Thursday, April 28, 2022

NYT Article Eviscerates MulgrewCare: Medicare Advantage Plans Often Deny Needed Care, Federal Report Finds

....a patient had to wait five weeks before authorization to get a CT scan to assess her endometrial cancer and to determine a course of treatment. Such delayed care can negatively affect a patient’s health, the report noted.

What we've been saying all along for the past years. Unity hacks called protesting retirees lyers and shysters and mocked those going to court. Until they won. If you are a retiree and vote for Unity this is what they want to do to you. Sure, if you are healthy you might not notice much of a difference. When you get sick you will. 

But even more important, the neo-liberal Unity/UFT machine supports plans that will eventually eliminate Medicare altogether and then it's Katy Barr the door for the privatizers.

Investigators urged increased oversight of the program, saying that insurers deny tens of thousands of authorization requests annually.

UFT Election 2022: And the Winner is..... Don't be a member of the Garbage Can Caucus

The overwhelming majority of UFT active members in elections over the past two decades - over 75% - are collectively known as:
  • garbage can caucus - ballot goes into circular file

  • I don't give a crap caucus
  • a plague on both your houses" caucus 
There are signs these caucuses will be the big winners in the current election.
A major hope of the United for Change coalition has been to Get Out the Vote while the main goal of Unity has been to mouth GOTV while doing what it could to suppress the vote by rejecting electronic voting (which is used in many other areas of the union, including chapter and SBO elections and limiting the deadline (already passed) for those who don't get ballots to get a replacement. 

Some Unity CL have been telling their principals to deny entry to UFC lit and I will be targeting them by name as info comes in and holding their district reps accountable. We have at least two reports of CL suppression in a district where the rep is on the election committee -- shameful.

I've always maintained that the long-term key to beating Unity is having strong activists in every division of the UFT in the schools. People who can rouse a sleepy electorate and get them to vote. 
While retirees are always the most motivated voters in every election - that was good for Unity in the past. This year they are once again the main activated base in the UFT who I believe will vote in its highest totals ever, but this time with a different twist due to MulgrewCare. Will the increased turnout go to Unity or UFC? I'm betting on the latter. But will it be enough to counter general in school apathy?

One candidate reported such a level of disillusionment and fatigue in her school that the UFT elections is not even a pimple on the radar of many.
UFC activists have been going around their schools and are finding that even this week, they are discovering many people who have not bothered to vote yet. One guy got 6 people to vote in the past few days. That bodes ill for the turnout if even in schools where someone has been talking about the election on a regular basis for months and people have not yet voted. There just aren't enough people doing that.

So even if there is an uptick from in school voters, the winner of this election might be the Apathy Caucus, which would actually be a win for Unity since Apathy is what they thrive on. Good for Unity and the center right Democratic Party, bad for the union and the membership.
Let's hope we are in for a pleasant surprise. Even if Unity wins, if the margins shrink due to turnout that is a move in the right direction. If working UFT member turnout is 25% -- that's a bummer for all. If retiree per centage of the vote is 50% of the total voters the future for the membership is even dimmer than it has been as the Adams/Bloomberg tandem ready for an all out attack on public schools and the promotion of charters.

Lydia on a Professional Development podcast
Meanwhile -- check this podcast out by one of my fave podcasters (I appeared on it twice) with one of my fave people who I bonded with during this election who I hope will be on the UFT HS Ex Bd:

A new Professional Development podcast episode dropped last night!

Lydia Howrilka:
"I was interviewed- thanks to UFC for coaching me in the specifics of transferring before the 2005 Contract!- and while I talk a bit about Solidarity and my own story, I try to throw jabs at Unity and endorse UFC in the process."

Please share on your Social media.


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

UFT/Unity Election2022 Scams: Voter Suppression disenfranchises members, Unity Backs E4E 6 Candidate WECU Scam with two full pages in NY Teacher in attempt to draw votes from UFC

The 2-page WECU spread is a violation of the terms of the election as laid out at the first committee meeting. We (the election committee) approved written documents with a vote. The documents state:

"Slates- Each caucus gets two facing pages...." "Independent candidate ads are 4.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches tall."

"Slate Voting- A minimum of 40 candidates for officer and executive board is required for a slate designation."

Who decided to change the rules that we approved as an election committee? It is really underhanded to unilaterally change the terms of the election at this point.

I've often maintained that if you scratch you will find E4E/WECU and Unity align on many issues. 

I should have gotten 5 other guys named Norm and run a NORM Caucus slate and get two full pages in the NY Teacher.  Damn, I missed my chance. But E4E/WECU did exactly that and Unity helped them - and ignored election committee rules.

"In my small school at least 5 people didn't get a ballot." - A CL

The confusion about getting ballot replacements is another Unity scam to suppress the vote as the deadline was 5 PM yesterday. Unity using AAA excuse about mail delivery is a phony vote suppression scheme. See Election BallotUFT/Unity Sqeezes People Into Tight Deadline

#UFTElection2022 - Unity doesn't want Turnout, Tur... 

ICEUFT Blog: UNITY'S VOTER SUPPRESSION CONTINUES - The Unity dominated UFT Election Committee rejected electronic voting or in-school balloting early in the election process for this year's UFT election. This is despite the fact that the Union uses electronic voting for SBO and Chapter Leader and Delegate elections. In addition, the UFT uses in-school balloting for contract votes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Call them the Unity Caucus scams of the 2022 UFT elections. 

Faux ballot replacement deadline

I wrote about the massive use of people who work for the UFT being paid by our dues using their positions to promote Unity. UFT Election 2022: Unity Caucus Theft of Service .... Example: Teacher goes for pension consulation and receives a Unity flyer from the consultant.  

And of course the faux deadline imposed supposedly by the AAA over the deadline for getting replacement ballots. I'm going to demand we get access to AAA lists of whose ballots were actually received by AAA. I'd bet thousands have been disenfranchised. A UFC rep went into a school to stuff boxes yesterday and spoke with the secretary who had not received a ballot. This was 3 PM. She told her to call me and get the number before 5 PM but I never heard from her. AAA is allowing people to get ballots in person at 120 Broadway on April 28, 29. Sure, tell her to go down from Washington Hts. The more I look over the years, the more I see AAA working as employees of UFT/Unity. After all, if UFC wins who knows? They may hire a different firm for future elections. 

More from Eterno at the ICE blog: Mulgrew as Mitch McConnel

In the latest round of UFT voter suppression, Unity again acts like the Republican Party which tries to make it more difficult to vote in state and national elections. For Unity, it wants to make it harder to vote in this UFT election. To add to the cumbersome mail-in ballot process, Unity today rejected a request from one of its candidates to delay the date when members can get a ballot if they had not yet received one by April 25. This came up tonight at the Executive Board when Mike Schirtzer asked about an extension to request a ballot. Ballots are not due back in the mail at the American Arbitration Association until May 9, 2022. Today is April 25 so that leaves two weeks to get a piece of mail from the AAA to a member's home and back if they have not received a ballot yet or if they were given an incorrect ballot or threw it out by accident. Is that enough time? Let's go to the numbers provided by the United States Postal Service: The United States Postal Service reported new delivery performance metrics showing the average time to deliver a mailpiece across the postal network continues is 2.7 days.

How did the UFT do in the past on this issue? In 2016 a member could call for a ballot up to one week before the ballots were going to be counted. This is what we wrote in 2016 at election time on May 17 when ballots were due on May 25 to be counted May 26:

Tomorrow is the last day to call AAA at 1 800 529-5218 to get a duplicate ballot.

The UFT gave you up until one week before the election deadline in 2016 to request a ballot if you didn't get one but this year they need two weeks. That makes no sense as we have already shown the Postal service numbers.

There is only one possible explanation for the UFT making the deadline two weeks before ballots are counted to call for a ballot: Voter Suppression. 

In my view, the UFT feels a low turnout helps Unity Caucus, which is their major (really only) concern.

For those who want read the Unity party line, here is Mike Schirtzer's Question about the deadline from Executive Board tonight. This is from a report from Nick Bacon of New Action who sat in and took minutes:

On election: UFT election. Mulgrew refuses to answer, says any questions on election must be sent to Carl Cambria (Unity Election Committee Chair).

Carl comes up. Mike asks: why is it 2 weeks before deadline this year to get a ballot delivered if it wasn’t sent to your house this year? It was 1 week before the deadline last election. Not to mention there wasn’t the spring break issue last time. Members who just got back from vacation and were told they have to go in person to AAA to get ballots in person. Is there anything we can do to extend that deadline?

Carl Cambria: AAA can’t guarantee extending deadline will allow ballots to get back in time. What we have done is allow teachers to go to AAA in person this Thursday Friday between 9 and 5 and submit ballots in person. Post office isn’t working at the same pace as last year, which is why we landed where we landed.

Only the most committed of voters would go down to lower Manhattan (unless they work in that area) to get a ballot. Imagine if you live way out of town as a retiree. Forget about it. Blaming AAA or the Post Office for this is rather lame and statistically wrong as the USPS reports a close to 90% on-time record. Unity is engaging in flat-out voter suppression.

By the way -- this is why I want Mike Schirtzer on the Ex Bd even if he is running on the Unity line - if UFC doesn't win any seats we at least have Mike there to ask questions, the only one we can rely on. And if UFC wins a partial victory by winning the high schools, Mike will at the very least be a partial ally.


Educators for Excellence, the corporate funded anti-union 5th column* in the UFT, creates a faux caucus called WECU (We Exemplify Corporate Unionism - my interpretation)

They can't get the 40 people to run as a slate, so they come up with 6 candidates and get 100 signatures each to get on the ballot for Exec Bd at large positions. 

UFC on the  other hand has 400 candidates with an army of people going out to get signatures which takes weeks and weeks of work. So go open up the current editions of the NY Teacher and low and behold find that E4E - er WECU - gets two full pages equal to UFC.

I'm on the election committee and we drew lots for the two official slates' positioning in the NY Teacher ads. UFC drew second place in the ad positioning - meaning we get the last word. But in the NY Teacher it is WECU that gets the last word and UFC is in the middle. No consultation with the election committee but a unilateral decision by someone in the UFT/Unity hierarchy with the obvious intent of drawing votes away from UFC. 

Take this to the logical next step. In the next election I am running the NORM Caucus with 6 guys named Norm and get two pages in the NY Teacher. I also recruit 6 Bobs and 6 Mikes and 6 Jeans and we get 8 pages in the NY Teacher.  All we need is to get 100 signatures for each of our slates.

*A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine.


 As we catalogue a list of election missteps designed to favor Unity, this one will be near the top of the list.These are not stop the steal issues if we lose but an attempt to shine a light on the misdeeds - something I should have added to my list of "what's different this election." We are publicly calling them out.


Monday, April 25, 2022

CALL AAA 800-218-5524 BY TODAY 5 PM - Last Call for Election BallotUFT/Unity Sqeezes People Into Tight Deadline

Eterno at the ICE blog


The UFT election is ongoing. It is a mail-in ballot due Monday, May 9, 2022. Since so many people were away last week, it would seem that a deadline date of April 22, 2022, to request a ballot for the UFT Election is too early. However, April 22 is the date on some UFT election forms as the last day to call for a ballot if you didn't get one. 

On the other hand, the UFT website says the deadline date to request a ballot is today, April 25. Since people were on vacation last week, we believe you can request a ballot today. This is the exact wording on the UFT Website.

Didn't get a ballot?

Any member who has not received a ballot by April 18, or has received an incorrect ballot, should notify the AAA via phone: (800) 218-5524 (Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. only) or e-mail: Request for ballots must be made promptly – no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Here is the screenshot:

Another example of things going wrong. 
Some people are just becoming aware of the UFT election and realize they did not get a ballot and yet the deadline is today at 5 PM to call the AAA. She called and was told the deadline was Friday April 22. The UFT is sending out mixed information. Or they didn't tell the AAA the deadline was extended.

In a ridiculous decision the original deadline was Friday - during vacation week. We protested and they extended it to today. Gee, thanks for nothing.

I just got a call from a retiree who did not get a ballot -- a friend called her to remind her to vote and she realized she did not get it. So she called the UFC number -- which is linked to my phone and I called the AAA number and they are accepting requests until 5 PM today. Otherwise people can pick up a ballot in person at AAA 120 Broadway April 28 and 29. Check this out before you go: 800-218-5524.

I am calling the UFT election committee chair to ask for another extension. Ballots are due in 2 weeks and there's no reason they can't give people more time. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

How UFT Election2022 is different? Reasons #5 Unity Suppresses democracy, #6 more people activated, #7 UFT seen as incompetent, #8 Social Media, #9 GOTV

Unity Titanic ad is a perfect meme for Unity campaign.

Sunday, April 24, 2022
Here is Part 3 of my series of reasons the 2022 UFT election differs from past elections. Previous posts covered reasons #1-4.

 Before going on, let me recommend the great Jon Halabi series on "What if UFC wins?" - the current entry relates to some of the issues below and is actually a supplement to how things have deteriorated inside the UFT:  

which leads to my own #5 reason for how this election is different.

#5  The suppression of democracy has reached new heights under Mulgrew and his henchmen and women and has sparked anger, frustration and a fervent move to the opposition, even by former supporters or neutral people.

Talk to some key people in the opposition like Nick Bacon and Daniel Alicea this time over what moved them into activism against Unity and their answer hinges on how they tried to become active in moving certain issues and were blokced at every turn through parliamentary measures to outright suppression. You might say that the rank and file doesn't give a crap about internal democracy in the UFT. And that is true. But people like them have a wide net of influence in their own schools and beyond. A year ago there were people talking abotu working with the leadership to craft a way to end mayoral control, taking Mulgrew's vague expression of dissatisfaction with mayoral control seriously. I told them that he and the UFT would always support mayoral control no matter what Mulgrew says -- watch what they do, not what they say. 

A recent article on the current state of the debate on mayoral control where Mulgrew calls for tweaks that amount to moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Michael Mulgrew, who heads the city’s teachers union, has called for fixed terms for PEP members and previously said he is in favor of mayoral control, but with changes. "We have been consistent in saying we support mayoral control, but our current system needs greater checks and balances and more avenues for meaningful parental input," Mulgrew said in a statement.

When key people realize that the leadership is often full of bullshit they can be moved to an extraordinary level of activism and become major influenceers. Though that has happened at times in the past when new stars arise (see Julie Cavnagh c. 2009-2013), this time there seems to be a lot more of them, each with a sphere of influence.

Even a mild dose of reform and democracy could have deflected or delayed some of them but Mulgrew and his tight circle chose to crack down and shut out any voices of opposition or criticism.

That has led to the next item.

#6 The large number of people activated compared to the past

Unity has always had an army and still has its army. Has it grown this year? Probably not. In fact we hear stories of shrinkage (see #1). On the other hand, I've seen an oppo army grow that is five- ten times from what I've seen in the past. Unlike the top tier of Unity which is office based (see Halabi brilliant post comparing the Unity and UFC Ex bd at large candidates top employ laden for Unity vs classroom teachers for UFC.-- United Federation of ________???.

Enthusiasm for union organizing -- people not just in election campaign -- but truly as a long-term project -- organizing = relationships 

 The number of distributors has allowed UFC to reach many more mailboxes. Of course Unity does what it always does -- use its union employee force to stuff every box in the city. (See my UFT Election 2022: Unity Caucus Theft of Service - District Reps are a Major culprit). 

So while Unity has remained the same, UFC has gone way beyond the past. But a key question: Does stuffing the boxes mean much? I never gave it much credit in the past. Unity stuffs every box -- maybe over 100K but actually gets a relatively few working UFT members to vote for them. If the oppo also stuffed every box I don't believe that would affect the outcome. though surely get some increase in votes. If this election is close and UFC loses we would take a look at that factor by checking the schools we flyered.

Historically Unity opponents didn't have the outreach to get to many schools and retirees have taken on the task from the different caucuses. New Action had the biggest group and hit many schools, yet their numbers over the years have not been good - they finished last in the 2019 election and I'd bet they had more leaflets out than the other caucuses. 
This year we carved the city up into areas convenient to where people lived. MORE and Solidarity and New Action had so much outreach we didn't have to blanket the city and acted as fill-in people.

Using the Titanic as an ad for Unity is very appropriate
  • The funniest example of Unity cluelessness is worth repeating

 #7 Poor service and bad decision making, neutralizing key Unity supporters
There is a perception that even things that used to work well in the union has undergone some deterioration.  And this runs throughout the union.
My friend in California called the union for a simple question for her taxes. She was told she'd get a call back. Two weeks later with no response she called again. Message taken - no call back. She stopped calling.
Calls coming in about  ineptness on multiple levels. Someone gets a pension consultation. The Unity person emails her a flyer promoting Unity.  This is the tip of the iceberg.
The Unity leadership at the very least used to be able to deliver fundamental services. People are noticing the decline.
#8: Social Media campaign
This is the first election where social media may make a difference. Unity has a big campaign but so does UFC with a strong media team with a strategy to hit back hard and fast at Unity. Given we relied on in school outreach in the past, this has the potential to reach a lot more people. Will it get out the vote? Which leads to - 
#9 - A Get Out the Vote campaign by both sides  - but UFC has the greater potential
We have understood that increased turnout helps the opposition and Unity attempts are aimed at its own base it seems. UFC also aims at its base but also has more people doing personal calling and outreach. I'm intrigued by how the numbers will look. I pointed out in #3 that I expect retiree vote to go up by 20-25%. If I'm wrong that will tell me something about the impact of the various campaigns over MulgewCare because if more people vote the majority will be against Mulgrew, though some will be due to an aggressive Unity campaign with Unity retirees- of whom there are many.
What some of us have detected is a lack of enthusiasm from some Unity people in the campaign and they are not rousing their own colleagues like they might have in the past. When Unity CL of major large high schools openly criticize Mulgrew I can't imagine how hard they are campaigning.

I know of a few cases where Unity asked people to run for certain position and they declined, with one of them running for a prominent position with UFC. That is a danger sign for a one party system.

If you want an idea for a GOTV on your part --

If you have your coworkers' personal email addresses or cell phone numbers, another option that might work would be sending them a digital flier. You can see all of the fliers that we have on social media at:

There is one new how-to-vote flier available at:

Friday, April 22, 2022

How is UFT Election2022 different? - Reasons #3 MulgrewCare and Retiree Vote - #4 Mulgrew general unpopularity

Out of six politically uninvolved retirees I've spoken with over the past couple of weeks, all are voting UFC --- from a contact
Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
How is this UFT election different from all other UFT elections?

Friday, April 21, 2022

Here is the second in my series on: How is this UFT election different? Reason #1 UFC growth, #2 Unity defections

Click the link above for part 1.  
  • #1: The unique and inclusive United for Change coalition 
  • #2: Unity Caucus people splitting ballots or outright voting UFC
#3 MulgrewCare and the Retiree vote - see opening comment and Afterburn
This may prove to be the biggy in this election. Why Mulgrew would choose to tamper with retiree health care when he had other options with an election coming up demonstrates his arrogance and poor judgement. While many in Unity buy the line, there are Unity retirees who don't. Even the roll-out was incompetent to the extreme, which Mulgrew actually admitted. And the zooms to explain it further were so locked down to avoid real questions, people saw right through it.

And then there was the mocking of the multi-union law suit people - and then they actually WON. After bragging about his wonderful plan, Mulgrew back-tracked and blamed the city.
Losing a significant batch of retirees is a danger sign. Usually Unity gets 85-88% of retiree votes and they vote in the highest numbers - in 2019 they were 53% of the entire vote. Unity has been around so long, a significant percentage of retirees are or were Unity and they are reminded to vote. We have no way to judge the extent of defections by Unity but there are anecdotals showing slippage.

In the current NY Teacher, Retiree chapter leader Tom Murphy makes a last ditch effort to 'splain MulgrewCare.

A year ago Retiree Advocate ran against Unity in the chapter election and got 30% of the vote -- just short of 7k while Unity got 16k. I think they got 18-19K in the last election, so some slippage. 

And that was just as the story about MulgrewCare was coming out -- we didn't even campaign on that issue, so there were signs of slippage. So we assume a much bigger turnout this year - I'm guessing 27K - and I'd think that those a lot of these votes will be anti-Mulgew. 
[The growth and actions of Retiree Advocate itself is a new election factor which I talked about in part 1.]

The retiree vote is capped at 23,500 - which means if 47K voted, each vote will count .5 With 30K voting -- you'll have to do the math to figure out how much each counts. In this case it is important to note that both sides may get our their base so it might be a wash -- and assume that there is still a firm Unity base - and the harder sell Unity campaign this time and retirees are a key target, so they might have turned the tide with people who don't get to see the other side.
Could Unity get the usual 85%? It would shock me if they did. But what about 75 or 70%? Even that seems high because it would mean the 30% base RA set last year wasn't holding. To me Unity retiree vote total should either stay the same or slip from last year. If UFC goes up 5% to 35% of the vote, some would see that as a victory of sorts. Not me. Only 5% after all the MulgrewCare stuff? Now if UFC hits 40% or more, things get very interesting.
Let's give Unity their16k - but if they lose much more under their 16k from last year and that goes to UFC we are in a race. 
On the conservative side give UFC 38-40%. That would be a jump of 3k from the 7K last year to 10K this year with Unity getting only 15K. Remember - anything over 23.5K begins to fractionalize the retiree vote so with increased turnout that goes to UFC the actual numbers are soft - not 1-1.
A 50-50 retiree split would make the odds of UFC winning much better than the 100-1 some insiders have been predicting. 
And one more impact of MulgrewCare -- people working in the schools are saying the healthcare story has reached working UFT members and they are upset. The UFC campaign has been out there on the issue in an effective way -- so that must also be factored into the vote coming out of schools -- which we will address in another part.
#4 Mulgrew unpopularity
I've been beating this horse a number of times. When Unity people are splitting the ballot it is only because of him. He is unpopular because of poor decisionmaking, circling the wagons inside the union and making even Unity stalwarts feeling left out. There is a pile of resentment and even the usual suspects in the schools are having a hard time showing enthusiasm. In previous elections every candidate poted a photo of themselves with Mulgrew. Now you see none. 

Anecdotally, some big high schools where Unity CL have either not campaigned or done it tepidly.
James Eterno reminded me today of the 2001 election, Randi's second, where she pushed Unity into an all out campaign. And she roused her base and got out the vote -- in the high schools Unity got 3000. But the problem was that New Action roused their base and got 3400. Those HS numbers haven't been approached since - we will handicap the HS in a post coming up. BTW - the day after the vote count Randi called Shulman to congratulate him and offer him a speaker slot at an upcoming UFT rally. She wooed the oppostion and won them over. She has fantastic political skills. Can anyone see Mulgrew coming close to an act like that? And don't forger it was Mulgrew who busted up the alliance with New Action that Randi had worked so hard to forge. Imagine if Mulgrew had held onto that alliance.
Mulgrew's political skills are weak and he has a total failure of imagination. 
His total squeeze on democracy has been noticed and activated a core of pissed off people. Randi had the skills of managing the membership that he just doesn't have. But then Randi's big mistake, among many, was choosing Mulgrew in the first place and making him king.
Someone checked Unity campaign material from 2019 and 2016. Alnost every candidate had a photo of them with Mulgrew. Go search this year and you won't see a sign of Mulgrew.

Check  SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL and Halabi ( JD2718) blogs for lots on Mulgrew.


A few anecdotes:

Out of six politically uninvolved retirees I've spoken with over the past couple of weeks, all are voting UFC. I'm not talking about friends I talk to all the time, or RA members, or people who we reach with our mailing lists. I'm talking about people who usually don't even vote or who unthinkingly check off Unity if they do vote. Here's the encouraging thing for me: Even though three of those people did not realize there was a union election going on, all six were aware of Mulgrewcare and jumped at the chance to vote UFC. One of them who usually doesn't vote, had already mailed her ballot a couple of hours before I spoke with her. She didn't need a sales pitch from me. She was pissed off at Mulgrewcare, saw the word "Change" and that's how she voted.

Here's another anecdote: On Friday afternoon I took a walk to my local post office to mail my ballot. On the way I ran into a neighborhood acquaintance, Larry, an eccentric old-timer, sitting on his front porch. We exchanged hellos, and as we did the distant memory popped into my mind that Larry is retired UFT. (I usually don't relate to him in that way; I just kind of know him from dog walking and from the occasional gigs he plays in local bars.) So I held up my ballot envelope, told him I was walking to the PO to mail it, and asked if he had received his ballot. He hadn't; he wasn't even aware there was an election. I gave him a briefing, and as has happened so many times in these random encounters, this was the first he'd heard about United for Change, but it wasn't the first time he'd heard about Mulgrewcare. He told me he recognized Mulgrewcare was a scam from the moment he'd heard about it and that he had immediately opted out back in September. Now, he was very upset that he hadn't received his ballot. We exchanged contact info and when I got home I sent him the info to request his ballot from AAA. He can't wait to vote for UFC (and I will definitely follow up).

The encouraging thing from these anecdotal examples is that the Medicare Dis-Advantage issue seems to have broken through to the general retiree population. I was worried for the longest time that we wouldn't cross that threshold and the issue would remain in the echo chamber of the politically aware. I'm also really glad that we went with United for Change as our name (which was not my first choice). As in the example above, she didn't need to hear my spiel; all she needed was knowledge of Mulgrewcare and to see the word "Change" on the ballot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

How is UFT Election2022 different? Reason #1 UFC growth, #2 Unity defections

Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?  
How is this UFT election different from all other UFT elections?

1. On all other UFT elections, the opposition was either fragmented or even when working together were not very coordinated. This year United for Change breaks new ground.

2. Unity caucus votes almost unanimously. In this election we hear of split ballots or voting outright for UFC.

April 20, 2022 

I was interviewed by a reporter a few weeks ago and forced to think more deeply about this election and how it was different to the point my brain began to smoke. I was in a cafe at the time and didn't take notes, so I forgot what I said but I felt it was a good analysis. Little by little  it has begun to come back to me, mostly during nightmares.

So here is my first in a series with reasons number 1 and 2 -- out of about 10. They are in no particular order in terms of impact on the election - just listing them as they come to me - after I cool down from the cold sweats.

How is this Election Different from previous elections - #1 and #2 (with many more to come in future posts).

#1: The unique and inclusive United for Change coalition

We've had examples of coalitions in the past. NAC in 1979 and beyond. Three and then two separare caucuses had success in 1985 and 1991 especially, but each of the groups acted somewhat independently (though 1979 was special).  Mid-90s led to the merger of TAC and New Directions to form New Action but many (like me) sat these elections out. PAC formed in the late 90s and ran with NA but that was expedient. In the early oughts New Action began to buddy with Unity and TJC became active and we saw the formation of ICE out of the Ed Notes core. Both of them ran in some forms of coalitions in the 04, 07, 10 elections -- but completely separately. Barely worked together - and when they united to form MORE, there was lingering tensions.

So what makes UFC different? After all, it is an alliance of people who didn't get along in the past and there have been predictions of implosion after the election. I will do my best to build on the alliances to keep things going. That people enjoyed working with others outside their caucus is a positive. I suggest a big victory party no matter the vote totals. Victory for the very existence of the coalition. A beach is available three blocks from my house. Even Unity peoplr can come.

A tremendous level of  collaboration through various committees on just about everything while the individual caucuses continued to operate. There were bumps in putting so many different groups together - competition, political maneuvering, etc. Lots of meetings (most of which I avoided). The initial decision that all must agree - consensus can be a bitch but I've always maintained that consensus takes a long time but works out for the best in the end. The process took forever and probably led to delays in the campaign. If this ever happens again, the working relationships will be smoother. But that all depends on election outcomes. (More on that at the end of this series.)

For the first time people who didn't know each other or worked together have been doing so and seeming to love doing it. Win or not, some of these relationships forged will outlast the election. Despite some rough times getting things coordinated, I'd rate this a success. Even the wild west of lit distribution has had some organization with a spreadsheet we consult to see which schools are leafleted. 

Example: Last week I was walking to the subway and passed two high schools across the sreet from each other. I called one of the people I've been working with in MORE and she immediately checked and gave me the thumbs up to do them. I've been working very closely with this particular person and I just met her two months ago.

The tremendous growth of MORE by ten times over the past two years provides an army of in school contacts. I met up with one woman on the corner of my building on her way to a local school and handed her leaflets. The level of activity in getting out the votes will be major and I have no way of knowing how deep that work goes, but there are some good signs. 

Solidarity under the incredible leadership of Lydia Howrilka has shown enormous staying power and growth in terms of outreach, something I learned during petitioning and distribution. 

New Action has recovered from the 2019 disaster. They have very experienced leadership and a massive list of supporters, mostly retirees but also renewed signs of people in schools. Rising star and former Unity Nick Bacon deciding to join as co-leader and renewal of the NA blog with brilliant posts has been a difference maker.

ICE has fundamentally as a group worked with the other groups rather thaneparately but provides a consistent web site and a core of people who know the game. The Eterno clan is a force. Some of the newer people have identified themselves as ICE/Solidarity. I view ICE as the non-caucus - open to all, including people associated with Unity. We want to talk about issues and eat - rice pudding when available. Post election we want to meet and talk and eat and talk.

Retiree Advocate as a force

A 25 year old group. What is different this year? Retiree Advocate has become active in the election for the first time and consists of New Action, former MOREs and ICE and independents who became active over MulgrewCare. We demonstrated before UFC was even formed that this type of grouping can work together and be effective.

A year and a half ago we decided to make a big push in the 2021 Retiree chapter elections, recruited 130 people to run and captured 30% of the vote, almost double from the past - and this was just as people were finding out about MulgrewCare. The leadership of RA's committed band of activists over decades, plus some great U1T retirees who had never been active in the UFT before has inspired the in-service people from the different groups to work together by supporting the battle against MulgrewCare last spring with actions at the Delegate Assembly that continued this past year as RA demonstrated out side every DA.

Of course MulgrewCare fiasco deserves a bullet of its own. Coming soon #3.

And then there is the Educators of NYC network under Daniel Alicea who has been a force. That he voted for Unity just 3 years ago and has moved so far so fast is a bad sign for the union leadership. Which leads me to #2.

#2: Unity Caucus people splitting ballots or outright voting UFC 

In this election we hear from a small, skewed sample from a small poll of 4 Unity members:

One is voting UFC, two are splitting ballots, and one is undecided. These being friends may not be typical Unity - but these are Unity members, not just supporters, some with a full-time UFT and others with part-time jobs.

Way back a year ago we were hearing that inside Unity there was dissatisfaction with Mulgrew's leadership. He had shrunk the inner circle and was making decisions with a tight crew - and many of those decisions were cringe worthy.

Along with Daniel Alicea moving to oppo, Is Nick Bacon move from Unity to New Action a harbinger? From what I hear, Unity are very bothered by him and Daniel. They like to poach oppos and don't like the reverse.

I hear anecdotes from people with Unity connections. Mulgrew seems to be the issue and other than hardcore Unity, Camille seems to be liked.  But too few to make me feel there will be enough significant defections due to anti- Mulgrew feelings to make a crucial difference - unless the vote is close. Not being an optimist I take these numbers with a grain of salt. But these stories are the first time I've heard over many election cycles.

There is a difference this time -- some Unity members are splitting the ballot or voting for UFC. Enough to lose them the election? NO. But when added to other items in a close race it could make a difference. Mulgrew is very unpopular. Inside the core of the Unity machine preservation is primary. But on the fringes? Who knows.  Mulgrew himself deserves his own bullet as a difference maker. I expect Janella Hinds, HS VP candidate, to get many more votes than Mulgrew.

Yes, Mulgrew himself and his unpopularity is a difference from previous elections.
Coming next: 
Number of people activated, MulgrewCare, Mulgrew himself

Sunday, April 17, 2022

UFT Election 2022: Unity Caucus Theft of Service - District Reps are a Major culprit

UFT employees are paid with our dues. Using them in the election is theft of service. We have a right to attack. They retaliate when they attack UFC under the false accusations of theft of service during school time they are trying to foment a DOE investigation and are attacking the very members who pay dues.  

Sunday, April 17 --

First some good news from a source:
I have gotten a handful of surprising responses - 2 unity supporters voting our slate, 5 unity supporters who are splitting ballots. I have 7 retirees who have always voted unity voting the opposition for the first time.
Let's look at how the Unity machine cheats by using our dues to promote itself. District reps, fearing a UFC win which will make them run in an election, have been the biggest culprits. Fear of having to go back to the classroom if they lose if a motivating factor. 
  • Have you ever heard of one Unity employee quiting to go back to teaching because they loved the classroom so much?
The other day I was stuffing mail boxes with United for Change literature and the chapter leader introduced himself as he was stuffing Unity literature. He is not a Unity member but a first year chapter leader -- "I have to do what I have to do," hse said somewhat apologetically. Why was he doing it then? Because he feels vulnerable and knows he will need the district rep who asked him to put the lit in the boxes. We had a nice conversation. He had spend his first year teaching under an awful legendary principal and knew and respected the chapter leader, whom I told him was running with UFC. I hope we get his vote even if he feels he has to pay fealty to his Unity DR.

Therein lies the major election corruption the UFT/Unity machine engages in during elections. Theft of service and misuse of the power dynamic. It is abuse of the system.
I'm not talking about Unity chapter leaders electioneering in their schools (though see the afterburn). UFC people are doing the same. hough there are a lot more Unity CLs than UFC. This gives them an advantage but it is up to the opposition to recruit enough people to counter that. These Unity people may be part-timers but that is not a factor as long as they are not doing electioneering on that time -- but who knows?
  • One teacher reported going for a pension consultation and being emailed a Unity flyer by the consultant. A clear election violation.
The clearest violations are the use of full-time UFT employees through their power and influence to get the lit in every mailbox in the city. (Whether stuffing boxes is an effective vote getter is a subject for another time.) I find Unity leaflets in every school I go to.

Do non-Unity CLs feel obligated to stuff boxes? Hell yes. Many do. It is a blatant misuse of the power dynamic. In one district the DR called a chapter leader meeting and had a Unity CL hand out envelopes with Unity leaflets to every attendee with instructions to put them in the mailboxes.  At another DR sponsored Bronx event there were Unity leaflets on the tables. When a UFC person started to hand out leaflets the DR went ballistic and started screaming at her.
I also faced that dynamic when I became chapter leader with a hostile principal in 1994. The district rep was a nice guy who had been my chapter leader back in 1968. So we got along and even though I pushed back in many areas -- ie when he said he had to come to my school to sell the 1995 contract, I told him he couldn't have the entire meeting but we would debate.

The biggest impact of the Unity macbine using UFT resources may (if you believe lit helps) be felt in the elementary schools where most likely every single mailbox has been stuffed with Unity lit while UFC has not had enough resources to do the same. In every election there is a major gap in the elementary schools because the oppo is weakest. I think there are over 700 schools and Unity through it's District Reps has access to every one of them. 

Many elementary school teachers are not even aware of the election other than the Unity flyer they receive. If they open the ballot as opposed to putting it in the garbage can - and 75% do exactly that, they will see United for Change for the first time.

The voting totals in elementary schools will demonstrate the impact of campaigning in the schools. If UFC gets close to Unity totals that will teach us something - that the message got to peoeple through social media or word of mouth, But if the gap is as large as in the past the opposition starts reaching deeper into that division

Afterburn - When Unity Cls actively work to keep out oppo lit -

Good  morning—

On Friday, April 8, I visited XXXXXX elementary school to distribute election-related flyers in UFT members’ mailboxes. 

The school safety official who greeted me was very courteous. She explained she had to check with someone before allowing me to distribute the flyers. She spoke by phone with the school’s UFT representative who denied my request. 

I am including in this correspondence the fellow UFT member who originally advised me in this matter.

 UPDATE from FB:

As a 7yr CL through 2 elections, I can absolutely attest that what you write was my experience. In fact at the District CL meetings Unity nomination forms would be passed around without explanation, and nonchalantly asked to all sign. In addition the DR always demanded to attend a chapter meeting at election time, pure electioneering. Plus I'd get several super expensive mailings from Unity people [like Elementary VP] requesting that their informational flyers get distributed. Again pure electioneering on UFT dime. Often self indulgent swag would be included. UFT labeled plastic sandwich holders. Cheap UFT labeled water bottles.  UFT labeled key chains, etc...--  

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Register for TONIGHT (Apr. 14, 2022) 7PM Screening of our movie - "The Inconvenient Truth about Waiting For Superman" followed by a panel discussion - I'm on the panel

One of the highlights of my activist career was being part of the team that made this movie.
A reprise of the Grassroots Education Movement film so many of us worked on ten years ago, much of the material still relevant.
There is panel to discuss the film afterward hosted by Sam Anderson (who had so many great insights in the film) with Sam Coleman, Khem Irnby, Jose Alfaro and myself.

Watch this 7 PM screening of "The Inconvenient Truth about Waiting For Superman" followed by a panel discussion including educators and parents who are shown in the documentary and Q & A.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Eleven Reasons To Vote Out Unity - Why Only 11? - UPDATED April 15, 2022

April 14 update - Let me add the "Tenure binder" bullshit - I met a teacher whose binder was due today - busywork for teachers with not a word out of UFT/Unity which has allowed indignity after indignity to be loaded onto the backs of teachers.

Oh - and every secretary I speak to as I distribute lit says how awful it is for them compared to the days of yore -- UFC should have paid more attention to one of the most important people that keep schools running.

TEN - er- Eleven Reasons To Vote Out Unity
During the reign of Unity, the following changes were implemented...and not for the betterment of teachers.
1. Chapter leaders lost the right to elect district reps in 2003
In June 2003 the UFT Executive Board changed the District Representative position, an elected position for 34 years, to an appointed position. They had the right to do this since there is no mention of District Reps in the UFT constitution. Only chapter leaders voted in these elections and there were restrictions on who could run to current and former chapter leaders. Each school got a weighted vote based on size of school. And you needed 5 signatures of current chapter leaders on a petition to get on the ballot. During those 34 years every district rep was in Unity Caucus - except for one - the Manhattan HS rep from 1990-2000 and his replacement from 2000-2003 when elections were eliminated, mainly because of his election. UFC would institute an electoral system for District Reps in some form, including the possibility of  general election of all UFT members in the district based on open discussions with the membership even if Unity reps run and win.
2. Teachers lost the right to seniority transfers in the 2005 contract.
Seniority transfers allowed teachers who had accumulated many years of seniority to request a transfer to another school if there was a vacancy in the same license area. One had to choose three possible schools and could be assigned to any of they.  If they rejected the choice offered they were not allowed to reapply for two years. Most principals abhorred these transfers and often were able to hide vacancies.  I think the number allowed each year was limited. Their current principal could not stop the transfer and neither could the incoming principal. For many senior teachers who wanted to get out of their school or just wanted a school closer to home this was a rare opportunity to choose a school without, a very different system from open market, where senior teachers are at a disadvantage. Would UFC consider trying to reinstate these transfers? The DOE would resist this very strongly and UFC would have to make a strong case but also decide how high on the list of contract priorities this issue would be. Ending fair student funding which would remove the senior teacher salary stigma might be a more fruitful endeavor but finding a way to offer those who had put a great amount of time into the system an opportunity for a sort of Get Out of Jail Card would have beneficial effects. Another factor to consider is the open market system which allows teachers to transfer without needing principal permission.* - see below for an objection to seniority transfers and a response.
3. Third in the series of compelling reasons to vote out Unity: 

During the reign of Unity teachers lost the right to placement through seniority when excessed or when their school closed. After the 2005 contract they were forced into an ATR pool with no home school. This was a major loss that allowed Bloomberg to close a massive number of schools and throw staff into an ATR pool. Previously, the entire system based on licenses ran by seniority. If you were excessed you were automatically placed in a school and were able to bump less senior people. This was an important support mechanism in case of layoffs or schools being closed down. Once the need to place all the teachers in a school being closed was removed, it was “Katy Bar the Door.” The creation of the nomad ATR pool of mostly senior teachers has been one of the tragedies of Unity Caucus leadership. Bloomberg closed 150 schools and there was little Unity resistance until he closed a massive number in 2009. The UFT went to court and managed to salvage a few.

3a - supplemental --The impact of Bill Gates money on the closing of most big, comprehensive high schools in NY, especially in the Bronx and wide areas of Brooklyn, including almost all vocational schools. Instead of fighting the Gates plans - which he admitted years later to have failed, the Unity/UFT/AFT wildly welcomed and cheered Gates at the 2010 AFT convention in Seattle and hooted at the people who walked out in protest.
I taped the walkout and the booing by Unity -
Also see Mulgrew punch in the face video if you take his common core:
And a follow-up at the Dec 2015 Del Ass where Mulgrew brags about stopping common core --
4,5 - Teachers lost the right to file Step 2 grievances and to grieve letters in the file.
Also a 2005 contract loss. Teachers lost the right to grieve letters in files.
Principals don't have to face the music of a grievance when they put bogus letters in the file. The Unity Caucus just handed this over without a fight. 

6. Teachers lost 1.25 percentage points from 8.25 to 7% on their TDA accounts while supervisors in the CSA maintained the old rate. For every 100K in your account that is a difference of $1025 per year, compounded. Another way to look at it: At 8.25 you double your money in 8.74 years. At 7% it takes 10.24 years to double your money. What did you get for this major economic loss? I forget if it was a few extra days for the February break or the two days after Labor Day, not something you can spend in your golden years.
7. Teachers lost the right to traditional Medicare in retirement without paying an exorbitant fee for the same services they were receiving for free until a judge temporarily ruled in their favor. The deal to move retirees from a low-cost publicly managed system to a privatized profit making system was negotiated by Mulgrew
in a deal between the city and Central Labor Council where Mulgew is VP with the largest union and where he plays a major role. Mulgrew's stated goal was to save the city $600 million due to the fact the 2014 UFT contract used up $600 in the reserve stabilization fund due to Mulgrew's agreement to use that money to pay for teacher retroactive pay. 

Unity people who are brainwashed don't see the obvious outcome of moving people from a publicly managed to a private, profit making, high admin cost, high salaried exex, massive advertising campaigns (you don't see Joe Namath advertising Medicare). How does Aetna, etc make money? By denial of care and upcoding our conditions to ravage public money and undermine Medicare so they can get the whole ball of wax eventually. They play long-term, Unity plays the next 10 minutes.
8. Teachers keep losing ground in the pension system as succeeding tiers up to Tier 6 make things worse and worse for succeeding generations of teachers where the prospects of reaching retirement increasingly fade away.
9. Mulgrew gave unqualified support for the current evaluation system based on a faulty Danielson rubric that unfairly holds teacher ratings hostage to principals' ability to use observations as political punishment. Mulgrew also supported common core, high stakes testing and holding teachers accountable for student test scores, in addition to arguing that 4 observations were better than 2.

10. Untenured teachers' situation has seriously deteriorated, going from 3 to 4 years with the added power of principals to force teachers to sign extensions for a 5th and even 6th and 7th years or be fired. Teachers have to fill out an enormous amount of paperwork, much of it of no use - busy work. Mulgrew has accepted these changes as principals and superintendents use tenure extensions as a political football to demonstrate how "tough" they are. Add the lack of rights and union protections for the untenured, including the often unfair dreaded D -for discontinuance, often  career ending.

11. Tears for Tiers -- 60 Years of power, 6 pension tiers. One addition per decade.

There are more reasons to consider...but consider this...Mulgrew is being paid $336,452 annually. He makes more that Kathy Hochul. ( She makes $225,000). So, in reality we pay more to Mike to not represent our best interests. 
So vote United for Change. You can't afford not to!

Change in DR voting:

 * Seniority transfers - the bad teacher myth

I received this from a teacher who has a friend who pushed back on seniority transfers and her ambivalence about seniority and merit demonstrates how deep the ed deform anti- seniority myth of the bad teacher has infiltrated our ranks.

He believes that seniority transfers aren’t a good thing because schools could easily get stuck with ineffective teachers if based on seniority alone when someone else would be much more qualified. He said, shouldn’t principals be able to make choices for their own schools?,  I said well I think there should be a balance of power and principals now have all the power to hire people for all kinds of equally invalid reasons, eg less senior teachers are cheaper, or they want to hire someone for personal or political favors rewards for compliance to toxic leadership etc and do you think the ATR pool is a good thing  Did I miss anything  because in one sense he does have a point that seniority alone  may not the ideal sole deciding factor.  I’m not sure  know ideally how to balance other than maybe giving priority to senior people while still allowing for other merit-based criteria and maybe through an SLT process. 

I defend seniority over merit as the only system that really works even if we have some clinkers. We have seen how abusive principals can be even to tenured teachers. And merit is in the eye of the beholder. My defense of seniority as the only fair system even when a few bad eggs slip by because the principal judgement is too flimsy. If we elected principals I would have trust.

I responded:

He has a point if you take the principal side of things. What is the reality we faced? The overwhelming majority of seniority transfers were competent teachers with maybe a stinker thrown in here or there.
But that's like saying don't ever cross the street because someone got hit by a car or fly because some plane once crashed.
His view is all too typical of the attempt to brand the so-called "bad' teacher as the problem with our schools.
I saw teachers I'd rate from 1-10 on scales of competence. Most were 5-8. The 1s couldn't last anywhere.
So what he's doing is taking the CSA point of  view -- like principals have no way to get rid of a bad teacher?
But I forgot to include that there was a limit to seniority transfers in terms of numbers a year. Maybe 600?
I do not believe principals own the schools and teachers should have a right to be part of the process of whom they will be working with.
Also - the open market system was put in its place which is good for many people.
The old system - if you wanted a transfer -- non seniority etc - the principal had to give permission.
Principals used pass the lemons -- get rid of a teacher you don't like -- you see to them a  lemon coudl be a great teacher but one that speaks up and criticizes -- they want mice.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Join the Municipal Retiree Caravan to put a dagger in MulgrewCare - April 13th - March With the Truck from City Council to the UFT Outside the Delegate Assembly

We are planning some big events leading to the UFT ourside the Delegate Assembly where we will have a "meet the Mulgrews" event to celebrate the halt in MulgrewCare. He bailed out of meeting retirees om April 4 -

Mulgrew Turns Tail and runs from confrontation with retirees over MulgrewCare

And if you can't make it to City Hall at 2pm, join us at the UFT at 3:30 as we continue the event outside the Delegate Assembly! Speakers, Music, Masks, and More

Dear Friends:
We Municipal Retirees have fought back and won every legal case against the City to stop the plan to privatize our Medicare.
Comptroller Brad Lander rejected the contract after a careful review.
Despite all of this, Mayor Adams  is pursuing an appeal in court. The struggle to keep our Medicare is not over! 
We are continuing the fight!
Graphic reading: \

Image of one red tshirt and three facemasks branded withmessaging from Physicians for a National Health Program.

Wear your support with our Medicare For All face masks and Care for Every Body T-shirts!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

UFT Election 2022 - High schools up for grabs, Split Ballots May Affect close votes, anti-Mulgrew sentiment even within Unity will increase splits

"I just can’t bring myself to vote for Unity - I can’t stand Mulgrew. He caves on everything." I asked will he vote ufc - he said “honestly I don’t know - but I just can’t go to mulgrew”... Anonynmous

Either this person splits the ballot or doesn't vote at all. A lost vote for Unity if nor necessarily a vote for UFC. Don't discount the Mulgrew factor. I saw a comment from a hard core Unity person who urges people to vote for Unity while recognizing the Mulgrew handicap -- paraphrasing: We know he's a liability. We'll take care of him inside the caucus. Is a post-election palace coup coming?

Sunday, April 10, 2022
In the next few days UFT members will be receiving in the mail a serious sized booklet listing all the candidates running in the election (Ballots must be in by May 9.) The easiest way to vote is to choose one of the two slates on the front page, tear it off, put it in the envelope labeled SECRET BALLOT and put that envelope in the other envelope.You'd be surprised how many people do not use the SECRET BALLOT envelope and just put their ballot in the mailing envelope. Does this invalidate your vote? Possibly. 

But what if you want to vote for people from both slates or don't want to vote for some people on either slate? That is known as a split ballot and requires picking through the entire booklet putting check boxes next to each name. Each caucus has 12 officers, 90 Ex Bd plus 6 candidates faux E4E labeled WECU running for Ex Bd at large, plus one independent. Unity has an additional 650 and UFC 300 AFT/NYSUT delegates. Machines do the counting, so any screwed up marks on these ballots cause problems and even invalidation. Some people check a slate and vote for individuals -- which can invalidate the entire ballot - though as a member of the UFT election committee I will argue to only use the slate and ignore the rest as some people get confused and think they have to also vote for their friends. In every election there are numerous invalidations. (We've seen some slate votes with both boxes checked -- invalid).

Slate voting - I say YES
I have always argued for slate voting only rather than going through the laundry list of thousands of names who are running in UFT elections. When not active in the opposition I split my ballot but then learned in election count observations just how few there were and how we reported only the slate votes since the relatively few split ballots were never enough to change the outcome. You'd find that the lowest totals for a candidate on Unity to the highest total varies by a few hundred votes. Same for the opposition. But this time those few hundred votes can turn an election. Can you imagine a split ex bd?

For instance, in last year's Retiree election, the slate vote for RA was less than 7K and for Unity around 16K. But within each group there was a different total for each candidate. For RA, the well-known Michael Shulman got the most votes - over 7K. My vote total was somewhere in the middle of the pack. It made no real difference, except for some egos. But what if the election were closer - say Unity and RA roughly split the vote at 50-50 -- then those individual splits would decide the election with a mixed group from Unity and RA. One strategy we used in this election was to run some well-known retirees for Ex bd at large - their names will appear on very ballot. I didn't make the cut and will only appear for Ex Bd on functional ballots. My chances are slim and none given Unity's bigg

In 2019, with me being so pissed at MORE and not thrilled with any caucus, I did split my ballot -  I had no dog in the race - I just re-read what I wrote then and made some interesting predictions. An eclectic group for sure: 5 for Solidarity, 4 for Unity, 3 for MORE.

Worth reading.

My (2019) UFT Election Choices: Duke Breaks Bracket, Ex-MORES In Play on Unity Slate - Yes, My Choices are Personnal

An eclectic group for sure:
5 for Solidarity, 4 for Unity, 3 for MORE

But this time I do have a dog in the race and am urging people not to split the ballot and vote UFC slate. For those continuing critics of MORE many have been won over by the broader coalition of UFC - including some people who had left ICE for being too left a decade ago.  Dislike of Mulgrew and Unity Caucus is a uniting force - even if temporary.

One story:

I ran into a CL and original MORE while leafleting a school last week - he recognized me even with my mask on - and said he was considering voting for Unity - which was an eye-opener. He introduced me to a colleague and I sold UFC to them - or tried. I explained the coalition and he listened - he has been so anti-Unity all these years -- but he was mad at UFC over the DA disruption issues - even if they are minor. The funny thing is he hasn't been very friendly to me over the past few years and I thought it was because I left MORE but it was the opposite - he was mad at MORE. I explained there are some great new people in MORE who have changed the chemistry.

In my April 2019 piece I cited above I asked this Post-election question:

Will New Action still be alive and can some alliance between them and Solidarity plus ICEers and other non-MOREs be put together as a serious bulwark against Unity?

Given the MORE anti-working with other caucuses and dim view of the UFT election at the time, I never expected MORE to join a coalition. So win-win. The question for this election is what happens to the UFC post election? That depends on outcomes. If they win some ex bd seats the hope is they work together at UFC instead of caucus focus. Chances? 50-50.

However, who listens to me? Not THE DOENUTS BLOG -- a friend who I have consulted with through the years, despite some rocky moments - after this election I hope we use the favored method of bonding - a beer in a bar.

Here are two posts on splitting the ballot

I agree on Schitzer

Why I support Mike Schirtzer - only if you split the vote he's a must but please don't

I can't vote for Mike since I am doing slate, but if I did split he would get my vote as the only semi-independent on the Unity slate. Mike won with MORE in 2016 and with Unity in 2019 - I couldn't vote for him then because I am not a high school teacher -- but this time he is running for at large -- which I supported him all the way when he proposed it to Unity. Mike has been helpful to the oppo people when we needed a voice on the ex bd without offending his Unity sponsors. And when he made his pitch to Unity leaders he was open about working with both Unity and UFC. When we pushed for electronic voting Mike was there for us.

By the way -- I think Unity wanted Mike to run for HS Ex Bd because he brings some votes - the former MORE I met above was very bothered that Mike wasn't running with UFC - so he has fans. Mike told me beforehand he would not accept a position on the Unity slate if he had to run against his friends. That Unity gave him an at large is a sign of respect.

So if you do split the ballot - Mike is a must. But please don't split the ballot.

Why more splits this year? Dislike of Mulgrew and Unity fatigue but no commitment to UFC yet.

Saying that, I think this year there will be an uptick in split ballots. In the vote count the one page slate votes are counted very quickly while the booklets have to be unstapled and run through machines and can take an entire day.

But lets imagine a close election - take the high schools. There are 7 candidates for each slate. If you look at the past as I reported last night -UFT Elections: Illuminating Stats from the past - 

You will see that total high school votes out of 20k are about 5K -- 25% return. And often roughly evenly split -- separated by a few hundred votes. Skipping the abnormal 2019 votes, you can see that MORE/NA won with about 2350 in 2016 and Solidarity running non slate still got about 250 -- total oppo around 2500. Unity got under 2200.

So start with those numbers as a HS base for each group. If UFC only holds onto that base and Unity goes up, the split ballots could make a difference. UFC would have to surge -- there was a time that New Action topped 3K with Unity almost hitting that number 20 years back. Imagine if both groups rouse their base and 6 or even 7K vote? All bets are off. My ideal -- Unity gets its base and UFC surges toward 3k and wins with over 60%of the vote in the high schools. Am I predicting that? Hell no. But based on the past HS elections over decades, if UFC loses HS it will be slim while the potential to win big is out there. Unity is running a heavy campaign and Janella is popular and should have been the presidential candidate and will probably be next time.

I will do more analysis in the coming days. I may be on another podcast talking about the election and was interviewed by a reporter who is pitching the story.


Just for giggles: 

In my research I came across this 2017 post from a real life fiddler: Unity Fiddles While High Schools Unrepresented - Oct. 2017.

2016 UFT Elections: Winning the High Schools - Part 1

UFT Elections 2016 Historical Analysis: Winning the High Schools, Part 2 - The 2014 MORE Retreat