will help teachers support students better. Legislative process removes pressure at bargaining table. We have our voice if it's immortalized in law. Pols will have to raise them.

Matt Driscoll--In favor of amendment. Not in conflict with reso. Just adds to it. 

Jennifer Brown--Important to fight for reduction at all levels, contractually and beforehand.

Bill Woodruff--Calls question.

Point of order--Important issue. Is delegate that just asked that on union payroll?

Mulgrew--He is elected delegate.  

Woodruff?--Audibly angry, argues you'd deny members their right to be represented.

Mulgrew--We are teacher union in largest district with greatest challenges. Please bear that in mind and be respectful toward one another. Question called. Seconded.

Vote to end debate. 

82% yes online. Debate closed.

Amendment--

61% yes online. Amendment passes, but.... 

Mulgrew calls people to stand who are for amendment. They are counted. Audible debate as sections are measured. Has no votes stand, section by section.  Mulgrew says we try to avoid this because we get through fewer resolutions. 

Amendment passes.

This was a big victory as people on the phone voted overwhelmingly for putting class size as a contract demand, vehemently opposed by the leadership, as you can see above in Arthur's report. As Unity tries to pack in person meetings, you can see a divide where in person overwhelmingly opposed the contract amendment. Remote is a problem for the leadership since they can't see how people vote - and I bet a bunch of anon Unity people voted for the amendment.

There's a lot to chew on in this short segment. Bill Woodruff  (known affectionately by some in the opposition as Ruff Ruff) is a highly paid APPOINTED NOT ELECTED district rep but also an elected delegate from the school he is assigned to where he teaches one period a day and then goes off to work on his UFT job until 6 PM - supposedly  - except I guess when he "works" for Unity Caucucs at the DA  - often as a goon this time trying to intimidate retirees outside the building (more on this below). Should District reps occupy a delegate position in a school they spend one eighth of their day in? I say HELL NO but if they were elected DR in their districts I'd entertain the argument.

Anti amendment speakers Loretta Tamborello, Farah Alexander are Unity Caucus and Shane McAndrew was associated with E4E which no matter their rhetoric, go along with Ed Deform attacks on class size as an issue. Watch some alliances between E4E and Unity in this election, even the possibility E4E runs its own slate as a Unity stalking horse to undermine United for Change. 

One of my pal bloggers took up the issue:

DOENUTS Blog: But Why Are Paid Employees Trying To End Debate

A Delegate on the phone says lower class sizes are important contractually or through other means.
A Delegate calls the question on all matters before the house.
Point of Order: This is an important issue asking if the person who spoke previously was on the union payroll. Delegate responds that he is elected and insulted that someone asked this.

A closer look into what the heck happened revels this:

Then, it starts to get crazy when DR William Woodruff calls the question to get a vote on ending the debate. Independent Delegate Daniel Alicea [(here)] shouts for a point of order on whether the person calling for the end of debate on this fundamental issue is on the UFT payroll. Woodruff is on the payroll and makes close to $200,000 per annum as a District Rep so it is a valid question if he represents his employer (the UFT) or the members in the school where he works one period a day. .....

DOENUTS' reporting is important, bur not to bury the lede of this DA: 

The most important event connected to the Nov. 17 UFT Delegate Assembly was the announcement of a united slate for the spring UFT elections -  

Jonathan has the press advisory - United for Change / UFT.  I reported the morning of the DA as the announcement was made. United Slate Announced, Predictions for (Nov. 17) UFT Delegate Assembly -Class Size Issue - Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement.

I've always supported a united front of all groups for UFT elections since I got involved in the 70s. Generally, the caucuses I've worked with have also backed united fronts and I have always argued to either run together or don't run. That was my position when I was with MORE and when they did the opposite in the 2019 election I separated. Good to see they are on board this time.

But to me the more important issue has been the level of cooperation between all elements of the opposition at the Sept. CL and Oct and Nov DA's -- more on this - the first time I've seen some of this at DAs since the early 70s.

More background here:

 And other reporting on what turned out to be a packed DA:

James' commentary: VOTES DON'T GO UNITY'S WAY AT DELEGATE ASSEMBLY; M...

UFT staffers dominating the DA is anti-democratic, as is shutting out opposition retirees from being delegates

Now, let's get back to the issue of UFT/Unity people on the union dole occupying major spaces at the Delegate Assembly, which was so blatantly obvious on Wednesday.

For the record, a group of retirees were huddled together outside listening to the DA with some mild amplification through a bull horn - we are old and the UFT leadership opposes medicare for all which would pay for our hearing aids.  In addition, the 19th floor, where we usually watch the DA, was closed. And
despite Retiree Advocate winning 30% of the vote in last spring's chapter election - roughly 7000 disenfranchised voters -we have NO representation at the DA as Unity takes winner take all for all retiree 300 delegates. This is dues taxation without representation. For the record, before the election we asked for at the very least some token representation at the DA for 5 out of 300 and Unity said NO. 

Apparently this unnerved Mulgrew enough to interrupt a great speech by Daniel Alicea on why mayoral control has been so bad and Mulgrew stopped the DA and threatened to shut it down entirely because there are supposed rules about broadcasting the DA outside the building, an LOL moment since they were broadcasting outside the building to thousands of delegates.
 
They sent 3 Unity staffer goons out to yell at us: Queens HS Dist Rep James Vasquez, Wilma Soto and Good old Bill Ruff Ruff, who raced out to yell at us after yelling at Daniel. I yelled back to show us the rule and that if there were a rule about broadcasting outside the DA, they were the ones violating the rule --
 
It is anti-democratic when unelected union bureaucrats like District Reps who teach one period a day in a school and are on the UFT payroll manage to get elected as a school delegate to supposedly represent the school but actually function as an agent of the leadership, often against the interests of the people in the schools. Delegates have a right to that information. Especially egregious is calling the question on class size issues.  

Daniel posted DOENUTS on his EONYC FB page and got this response from our old pal Leo Casey:

“With all due respect, this is an anti-democratic argument. Every delegate in the Delegate Assembly is elected by the members in their school, and every delegate has the same rights to speak and to make motions in the body. This is an argument that "I have the right to silence you" and to disenfranchise the members in your school if you are in a different caucus from me. If you don't like what a delegate says, get up and make your own speech; if you don't like a motion that a delegate makes, vote against it. That's how a democracy works....
 
...the objection is that the delegate (derided as union bureaucrat) doesn’t vote the ‘right way’ representing the ‘interests’ of the members the way that the interlocutor knows they should be represented, and so therefore, must be an anti-democratic presence in the DA. And the delegate who votes the ‘right way’ (Markens) is exempt from this stricture. What I simply end with is that a conception of democracy which can’t imagine being legitimately on the losing end of votes and elections is not a conception of democracy that I can support.

Daniel responded:  

Markens is not truly analogous as being duly elected into both his positions,imo. And the lone example in 60 years. Hard to question his legitimacy.

For the record as penned by James Eterno in 2016:

“Bruce was DR for a decade. When Bruce retired, Manhattan High Schools had the nerve to vote in another non-Unity representative Tom Dromgoole. Unity's response was to change the rules to make district representatives a position appointed by the UFT President.”
Let's close by reiterating -- 
 
If district reps were elected a case could be made for them to be delegates. In fact, I would support their being delegates because they would be one level removed from total adherence to the dictates of the leadership. 
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16 comments:

  1. Please don't act like the UFC can't win every person who hears that loses their hope and becomes resigned to a lifetime of miserable servitude under mulgrew

    ReplyDelete
  2. Read the report. Seemed a little childish. Just tell the story. Keep the snide comments to yourself. You don’t hear anyone coming up with nicknames for Norm Scott after he crossed the picket line in 1968.‬

    ‪Oh, y’all didn’t know?? Norm Scott crossed the picket line in 1968.‬

    ReplyDelete
  3. Poor ruff ruff. Feelings hurt? By the way. I was on strike on picket lines in 67, 68 and 75. You were in diapers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were on the picket line in ‘68…until you crossed it.

      No need to explain. We already know.

      Delete
    2. what a load of horseshit -- I was totally unconscious at the time and went to play basketball every day.
      My school was closed down by the principal and we didn't even need a picket line.

      Delete
    3. Wait - are you looking at naked photos of myself as a youngster?

      Delete
  4. One of my many observations as a former ATR and visiting 85 high schools in Manhattan over the course of two years, most UFT chapters are not active and a vast majority of UFT members probably don't even know about the Unity caucus. Has this changed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tom. It’s probably much worse. Unity and Uft used to have some competence but now often seem inept. Much like the Dem Party which they echo.

      Delete
  5. The picket line in 68? Was 68 even a legit working class strike? Or was it a weird unity concocted anti-integration strike?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the time I thought it was a legit strike. Then when I learned more in the 70s I saw it as strictly an anti-community control strike. Then upon further reflection and reading saw aspects of both sides. Some union rights definitely violated but do you strike over that? Who was behind community control? Certainly some corporate funded anti-union forces> Had the UFT gotten too big for its britches and had to be cut down? Maybe yes and maybe no. Why the episode and aftermant make such an interesting study.

      Delete
  6. WTF.. local boards were removing Jewish teachers. Violating tenure and seniority and due process. What is ambiguous about that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean one local board trying to transfer 19 teachers whole hiring hundreds, many of whom were Jewish --left leaning Jews - but I guess they don't count.

      Delete
  7. Ok. I'm not an expert, but if you violate seniority rights for even one teacher, the whole structure collapses. We either have the right or we don't. So, casting aside 3 teachers and hiring 30 is still unacceptable. Tomorrow, the 30 can be booted out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? Did you ever hear of ATRs for past 16 years? And Randi gave away seniority rights. And the Uft never defended people discontinued. Or tenure becomes 5 years. Etc etc etc. file a grievance and go to court. Don’t close down schools for 3 months. Those people were targeted for a reason. Many were political acting to undermine community control. That was what the strike was really about. But I also have sone issues with that brand too and in a rational world needed to be worked out. There was anti semitism but also anti black on other side. Shanker power play a factor. Used incidents of anti Semitic actions to divide and inflame city not calm it. Cemented him in power and appealed to racists nation wide.

      Delete
  8. So, the teachers weren't going to be fired? They were going to be reassigned elsewhere in the system? That does argue that the fight might better have been fought in court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rhody McCoy mistakenly used the word fired which meant fired from district. Doe offered transfers but Shanker told them to refuse so he could make it a political issue. They were not brought up on charges of incompetence. No hearings etc. examining details exposes political struggle on both sides. No one innocent but Shanker has a lot to answer for. Strike was sourcebof woofy Allen line in sleeper. Uft lost all support from liberal community and moved to the right.

      Delete

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