Sunday, January 23, 2022

UFT Elections: Petitioning in the Age of Covid - Unity Caucus Policy Risks Retiree and working member Health

I, 5 weeks away from my 77th birthday, met my 82 year old colleague whose partner tested positive the day before - lucky he tested negative -- at 52 Broadway to start working on the petitions to get them ready to be picked up later that afternoon and evening. We were joined by 8 of our colleagues in the Retiree Advocate to fill out, run to the printers to make multiple copies and collate everything and then hand them out to people stopping by and then go over to a signing event from 6-7 PM. And the next day I took crowded buses in the rain to deliver a pack of petitions to a high school before their union meeting where almost everyone signed. I've been hiding in my house for two years. And I'm sure these two days were the riskiest I've faced. And I told my wife to sue if I die. But I will smile in the graveyard at seeing Unity sweat. And if they lose, I will rise from the dead.... My comment on the ICE blog

Quinn Zannoni said...
6:17 -- Where was United For Change? Down on the 1st floor in the UFT Welcome Center organizing their petition drive to run for office. Unity is forcing the opposition caucus to amass hundreds of paper petitions in-person during a pandemic -- refusing the option of remote signatures -- just to be obstructionist. They know we'll get them signed regardless, they would just prefer to get us sick in the process.

After ducking crowds for two years, I and other aging UFT retirees spent the entire day in crowded conditions getting petitions ready for United for Change candidates and supporters to go into their covid laden schools to gather signatures. Nice work on the part of our union leadership which lines up with the Keep Schools Open under any conditions crowd.

Hey, there's a blizzard or hurricane on the way. Let's keep schools open no matter what. That is what Dr. Osterholm said on this week's podcast. Would you open schools in a blizzard? Well, this is a virus blizzard. He doesn't call for going remote generally, but certainly in hot zones until they pass.


Wednesday, Jan. 19 was the official beginning of the UFT election and the 60s-80s Retiree Advocate crew had to venture into Omicron zones because the Unity Caucus turned down the UFC request for electronic signatures. I wrote about this:

UFT Exec Bd Vote Opposing Electronic Voting: Mike ...

and the UFT leadership lining up with the keep schools open brigade - which is now a Democratic Party staple since the loss in Virginia. But why expect the center/right UFT leadership, which favors privatization schemes for medicare?

James addressed this issue and I'm reprinting in full:

UFT FORCING HAND WRITTEN PETITION SIGNATURES IN A PANDEMIC SHOWS THEY STILL DON'T CARE ABOUT MEMBER LIVES

The leaders of the UFT from Unity Caucus proved in 2020 that they care more about member dues than member lives when they put out a memo, leaked to the Daily News, advising against a sickout at the height of the pandemic. At the time, there was no vaccine and COVID was spreading everywhere with NYC at the epicenter.

This is from the Daily News piece on a sickout planned for March 16, 2020:

But UFT officials are privately warning members against that move, arguing it could be interpreted as a violation of state labor law, according to a message reviewed by the Daily News.

UFT officials told union representatives Saturday to "advise against" a planned call out on Monday.

“A coordinated sick-out will be interpreted by the DOE as an organized effort in violation of the Taylor Law and the Triborough Law,” union officials wrote its leaders.

“They will perceive it as a labor action and strike. Each participant is subject to a fine of two days’ pay for every missed day and arrest. However, even worse, the UFT will suffer greatly with fines and penalties. Please advise against.”

The UFT told the truth when they declared that their dues were more important than member lives.

The Union has managed to send out their "safety last" message again in January of 2022. This time it involves UFT election petitioning. 

The UFT Constitution calls for 100 signatures from UFT members to be nominated for the Executive Board or Convention Delegate positions and 900 for an Officer. It does not say that the signatures cannot be electronic. The United for Change members of the Election Committee asked for electronic signatures at the height of the Omicron stage of the pandemic. Unity's representatives (the Mulgrew majority) said NO.

The results: This is a comment from Solidarity's Quinn Zannoni who is a Chapter Leader who was at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly:

Quinn Zannoni said...
6:17 -- Where was United For Change? Down on the 1st floor in the UFT Welcome Center organizing their petition drive to run for office. Unity is forcing the opposition caucus to amass hundreds of paper petitions in-person during a pandemic -- refusing the option of remote signatures -- just to be obstructionist. They know we'll get them signed regardless, they would just prefer to get us sick in the process.

The UFT is well aware that retirees, many in their 70s and 80s, lead the petition drives. Sending them out to collect hand written signatures in a pandemic shows again the Unity leaders do not care about the health of their members. Mulgrew-Unity are not fit to represent anyone.

4 comments:

  1. It's more like Mulgrew wants to kill its opposition as opposed to not caring.

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  2. One group is as bad as another! At least we know we stand with unity! I don’t like them but the other group represents everything I don’t agree with.

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  3. Let me name a few things you disagree with: Lower class size, a democratic union, facing down abusive principals, keeping salaries below inflation, calling for a responsive union, stopping privatization of retiree health care -- I could go on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Proud...very proud of the retirees working hard at 52 today. Never thought I would curse testing positive and not being able to go to work. Miss you guys. Bobby

    ReplyDelete

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