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: http://bit.ly/ufcvote

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