Thursday, May 19, 2022

UFT Elections 2022 - Norm takes a deep dive into #UFTelections2022

Look for further election analysis in my appearance on Noah Teachey's PD Podcast coming soon. Quick takeaways:
  • Unity got slammed, losing votes in all divisions compared to the past.
  • I thought newbie UFCers who actually thought we would win would be crushed - instead many were excited and already talking about 2025.
  • UFC didn't pick up what Unity dropped (except possibly in retirees and a little bit in high schools), just about matching the 2016 oppo numbers. Beware of those calling this a great victory. At this rate of growth I will be 121 when the oppo wins in 2046.
  • UFC gained from 2019 oppo disaster and restored a sense of an opposition, getting the most votes the oppo has ever gotten, winning the high schools with 55% and almost winning the middle schools with 44% and closing the gap in elementary and winning 33% overall, the closest in a long time.  Despite the gains, UFC did not get out the vote as well as I expected. I began the campaign thinking we could win all three teaching divisions. While we did get 44% of the teacher vote, that is due mostly to Unity's failure to bring out its vote, not due to UFC getting a big turnout - matching 2016 is still status quo - as iw winning the 7 HS Ex Bd as we did in 2016. Let's say UFC could win in 2025 or 2028 -- with these numbers? I'm not sure there is enough of a union underneath to deliver.
  • Possibly the biggest achievement of the 2022 election may be the very existence of a United for Change broad coalition. While formed as a temporary vehicle for this election, there are signs UFC will continue in some form while giving each caucus space to develop. The 7 electeds represent all the groups and the candidates have pledged to continue working together. I love that they come from MORE, Solidarity, New Action, ICE - but also they are broad-minded to see outside their own caucus. Preliminaty meetings indicate excitement at working together.
  • Is spending enormous time and money flooding teacher mail boxes with lit - for both Unity and oppo - really worth it. Also - we thought social media would bring out votes -- it didn't. Few will agree with me on these points but I will continue to stand by them. The numbers prove it.
  • Read my pre-election comments posted July 2021:

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tuesday night I made my third appearance on Noah Teachey's PD Podcast. I could spend hours talking to Noah - and I did - I think I wore him out and he was about to nod off. I talked his ear off with my analysis of the UFT election. When he releases the podcast in a week or so, it will echo many of the things I say here - but with my heavy Brooklyn accent. When I let Noah talk he asked excellent questions. I will post a link when it is ready.
My info is coming from the work of Jonathan Halabi on his blog. Here are his last few posts.

Turnout: It's not just apathy 
Jon goes deep into turnout questions. I hear people in oppo say the biggest issue is apathy about the union. I don't agree - it's apathy about the union elections and general cynicism about elections and caucuses. Many refuse to vote consciously - they don't think it will make a difference.

Then there are the numbers of people who wanted to vote and didn't get ballots plus the number of late ballots that came in. See below at the end of this article for an example from a guy who wanted to vote UFC.

Below are his charts for functional, retiree, elem, ms and hs, with numbers going back to 2004. You have to be UFT election freaks like us to dig into these numbers.

Let's go division by division. I suggest some reforms along the way.

Retirees - massive turnout - over 27K - the UFT is weakened with well over half the total votes come from the no longer working, Unity is strengthened. Lesson retiree impact on elections.

UFC got almost 8K, just short of 30%, which is the highest total by far in a general UFT election. Most attribute that vote to Mulgrewcare, but I don't see it that way. In last year's RTC election we also got 30% and Mulgrewcare was just being announced. I assumed we would go up to 35% or more. this year. But Unity was helped by the plan not being implemented due to the court case and Mulgrew tried to run away from it -- and in some ways was successful. Imagine of the opt-outers were paying $200 a month on Jan 1? It seems even Unity people who were unhappy came home. In the over 3K new votes this time, my guess is UFC and Unity split them with an edge to Unity -- which is sort of good but disappointing as I had hoped we would get a bigger chunk. Unity went all out organizing retiree chapters all over the nation -- all dominated by Unity retirees. 
I don't see us moving much beyond the 30% in the future and may in fact see a slippage. Unless Mulgrewcare is implemented. Watch outcomes in the RTC election in 2024 as Retiree Advocate remains active in the RTC chapter and as a crucial part of UFC.
Since only 50K voted overall and retirees had 27k of that - leaving in service total at 23k - it is clearer than ever that the entire UFT is under the thumb of the rigidly controlled  RTC chapter. We need drastic reform. I would lower the threshold for retiree votes from 23.5K to a sliding scale where retiree votes cannot count for more than 25% of voting totals. Some say they should not count at all but at this time that is going too far. A sliding scale could work but I would give them two ex bd and a possible ADCom VP for retirees. They are still an important component of the UFT and while they should not be able to control the entire election, we should recognize their worth, especially since I am one and have nothing better to do in life than UFT politics.

Functional - worst turnout, drop for Unity, 32% for UFC. 
It's hard to figure out this division which also included retirees - which is so weird  and makes it impossible for oppo to win these 19 Ex bd seats.  Also included is the massive mumber of Dist 75 people. Makes no sense. Teachers should vote in their division, not functional. We need to press for this reform.
Another major reform would be to separate out and report on each funct chapter and pull out retirees and give them and each functional their own ex bd seats.  Ie. - Guidance, secretaries, social workers, OT/PT etc each get an es bd seat based on their division vote. Unity doesn't want this - let's push for this reform, even if we have to expand the Ex bd.

UFC did about the same as MORE/NA/Sol did in 2016. We had hoped to make inroads due to the OT/PT chapter and some key social workers running. I think we missed an opportunity with secretaries -- I spoke to many on my distribution routes and they have a lot of complaints. One thing I thought of but too late -- have UFC people talk to their own school secretaries and other functionals in their own buildings and try to build a network. I hear that there are union organizing trainings people go through. They seem to leave out such fundamentals as talking to people at this level. UFC still got 32%, a record, due to the big drop in Unity votes.

Elementary - UFC had a shot but it was long

I began the campaign thinking we could win this even though the gap from 2016 was massive --5K vote difference. Unity got 7K and we got 2.5k in 2016. I was hoping Unity would look like 2013 with 5K and we could double our 2016 with a strong campaign. 

It didn't happen and we missed a big opportunity as Unity dropped under 5k and we didn't even match 2016. I thought UFC had more outreach in elementary but if we did the GOTV didn't work. I got indications early on with the lack of contention in UFC by the caucuses for Elem Ex bd positions that there was not a sense of winning and when we struggled with petitions early on in that division, I pretty much gave up on winning this division.

34K elem ballots were sent out -- a lot of places to mine in the future. The oppos has a lot of work to do in elementary school. My suggestion: Choose a few key districts where UFC people have decent elem numbers and expand their networks with a local outreach program. Otherwise 2025 will be the same.


Middle school - Close but no cigar - Unity failure, but UFC makes no progress

We have election violations complaints but not enough to claim we lost due to those. I know there were schools where we could have/should have flushed out enough votes to win.

We thought we could win this and aimed our leafleting campaign at middle schools and literally got nothing more than we got in 2016. We barely cracked 900 votes in the entire MS division which has almost 11K. Unity totals were also abysmal --1200. We had 4 great Ex Bd candidates and it is a real shame we couldn't come up with 300 votes. I hear the biggest celebration inside Unity was that Daniel Alicea would not be on the Ex Bd -- after having voted for Unity in 2019, he became a leader of UFC and some in Unity seem to despise deserters. Unity isn't happy with HS winner Nick Bacon, still technically an elected Unity from 2019.

High Schools -- 55% for UFC waa big - I was hoping for 60%.

Ok - I'm a tough grader. Unity got slammed - under 2K - and they really wanted to win this one and there was great disappointment inside the fortress because HSVP Janelle Hinds is popular and people see this as a defeat for her personally. 

Remember, her opponent Jonathan Halabi got 600 more HS votes than she did and pre-1994 he would be on the adcom - as her 2016 opponent James Eterno who got more HS votes than her would have been hten. (Unity changed the rules after Shulman won in 1985 to at large.) 

Considered in the running as a Mulgrew successor, her fans at 52 and beyond were supposedly devastated by this loss. What were they thinking? Unity has fundamentally lost the high schools for almost 4 decades. If we had lost this time, UFC would have very little future. 

I'm adding this point to original post: Unity recruited candidates for HS seats with intention of winning: they chose big school CL or former CLs. They were turned down by some people they asked. Jonathan and I estimated they would bring in some votes. They didn't. Does that reflect Unity failure? Did their own schools come out for them but few others? Or did their own colleagues reject Unity?

Still -- over 21k high school ballots mailed, we have loads of people in the HS and we end up with 2500 votes? We won but UFC people shouldn't risk dislocating their shoulders by too much patting themselves on the backs. Instead, figure out how to get 3-4K in future elections for HS to make up shorfalls in other divisions for a real shot at winning it all. 

A major satisfaction is the election of Nick Bacon who ran with Unity and won for AFT in 2019. He was recruited by his Dist Rep. Imagine the egg on face. Unity seems to hate Nick almost as much as Daniel Alicea. Both of them were keys to bringing UFC together. While we see a number of former oppo people on the UFT Ex Bd with Unity, we now have our own reverse example in Nick -- maybe the first time we've seem an ex bd person go from Unity to oppo.

More from Jonathan

UFT Election Turnout: Four Charts

Let’s dive into the UFT election results. Let’s start with turnout. (For the beginning of the analysis, click here)

Votes Cast tells us more than Turnout Percentage

UFT Election Turnout: Some Observations

How many ballots were never received? How many came in late and weren't counted? Will we ever know?
Hi Norm, I just received my UFT ballot today [May 13] ,what should I do?  I asked for a replacement at 5:30 pm on the day of the deadline [April 25]  to ask for a replacement ballot. I was told it was too late but they sent me a ballot anyway.  Thanks Bill 

Let's see -- He asks for a ballot a half hour after deadline and receives it 19 days later. When did AAA send it out? Why?


Jonathan Halabi said...

Thanks Norm. I am resuming analysis today. Some will match yours. I take some different angles as well. I think the scale of the Unity loss, since it is slow-motion, needs to be drawn out more fully.

ed notes online said...

I agree - erosion of Unity in schools. But also why people don't vote needs deeper analysis. I think more conscious choice than we think.

ed notes online said...

I'm adding this point to original post: Unity recruited candidates for HS seats with intention of winning: they chose big school CL or former CLs. They were turned down by some people they asked. Jonathan and I estimated they would bring in some votes. They didn't. Does that reflect Unity failure? Did their own schools come out for them but few others? Or did their own colleagues reject Unity?