Tuesday, May 30, 2023

UNITY Caucus Contract Gaslighting, Show Rallies, Mulgrew postures on a strike, Why Vote NO Will Win a Better Contract, UFT Election Officials Refuse to Reveal Para Election Numbers

Tuesday May 30 - Too much news to report, but here goes anyway

Rumors that oppo in para election won two out of 5 positions up for grabs. The para chapter is the second largest (28k)after retirees in the UFT. Try to imagine how a general election (in 2025) would look of both of these chapters were close. Unity will pull out all stops, especially in the 2024 chapter elections. Watch those numbers (if they are honest) for signs of breakage in the Unity front.

When people used to claim Unity cheats in elections I always responded they don't have to steal an election - until elections get close and contentious. Then it's Katy bar the door. I firmly believe that if UFC ever won, Unity would pull a Trump and refuse to leave. 

There's a breaking story on the recent UFT para chapter election to replace leaders who have retired or left for the next year until the regular 2024 chapter elections with hints of Unity playing games and a refusal by UFT election officials to release voting counts. Educators of NYC has the preliminary story while we get more details. I reported on April 15:

Corruption @UFT in Para Election: Full-time patronnage jobs -- Unity is more interested in Unity than its membership: Contentious UFT Para Chapter Election - Does Unity Cheat? I Know, you're shocked! 

It's an old  Unity ploy  - to offer jobs to potential oppo people. Do you know what scares them to hell about a strike? Due to loss of dues checkoff hey would have to cut staff and lose this advantage. And don't be surprised to see Unity try to pull a bait and switche by replacing Mulgrew and Tom Murphy in their next elections. Don't be fooled --- Unity will always be Unity no matter who's in charge.
UFT holds contract rallies: Not everyone buys in  
There were multiple rallies on Wednesday, including the UFT rallies at the boroughs. One of my friends asked why I didn't mention them. Frankly, holding union rallies in 5 boroughs rather than trying for a massive rally only made sense because the leadership had no confidence in mobilizing a mass. So dilution it was. I hear the one in Queens was big - maybe 5-600 but other boroughs not as strong.

...our union is weakened by demonstrations that are essentially just for show. There are times to stand up, and when those times come along, we're either asleep or being stabbed in the back by the Municipal Labor Committee, including our esteemed leadership. More likely, we're asleep and being stabbed in the back by leadership. ...I'm not energized by lies. I'm energized by fighting for real progress.  Our leadership, Mulgrew included, is moving us backward. We should be a vibrant force, the "powerful teachers union" the tabloids are always complaining about. Instead, we're a sleeping giant. Step one in awakening this sleeping giant is tossing the Unity Caucus out of power. We'll begin that process with the retirees. I hope to be one by election time.... Arthur Goldstein, NYC Educator

Arthur is on target. UFT leaders will claim the rallies have an impact. On whom? I don't think the powers that be are scared by a few thousand people, if even that many showed. Unity Caucus has over a thousand members, so they are required to show up. And the opposition, so constantly denigrated by Unity hacks, are the most loyal in supporting union initiatives, no matter how lame they may be, even though they point out the flaws.

Rousing rank and filers is hard - but also dangerous to the leadership.

The UFT has about 130k working members. Flood the streets and bridges with 50k and that would make a statement. But when you put contract negotiations under a non-disclosure agreement so the members and the public have no idea what exactly is going on, don't expect results. So the rallies are more about internal issues. An attempt to rouse the membership. But not to much rousing.

Nick Bacon had a similar take as Arthur at the New Action blog:

I am hopeful that attendance will be good – not just by staffers, but by regular rank-and-file teachers, paras, and related professionals. And yes, I plan to attend, and have encouraged members of my chapter to attend. I encourage you to attend too...the preparation meetings for May 24th have been feel-good Unity-heavy events that seemed to lack substance. Moreover, using an event like what is planned on May 24th for ‘yes-vote’ purposes rather than negotiating purposes would keep with the MO of other ‘Taylor law proud’ union leaders, such as those of DC37, who held a major rally on Feb. 16, only to announce a tentative agreement with the City the next day (Feb. 17). That deal, we now know, cemented one of the worst patterns in the history of the NYC labor movement. That pattern, we’re now stuck with.
It's fine that UFT is out there. But the fact is, the overwhelming majority are not. The overwhelming majority of us are essentially asleep. That's been a feature of our union for decades. You can tell when people speak about it. People say terrible things about the UFT, not realizing they're describing themselves. Sadly, pathetically even, a lot of us feel no responsibility for anything whatsoever regarding our union. For many of us, the union is somehow the people sitting in offices. 


it’s a mistake that our union’s leadership is so committed to keeping working teachers from having the right to strike. I think that their over-reliance on bureaucratic ‘Taylor Law’ tactics undermines the potency of our organizing. And, I worry that if UFT leadership is relying on the threat of PERB rather than the culmination of good organizing (i.e. the viable ‘strike’ threat), the City has little reason to react to the limited organizing it does see.

Nick and oppo are mocked by Unity all the time for standing up to them. Witness this recent Unity leaflet:

You see, you are disloyal if you question, just like any authoritarian regime. Yeah, Unity does the work - of the scam private insurance companies.

There were other rallies taking place on May 24.

A fun rally at city hall, followed by bird dogging Mayor Adams - and the police response to 30 old codgers and a load of cops

I posted that morning just as I was leaving for the Rally and Protest Day for Retirees opposing UFT on Healthcare, People's Plan opposing budget cuts and UFT for the contract

The CROC (Cross Union Organizing Committee) rally was at 9:30 outside City Hall was separate from other demos going on at the same time - much younger workers who joined a long line to testify at City Council hearings. I gave out copies of The Indypendent with my article comparing the dynamic Chicago Teacher and Los Angeles unions with the moribund UFT: A Tale of Two Teachers Unions comparing influence of progressive Chicago CTU with Tepid UFT - Norm's article in The Indypendent.

Rather than go into the council CROC (consisting of UFT, DC 37, CUNY and other city union retirees) had people read their submitted testimony outside. At 10:30 we heard that Mayor Adams would be appearing along side the Brooklyn Bridge to celebrate its birthday and we decided to birddog him and marched to the area under an overpass shouting slogans on a public walkway until police saw us and put a metal battier in our way. Gloria made a little video from the Rally at City Hall "Do Not Screw Retirees, Mayor Adams!" https://youtu.be/aUfrCBSNWgE.

Why Vote NO? Why not? 

Unity whiners cry about our 5 demands before voting YES. They will argue we go to the back of the line, blah, blah, blah. In 1995 we rejected the contract which raised from 20 to 25 years of work to reach max salary. Sandy Feldman said if we think we can do better we must be smoking something. Well take a tote because they came back with 22 to reach max. Think of how much money people have saved over the decades with those extra 3 years? Not a total victory because it was still a giveback, only not as bad. And the OT/PT chapter rejected the 2018 contract and the redo came back with a few nuggets. So there is precedence.

We gain leverage with a no vote by demonstrating members are unhappy are ready to go beyond the leadership. Cred threat of a strike either led by leadership or wildcat actions - as we've seen from teachers around the nation over the past 5 years.

I urged a VOTE NO - a year ago and go back to Ed Notes in 2009 as a reference

Thursday, June 23, 2022

I've been mocking the UFT/Unity leadership over its faux negotiating committee farce for years.

Saturday, August 8, 2009
UFT Contract UFT Cast of Thousands Contract Committee
I raised some questions on the then 350 member Neg Comm, now expanded to as many as can fit in the cone of silence dome.

Questions on the Negotiation Committee: How are people chosen to be on this committee? Of the 350 committee members how many are in Unity Caucus? Does secrecy mean that Unity Caucus members don’t discuss the issues brought up for discussion among themselves? Are we to believe that the only discussion that takes place among Unity Caucus members is in the committee room?

If you think top level Unity don't discuss the issues beforehand, take a walk on the bridge you just bought.

In fact, I believe just about all contract issues have been pre-decided by the leadership and their main problem is how to filter the info out to the negotiating committee and how to do it to make it look democratic. Every committee will echo the election committee with a Unity majority. I like that there are people who want to be on the neg Comm even if having to sign the NDA and also that there are people who won't sign.
We know the contract will suck and many in the opposition will call for a Vote No campaign - in fact I'm starting the campaign right now -- oh, shit, retirees don't get to vote on the contract. You working stiffs have my proxy.

Some Unity slug will stop by to comment on how dumb I am.
 I urge people to accept the reality and just call for a NO VOTE NOW.

Mulgrew joins UFT to private insurance scam artists
I urge you to read this report from The Lever on The $20 Billion Scam At The Heart Of Medicare Advantage, which will outrage you, especially since Mulgrew has placed our own union and all city retirees at the service of the enormously profitable private insurance companies that will lead to the end of Medicare as we know it as public funds are drained into stock givebacks and exec salaries. What the UFT, with the support of the AFT president Randi Weingarten did was help bring about the end of the only publicly managed option, the very opposite of their claims to want a medicare for all system. 

When I sent this article above to my wife who ran the billing system for a division of a major hospital, she rolled her eyes and said she's known about these schemes for 30 years from pressure being put on doctors with gifts, etc to upcode to make people sicker than they are. She often tried to resist dishonest coding and was not very popular with some administrators.

At a recent Retired Teacher meeting a woman explained that upcoding can be harmful for us as patients as our records would not be accurate if we had an emergency.

From the last UFT ex Bd meeting

Unity hack1: There was not one time that I voted on a contract that I wasn’t aware what my union pointed out to me and what I chose to read. I don’t think any of our members need two weeks to look at what is important to our members. I think this resolution is somewhat insulting, that it would take anyone two weeks to read what is important. I trust our union leadership, and I trust our union.

Unity hack2: How many people presenting this have actually read the contract and the 2018 MOA? How could you possibly have harmony? How could we have that whenever we have exec boards and DAs things are reported out negatively? Imagine the negativity that will come out if 2 weeks notice are given. Right now we have a vote no campaign – you haven’t even seen the contract.

A few Takeaways:

We gain leverage with a no vote - demonstrates to city members are ready to go beyond leadership

Cred threat of a strike either led by leadership or wildcat actions - as we've seen from teachers around the nation over the past 5 years

Penalties on members are harsh in two for one but harsher on leadership which can be fined extensively and lose dues checkoff - catastrophic for UFT if had to collect dues individually.


Mulgrew mentions the S word - and people LOL- EONYC comments

trying to argue that it’s not illegal for public sector workers to strike in NYS is laughable. Mulgrew said it just means “you can but you have to pay fines”. While Section 210 of Taylor Law reads “PROHIBITION OF STRIKES”. He also failed to say union leaders are fined + jailed. The word play is intentional as his Unity leadership caucus has done nothing to lobby against the Taylor law provision that makes an unfettered right to strike possible, despite calls from rank and file. Imagine telling someone during the 1920’s Prohibition: Buying alcohol is not illegal. It’s just prohibited with some fines. Or the cop who pulls you over: My tinted windows are prohibited but not illegal. In fact, your dictionary will likely define illegal as not lawful or prohibited by law. When something is prohibited by an authority like the state it is ILLEGAL. See Shanker thrown in jail in last illegal teacher strike in 1975. Striking is a human right. And should not be prohibited/illegal.


Interesting factoid from NYCDOE

UFT, DOE and class size

A community activist comments:

"Meeting the new class size standards is going to require a real plan -- and so far, the DOE hasn't managed to create one.  This document is missing a strategy for implementation and a targeted proposal for where and when new seats should be built. The state passed the small class size law and increased funding to New York City public schools to pay for it. We will work with the state to make sure the New York City Department of Education fulfills its obligations and complies with this law" - Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers

If Mulgrew is serious about implementation and enforcement, he’d support a class size guarantee in our next contract. The United For Change coalition is calling for one as part of their BIG 5 contract demands. -- Educators of NYC

Note the guest blogger today at ICE blog - the famous RBE, formerly proprietor of Perdido Street School blog.

Waiting for Mikey

Guest Blogger: RBE

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