Monday, April 07, 2014


No huge surprises in the New York State United Teachers election on Saturday at the Representative Assembly.  According to the figures I received that are weighted (big locals like the UFT have many more votes than smaller unions within NYSUT), Revive NYSUT's presidential candidate Karen Magee received 61% of the weighted votes while Stronger Together incumbent Dick Iannuzzi garnered 39% of the 328,014 weighted votes.  (328,014 people didn't vote; this is how it is counted with the weighing.)  The results were closer for the other officer candidates. 

We congratulate Ms. Magee and the entire Revive NYSUT slate for their victory.  They have pledged to be against Common Core, the teacher evaluation system, the tax cap, Race to the Top, Gates funding, Governor Cuomo and more.  We wish them well.

A detailed look at the numbers for the election, which we have said was run on as tilted a playing field as a UFT election, shows it was much closer than most people expected.  Outside of New York City, Revive candidates either lost or only won by a small margin.  The difference in this election was the New York City UFT Unity Caucus bloc of votes. 

These Delegates are bound by their caucus obligations to support the decisions of their caucus in public and union forums (the so called Unity loyalty oath) so we knew 34% of the vote (the percentage the UFT has in this election according to what we looked at) was going to Revive from the beginning. That is a healthy head start.

For Secretary-Treasurer, Revive's Martin Messner won with 53.7% of the weighted vote while Stronger Together incumbent Lee Cutler came in with 46.3%. We got to know Lee Cutler a little during the last month and found him to be a decent guy who did a pretty good job as an officer. We are not surprised that he won a huge percentage of the vote outside of New York City. Let's look at some of the details.

There were 328,014 weighted votes that were cast in the election for president.  It was less for other offices which is not unusual in any election. Since 34% of the votes were from the UFT and this was a non secret ballot, we can safely assume that all of the UFT votes were for Revive's Martin Messner.

Outside of NYC we can conclude there were 216,489 weighted votes by simply subtracting 111,525 (34% of the total weighted votes cast) from 328,014 (number of weighted votes cast for president).  Now subtract from Messner's totals the same NYC 111,525 weighted votes from his 175,790 total and he is left with 64,275 votes while Cutler keeps all of his non NYC weighted votes which add up to 151,526.  Outside of NYC, where the election is not a top down mandate from Michael Mulgrew, Cutler won easily with 70% of the vote to Messner's 30%.

The same holds true if we take out the NYC votes from the other officers. Stronger Together's Maria Neira, Kathleen Donahue, and of course Dick Iannuzzi won easily outside of NYC. It was also very competitive outside of the city for Arthur Goldstein against Andrew Pallotta for Executive Vice President.

How does this formula play out with MORE (the Movement of Rank and File Educators)?  Michael Mulgrew and Julie Cavanagh replayed the 2013 UFT Election here at NYSUT for an at large Board of Directors seat.  Let's do exactly what we did with Cutler v. Messner for Cavanagh v. Mulgrew. 

Mulgrew garnered 197,081 weighted votes while Cavanagh received 93,830.  Now take out the 111,525 NYC Unity votes (I think we can safely assume that no NYC Unity voter would vote against Mulgrew in an open ballot) and Mulgrew is left with 85,556. Cavanagh keeps her 93,830 . The percentages work out to 52.3% for Cavanagh and 47.7% for Mulgrew.

Outside of NYC, Julie Cavanagh defeated Michael Mulgrew!

I don't think too many people in the suburbs or upstate knew who MORE was before this election. MORE candidates received a mere six minutes of speaking time at 7:30 am on Saturday morning to make our case to the Delegates.  We pooled that time for two speakers.

One of MORE's speakers, Lauren Cohen, was booed by the New York City Unity group that was sitting in the audience. Lauren persevered and she was great!  Mike Schirtzer followed and made another powerful statement for MORE. The people outside of NYC who heard them responded very positively. Delegates took pictures of the back of the MORE shirt I was wearing that says, "Our working conditions are our students learning conditions."

It is clear that when people know us, they will like us. MORE was not directly endorsed by Stronger Together so we basically ran alone and accomplished our goal on Saturday.


Anonymous said...

Nothing new. I noticed they are not gloating however. I guess they didn't get their usual margin of victory.

proofoflife said...

Awesome job!

Anonymous said...

Lauren's comments and ensuing poor behavior by UFT/Unity members were the ONLY memorable moments of this year's RA. I have never joined a caucus in my 28 years as a NYSUT member and 15 as an RA Delegate - but I certainly will join MORE. Lauren did Public Teachers proud. Thank you.
Christine WTA #06-205

Anonymous said...

I did not attend the RA this year but I talked to some upstate delegates who did and who are a member of Unity Caucus. They indicated that Unity Caucus which is a state wide caucus within NYSUT did take a position on many resolution debated at the convention but did not take a position on the elections this year. Maybe there is a separate UFT Unity Caucus that I do not know about because the Unity Caucus that I was a member of for many years was always chaired by a delegate who was not from the UFT.

James Eterno said...

There is a separate Unity UFT Caucus from NYC.