By far the largest chapter in the United Federation of Teachers is the 70,000 member Retired Teachers Chapter. The chapter leader, executive board, and delegate election for this chapter is underway. I am running for an executive board position and I will be voting for the entire Retiree Advocate slate. Please vote for the Retiree Advocate slate if you are a UFT retiree and urge any retiree you know to vote for Retiree Advocate. Our candidate for Chapter Leader is Gloria Brandman, a long-time Union activist and chapter leader. If we can cut into Unity's advantage with the retirees, we can start to change this union.
The main issue for the Retiree Advocate this year is strong opposition to the privatization of retiree Medicare. This topic has really woken many retired teachers up. Mulgrewcare, as I have termed the Medicare Advantage plan municipal retirees could be forced into, does not seem to be that popular. It would set a terrible precedent if a huge group of 240,000 retired NYC workers was forced into a privatized health plan for 100% of their healthcare, rather than the federally run Medicare.
Retiree Advocate is not just campaigning against Unity. The caucus is taking action. This is from EdNotes:
RA PRESS CONFERENCE ON MEDICARE CHANGES
MONDAY MAY 24 12 NOON
LOCATION: PARK ROW NEAR CITY HALL ACROSS FROM B'KLYN BRIDGE
Numbers count there too even if only a press conference where usually 30 people show - Imagine if a couple of hundred showed up -- that would scare the hell out if Unity -- so if you are free on Monday -- see u there.
This is my first chapter election as a retiree as I left the system in 2018. The election, like most everything within the UFT, is tilted toward Unity Caucus. Unity has name recognition so right there on their beautifully produced flyer there is Chapter Leader Tom Murphy pictured side by side with Michael Mulgrew.
Even with their structural advantages, Unity still feels the need to cheat. Unlike in the general UFT election where the list of over a thousand candidates comes in a huge envelope with no caucus literature in it, the retiree chapter election ballot comes enclosed with an individual leaflet from each of the caucuses running that is paid for by the Union. Guess which caucus has their leaflet printed on heavier paper so it is much more attractive and stands out? I don't have to tell you that it's Unity while the Retiree advocate piece is on plain, cheap white paper.
I handed both the Retiree Advocate and Unity literature to my 11-year-old daughter who obviously couldn't care less about the issues. Within a second, she said the Unity one felt heavier; people will look at that first. Why do you think personnel directors encourage us to put resumes on thicker paper? It is easier on the eye and hands. Unity doesn't need to stuff ballots or manipulate voting machines. Their cheating is much more subtle and sophisticated.
Think about this, the retired teachers send 300 delegates to the UFT Delegate Assembly because the chapter is so large. You would think there would be some kind of proportional representation for those seats. No, it's winner takes all. RA asked for five out of 300 to be jointly endorsed so there would be some diversity of opinion at the DA. Unity said no. They even threw out their own David Pecoraro for having the nerve to speak against Unity's comptroller endorsement at the DA.
Before someone tells me to complain to the Department of Labor or the NYS Public Employees Relations Board about the heavier Unity campaign leaflet, we are retirees and not employees so we are not considered workers. Nobody would listen. Before someone else tells me how they are proud to have opted out of this corrupt union, we put that argument to an end here last week. This blog is for UFTers determined to stay and fight back. Opt-out somewhere else.
If anyone wants to help, then spread the word to your retiree friends and convince them to vote for the Retiree Advocate in the Retired Teachers Chapter Leader election. You can also support non-Unity candidates in chapter elections if you are an active UFT member.