Thursday, October 15, 2009


The Wednesday, October 14 Delegate Assembly meeting was highlighted by chapter leader Jonathan Halabi introducing a resolution calling for the UFT to endorse William Thompson for mayor.

Halabi motivated his resolution by telling the assembly how bad Mayor Bloomberg has been for education. The Union brought out the big guns to oppose Halabi. Political director Paul Egan said that we shouldn't throw ourselves on our swords because Bloomberg was basically a shoe in to win with his money, his endorsements and with labor split. He added that Contract negotiations would end immediately if we supported Thompson.

The debate on this motion continued with staff director Leroy Barr proposing that we postpone the vote indefinitely on this motion. He said this would give us the option of raising it again within the next couple of weeks if we were to decide to endorse. After some further discussion and some parliamentary procedural questions about whether or not the president was trying to alternate between speakers for and against the resolution to support Thompson, Barr's motion carried so the UFT has postponed the decision indefinitely.

In other news we heard a report from President Michael Mulgrew on the sad state of the budget, the flat NAEP testing results, and how principals can get points on their Quality Reviews.

He also talked about the new school governance law that gives more power to School Leadership Teams to make their school's Comprehensive Education Plans. He said that having a functioning SLT in most of our schools was an important UFT goal for this year. He added that he had talked to the new State Education Commissioner, David Steiner, about the state having a quick review process.

There was a question about ATR's and Mulgrew answered by saying the DOE has to manage the schools better and our ATR's would remain on the job.

The only other news to come out of the meeting was that visitors were not allowed in the auditorium but instead were relegated to watching the proceedings on television on the 19th floor. Anyone who comes to a DA to watch it on TV is truly dedicated. Why not just make the proceedings available as webcasts to UFT members so any member could watch them?


Pogue said...

Ahh, scared leaders. What more can you ask of a union?

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of web casting the DA proceedings.

Perhaps you should propose it. Union Democracy would be the motivation.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that the UFT is afraid of Bloomberg. We should endorse Thompson and put an end to bully Blomberg.
The UFT contrat is already done, and what elso do we have to lose?

Anonymous said...

The reason that Bloomberg will win is because of the actions of leaders like our UFT leaders. How insane not to back Thompson! What is best for our members is to stand up for what is right. This is not “falling on a sword”. Bloomberg does not know how to negotiate. He has never negotiated. He just whips out his wallet or intimidates. History shows that it’s Bloomberg’s way or no way. Michael Mulgrew is fooling himself if he thinks he can negotiate with Bloomberg. So I guess that this is the new face of the UFT --- back only politicians who will win so that we always appear to be on the winning side. How sad.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the ICE hack that kept rudely interupting nearly every speaker with incorrect Roberts Rules of Order info?

Anonymous said...

To Michael Mulgrew:

You mentioned that the DOE will deal with the ATRs? It is already dealing with the ATRS for the WORST. The DOE is swichting ATRS from the elementary school an putting them in JH. schools and viceversa. How good is it coming from this NONSENSE? The DOE is just making the ATRS case worst by each passing day. Where is the UFT? In bed with Bloomberg?

JW said...

to Anon. 7:58:

Crawl away.
If Robert's Rules were being followed, there wouldn't be any interruptions of this kind.

Even when the Chair accepted the concept of alternating For and Against, he continued to insert "commentary" in the form of pithy introductions, insertions, sarcasm, obsequiousness and facial gestures. Chairs are supposed to be neutral.

Chairs are also not supposed to interrupt speakers, except in a few cases (like privilege, which I am sorry to say they use frequently, shamelessly, and to further the Unity line on any subject).

But all this is moot. Unity people are not allowed to disagree on Unity line in public forums. What it boils down to is a debate between individual educators and a party line.

In truth, no one has to even show up at these DAs. What Unity wants gets passed by the the Exec Board. What they don't want, they squiggle out of by taking up too much time in speeches, scheduling dog-and-pony shows, changing the order of business, holding meetings in a hall that doesn't fit everyone, and the like.


One last thing. I don't like calling the extra people in the room "visitors." Most of them are still union members, though not delegates. Moving them out of the hall is a terrible, terrible thing for the health of the union.

P.S.: If you're going to start sending visitors up to the 19th floor, is there any way to tell how many Unity "managers" there are inside the hall who are not officially allowed to be there? Those would be "visitors" as well. They should be wearing badges with their name and title on it so the rest of us can know if they have the right to be there.

Marcia said...

Not "shoe in" but rather "shoo in," like shooing a cat out the door. What a funny mistake!

Anonymous said...

JW, so it's Mulgrew's fault that the guy from ICE kept interupting other speakers? That's illogical.

And maybe you haven't been paying much attention at the last two DAs but Mulgrew's style seems to be quite different than his predecessor. I didn't see a "dog-and-pony show", I saw a well structured meeting that had a good pace to it.

And Unity "managers"? Gimme a break with your conspiracy theories. Maybe we should have them observe from the grassy knoll. Hah!

Under Assault said...

Yes. It's Mulgrew's fault that he did not alternate between Pros and Cons and that he chose to editorialize as described. It is not a fault to use Robert's Rules, but if you don't like using them, please abandon them altogether and stop the charade.

Yes, Mulgrew's style is different from RW's. He's far more adept at grammar, for example. His predecessor favored stringing dependent clauses along one after another until she could no longer remember the beginning of her thought. You can tell Mulgrew actually enjoys finishing a sentence and placing an audible period at the end of it. That's a real plus for those of us who enjoy language, and we are grateful. It is also tends to shorten the President's report by about a half hour.

You are right that there was no dog-and-pony show this time, but there was a long one in September. Liu and DeBlasio didn't have to be there. We like 'em, we'll vote for them, but we have much more important issues to discuss, like ATRs, rubber rooms, school closings, and intimidation.

Yes, Unity managers. Not Unity Leadership. The officers "manage" the rank-and-file and the DAs. They lead nothing except the rapid demise of the profession.

JW said...

Conspiracy theories? Your words, not mine.

I was thinking more in terms of a democratic union, where you can actually seat all the delegates and any other members who want to see how things play out in the hall and not have to rely on the video person's idea of where to turn the camera.

I also made a legitimate request: Unity people who have the right to be in the room should wear badges. The rest should be stopped at the door, just like the other people you call "visitors." (And I'm still angry that you all see them as "visitors" and not as fellow brothers and sisters who happen not to be delegates. How dare you!)

Anonymous said...

How does losing elections help the members? Thompson has failed to energize the NY electorate despite running against a mayor who changed the rules to allow him to run again. Egan laid out the political reality of the race. New Yorkers can change everything if they get out and actually vote which they didn't do in the primaries. I have to say that it was nice for the UFT to actually endorse in races with multiple candidates and make them winners (Liu, de Blasio, and Vance). Mulgrew and Egan seem to have stopped the losing streak we have been on. Maybe they have it right in the mayor's race. Either way lets get out and vote on November 3rd.

Anonymous said...

The UFT should endorse Bloomberg. They always back a candidate who loses.

ed notes online said...

How about the Unity Caucus pre-DA meeting the day before every DA where they plan out who will get called on, with designated people to call the question?

Count the number of speakers and most are in Unity Caucus but will not admit that publicly.

Hold a meeting for over 3000 in a room that holds only 850 and then claim there is no room. There's democracy for you. If people actually showed up (and ask why not) the Unity crew might become a minority.

Anonymous said...

But that's the problem Norm, people don't show up. Whose fault is that?

ed notes online said...

Whose fault? You've got to be kidding. When you guys crammed 1400 people into a space for 850 at the Sept DA, with insane delays in the new Mulgrew security system and with 300 new CL and countless new delegates, I can't tell you how many people said they were never coming back to that zoo. But that is exactly your strategy. Keep all but Unity away. If you could make the DA 100% Unity endorsed like the Exec Bd is you'd be in heaven.

ed notes online said...

Hey Unity Clone:
Comment on the New Haven contract brokered by Randi. From Ed Notes:

There's nothing surprising in Weingarten's dealing in New Haven. The AFT/UFT doesn't play the role as teacher advocate but as broker between teachers and the ed deformers. In fact it's worse than that. Weingarten is there to sell the as much as the ed deform program to teachers as she can get away with. The new Manchurian Candidate.

"I rarely say that something is a model or a template for something else, but this is both," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who helped broker the New Haven deal.

"This shows a willingness to go into areas that used to be seen as untouchable," Mr. Duncan said.

A showdown between the White House and the powerful teachers' unions looks, for the moment, a little less likely.

This week in New Haven, Conn., the local teachers union agreed, in a 21-1 vote, to changes widely resisted by unions elsewhere, including tough performance evaluations and fewer job protections for bad teachers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as the unions, said the New Haven contract could be repeated in other school districts.

Read it in full at The Wall St Journal.

Anonymous said...

Thompson says no money for teacher raises.

Still wanna endorse him?

Who's the bad guy now?

Anonymous said...

Just go vote Bloomberg like all the Unity Caucus lackeys. Make sure to tell an ATR and rubber room teacher about how you just love Bloomie because Mulgrew told you to.