Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A week late - First UFT Exec Bd Meeting Echos Labor Day Parade Lovefest - UFT Endorses Candidate Supporting Retirees on Healthcare

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023

I'm reporting on last week's ex bd (Sept. 11) and other events around that weekend. 

I didn't go to yesterday's meeting because my wife offered me a better meal. But given my reporting on UAW and other strikes

here is Nick@NAC reporting on the Sept. 18 meeting re UAW:

There was a resolution on the UAW Strike. I didn’t speak on it, as I of course support my fellow unionists and had already spoken enough. But, there was a certain irony to voting to endorse another union’s strike for 40% wage increases over 4 years when Unity Caucus spoke out against gaining our own right to strike, and later mercilessly heckled opposition members for suggesting we ourselves should be strike ready. The DC37 pattern that UFT conceded to without a fight, remember was just 16.37% over 5.5 years. To put this in perspective UAW was offered 21% initially over 4 years – that’s more than we got in our final deal. We heckled our own members for asking for a strike over a smaller wage increase than the offer UAW is rightly striking over. I support the UAW, and also support the UFT being able to strike. UFT leadership supports the UAW, but not our own right to strike. The contradiction should speak for itself.
Nick's full report is here.

And then Nick raised the issue of the required 50-minute parental engagement in the new and rushed to a vote with misleading info by the leadership contract. I won't get into the weeds of that but it seems to me if a 100 people complain, they can demand a revote on the contract as the leadership demonstrated in the OT/PT situation. [How UFT/Unity is More Management than Union as it Succeeds in Changing NO to YES on OT/PT Contract Vote].

Apparently the love-fest I describe re last week's meeting didn't last. Love is fleeting.

In this week old report, let's visit my Sept. 9-11 weekend:

It began on Friday afternoon at an event sponsored by NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees for the city council campaign for Susan  Zhuang who won her Dem primary with 60% of the vote. She is supporting the 1099 bill - which is interesting because at the Sept. 11 Ex bd the UFT also endorsed her. Verrrrry interesting. (More on the debate at the EB later.) A few pics I shot:

This was a basement in Bensonhurst and it was packed with over 100 people from many unions and from all over the city. That's the skill of Marianne Pizzitola. As one UFT retiree in Florida emailed me: "Marianne seems to be making some headway for support of our bill.   She certainly has Mulgrew on the run." She certainly does.

Watch her must-see video on the faux collective bargaining argument by UFT leaders on bill 1099 where she punches massive holes in their position --https://youtu.be/4aGwRbxJtnI?si=X3dYOCVAIvX9txee - people are sending this video to city council reps who haven't signed on to 1099 claiming it takes away collective bargaining - are you listening Lincoln Restler?

I ran into some people who worked in my old district 14 - Unity people. They are moving to Florida permanently and offered to help out in the RTC election campaign this spring. We need Unity deserters to win.

On Saturday, I went to the Labor Day parade and hung out with Retiree Advocates

as we marched with the UFT. Others marched with Marianne's group who left earlier with DC 37 and made their own noise uptown. We decided to stick with the UFT for the day. And lookee at this photo with Daniel and his girls with Randi and NYSUT pres with Shulman and Arthur.

Michael Shulman, Daniel Alicea, Randi, NYSUT Pres Melissa Person, Arthur Goldstein

I got some pats and hugs even from some Unity people on Saturday. Lucky they don't read Ed Notes. I spent Saturday hanging out with Arthur and Daniel, who came with his two little girls in a stroller. Arthur and Daniel, 2 giants in the UFT, were meeting in person for the first time. Unity people seemed happy to see Arthur. No real blow back over his recent castigation of the leadership. Read his latest, which reinforces my contention that our own union leaders are anti-union. [Regressive and Passive UFT Pales Behind Aggressive and Progressive Unions: Is it the Leadership or Membership?]

Our anti-Union Leadership

It needs changing.

Arthur's conclusion: 

We can no longer afford a leadership that works for our adversary. We can lead or follow. The first step, if we’re going to lead, is to elect leaders willing to do so. 

Maybe Arthur's turning on the leadership has made them antsy for yesterday's EB. But at least for one week there was a great spirit of unity by Unity and UFC at the Ex Bd meeting on Sept. 11. 

Nick@NAC had the skinny

There were even some friendly looks at Nick by Unity. And independent former MORE Mike Schirtzer even sat at the same table with MORE Ex Bd reps, a promising sign that peace may be coming to Ukraine. 

Even I got a few smiles. I guess they didn't notice my tee-shirt supporting the OT/PT crew. No mention at all by either side about the recent re-vote on the formerly rejected contract. For now, the entire mess looks like a dead issue, though I would have raised the issue of re-voting when leadership doesn't like the result as a dangerous precedent.

Even the chef was generous, allowing us to to mix our general tso chicken with a bit of beef. And oh, the carrot cake.

I sat at the increasingly crowded New Action table with a few ICEers. (With James Eterno's illness, ICE is in sort of limbo.)

Everyone seemed happy.
Compare and contrast Nick's reports from Sept. 11 and Sept. 18. A definite change in the atmosphere.

So here was the interesting angle in Nick's report on the endorsement Susan Zhuang for City Council

Liz Perez (UFT Bklyn Boro Rep) – Resolution: to Endorse Susan Zhuang.Liz Perez: motivates, will advocate for labor and education – act in the best interest of members – City Council District 43.

Ronnie Almonte: Rises against. I live in this district, Sunset Park. Spoke to need to stand with asylum speakers. I live 2 blocks from the rec center hosting over 100 asylum speakers. There were two protests there – one a republican, and one Susan Zhuang, and I think she pitted against asylum speakers ‘we don’t know who they are, may be a risk to the student.’ I expect people may say no litmus test, but this is a disgusting. Rise against. (See here for an example).

Liz Perez: Susan Zhuang is herself an immigrant, services a community of immigrant. I still think we should endorse her, and I’ll definitely follow up about this comment.

Passes with some nays from the High School Executive Board.

I agree with Ronnie - I heard Zhuang make some iffy comments about immigrants on Sept. 9 to the point I raised the issue with her - and she didn't respond. She complained that she waited in line to come here, like these people are illegal - actually they are legal asylum seekers -- like 40% from Venezuela and 30% from Cuba --both nation's under severe US sanctions. Like that doesn't have an impact? And her husband is a doctor - I wonder on what line they waited on. But I still back her because she backs us on healthcare.

Following up on the immigrant issue, read Nick's report to get the full picture as on Sept. 11 he made a reso on immigrants which Mike Sill amended to remove the criticisms of Mayor Adams. https://newaction.org/2023/09/11/budget-cuts-migrants-and-air-conditioners-uft-executive-board-meeting-9-11-2023/

 There was also a reso on air conditioning, which was tabled by Unity to work on the language - again removing crit of Adams, the UFT's pal on screwing us on healthcare.

Not surprising. The real lovefest is between Unity and the Mayor.


After burn: Some comments from readers on my post: Regressive and Passive UFT Pales Behind Aggressive and Progressive Unions: Is it the Leadership or Membership? ":

Blogger Bronx ATR said...

I believe the indifference is actively cultivated by the Uft. This seems to be a pervasive mindset that it’s not anyone’s job to do anything involving union activities - other than those directly work for the union. I’ve heard that phrase like this more than once - you guys have enough to do teach your classes and dealing with kids. Let us deal with the union stuff; that’s what you pay us for.’ A lot of folks eagerly embrace that mindset; those who want to get involved may be initially ignored and then if they don’t go away, they run for office. If they are too outspoken and too involved, they often take on the animus of management and often have been left out to dry by the Uft. It directly benefits the Uft to have an indifferent and blissfully ignorant membership. Other than retirees, that’s what they have.

Anonymous Michael Fiorillo said...

Unity is the last of the urban political machines, and its patronage apparatus is one of many barriers to an effective opposition. With the stick of its loyalty oath enforcing caucus discipline, and the carrot of union jobs (and double pensions for officers!) for compliant and ambitious Chapter Leaders, the incentives for passivity and conformity are formidable, and they continue to work.

Albert Shanker, whose organizational genius is behind much of Unity's power, was a fundamentalist Cold Warrior, who cut his political teeth opposing Communists (who had an organic presence in the schools at the time) in the teacher's union and elsewhere. The irony is that Unity Caucus, with its CP-like democratic centralism, has become just as sclerotic and brittle (and subject to rapid collapse?) as the old Soviet Union Al Shanker spent his life fighting.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 9:59:00 AM EDT


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