I am in an unusual position concerning the internal UFT rift over Black Lives Matters' week of action resolution. The opposition MORE raised the resolution but the Unity dominated DA voted it down. I support the Unity leadership in steering clear of this as BLM can be a splitter issue but Unity's attacks on MORE for talking to the press on this topic are way over the top.
Except for a very limited number of issues, I have no problem with union debate being public. It is impossible to have real union democracy without transparency, particularly when we are discussing matters that affect the entire membership. I'm normally suspicious when groups demand secrecy which by the way is next to impossible in the age of the internet.
The ongoing debate over whether the UFT should've supported a Black Lives Matter week of action is alarming yet predictable. People who want our internal union disagreements to be kept inside the UFT are kind of unrealistic. What are they afraid of? The UFT membership has multiple perspectives on many subjects including Black Lives Matter.
For those not following, the Unity Caucus dominated UFT Delegate Assembly voted against support for a BLM week of action resolution in January as the issue is divisive or maybe since the opposition MORE had the idea, Unity automatically dismissed it. The press then talked to people from MORE who brought up the resolution and they gave MORE's views which were shown on NY1. Unity then must have gotten some blowback, so they responded by writing a long missive attacking MORE at the February Delegate Assembly as the "not so loyal opposition" to up the stakes.
For the record, I (not speaking for ICE) agree with Staff Director Leroy Barr that BLM is a splitter issue and the UFT should avoid splitters to the maximum extent possible. We need to be as united as possible in the age of Janus where the existence of the union as we know it might very well soon be placed in jeopardy by the Supreme Court. I think Leroy's analogy to the Vietnam War was inartful but made the point. I also feel the UFT learned after supporting Al Sharpton's Eric Garner march that the race issue can be very divisive. I discovered that the hard way when as Chapter Leader of Jamaica, certain people, in my opinion a little cynically, played the race card. Uniting us after that was difficult and a significant Chapter achievement.
The proof that Leroy is right about this being a splitter is here on the blogs. Read DOENUTS, Norm, NYC Educator, MORE and of course, not on the blogs but at the DA, the Unity piece attacking MORE for talking to the press. Splitter issue for sure. It is sound policy for the UFT to want to keep emphasizing what unites us in the age of Janus when the Supreme Court will probably soon rule that we can leave the union.
It would be nice if the Union would go to Albany to work on what unites us all. I think they should be pushing to repeal the teacher evaluation system that almost all teachers I know can't stand. We would all unite with the leadership to overhaul the evaluation law. We are united on evaluations but that is a matter for different postings.
I very much doubt that after the Supreme Court gives their Janus decision to allow public sector union members to stop paying union dues if people are going to base their decision on whether or not to stay in the UFT on UFT's lack of support for BLM's week of action. However, Unity attacking MORE for talking to the press about this or really almost anything, does not help our cause either.