The UFT held a special Delegate Assembly meeting on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at UFT HQ in
The only agenda item was endorsements for the June 26 Democratic Primary
Election for Congress. Most of the picks were not controversial.
New York’s 6th District
in Queens, where is located, I
was very pleased to see the UFT endorse Grace Meng over Rory Lancman. Lancman
is the local Assemblyman for the Jamaica
High School area and he
waffled back and forth before ultimately opposing closing the school in 2010.
However, in the next round of school closings, Lancman came to our auditorium
and said spinning off the Gateway program (one of Jamaica High Schools educational
options), into a new school would be a good idea. Other politicians such as
Tony Avella, Leroy Comrie, Mark Weprin and David Weprin have been unwavering
supporters of Jamaica
High School and other
closing schools. I will gladly work to help Grace Meng. Jamaica
In the hotly contested 8th CD race, the UFT took no position as to whether or not to endorse Councilman Charles Barron who has supported us on keeping schools open and many other issues but has made very controversial remarks on race. His opponent is Hakeem Jeffries who has backing from the charter school crowd.
Here are the endorsements:
· CD 3-Steve
Israel – Some dissent at DA because
of his free speech positions.
· CD 5-Gregory Meeks
· CD 6-Grace Meng
· CD 7- Nydia Velasquez
· CD 8-No endorsement at this time
· CD 9-Yvette
· CD 10-Jerrold Nadler
· CD 11-No endorsement at this time
· CD 12-Carolyn Moloney
· CD 13-Charles Rangel
· CD 14-Joseph
· CD 15-Joe Serrano
· CD 16-Eliot Engel
President Mulgrew touched briefly on the lawsuit that the NY Post reported on where our UFT President allegedly had an affair in school with a coworker before he was president. After the affair was discovered, Mulgrew and then President Randi Weingarten allegedly colluded with the city to take away our rights in the 2005 contract so the city would cover up that Mulgrew was caught. A friend told me that Mulgrew said that he would be happy to address the issues in court. (I arrived too late to hear this.) He also told the Delegates that it is sad that even when the mayor is named together with Mulgrew on the same suit, he still will not work with us.
My personal opinion is that the charges against Mulgrew are ridiculous. The Unity (political party) majority that runs the UFT agreed to go to a fact-finding arbitration panel in 2004. This panel produced the horrible fact-finding report that led to the giveback laden 2005 contract. Were the fact finders in on this conspiracy too? Come on now. We told then President Weingarten back in 2004 not to go near fact-finding arbitration but she did not listen. That was before this alleged affair took place.
As for granting union jobs in return for favors, if that is true then obviously it’s a problem but it is next to impossible to prove. The person named in the suit works in special education and not directly for Mulgrew. Hence, proof that there was a quid pro quo would be virtually impossible to find. We should move onto something else and not concern ourselves with gossip.
However, if someone wants to investigate how the UFT doles out union jobs, it would be interesting. My position is that UFT after school jobs should be posted in schools and given to the senior qualified person who applies. UFT District Representatives should be elected by chapter leaders in a district as they once were. Divisional Vice Presidents should be elected by the members of their division. For example, elementary school members should elect the elementary School VP. Now they are elected at large so the retirees and non Department of Education UFT members vote for who will represent active elementary school teachers. Democracy is a wonderful system. The accountability is to people below instead of above. A union should be as democratic as possible if it wants an active membership. We should at least be held to the same hiring standards that we would like principals to follow when giving out a compensatory time job.