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.

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