by James Eterno, UFT Chapter Leader, Jamaica High School
We have been writing for quite some time about what transpires at Delegate Assembly Meetings and how ICE and other opposition or independent Delegates as well as Chapter Leaders are completely frustrated because we are for the most part shut out of DA participation. We call on the UFT to make a simple change to enhance union democracy. There should be a pledge from the President to no longer ask delegates for a change in the rules to eliminate or reduce the time rank and file members get to speak unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
The UFT DA standing agenda calls for twenty-five minutes per month where rank and file Delegates and Chapter Leaders are recognized to ask questions or add new motions to the agenda. The new motion and question periods have been consistently eliminated or shortened this year. We object to this constant changing of the rules by the Unity majority. Is it too much to ask that this simple twenty-five minute period each month should not be cancelled or edited in any way unless there is a Contract vote or strike authorization vote? This return to the regular monthly agenda would be very easy to accomplish.
As we draw closer to the April 16 DA, we ask that all Chapter Leaders, Delegates and rank and file UFT members demand that UFT President Weingarten respect the twenty-five minutes we are given each month to have our say in making UFT policy or questioning the President. This is particularly important as there is no longer an elected opposition on the UFT Executive Board. For twelve straight years there was a tiny but viable opposition, including me for ten years, who could easily get the Executive Board floor to at least raise issues.
Let's get back the rank and file's twenty-five minutes now.