Tuesday, May 14, 2024

TRS Election Was Consequential - Results Are Out - Ben Gets Over a Third With a Minimal Campaign While Unity Went All Out

Massive Unity failure in GOTV
....Unity also has the school by school data and can tell which of their district reps and chapter leaders actually did the work. The outcomes were so poor for the Unity GOTV effort I bet the leadership is plenty pissed at their own people. Don't be shocked to see some heads roll.
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
The shock and awe of only the second ever TRS election for UFT trustee (the last one was over 30 years ago) to the UFT/Unity cult and to the DOE is still reverberating on multiple levels. The DOE clearly violated the law with its electronic voting plan and the turnout was very poor. I'm trying to get totals but roughly Ben got over a third despite a heavy Unity campaign for his opponent. The Unity failure may be the major takeaway from this election. No wonder they were so perturbed at being forced to run an unexpected campaign. They knew they were not prepared. And very upset that this is an election controlled by the DOE, not them. Which leads us to this:
The late breaking news is that UFT legal eagle, Rude Beth Norton, has contacted Ben and Daniel Alicea (the alternate) about joining a union complaint about the election.
An interesting development, given Unity won by two thirds.
Why protest an election they won? Lots of speculation, including the low turnout as a condemnation of the Unity machine which went all out. Do they want a redo?
I wouldn't be shocked to see the UFT use this election as a way to try to change the law in ways to tip future elections in their favor --  like maybe "offer" to take the running of the election off the hands of the DOE. Make sure electronic voting is NOT on the table. And how do they argue that in next year's UFT election they should continue to use the massively expensive paper ballots? And how about letting retirees vote in a TRS election?
Despite the Unity win, I'm not betting on there being joy at 52 Mudville today. Some oppo are already talking about doing it again next year.

Ben did quite well given limited resources and campaign

The most unique data we have is the DOE giving us 18 pages listing all schools and how they voted. (I will publish at some point). This is something I've been asking the UFT to do for years in the general election and they refuse but I bet they get that data from the AAA anyway and don't share it. The reason is I wanted to see how our own people did in getting out the vote. This time we can see how the GOTV worked in every school. Now many had zero votes or so few the data is meaningless. I'm betting that where Ben did well it was tied to schools that did petitions for him and it means some person in the building did the work. 
I give Ben Morgenroth top credit for the organizing he did and his extensive contacts in enough schools to give him a credible outcome. We all learned a lot about organizing on short notice and I hope we see a campaign every year for the TRS position - they are rotated in 3 year terms and one Unity pension rep must run every year. 

Also expect this election to help form a base for next year's general UFT election, along with the work being done in the para and retiree chapter elections, plus all the school based chapter elections which will lead to new leadership in many schools.

This is worth repeating:
Massive Unity failure in GOTV
On the reverse side, Unity also has the data and can tell which of their district reps and chapter leaders actually did the work. The outcomes were so poor for the Unity GOTV effort I bet the leadership is plenty pissed at their own people. Don't be shocked to see some heads roll. 
We are looking at the data for certain districts with big mouth DRs who attack the oppo -- so far it is not looking good for them.

I always argue with my oppo friends - any progress we make is not due to the organizing we do but in the failures of the organizing of Unity and the increasing level of incompetence at the top. They are the gift that keeps giving. 
Oh, if the oppo ever did really get organized.
The campaign TRS campaign has brought crucial issues to the attention of many UFTers, like:
  • Tier 6 - Accelerating the campaign for changes
  • Reduction of interest from 8.25 to 7% for UFTers only: Randi's 2009 folly cost me $22,000 this year.
  • The rubber stamp role Unity reps must play due to dictates of the UFT/Unity leadership.
  • The value in having at least one non-Unity choice to push back on important issues, like the fees paid, especially to private equity.
  • The learning experience an ad hoc group of people who organized this campaign outside the usual caucus structure gained. 
When I got my last TDA statement I calculated that Randi's move to 7% cost me $22,000 last year. Randi will be at the retiree meeting next Tuesday and I'm tempted to hold up a big check for her to sign for 22k.
I'm still concerned about the state of the opposition and if there will be an organized opposition capable of challenging Unity seriously next year. (More than one slate running against Unity will be a disaster). UFC has not really operated other than some people working together on the Ex bd.  It is impossible to calculate the impact of the loss of James Eterno and the work he was doing on the ICE blog. Last night at the RA webinar (attended by almost 150 people) one person gave James a shout out.
Ad Hoc Campaign
That the idea to run in the TRS election, find a candidate, and create and execute a campaign came from a small group chat one evening and not from the active UFT opposition caucuses (though members of some caucuses were involved). 
The process has broader consequences for the way the usual suspects in the UFT opposition have functioned. As a member of that chat, I was impressed by the open method of dialogue and the free back and forth that took place over the next few weeks. 

After my experience of being part of the founding of 3 oppo caucuses over the past 50 years, I realize that the processes and rules inside of caucuses, with some rigidity, can temper a free flow of ideas. No caucus I know could have responded as quickly and effectively.
These informal chats also led to last year's health care petition campaign, the para election slate and other initiatives. Some had objected that the people involved weren't going through a UFC multi caucus process where each caucus could veto an action or delay by saying they had to go back to their caucus steering committee. That process is like death by a thousand cuts. I know, people charge that process is democratic and having small groups decide to take an action is undemocratic. Guilty. I'm too old to wait for messy democracy to unfold. But the process is actually democratic in the sense if the idea is good people will sign on and if not it will bomb. 
So far the process of open dialogue in small groups of compatible people seems to have worked out. When challenged, my response it "Build it and they will come." So far we have seen the caucuses see the value of the idea and join in supporting it without going through a cumbersome process like we had two years ago with UFC.

I can't tell what the future will bring, but the relative success of the TRS dissident election is a hopeful sign.

Below are commentary from Arthur, always valuable.

May 9: The Unity Caucus at Work: They can't argue their way out of a paper bag, but they can work the system, for now

May 8: Unity Is Shocked, Outraged, but Promoting the Electronic Trustee Election Anyway: Emperor Mulgrew has no clothes.

  • As usual, UFT Unity is making a big fuss over something, the trustee election, way too late. You know, Tier 6 is a crisis, and we have to fix it RIGHT NOW, even though when it came out, UFT Unity did NOTHING. We have to fix class size RIGHT NOW, but we haven’t negotiated class size changes in the contract for over FIFTY YEARS , and we’ve done nothing to enforce class-size reducing C4E, which has lingered for DECADES. More importantly, UFT voting numbers are abysmal, have been so for decades, and Unity has done absolutely nothing to fix it. They like it when the vast majority of membership has no voice and does not participate. You’ll hear them squawk about low turnout in local, state and national elections. Union elections? Crickets. As for the election taking place today and tomorrow for trustee, here we are. Someone delayed it with a bunch of frivolous, ridiculous complaints and now they’re shocked, shocked that DOE came up with a practical solution. Electronic voting, still, violates city rules, so if Unity loses they can and will demand a re-do. (Heads I win, tails you lose.)


Mulgrew claims Mulgrewcare- aggressive rfp will protect retirees and inservice  until federal intervention to stop this health care industry.

So do an rfp with the very industry that needs to be stopped by removing people protected by Medicare into that very industry? 
Marianne has a response.



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