Tuesday, December 14, 2021

UFT Election Committee Meets, Petition Dates Set, Unity (Paid) Election Committee Reps reject UFC call for electronic voting

Ballots go out April 8 and must be returned by May 10 - Petitioning from Jan. 17- Feb. 16. 

This is a two part report -- first from the the Dec. 9 election committee meeting -- I have some choice words and part 2 from the Dec. 13 Ex Bd meeting to ratify the election process - and some choice words for that too.

The newly formed UFT election committee met for the first time Thursday Dec. 9 from 4:30-6 PM to set up the upcoming UFT election process. There are 13 members, 8 from Unity and 5 from the United for Change (UFC) coalition, consisting of Retiree Advocate, New Action, Solidarity, MORE, EONYC, ICEUFT. We were granted one rep each (EONYC declined) but as usual Unity made sure to stack the committee so they could control the election process. 

Why does Unity get 8 reps and United for Change 5? Make a guess.  

In addition, some union officials attended by zoom and old Unity stalwart Joe Colletti took notes. Ya think we were outnumbered?

All 8 Unity reps are on the union payroll. None of the 5 UFC reps are on the payroll and were meeting on their own time. Were the Unity reps getting paid for meeting on the election? At the very least they should have served dinner.

I was the ICEUFT rep on the UFT election committee. We went in to insure that we don't have any problems distributing materials in the schools during the election. They passed out an old DOE memo on parchment giving us rights signed by someone named Dale C, Kutzbach from Jan. 18, 2001 - like pre-Bloomberg days from the old Board of Education -- fossil days. I can just see walking into schools and having principals peruse this and opening the doors wide for us while Unity reps waltz in.

Luckily we found a very recent memo in Principal's Weekly that is current and for retirees very specific:

Policy for Union Visitor Posting of Election Fliers

In accordance with Chancellor’s Regulations D–130, retired employees/union members should be allowed to put union election fliers in staff mailboxes during the school day, provided that the retiree is not disrupting teachers, staff, or school activities and shows sufficient identification to the school administration. All union members, including retirees, must comply with vaccination requirements for visitors to school buildings and the DOE's health and safety protocols. Current staff may be given access to staff/teacher mailboxes during non-working time to distribute union materials....
For questions, contact your senior field counsel or email Karen Solimando.

Thanks Karen -- we will be in touch when some slug principals or Unity hacks try to stop us.

We believe in forcing Unity to take a clear stand when opposing democratic demands. And so they did when we raised the issue of electronic voting.

Let me take you through the process we went through on Thursday and in the follow up part 2 I will review what happened Monday night at the Ex Bd meeting. 

We (UFC) went in with the idea to avoid the ghost of UFT elections past of

The ghost of UFT elections

embarrassingly low turnout where the highest turnout is from retirees by expanding opportunities to vote through electronic voting. We don't even think electronic voting would automatically help us more than Unity. After all, they are so popular in the schools.


But first, a Unity reso was made to disallow electronic sigs on petitions -- I misunderstood and thought they were banning electronic voting and objected but was told it was about petitioninning -- one of them said he likes to see a wet signature on a petition. Weird but I guess I can live with wet signatures -- ich! I think we should allow non-wet signatures on petitions but that was not the hill I was there to die on.

But then came the fun part. We were asked to vote on the election posting which stated that ballots would be mailed out, and we did vote to accept that unanimouslybut they then said that meant there would be no electronic voting. Whoa - I withdrew my support and asked for this to be added after - Ballots will be mailed out - "and electronic voting will be allowed." 

We made strong comments. We pointed to PSC voting electronically -- backroom Unity comments are this 30K union is small. We raised the point that the AFL-CIO has endorsed electronic voting. And with Adams and Banks coming in, a low turnout was a signal to them that we are weak.

Wow! To Unity vote suppressors trying to increase turnout is a nuke. They looked desperate to kill it. So every one of them spoke against electronic voting with some weird arguments in support of low turnout -- like why do anything different when we've been "successful". The weirdest was claiming to protect teachers from using school computers to vote --- like no one has a a phone.  The final vote was --- SPOILER ALERT -- 8-5.

Boy that was close -- wait till you hear the result of Monday's Ex Bd vote on the same issue - but I'll save that suspense for next time.


UFT Election Committee

Carl Cambria, Chair - Unity - Manhattan Borough Rep

Patti Crispino - Unity, special rep, Ex Bd

Marcus Escobar - Unity, District Rep (10), Ex Bd

Robert Greenberg - UFC - (Retiree Advocate)

Ira Munet - Unity - District Rep (14)

Kathy Perez - UFC (Solidarity)

Sean Rotkowitz - Unity - Staten Island Borough Rep, Ex Bd

Howard Sandau - Unity - Nurses special rep

Norm Scott - UFC - (ICEUFT)

Michael Shulman - UFC (New Action)

Servia Silva - Unity - District Rep (4)

James Vasquez - Unity - District Rep Queens HS

Amanda Vender - UFC (MORE)

Aqeel Williams - Unity - District Rep (9)


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