Sunday, March 19, 2023

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH DA - UFT Leadership Separates from Reality - Strikes are for the Wealthy, Sill(y) comments, LeRoy Bombast, Pattern Bargaining is wonderful (for leadership), Arrogant snowflake Unity Leaders Talk Down to Members

Being Critical is Political - UFT Leadership Mantra to critics telling them to STFU

We have seen an uptick in aggressive attacks on opposition voices by some in the UFT leadership, accusing them of playing politics when they raise critical issues. While not a new tactic, used by authoritarians over the decades to paint critics as "the other", recent variations have escalated at the Exec Bd and DA and on social media. "We do the work" is their mantra and when that work is criticized, they take umbrage. Like we know Mulgrew is doing the work - for the city and Aetna. And when union officials ignore and bury complaints from schools, they want a free pass. 

In the meantime, the real work continues.  

As per Article V, Section 10 of the UFT Constitution, we call for a membership-wide vote for any significant changes to active and/or retired members’ healthcare.

Mulgrew has a weighed vote on healthcare at the MLC using our total members as leverage, as if we actually have a say. Politicians believe him -- that members are OK with these changes. We can force a referendum on health care related changes by using

The Unity assassins were out celebrating the Ides of March at the Delegate Assembly with plastic knives. As we speak, union officials are combing through ancient UFT scrolls blacking out the word Strike. 

"In 1967, UFT members went on strike extended the summer vacation by two weeks. They did the same by 3 months in 68." 

Reminds me of Florida new curriculum where Rosa Parks was not black and was asked to go to the back of the bus because she didn't have a ticket.


NYC Educator on Mulgrew
Ethics-Shmethics--The Mike Mulgrew Story - *Chapter 21--I Scuttle Health Care for Members*

Nick (New Action) and James (ICE) have the DA dope:


    If I am not the president, the next president will have a big say in how this is done. Aetna saying they have the best Medicare advantage program in the country. They are excited about it....Michael Mulgrew, Mar. 15, 2023 DA

And UFT members are  equally excited about Mulgrew not being president. Is he sending a signal? Let the Unity hunger games begin. Mike Sill made his move at the DA by lauding the history of the UFT, which has never had a strike.

Sunday, March 19

James Eterno called me to say MORE used the old Norm tactic at DAs of amending Unity resos. I used to get the floor by calling out "speaker against" on resos they thought no one would oppose. "I'm against this pablum joint Unity/New Action reso because it sucks." They were shocked. And I was approached by a union official afterwards that Randi complained my scornful approach didn't show proper respect. I had mocked their "we plead" context at Bloomberg goons instead of telling them to go fuck themselves.
I was spared the mahem on Wednesday by staying outside the DA, as usual, handing out a leaflet calling for the above referendum on healthcare issues. I had some interesting conversations. One guy seems to have pretty much bought the Mulgrew line. The perception is that retirees are the ones affected and people don't look too far into the future. Medicare will be gone by the time most of them reach 65, with a plastic knife in the back from Et Tu Mulgrew.
Retiree Advocate had a good leaflet, as did New Action.
And Kate Conners from MORE was handing out info on the NY Health Act. She and I talked about the segment Brian Lehrer did with State Senator Gustavo Rivera who explains how that's the real way to save money, not MulgrewCare. 

She said she would raise the issue with Mulgrew and she did by asking him to talk to Rivera. He refused.Mulgrew's commitment to higher costs through privatized healthcare is firm. I hear he made some comment that hinted he may not be running for president again. Maybe that board position at Aetna is looming. 

Nick reports:
Kate Connors had an extremely interesting exchange with Mulgrew over the NY Health Act, where he bizarrely hid behind the need for a reso to support it, despite the UFT DA already having passed such resos twice.
Rules, schmules.

It was cold on Wednesday - how are we letting them get away with not letting us give our lit in the lobby like we'd done for decades? Or not allowing us to observe the DA from the 19th floor? So I left at 5 and went into Whole Foods to get some hot soup. 

It was only when I got uptown to my apartment when I started reading accounts of the DA. A MORE member used an old tactic I used to use by amending a mom and apple pie reso on UFT history by suggesting the UFT origin story and growth of power were based on strikes and strike threats in the 60s. ( I was on the 67, 68 and 75 strikes - but too young for the 60 and 62. )
Note the vote totals for opening up Taylor Law discussion, despite LeRoy Barr misleading obfuscation.
Here is Nick's report on that part of the meeting.

Michael Sill: Honored to support the resolution speaking in favor of UFT’s anniversary. Asks founders of union to stand for a round of applause (standing ovation). 60 years ago, we faced off with the DOE on contract. That had never happened before. 1960 may seem like an abstract concept. Many teachers we meet elsewhere don’t have collective bargaining rights. They might have consultation rights, but can’t do anything on salary/vacation days. Teacher I spoke to makes 30k; at end she’ll make 35k. She pays a premium for healthcare. That’s life without collective bargaining. Our founders looked around them and saw tons of groups, divided by subject, age, ethnic background, vision. They wanted to bring these groups together. They built a whole wing onto the house of labor. Without them, maybe the Florida teacher might have seen my salary and thought I had it bad. These aren’t mythical creatures. Standing ovation.

James Cole: Rise to make an amendment. Adds one whereas about the key role of the strike, without which we couldn’t have formed. Also resolved to fight for right to strike, now illegal. 1960 wasn’t just a vote that brought us together – there was a strike. And in doing so, we were able to win collective bargaining rights. Over the years, those have been codified in law, but with draconian anti-strike clauses. Strikes brought us real raises – not 3%. Currently there are legislators who are working to amend the constitution. We improve our collective bargaining but winning the right to strike.

LeRoy Barr: Rises in opposition. Acknowledges who were here. With respect to amendment, if case where contract was going to go away, would you go on strike? Gives some other examples. There are reasons we would go on strike, break the Taylor Law. This union was built on the strike we had in 1960. If we didn’t ask to get rid of Taylor Law. Without the Taylor Law, we would have lost the contract. Can romanticize going on strike. Understand what you’re asking for – people will go on strike.

Maggie Joyce: Taylor Law protects our contract. Other districts HAVE to go on strike. Chicago went on strike to get what we have. Remember when we were about to go on strike? My husband can support me, but I have paras who support their entire families. A lot of people here live paycheck to paycheck.

Nick Bacon: speaks in favor. This amendment DOESN’T ask to repeal the entire part of the Taylor Law, just the anti-strike clause. We’ve been affected by this clause. We got an email during the beginning of COVID that we had to go in – not take sick days – or we might lose the automatic payment of dues. That’s the Taylor Law. This reso doesn’t mean we’re going to strike – it just asks the UFT to push for our right to be able to do so if we need to. Others have said that we’d strike if issues were big enough, but right now we have the opposite issue – we’re getting so little (from collective bargaining), such as 3% raises, that our members feel the opposite of mobilized to take actions. Let’s join many other unions in this country in simply having one more tool in our union toolkit – the right to strike.

Question called on amendment. Yeses: 271; Nos: 363; Room: yeses: 37; nos: 148. 38% yes, 62% no. Failed.

Eterno report:

Honor UFT for 63rd birthday.

Mike Sill speaks in support of honoring the UFT on its 63rd anniversary. Honors founders. Look elsewhere in the country to see collective bargaining rights don't exist in many places. Some only have consultation rights, some nothing. Teacher makes $30,000 a year and maxes out at $35,000. Premium for healthcare. That was reality before 1960 in NYC. 106 groups represented teachers. Brought groups together. Built wing on house of labor. 

Amendment to add that we went on strike to get those collective bargaining rights and we want to negotiate to get that right to strike back. Strike to get real raises. State assembly and state senate people are working to get amendment passed to legalize right to strike for public sector workers. Honor founders by passing this amendment.

Leroy Barr opposes the amendment. Grateful for what our founders have done and continue to do. There are reasons we would go on strike in spite of the Taylor law if they tried to take away the Taylor Law like if they cut our pay in half or we had to work Saturdays.  Another Unity person agrees with that. Hard to get people on board with striking in 2020 with COVID. Says strikes are for the privileged.

Nick Bacon says that there is a problem with the Taylor Law. We are only trying to push getting rid of this part of the Taylor Law prohibiting strikes, a fundamental human right. We have to have the right to strike. We need that one union tactic  back to be able to strike. We haven't had a strike since 1975 and this is not calling for a strike.

Vote to close debate on all matters passes. 

Vote on amendment:

On Phone 271 to 363 No

In the Room I can't hear numbers.

38% vote for amendment.

38% in a DA often translates into 10% higher with general members. The UFT leadership attempt to distract from any chance to raise the issue is indicative of how they see the Taylor Law anti-strike provision as protection for themselves from even having to raise the issue.

In the meantime, Nick just posted this:

Why doesn’t UFT leadership want us to have the right to strike?

And I saw that Transit Workers are calling for changes in the Taylor Law. 

And this from Europe:





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