Thursday, July 20, 2023

Unity History of Trying to Cheat a Vote, Mulgrew to OT/PTs: "Everyone loooooves democracy until I don't get my way?" - EONYC

How far will Mulgrew and Unity go out of their way to trample on our collective decisions by attempting to reverse this legal and valid contract ratification vote by using intimidation and coordinating a minority within the unit to get a revote with the results they desire?  Is there an orchestrated attempt by UFT leadership to reverse the OT/PT bargaining unit's ratification vote which turned down their proposed contract with the City? DUHHHHH! 

I've been following the attempt to discredit the non-Unity Chapter Leader of the OT/PT chapter, blaming her for the rejection of the contract, despite the fact they also rejected the 2018 contract with an even larger % vote despite the OT/PT chapter being under the total control of a Unity chapter leader and Exec Bd, all of whom recommended ratification. I've read some of the Unity backed communications that would make your eyes pop out but am not at liberty to share - yet. Some of the most outrageous are anonymous. So how do we know they are from Unity? Double DUHHHHHHHH!

When some of these communications from union officials and their minions are shared publicly -- well, the fun will begin. But first .....

I've been working on a few posts on the situation, but a lot of what I wanted to report is included in thie EONYC post to The Wire. In a recent post I went back to the 2018 contract which OT/PT rejected and ask people to compare how the leadership reacted when they didn't have a non-Unity CL to blame. 
I'm shocked there's gambling or Unity will try to negate results they don't like

But first I want to add the historical notes on how Unity has operated over the decades when faced with losses. They try to negate votes and/or change rules.

In the 1985 UFT election, New Action Coalition of 3 caucuses (TAC, New Directions, Coalition of School Workers) high school candidate Michael Shulman won the election over Unity George Altomare who had occupied that position since the inception of the UFT by getting the majority of high school teacher votes. (At that time in UFT divisional VP elections only the teachers in that division voted, not the entire membership). Unity protested the election and called for a revote over some trivial matter and forced NAC into a court case that ultimately cost them $15,000. As the costs mounted, NAC relented and agreed to a revote - note the comparison to what Unity is trying to do with the PT/OT - it's part of their playbook). 
The good news was that Shulman won by a much bigger margin. The bad news is that Unity had refused to let him take office as the elected HS rep for 6 months or more, held ADCOM meetings without him and we can just imagine the other crap to undermine him and thus he never had the opportunity to fully engage in the job. (Similar stuff has been done to the OT/PT CL). Then he narrowly lost the next election. 
The even more bad news: Unity decided to never let this situation arise again and in 1994 changed the constitution to in effect disenfranchise the high school (and other divisions) by taking their right to chose their VP away by alllowing the entire UFT, including retirees, to vote for their VPs. Consider the 2016 and 2022 UFT elections where James Eterno and Jonathan Halabi respectively got more votes for VP out of the high schools than Janella Hinds, who occupies the position.

In some important chapter elections with a prominent oppo person running, we saw Unity overturn the results and call for a new election. I won't get into the weeds on this.

One more case
When Bruce Markens was elected District Rep for the Manhattan HS c. 1990 it sent shock waves through Unity and of course he was isolated and shortchanged in resources. I spoke to him last night and he pointed to one or two UFT people who were friendly and he felt he could trust -- and even those people were not part of the inner circle. Unity ran someone against him at every election for the next 10 years and Bruce always beat them - even a few Unity CL voted for him secretly. But when he retired, Randi Weingarten made sure there would never be another Bruce Markens and eliminated district rep elections starting in 2002, the year I retired and would have run myself in District 14 with a slight change to win.

What is the lesson for all of us? Even if you win an election, Unity will try to reverse it or worse - well I don't want to say exactly what I am thinking. They will pull a Trump and declare victory. They will not just hand over the keys.

There are two elections coming in the next 2 years. The general elecion in 2025 and the chapter elections next year - the Retired Teacher chapter vote is especially one to watch with its 60k members, many of whom are pissed off at the leadership. Retiree Advocate will run a full slate I hope but better be on the lookout. I reported on how we were restricted in vote count observations over the past election cycles. We won't put up with these restrictions again. 

By the way -- Unity sold the contract on speed to teachers and they voted 75% yes. Given the often dishonest presentation can those who voted NO or didn't vote at all call for a revote? Which is exactly what Unity is doing to the OT/PT chapter.
Here is the EONYC post:

Mulgrew to OT/PTs: "Everyone loooooves democracy until I don't get my way?"

Is there an orchestrated attempt by UFT leadership to reverse the OT/PT bargaining unit's ratification vote which turned down their proposed contract with the City? Will they not fight for pay parity?


According reliable sources involved in the matter, Mulgrew’s Unity caucus, which runs our UFT union, appears to be trying to orchestrate calls to chapter leaders in one of its functional bargaining units asking them to disregard and reverse a recent ratification vote in which respective members voted down the City’s proposed contract.

Nick Bacon, co-chair of New Action and UFT executive board member, reported about the UFT’s occupational and physical therapist bargaining unit’s rejection of the proposed contract stating:

“On Monday, 7/10/23, when UFT leadership announced that the 2022-2027 contract had passed “overwhelmingly,” the numbers weren’t as unanimous as suggested. Reduced support for the teachers’ contract—at under 75%—meant the highest ‘no’ vote percentage for that particular contract since 2005. But the larger omission from the UFT announcement was that not every bargaining unit’s contract had even passed.  

OT/PTs once again voted down the first offer for their functional contract (1,129 no to 782 yes), along with nurses, audiologists, and supervisors of nurses and therapists, some of whom were inexplicably combined with the OT/PT chapter for the first time.”

Since the voting results were announced, only one town hall meeting has taken place with these bargaining unit members. Little was offered by Mulgrew at the meeting showing concrete support for their decision and demands. To the contrary, members were gaslit and guilted for their “no” votes.

Worsening things, yesterday, one union officer emailed one of the chapter leaders in this unit to suggest if the chapter wanted to separate from other chapters in the unit to stand alone, and if the chapter supports a revote of the ratification that was already certified, last week. The officer offered no plan to address the unit’s collective decision, nor offered or provided concrete support to their contractual plight.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is Mulgrew and Unity have failed to deliver pay parity for occupational and physical therapists in the last contract and in this current proposed one.

They have failed to share any plan to collectively bargain for their bargaining unit’s top demands but rather they have seemingly sought ways to sabotage this unit and evade their responsibilities to represent these members.

How far will Mulgrew and Unity go out of their way to trample on our collective decisions by attempting to reverse this legal and valid contract ratification vote by using intimidation and coordinating a minority within the unit to get a revote with the results they desire?

Let’s keep in mind, ratification votes were already certified by the American Arbitration Association. It is the independent body that helps monitor election integrity. This is for all intents and purposes a valid result and pulse of this part of our union family.

Moreover, many of the disappointed members in the OT/PT chapter want answers as to a Mulgrew’s plan to negotiate a better deal, not sophist ideas to undermine their vote.

One UFT member remarked that we’ve heard Mulgrew lecture us:

“Everyone looooves democracy until they don’t get their way.”  

This member added:

“Here he is proving his own point.

An upstanding organization that believes in democratic (small d) ideals doesn’t just re-run a vote because people chose not to vote assuming the contract would be ratified.

There was one vote. All in-service DOE employee members were informed of it and the procedures by which to participate. There was an outside organization brought in to ensure the integrity of the vote. The deadline was July 5, which has now come and gone.

There is no basis for another vote unless and you’re voting on something different. When there’s something different to vote on, then it will be time to have a vote.”

Serious Questions

We must ask:

Is our elected union brass, who has fiduciary responsibility under the Taylor law, representing this bargaining unit’s decision in good faith?

Is this because he and Unity simply don’t like that this unit voted down their negotiated contract even as Mulgrew’s minions seek to rip a page out of “Stop the Steal”?

Does Mulgrew and Unity understand the very serious implications of bargaining in bad faith?

What’s their legal standing for a revote? Is the Unity cabal’s main argument that a revote is necessary because of member voter turnout, as a minority faction has suggested?

A large majority of this bargaining unit, created by the union bureaucracy at 52 Broadway, SPOKE with their “no” votes.

If the argument is turnout, here is voter turnout compared:

  • This bargaining unit, 2023 - *estimated to be above 55%

  • Last mayoral primary- 21%

  • Last UFT general election- 26%

  • National election turnout rate 2022- 52%

Opposition in the past has complained about process, transparency, and improper electioneering by Unity but we don’t recall any group saying a revote is necessary after votes are cast.

We concede that this entire ratification process was rushed by Mulgrew and Co. But, ultimately, it was all conducted by Mulgrew & Co. - not the classroom warriors that they seek to scapegoat.

It was his top/mediocre Unity negotiators wheeling and dealing clandestinely, in the 11th hour of the contract negotiations, that preceded the artificial “must be ratified by the end of the school year” deadline.

So do us all a favor, OWN THIS.

Binding decisions by union stakeholders were made by those who chose to participate in our free and democratic union elections, no matter the legalese spun by the corporate lawyers at Strook, or those who feel empowered by social media polls.

We’re all adults. We know: Elections have consequences.

So, Mr. Mulgrew and Unity, get back to the negotiating table with the rank and file of this bargaining unit.

Unity, it’s time to do the work! Organize with the rank and file to finally secure pay parity for our colleagues.

Also, we need the numbers of other chapters and titles in this ratification vote.

52 Broadway, please publish: Ratification totals by title and their respective turnout rates.

Let’s be very clear: We refuse to accept any precedent of re-running elections to accommodate a faction’s demagogical whims or those who choose not to participate in our process.

Mr. Mulgrew, if you can’t or won’t lead with integrity on our behalf, MOVE OVER.

Also read:

AMNY Feature Article

Bacon: Mulgrew MIA

EdNotes: What Happened in 2018

UFT 2018 Reso in Solidarity with OT/PTs

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