Thursday, June 9, 2022

UFT Elections 2022: United for Change Files 71 pages of Election Violations by Unity/UFT - Select Morsels


We never delved deeply enough into the Unity vote suppression -- from rejecting electronic voting to the large number of people who never got a ballot and the limited time frame for replacements. Untity figured that if someone were asking for a replacement, it must be a UFC supporter as we were the ones rounding people up. Here is a doozie:


  1. The UFT’s internal Election Committee is not impartial and presents significant conflicts of interest:


    For the 2022 UFT election, the UFT election committee was composed of the Election Committee Chair, an Election Committee Secretary, and thirteen (13) Committee members. The Election Committee Chair and 62% or eight (8) of the thirteen (13) Committee members were Unity caucus candidates; the Election Committee Secretary was also a member of the Unity caucus. The UFT’s General Counsel also attended the meetings to offer legal rulings.

    Election Committee meetings started at 4:30 pm, which made it difficult for any Committee members who are in-service full-time at schools to attend. The only Committee members who are in-service full-time at schools were candidates for and representatives of the United for Change coalition slate.

    The Election Committee Chair participates in UFT Election Committee meetings while working as a paid employee of the UFT. The eight (8) Committee members who are Unity caucus candidates participate in UFT Election Committee meetings as representatives of the Unity caucus while working as paid employees of the UFT, thereby violating the federal regulations set forth in bullet point #7 under the heading Requirements in “Chapter 5: Candidates” of the U. S. Department of Labor's publication Conducting Union Officer Elections, which state, "Union/employer funds and resources of any type may not be used to support the candidacy of any person in a union officer election...”. 


The Election Committee Chair works in the same building [UFT Headquarters at 52 Broadway] in which these meetings are held; as the eight (8) Unity caucus representative members work as UFT Representatives, they have increased flexibility to be at the UFT Headquarters building relative to the in-service teacher United for Change representative members, thereby facilitating the Unity caucus representative members’ attendance at such meetings.

There is grave concern that the composition of the UFT’s internal Election Committee, the actions of the eight (8) Committee members who are Unity caucus candidates, and the fact that the General Counsel, the Election Committee Chair, and the eight (8) Committee members who are Unity caucus candidates are all employed by the UFT, violates Title IV (29 U.S.C. 481) Section 401 (c) of the LMRDA, which states, “Adequate safeguards to insure a fair election shall be provided...” 

-- Excerpt from Election complaints.


Thursday, June 9, 2022,
 
Monday I sent the document to UFT Election Chair (and Manhattan borough rep) Carl Cambria, UFT Secretary (and Unity Caucus head) Leroy Barr and UFT lawyer Beth Norton. Cambria and Barr are Unity Caucus members and were candidates on the Unity slate in the election. Yet they are doing an "impartial" investigation?

I believe they have 30 days to issue their results, at which point we move on to the AFT and after that to the Department of Labor. Some are marginal but I agreed with throwing in the kitchen sink.

We had to get this in before the 30 day time limit since the elections ended was up.

I've been one of the 5 UFC people on the election committee and have faced the frustrations of serving there -- But I learned a lot about the process and if I ever did it again I would be much more aggressive and also proactive after learning up close as to how Unity operates. I could even see a boycott of a bogus election committee - like who gives a shit if we draw first or last for placement in the NY Teacher? Or order on the ballot? But we did make some moves to get info and raise issues. Our call for district reports was accepted though our call for school reports on voting per centages was declined.
 
I have gotten way behind the issues - the June 6 Ex Bd and the June 8 DA, plus all kinds of general issues.
[Monday was out 51st Anniversary - a stay at home for the first time in decades because my wife has a broken bone in her foot but still managed to make a delicious surf and turf. Then Wednesday I attended the funeral/memorial at Greenwood Cemetery for a 107 year old remarkable woman. And I was added to the cast at the Rockaway Theatre Company for the upcoming Kiss Me Kate. So excuse the delay for this important piece of info.]
There is too much in the report to put into one blog post -- and James will be also posting on the ICE blog.
 
Let's face it, they stuffed every mailbox in the city and lost many votes from even last time. Their margin came with the retiree and elementary votes. 

Do I believe UFC would have won if Unity had followed the rules? Maybe not, though with Retirees I think they had a lot of acccess that we did not through their Unity controlled outposts around the nation and the way they ran remote retiree chapter meetings. This is not part of the complaint but probably should have been. We got 30% of the retiree vote - imagine if we hit 50% - a new ballgame. I may not argue we would have gotten 50% if we could rebut the Unity sales pitch -- but maybe 40% and that would have given us over 10K retiree votes and pushed us over the 35% mark of total votes. 

Will the threat of going to Dept of Labor force reforms? Probably not, but by publicizing among UFT members, it will raise the idea that Unity is an entity of lack of democracy.

So why are we documenting these violations? There may come a day where the oppo is close enough to win and the Unity machine will actually attempt to steal the election and this document is a cease and desist order and also blueprint for the future where my hope is the oppo lays all this out up front before the election begins.

My contributions to the document, put together by Christina Gavin, a key player in the election, whose  activism around this issue had made her a particular target of Unity - an that  itself has generated a bunch of complaints on her part), has been a focus on the way Unity set up the election committee (8 Unity, 5 UFT, with a Unity Caucus chair), a tainted complaint process where Unity is judge and jury, and the actions of Unity district reps. I reported on Christina's actions, which have broken new ground in the oppo election response. Christina Vs The Unity Caucus Machine - At May 23 UFT Ex Bd.  Kudos to her.
 
Here are a few select items -- more to come soon.
  • UFT employees/Unity caucus candidates used personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for electioneering on the part of the Unity caucus in violation of UFT election rules set in writing via e-mail by UFT employee Manhattan Borough Representative/UFT Election Chair/Unity caucus candidate, Carl Cambria, on January 31, 2022:
  •  
    Members of the United for Change coalition were denied access to school mailboxes at thirty-nine (39) schools to distribute campaign literature in violation of the LMRDA, Chancellor’s Regulations D-130 § I. B. 4. a., the Policy for Union Visitor Posting of Election Fliers published in Principal’s Digest on December 7, 2021, and the January 18, 2001 Memorandum from the Office of Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining:
  • Postal mail:

The UFT has violated this federal requirement by repeatedly providing inaccurate information to UFC candidates regarding distributing campaign literature by postal mail from UFC’s initial inquiry made on February 7 over the course of fifteen (15) e-mails, one (1) meeting, and one (1) letter until the final message providing accurate information was received on March 16, which was

fifty-six (56) days after the election began on January 19. For a period of thirty-seven (37) days, the UFT adamantly provided inaccurate information to UFC candidates regarding the distribution of campaign literature by postal mail.

E-mail:


The UFT has violated this federal requirement by not notifying candidates, caucuses, or coalitions of the procedures for distributing campaign literature by sending multiple e-mails until a March 29 meeting, which was seventy (70) days after the election began on January 19


UFT employee Manhattan Borough Representative/UFT Election Chair/Unity caucus candidate Carl Cambria and UFT General Counsel Beth Norton insisted that attendees were required to inform the UFT by the end of the following business day, March 30, if they wished to opt into the paid multiple e-mail plan, in violation of the federal regulations set forth in bullet point #4 under the heading Common Pitfalls in “Chapter 6: Distributing Campaign Literature” of the U. S. Department of Labor's publication Conducting Union Officer Elections, which indicate that a union can commit an election violation by “imposing a deadline for making requests to mail literature and, as a result, refusing to comply with an otherwise reasonable request.”


During their March 29 meeting, Mr. Cambria and Ms. Norton adamantly stated that whether or not any candidates opted into the paid multiple e-mail plan, the only thing that the UFT would send out on candidates’ behalf would be a link to a PDF that the candidates had prepared. United for Change had requested to send out full-color formatted e-mail messages with graphics; the UFT refused this reasonable request in violation of the federal regulations set forth in bullet point #6 under the heading Requirements in “Chapter 6: Distributing Campaign Literature” of the U. S. Department of Labor's publication Conducting Union Officer Elections, which state, “A union may not regulate the contents of campaign literature it is asked to distribute ... The union may not censor campaign literature in any way.”


See additional details in Appendix H.



  • The UFT inappropriately allocated campaign advertising space in The New York Teacher union newspaper in violation of the terms of the election as voted upon and accepted by the UFT Election Committee:


  • In the April edition of The New York Teacher, the UFT inappropriately allocated a two (2) page spread to the six (6) WE C U candidates, in violation of the terms of the election as established in January, which state, “Slates- Each caucus gets two facing pages....” and “Independent candidate ads are 4.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches tall.”

    Additionally, the UFT inappropriately placed the ad for the six (6) WE C U candidates in the final position, in violation of the terms of the election as established in February whereby the UFT Election Committee had agreed that the UFC slate’s ad would appear last.



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4 comments:

  1. Really, Norm, first you go on about Christian Glavin without noting that she was the person who filed the charges against Janella Hinds falsely accusing her of electioneering on union time. And now you are telling us that Unity candidates shouldn't be able to use their personal Twitter and Facebook accounts to campaign for election -- for some reason. What were you and all the UFCUFT candidates doing? Were all of your personal Twiiter and Facebook accounts that campaigned for election hijacked?

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  2. Obfuscation and distraction. Uft employees - people we pay out of our dues. District reps abused the process. They have power over teachers. One of them in essence threatened not to rep a teacher because of his association with me. As for the charge against Janella that was an admitted mistake, apology offered and accepted. It was unity people who claimed the mistake was racist by another black woman - and I do note the vehemence of attacks on Christina and Camille by Unity. A hint of racism at the so called angry black woman. Like the unity hack at that d 7 event who felt threatened by Christina being behind her. If Christina were white wouid she have felt threatened?

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  3. Hi Saturday Anonymous,

    My name is Christina; not Christian.

    If you were more informed, you might know that no “charge” was filed against Janella Hinds. An inquiry was made and a follow-up inquiry was made too, based on the fact that Mr. Cambria and Ms. Norton had at several junctures in the election provided misinformation, even when asked repeatedly.

    Seven times over the course of 37 days Mr. Cambria (informed by Ms. Norton) adamantly told UFC candidates that the UFT was not a nonprofit organization, for example. They also informed representatives of all candidates & Marie Wausnock that the UFT’s Communications and Accounting departments have said that it costs $11 to send each email when asked about the cost to send an email to a portion of membership.

    Asking twice was no reflection on Ms. Hinds’ character but was based solely on the repeated instances of off-the-cuff wrong answers from Mr. Cambria and Ms. Norton, as I later told Ms. Hinds myself in a phone conversation about this topic.

    Indeed Ms. Norton herself stated that no complaint had been filed against Ms. Hinds, but “an inquiry that may lead to a complaint” had been sent to the UFT.

    You write to Norm “you are telling us that Unity candidates shouldn't be able to use their personal Twitter and Facebook accounts to campaign for election -- **for some reason**”

    UFC did not say this for **some or no reason,** as you falsely claim. On January 31, Mr. Cambria had emailed UFT employees “reminding” them that they were not permitted to use the same accounts to both communicate with members in their roles as representatives of the union and campaign for candidates/caucuses. Was this an unreasonable directive for him to give? Arguably. Was it a UFT directive given by the UFT Election Chair to UFT employees? Undeniably.

    Perhaps you should spend less time making uninformed statements from behind anonymous accounts; it might help you to be less wrong in your future commentary.

    ReplyDelete

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