Monday, March 09, 2015

UFT LEADERS VOTE STIPEND FOR UFT DELEGATES TO ATTEND NYSUT CONVENTION

What does it take to keep many Unity Caucus members (majority political party of the UFT) faithful to the leadership no matter what?  For a possible answer, check out this little tidbit buried in the March 6, 2015 Ad Com (UFT officers) minutes:

Motion:  To approve the stipend for the NYSUT Convention in Buffalo, NY, from April 30-May 2, 2015 at a cost of $749 per delegate for transportation, lodging, meals and incidentals.

$749 is all it costs, along with a couple of days off from school, to keep most of the lower people on the Unity food chain in line.  A stipend at the NYSUT and AFT Conventions is what Unity members receive after they pledge their loyalty to the union leadership on each and every union policy.

$749 annually is not that much of a cost actually for loyalty.  The price goes up a little in an AFT Convention year when there are two free trips but you get the idea.

These convention attendees are the backbone of Unity Caucus.  They are the foot soldiers who spread the word in the schools to busy UFT members about how the latest UFT debacle (support for Common Core, mayoral control, etc...) is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Or, maybe it's just a coincidence that all 800 of the UFT's delegates at the state level union convention agree with everything that President Michael Mulgrew proposes and the same 800 delegates fully concur with all that Randi Weingarten comes up with at the national AFT level.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disgusting on the backs of the rank and file. That's what keeps the wheel oiled in the UFT land of "abundant food" and "Feed them and they will come."

Anonymous said...

So disgusting. Can someone bring up an actual workable plan to change things? If the shepherds have lead the flock this far with no questioning, something needs to change. A new boss needs to come to the range.

Anonymous said...

Your union dues at work.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could correct something in your post of today but sad to say it is accurate and sad to say that this is why we have the five clowns running the show at NYSUT right now. Anyone who knows anything about leadership will tell you that what is up at NYSUT right now, thanks to the UFT loyalty pledge is far inferior to the independent leadership that was there before. We need not go to the Ukraine to see totalitarianism at work.

Anonymous said...

The NYSUT leadership before was UFT approved but dared to go astray and were sent packing. There is nothing good about one party rule.

Anonymous said...

I am paying Union dues so that a bunch of so called "delegates" can rubber stamp policies that I don't support or have any say in. Totally undemocratic and absurd. To me the UFT is no union at all.

Anonymous said...

I am a NYSUT and AFT Delegate. I will tell you that I consistently spend much more than what the stipend covers. I can also tell you that we are frequently on the floor and in meetings for 18 hours a day. We review and argue policies that span from pension and health to testing and school support services. Delegates to NYSUT give up their weekends with no free school days off, if they are not traveling to another NY State city.

Raving Lunatic said...

It's only 750 dollars, for goodness sake, and it ensures that responsible decision making will prevail. We know what's best. Accept that and it all makes sense. We let you vote every three years, out of the goodness of our hearts. It isn't our fault if most of you toss the ballots in the trash.

We get our people out and if you can't get yours out, too bad for you. If you want to be happy, just shut up and do what we say.

Look at the bright side. If you're quiet, Mulgrew won't punch you in the face and push you in the dirt.

Anonymous said...

Why spend the money to just do as Unity says?

Anonymous said...

You do all that debating and then always reach the same conclusion as the leadership. What a coincidence.

Mr.Hughesonline said...

The fact that you're trying to plant the seeds in the head of other members that caucus members can be "Bought" is inaccurate, lazy and quite honestly, childish. What's more disturbing is that there are people on this board who believe you. Each member who attends the NYSUT convention first and foremost represents 2-300 members in NY. Delegates don't fly first-class, ride in stretch limos, stay in 5-star hotels or dine in 5-star restaurants. They are there to work. And they'll spend more time on the convention floor than taking in the sights, sounds and bright lights of Buffalo. You see it as "a couple days off from school"? Interesting, because I see it as, "I'll be away from my wife and daughter for the weekend"-and I don't mean that in a good way. I'm missing a pretty important family event that weekend to serve as a representative for you. Please have a little more respect for our service.

Your member dues are geared towards people who are willing to represent you, represent this Union, and represent public education. The way the public education landscape is starting to look, this will be an all-important weekend. Instead of focusing on a stipend, focus on the motions that will be on the table.

Paula Washington said...

The $749 stipend just covers our expenses. No one is making a profit. The best way to break a union is to make dues opt-in as in the right-to-work (for less) states. Have you noticed that the working conditions there are deplorable? Were delegates to pay out of pocket, many fewer would be able to afford participating. As Mr. Hughes said, we spend very long hours on the convention floor, and we accomplish a lot for our members. If the members of Congress were as efficient as NYSUT delegates are, our contry would be in much better shape. In stead of standing on the sidelines and flinging mud on those of us who work hard for you, why not gather the necessary signatures to run for delegate yourself?

Anonymous said...

Paula and Mr Hughes - Is it just a coincidence that all of you vote exactly the same way? Before convention Unity has a meeting where they tell you what to do. Oh and I could have a very nice time with $749 in Buffalo. Try the I work so hard stuff somewhere else. You do what you're told.

Anonymous said...

You all vote the same way. Why not save our money and have one UFT person cast a vote for our whole local?

Anonymous said...

Same comment as above Paula. You could save us all a lot of money by having one person go to Buffalo and vote for our local since you all vote the same anyway.

Mr.Hughesonline said...

So, based on what I'm reading, one person should go to the convention and attend:
1) Political Action Meetings
2) Seargant and Teller Meetings
3) Caucus Meetings
4) General Assembly

And by doing so, you are all okay with one person carrying the weight of their entire local (in our case, 80,000-plus members), thereby altering public policy by themselves. Am I right?

By the way, the "couple days off from school" line bothers me the more I read it. Why do people think we would see that as an incentive?

Anonymous said...

All of you vote the same way that the leadership instructs. May as well save members money by sending one of you. Spare us the we work so hard line. You are good soldiers. Let's just leave it there. Clearly you don't represent 80,000 members or you would not vote for common core.

Ms. Primiano said...

I clearly recall that you were present at last year’s NYSUT Convention as an observer. You would know just as well as the delegates that most of the time was spent on the assembly floor. Regarding the conventions as "free trips" when it’s a working convention is a deliberate way to undermine the responsibilities of the elected delegates. You continuously use your blog provide a skewed perception of the caucus to your readers.V

James Eterno said...

Are you serious? Are you Unity guys denying that you all vote in lock step?

Are you saying you don't pledge to support caucus positions in public and union forums? You are there to rubber stamp what leadership wants. That is why we are stuck with Revive NYSUT. A Unity friend told me how the pre meetings work. Leadership tells you how to vote. My wife was invited to a Unity meeting (way before we were married). She said it felt more like a cult than a union.

The most friendly version of how Unity works would be to say that it practices a kind of Leninist democratic centralism but in reality is it is a top down party that tolerates virtually no public dissent (Abe Levine supporting a hawkish foreign policy excepted). I am honored to oppose the structure tooth and nail.

If you want to rationalize being a cog in what might be the last great political machine in the US, go right ahead. I won't delete your comments unless they are laced with lots of profanity. This is a family blog.

Finally, I never said you don't work. You have to work diligently to honestly peddle stuff like common core, evaluations of teachers based on student test results, paltry 10% raises over 7 years 1 month, the ATR mess that I am still a part of and so much more to our members.

Mr.Hughesonline said...


Let's start from the beginning. Your original post centered on how members are "bought" to pledge allegiance to Unity via stipends and trips. You also wrote that said stipends "keep us in line" and that members even look forward to "a couple of days off from school" to spread Unity's "message". How is this objective? It sounds to me like you're comparing Unity members to indentured servants. Is that what you're doing here?

If you ask other caucus members how they reach a consensus on motions, you'll see that they vote as a body of one as well. I'm sure they meet, confer, and decide as a unit how to move forward. Why should Unity be criticized for doing the same thing?

And while I have your ear: no one in the UFT "peddled"/endorsed/supported Common Core. What the union did was call for a two-year moratorium on high-stakes testing, as well as demand that members receive ample training and resources to effectively teach Common Core-themed lessons. There's a difference. Also, 71% of members voted for the new agreement. If it was really as bad as you're saying it is, you're not really attacking Unity-you're attacking the members who voted in favor of the agreement, many of whom who aren't Caucus affiliated.

Anonymous said...

I often speak at these conventions both in committee and on the floor, and I do so because I sincerely believe in many of the resolutions. If I feel uncomfortable with our(UFT)position, then I do not verbalize at all. To attack a stipend that barely covers expenses makes no sense. The conventions are much more work than play, but they are important. I am lucky if I have a few hours in the evening to myself. That said, I usually travel with my wife, so it is costly for me. Thank you, Dr.John Marvul.

Anonymous said...

Mr Hughes and Paula Washington have never once disagreed with Mulgrew. According to both of them Mulgrew has never been wrong on anything. They are bought and paid for too. Mulgrew owns them and they will jump threw any hoop he wants them to. UFT control of NYSUT and the AFT must stop.

Anonymous said...

MrHugesOnline: Perhaps the 71% attended the UFT workshop during which members were lied to when they were told that we would get 5% interest on the money owed to us. Mulgrew and his cult followers need to be replaced. Roseanne McCosh

James Eterno said...

Mr. Hughes- Can you refute any of my main points? You vote lock step and always agree in public with the leadership. Winston Churchill was prime minister in a parliamentary system in Britain where there was party discipline. However,he said that your first loyalty as an elected representative is to the country, then to your constituents in your district and last to your party. For Unity members, loyalty is to the party leadership. Tell me where any of you have voted against anything that the leadership endorsed? You are not indentured servants. You are part of a political machine. It's that simple. See it for what it is. I have friends in Unity. We understand the system and we get along just fine.

Anonymous said...

Are you Unity lovers going to defend booing Lauren Cohen at the NYSUT Convention? Is that the hard work you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

"no one in the UFT "peddled"/endorsed/supported Common Core"

Nope, just its leader threatening to punch anyone who opposed it in the face and then throw them in the dirt.

"71% of members voted for the new agreement"

Maybe because they were lied to by UFT representatives about how great it was? Also, aren't non votes counted as yes votes? Hmm...

Anonymous said...

"I can also tell you that we are frequently on the floor and in meetings for 18 hours a day."

So if you start at 8am, you're on the floor until 1am assuming no lunch or dinner breaks? 3am with breaks. Sounds totally plausible.

Anonymous said...

Actually you are quite correct. At last year's NYSUT Convention I did not take a meal breaks due to the amount of time on the floor and in meetings which tend to run back to back. Also, if I had taken a break to eat dinner that sounds like a silly issue for you to be arguing.

In regards to the statement about Unity allegedly booing Lauren Cohen, there were many people in the room when the alleged booing ensued. Were you able to pick out the UFT Unity members amongst a sea of NY State locals? I don't think so.

Brian said...

Right, it was all of the Upstate and Long Island locals, most of whom were supporting Lauren Cohen, who were booing her for shining a light on the Unity Oath.

As a non-UFT, NYSUT/AFT delegate I'd like to personally thank the Unity Caucus hacks who have stifled the voice of teachers across the state and helped to endorse and and collaborate on policies that have harmed countless teachers in our state.

Anonymous said...

"Actually you are quite correct. At last year's NYSUT Convention I did not take a meal breaks due to the amount of time on the floor and in meetings which tend to run back to back. Also, if I had taken a break to eat dinner that sounds like a silly issue for you to be arguing."

Who is arguing about taking breaks? I'm saying an 18 hour day would put you there from 8am to 2am. That sounds a bit exaggerated.

Trust me, I don't mind you taking breaks. I know voting the way you're told to vote by leadership must be really hard work and requires our union dues for all your important "work". Save the money for something that matters. We all know what you're going to vote so why waste the trip.

Anonymous said...

Unity has left the building and this comment thread. Thank heaven for small favors.

Raving Lunatic said...

It is very hard work to vote as we are told, but first we meet in committees where we discuss WHY we are voting as we are told, WHEN we are voting as we are told, and WHERE we are voting as we are told. And we don't ALWAYS stay in the NY Hilton. Sometimes we have to stay in the Buffalo Hilton, which is surrounded by, well, Buffalo.

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Anonymous said...

I notice that Unity people never refute those of us who state they are owned and operated by Mulgrew. They fake outrage and try to defend themselves but it always come down to the same pivotal point. They can't tell us when they've ever disagreed with Mulgrew on anything. They can't tell us when they've voted against something Mulgrew wants or for something Mulgrew doesn't want. Their silence is telling. They know we know they are owned by Mulgrew and that hard truth cannot be refuted because in order to do so they would have to disagree with Mulgrew on something. And as far as working hard at a convention goes...standing around and agreeing with everything Mulgrew or Weingarten says is not hard work. Booing fellow union members because they dare to disagree with the power elite is not hard work. These are both sheepish acts not to be respected or admired in any way. Until they can honestly say (and prove) that they've had an independent thought that they acted upon, we will continue to call them out on their love and adoration for all things Mulgrew. Roseanne McCosh