Thanks to Ellen Fox for taking copious notes at the June Delegate Assembly as I couldn't attend because my nephew was graduating from high school. If I missed something in this report that was important, it wasn't because the notes weren't detailed enough, the fault is mine.
President Michael Mulgrew asked for a moment of silence for two UFTers who had been passed away: Frank Giordano and Amy Simms.
There was then a request for a suspension of the rules to change the agenda to exclusively a presidents' report and political endorsements. This was rubber stamped by the Unity majority.
CITY COUNCIL ENDORSEMENTS
The UFT endorsed six candidates for the City Council. There was no opposition to four of them. However there was an objection to Margaret Chin from John Antush as she is not big advocate for the poor and there was another candidate who was fighting for working people in this race. This argument was refuted by Political Director Paul Egan who said other unions support Chin and she is good on education issues.
The second candidate was Ari Kagan. Bernie Schwartz said Kagan was an opportunist who is running against a former UFT member. Political Director Egan said that Kagan has been in the community for twenty years and he endorsed another UFT candidate and then the Unity majority voted for Kagan after debate was cut off.
Marjorie Stamberg reintroduced her resolution to vote against all Democrats and Republicans and have a workers' party. It was rejected.
There was no discussion about the contingency resolution that allows the UFT to endorse more candidates over the summer as the DA is not scheduled to meet again until October. It passed.
MULGREW REPORT & THOMPSON RESOLUTION
The June 12 rally was a great success according to Mulgrew. This has been a long year with Hurricane Sandy so Mulgrew thanked the teachers for helping people get through it. He also mentioned the Newtown massacre and he thanked teachers again for counseling people. He then mentioned evaluations and said that we are the ones who kept the system afloat. Come January 1 we get to make a fresh start. Mulgrew asked people to thank each other and the Delegates shook each other's hands and embraced.
Mulgrew announced that it's Secretary Michael Mendel's last Delegate Assembly. Mendell addressed the body and Mulgrew thanked him for all he's done.
Mulgrew then talked about how we are engaging the members with the mayoral endorsement process. He said the forums the UFT held in each borough showed that the candidates mostly refute Bloomberg. All the candidates are similar on education issues so making someone electable was a major factor in our decision.
Political Director Egan then spoke to the body about polling among the 600,000-650,000 likely voters. He repeated that all the major Democrats showed up at the forums and the UFT did entrance and exit polls as well as focus groups. The UFT met with candidates and their teams three times. Candidates were vetted.
Mulgrew came back to say we want this campaign to really mean something. The last four years we have been under attack. Mulgrew then called for the endorsement of Bill Thompson and an all out campaign to get him elected mayor.
Debate followed with someone from Richmond Hill HS putting up some caution flags. A District 20 Chapter Leaderrose to talk about how Thompson would reduce the people on the Panel for Educational Policy. Mulgrew chimed in that Thompson was the only candidate who said that an ATR is a person in excess which doesn't mean he/she is a bad teacher. This was followed by Ann Rosen supporting Thompson. There was a speaker who opposed Thompson. His issues were that Thompson has said he won't raise taxes and that could mean layoffs. The second objection was that Thompson is supported by Al D'Amato who we can never trust. His final point was that Thompson is backed by Chancellor of the State Board of Regents Merryl Tisch who is the architect of most of the policies that we detest. (This one is compelling to me.)
This speaker was followed by Secretary Michael Mendel who said that UFTers must speak as one united UFT as we are at a crossroads. The question was then called. Peter Lamphere tried to raise a point of order that the debate was one sided. This was ruled out of order. The vote was then held. Thompson was endorsed by the Delegates and then he appeared out of nowhere and addressed the crowd. (It is amazing how Thompson knew how this vote was going to go and a bunch of UFT for Thompson posters also magically appeared. I also got my first robo-call from Mulgrew a few minutes later in support of Thompson. This endorsement was a big secret? Yeah right. Bloggers all called it right last month.)
Thanks again Ellen.
Thanks again Ellen.