Wednesday, December 15, 2021

UFT Exec Bd Vote Opposing Electronic Voting: Mike Shirtzer and another are Lone Dissenters, 13 Reasons For Electronic Voting as Unity Echoes Republican Vote Suppression, MULGREW SAYS PRIVATIZED HEALTHCARE ISN'T PRIVATIZED

Breaking -- UFT Latest Leak - Mulgrew demands leaks be plugged

Do Mulgrew and company really believe that dues-paying members would have voted down an electronic voting option that would increase our union participation and give members increased access?... Mulgrew’s caucus-laden executive board used arguments against our members’ further enfranchisement that were reminiscent of those seeking to suppress and obstruct increased voting rights and voting access in our national and statewide elections. ..... EONYC

UPDATE - Jan. 5, 2022 - Word has filtered through that there was another dissenter in the vote in addition to Mike. 

Oh what fun we are having in the twilight of our life. Later today we go to the Del Assembly (right after a painful urological procedure - hope I can walk) for a holiday party outside 52 Broadway from 3:30 to 6:30 -- come on down. -- Retirees Invite you to celebrate at Dec. 15 Del Assembly as Mulgrew Seeks UFT Women to occupy stage to counter 3 Men in A Room Image of UFT leadership..


The focus of Arthur's report -- NYC Educator UFT Executive Board December 13, 2021--Spring Break, Medicare, Election Committee-- from Monday night's Ex Bd meeting was on Mulgrew's distorted report on healthcare for retirees -- as James reported it - MULGREW SAYS PRIVATIZED HEALTHCARE ISN'T PRIVATIZED and reports are he will hit the issue hard at today's DA. 

Let me explain to Mulgrew -- when someone is making a profit on our healthcare that is privatized - just like people running charter schools are making a profit but are calling themselves public schools. So the wonderful people Mulgrew is raving about are private insurance companies scamming and scuttling the public Medicare plan.  And behind the rising costs of healthcare which Mulgrew is abetting.

Is Mulgrew even aware of this? Major Survey Finds 100 Million Americans See US Healthcare System as 'Expensive' or 'Broken'

I will have more to say about Mulgrewcare - which apparently is going into effect on April 1 - Mulgrew comes off as a sleazy used care salesman. Did you see this NY Focus piece from Dec. 9?

New York City Mailed Misinformation on New Health Insurance to Retired City Employees — and Won’t Send Out a Correction -

Hundreds of thousands of retired New York City employees received incorrect information from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration regarding a key provision of a new health plan that the city wants to replace their current insurance with — and, citing a “global paper shortage,” the city is declining to mail out the correct information. Legal documents show that under the new plan, health care providers will have to get approval in advance from insurance companies before conducting certain doctor’s office visits, mental health care treatments, home health care services, and tests such as bloodwork and x-rays, along with dozens of other procedures or treatments. But the city mailed enrollment guides falsely saying that these and other treatments would not require pre-approvals to all retirees who will be covered by the new plan.

Mulgrew silence on this aspect of Mulgrewcare. Then there was this NYC Focus report from last night: 

Judge Orders City to Delay Retiree Health Care Switch Until April 1 Retired city employees will be able to opt out of their newly-privatized health insurance until June 30, the judge ruled

Mulgrew is actually bragging as if this was his idea instead of retirees hiring a lawyer to go to court. I have opted out and will remain opted out at the added costs for both of us of almost $400 a month. Actually, in terms of the UFT election, the delays help Unity because the full effects of the change will not be in effect long enough to piss people off. So maybe it was Mulgrew's idea though I imagine he would have preferred June 1 when the election is over.

Electronic voting Nixed by Ex Bd 99-1--- Mulgrew Says NO video

The other key issue at the Ex bd was endorsing the election committee recommendation not to include electronic voting in the upcoming election following its meeting last Thursday which I reported on last night - UFT Election Committee Meets, Petition Dates Set, Unity (Paid) Election Committee Reps reject UFC call for electronic voting.

If you went to any school in the city and took a poll on electronic voting would 99% oppose it? This is a true indication of how the UFT EB represents the 1% union bureaucrats, not the 99% membership.

Arthur Goldstein reported - I'm not including the lame Unity arguments -- you can read them at NYC Educator--

Michael Shulman--(Election Committee member; Head of New Action, not on Executive Board)Thanks LeRoy Barr for invitation. Thanks Carl Cambria for chairing. Wants to discuss balloting. Favors voting electronically due to low voter turnout. That is key. Not a caucus issue. Big issue is getting membership to participate. Important to be proud of union democracy. We are not moving with the times. About 25% of our membership vote. That is unacceptable. There have been proposals to GOTV, but we are lagging. 

Since pandemic, our union uses secure electronic voting for DA, for CL, for SBOs. Not a radical new proposal. Other public sector unions doing this. We have capability, not as sole source. We could use both. If someone votes both, we could distinguish which came first and that would take precedence.  I come from older generation. I believe many younger teachers use electronic voting. Snail mail alien to them.

I put Shulman's entire comments down below, followed by the 13 points.

Mike Schirtzer (Independent)--Agrees with Shulman. PSC (Professional Staff Congress-CUNY union) has option of online voting. We are in a battle to enfranchise folks who lost right to vote. Eric Adams is looking to union bust. Need to show we are strongest and best union. DA and Town Hall numbers are staggering. We trust AAA to get it right. Teachers under 30 don't know where mailboxes are. Need to open options. 

Mike was elected on the Unity line in 2019 but has remained independent and it showed here. Mike has been nominated to run on the UFC slate for Ex Bd. I trust Mike's political instincts and actually would support Mike if he decided to run on the Unity line, which would make sense for Unity to be able to claim they have one independent voice on their slate

 Here is Shulman's comments to the Ex Bd:

A Missed Opportunity! Unity Votes Down Electronic Voting

By Michael Shulman, Chair, New Action Caucus

The UFT Executive Board had an opportunity to strengthen union democracy at last night’s (Dec. 13) meeting. Instead they clung to time-worn arguments that there was no evidence electronic voting would increase voter turn-out. My request to speak at the Exec. Bd. was agreed to, as I had fully expected. Unity would not leave itself vulnerable to the charge of being undemocratic. After 51 years of union activism, I was certain publicizing a negative reply would only embarrass Unity. They frankly would never allow it. And as an appointed member of the UFT Election Committee, I was in a unique position to make a presentation to the Board.

My arguments were pretty straightforward: Electronic voting would increase voter participation. 

In city-wide UFT elections around 25% of the membership usually vote. I stated that this was not a caucus issue (of course, I suspected otherwise) since it was in everyone’s interest to want higher voter participation. I pointed out that since the pandemic our union was utilizing secure electronic voting at delegate assemblies, voting for chapter leaders and delegates, and for school based options. I pointed to the fact that other public sector unions, such as the Professional Staff Congress, are now using this method for their general elections. I concluded with the reality that the younger generation of educators are using electronics on a daily basis. Why couldn’t we use both – electronic voting and mail-in ballots.

Here are some of the responses from our Unity colleagues:

1)     Nothing indicates electronic voting would increase turnout.

2)     There are a couple examples of voting in functional chapters that did not produce more voting.

3)     Members will use DOE email and cause problems.

4)     Voting on SBO’s has not been a success. We’re not there yet.

5)     The voting in one district is poor and did not increase voter participation

6)     There isn’t time to institute. It is questionable whether it would work. It is an untried idea.

7)     The head of the Retiree Chapter stated it is not certain it would work. We must campaign like Hell. We must do better outreach. The retiree chapter election produced greater turnout.

Only one member of the UFT Executive Board spoke in favor of my proposal. With one exception the motion was denied. Another victory for union democracy?? VOTE UNITED for CHANGE in the spring election. Run with us!

Daniel Alicea of Educators of NYC, a UFC coalition member, came up with the case for electronic voting. He may nail the 13 points to the door of 52.

13 Reasons Why We Should Have An Electronic Voting Option In the Spring UFT 2022 Elections - even if Mulgrew And Company Want To Stop You From Having It.

Do Mulgrew and company really believe that dues-paying members would have voted down an electronic voting option that would increase our union participation and give members increased access?

Last night, Mulgrew and his executive board refused to extend an electronic voting option that was proposed by some in our union’s Election Committee for the 2022 Spring city-wide general UFT elections.
The proposal asks that in addition to our union members voting using a traditional mail-in ballot that we also have an option of securely voting digitally, in lieu of the paper mail-in ballot.
Only 1 executive board member stood up in support of those making the proposal.
Do Mulgrew and company really believe that dues-paying members would have voted down an electronic voting option that would increase our union participation and give members increased access? Who are they representing? Not us.
Mulgrew’s caucus-laden executive board used arguments against our members’ further enfranchisement that were reminiscent of those seeking to suppress and obstruct increased voting rights and voting access in our national and statewide elections.

Last fall, we fought side by side to ensure states like George did not suppress the vote, and yet here is our own union leadership making arguments similar to the voting obstructionists and suppressionists?
Why would they refuse to allow electronic voting in our next election? We can only surmise that large voter turnout threatens Mulgrew and company’s tight grip and hegemony over our union affairs.
The reasons for our union membership being extended access are plentiful, reasonable, and beyond sound.
  1. Since the pandemic, we are currently using electronic digital voting in our local chapter leader and delegate elections and for SBOs (School-Based Options).
  2. Since the pandemic, our union is currently utilizing secure electronic voting at our virtual and hybrid delegate assemblies among those delegates using the remote option.
  3. The recent use of virtual technology has significantly increased member participation in our delegate assemblies and town halls to unprecedented numbers in recent history. Thousands are participating in union matters and union business that were not previously engaged.
  4. An electronic voting option would markedly increase member voter turnout and promote greater democratic participation in light of our triennial general elections being typically underrepresented with only about 25% (sometimes less) of the total membership casting a paper ballot.
  5. Other local public-sector unions, such as PSC, are now conducting their general elections safely and securely through mail-in and electronic means.
  6. In the final cost analysis, it may be a more cost-effective means. We have spent millions in printing mail-in ballots and in paying for workers to help tally the paper ballot votes.
  7. When the COVID-19 crisis began, 14 major union organizations, including our umbrella organization, the AFL-CIO, asked the National Labors Relations Board to allow for an electronic voting option within private-sector unions. The subsequent support by our unions for the Protecting to Organize Labor Act, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, asks for electronic voting as a provision to be codified into law
  8. We are disaffecting an entirely new generation of educators by not using the electronic means they use daily for every aspect of our lives. Our elections are over-represented by retirees who may still be using traditional snail mail but we are not capturing the will and votes of our younger in-service members.
  9. Today we can apply, sign and pay a mortgage electronically. Many no longer use snail mail, at all. There's no reason that if these types of secure transactions happen daily that we can't vote in our next election, electronically and securely. The technology is readily available.
  10. The transition to an electronic voting option would be seamless with the American Arbitration Association, the company our union has used for years to conduct fair and secure elections. They offer an electronic voting option and use many of the reasons we delineate why this is an optimal and preferred option.
  11. With an antagonistic new mayoral administration being sworn in, in January, we need a union that is energized, active, and mobilized. Nothing more would signal weakness than if our union feels disconnected and disengaged and that it displays apathy by not turning out in huge numbers for our union matters.
  12. We are seeing a new surge of COVID-19 this winter and our own state has tightened up on mandates once again. We don’t know what things look like for us in the spring and with the United States Postal Service in the midst of flux, shortages, and increased delays relying on mail-in ballots, right now, is not the most reliable or safest method.
  13. Ultimately, increased member voter participation fosters trust and an empowered democratic voice to build a better and stronger union.
It’s time we vote out Mulgrew and Company. Vote United For Change in the Spring 2022 elections.
Meanwhile, let’s make sure we mobilize now and tell Mulgrew and our union leadership that WE DEMAND an online electronic voting option for our next election.
Send them an email. Call our union office. Let your district and boro reps know we will not relent on this option.

AAA details the benefits of online electronic voting. This is the company the UFT presently uses for conduct its elections.
The views expressed by the individual authors of The Wire are their own. They do not necessarily express the views of The Educators of NYC community.
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  1. Someone needs to kick mulgrw out physically and metaphorically..bah

  2. It appears the union prefers mail in voting. If electronic voting is eventually used, it is important that reliable equipment is used. Some systems are apparently better than others.


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