Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MORE & NEW ACTION TENTATIVELY AGREE TO RUN TOGETHER IN 2016 UFT ELECTION

New Action Caucus (NAC) has decided not to support Michael Mulgrew for UFT President in 2016 and has agreed instead to run for office with the presidential candidate of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE). This move has led MORE's Steering Committee to approve a joint slate with New Action subject to ratification by the MORE membership.  MORE is meeting on Saturday to discuss the deal and vote on it and then it will probably go to an online vote.

As a one time NAC member who served for seven years as a New Action representative on the UFT Executive Board representing the high schools (and then three more years with ICE), it is great to see NAC back opposing Michael Mulgrew as the inadequate contract and support for a horrible evaluation system shows he does not deserve reelection.  NAC coming back to the opposition is positive news.

However, it remains to be seen how MORE and New Action will work productively together as it is impossible to erase twelve years of history where New Action did not oppose Randi Weingarten for UFT President in 2004 and then endorsed as the head of the NAC slate, Weingarten in 2007 and Michael Mulgrew in 2010 and again in 2013. The alliance of New Action with Weingarten and Mulgrew's Unity Caucus (the UFT's ruling party) led to much animosity among opposition people.

It will take a while to build trust among the people in our union opposing Unity Caucus but it is worth a try because the stakes at this time for the UFT are huge and a united opposition has the best chance to get some non-Unity endorsed representation on the UFT Executive Board. The UFT has not had any non-Unity endorsed representatives on the Executive Board since 2007. 

In the 2013 election, the combined NAC-MORE vote totals in the high school division exceeded that of Unity Caucus. MORE easily out-polled NAC 1435 votes to 455 in the high schools while Unity received 1592 votes.  Even though MORE and NAC combined for 53% of the vote total, because NAC and Unity cross endorsed each other's high school candidates, MORE did not win any UFT High School Executive Board positions.  That won't happen again in 2016 if MORE's members approve the deal.

Based on the huge polling advantage in the last election, MORE could have insisted on having a strong majority of candidates compared to NAC in 2016, as NAC did to the Progressive Action Caucus when they cross endorsed high school candidates in 2001 and ran together in 1997, but for the sake of a unified opposition of major groups, MORE agreed to keep things relatively equal.  Read the entire deal below and tell us what you think. 

MORE-NAC ELECTION AGREEMENT

1.    This is a proposal. It is subject to the approval of New Action/UFT’s Executive Board [New Action has already approved], MORE’s steering committee [MORE’s Steering Committee has already approved], and a MORE membership poll.

2.    This proposal is for a joint, full MORE/New Action slate in the Spring 2016 UFT election. It is not for cross endorsing a few select candidates for officer or exec board positions. It is not for merging our groups. It does not involve other caucuses.

3.    Allocation of Slots
  •     The allocation of slots, in general should reflect both the relative strength of the caucuses, and the history and significance of the caucuses.
  • The number of delegate slots is sufficient that both groups may supply as many delegate candidates as they wish; we are unlikely to run out of space.
  •    The number of officer, divisional and at-large slots should be divided evenly, except where there is an odd number (eg, 7 high school slots) the extra seat will be filled by MORE.
  •    The presidential candidate will come from MORE’s ranks, and be agreed to by both groups.
  •    In the case of other officer candidates, and the divisional executive board candidates, the groups will review each other’s choices and agree to the specific candidates. If there are specific objections, the groups will discuss. In all other cases the individual group may choose its candidates without consulting the other group.


4.    Jointly prepare petitions. The groups will collaborate to determine the best way(s) for doing so.

5.    Joint program with broad topics, and some specific proposals. Each group will use the joint program, yet be able to add as it sees fit, within agreed upon parameters. The following list of broad topics is in development:
Abusive Administrators, Teacher Evaluation, ATRs, Tenure/Discontinuances/Probationers, Opt Out/High Stakes Testing, Union Democracy, Mobilization for the next contract

6.    One jointly produced piece of literature will be prepared for distribution, and modified for the New York Teacher and electronic dissemination. Each group may use the joint piece, their own literature, or any combination.

7.    Our groups and their predecessors have long histories working in the UFT. While at times we have collaborated, there have also been bad relations, invective, and personal hostility. A) To the extent possible, we will not rehash past disputes in these discussions. B) We propose that the groups facilitate at least one opportunity for members of the other group to come and learn about a positive part of our respective activity or history.

8.    In the likely event that we serve together on the UFT Exec Board, we will regularly meet and discuss questions, resolutions, stance on Unity motions and reports, etc. There may not always be agreement, but where there is, we will communicate well so that we can work together most effectively.

9.    Each group will designate individuals or a committee to coordinate between the groups through the course of the campaign.

10. We want to make our announcement, if we get to that point, without the news already being public. If this proposal is approved by New Action’s Executive Board and MORE’s Steering Committee, these announcements would occur soon after, on a mutually agreed upon date. [This has already been taken care of].”

9 comments:

Sean Ahern said...

Why did NA change its position on support for the Unity caucus executive council candidates?

Anonymous said...

This is great news, but like Sean, would like to know what changed that has brought NAC back to their senses?

Anonymous said...

It must have to do that Mulgrew and Unity kicked them to the curb and they did not do it on their own. Ask New Action if Mulgrew took things away from them like the organizing committee. Maybe Leroy Barr simply leaned over and whispered to Shulman and Halabi "Pssst...we are not cross endorsing you and now you are F$%^ed. Take care." Grasping at straws now.

Bronx Teacher said...

Or maybe it's as simple as that NA just finally saw the light.

Anonymous said...

Check out Jonathan's blog for the official New Action party line on why they have come to their senses.

Francesco Portelos said...

We welcome this coalition. I had breakfast with Mike Shulman of New Action two weeks ago. Solidarity initiated election conversations back in March. I asked New Action if they're concernedthat Unity would just cut them out. I was told "They wouldn't do that."....but they did. I hope both parties are honest with each other. New Action has great people with great union hearts. The New More is something I've been trying to create for years. Victory. Interested to see if this New More will work on joint initiatives outside of the election. We have some rallies coming up. Will New Action be able to steer more towards teacher centered issues?

A little background here:

From the Frustration & Chaos a New UFT Group Emerges protectportelos.org/from-the-frustration-chaos-a-new-uft-group-emerges/

QueensSpedTeach said...

What's the link for Jonathan's blog?

jd2718.org said...

My blog is jd2718.org, and this is the link.

Jonathan

James Eterno said...

Thanks Jonathan.