There is very little controversy over who to support for Executive Vice President in the New York State United Teachers election on April 5. It is Arthur Goldstein, Chapter Leader of Francis Lewis High School. He is endorsed by the Movement of Rank and File Educators. He explains the NYSUT issues in great detail over at his famous NYC Educator blog.
For those who have not been keeping score, NYSUT (our statewide union) has five officers. Four of the five incumbents are running for reelection on the Stronger Together slate. This includes President Dick Iannuzzi who since breaking from NYC Unity's (Mulgrew) grip arguably qualifies for an opportunity to be nominatedas Most Improved Union President (huge rally in Albany last June, vote of no confidence in King recently and more). He is being challenged by a group started by former UFT Bronx District 10 Representative Andrew Pallotta.
According to Arthur, the split in NYSUT basically comes down to Iannuzzi refusing to look the other way at union support for Andrew Cuomo's reelection. This is straight from Arthur's piece:
What I do know is that Andrew Cuomo came into office promising to go after unions. I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I found that so repulsive I voted for a third-party candidate, for the first time ever. And the first time Cuomo ran, NYSUT sat out the election in AFL-CIO, which resulted in the AFL-CIO endorsement of Cuomo. Personally, I'm mystified as to why any union would endorse someone openly hostile to us, but as NYSUT declined to vote, they let it pass.
What I'm hearing, though, is that NYSUT is no longer prepared to sit idly by, what with abundant evidence that the governor values charter schools dearly, and public schools not at all. If NYSUT were to vote NO on Andrew Cuomo, that could cost him a labor endorsement he values. (We, of course, are public school teachers, and he couldn't care less about us.) And were that to happen, we could stand to lose our much-coveted "seat at the table."
Thus, UFT-Unity raised Andrew Pallotta has put together a group of people to challenge every NYSUT officer but himself, and the rest of the NYSUT officers decided to run for their jobs. This was a very good deal for Andy Pallotta, as he could not lose. However, someone went and decided to challenge him, and that would be me. (GO ARTHUR!).
I've been awakened by writing this blog, by running for chapter leader, and by watching my union create an inner circle of people who signed loyalty oaths to support whatever they were told to support. That included things that hurt teachers--mayoral control, VAM, Common Core, and a contract that decimated seniority privileges. Personally, it's hard for me to understand how an education activist could support causes like those, and I'm still mystified as to how any of those things benefit teachers or students.
And spreading this program statewide would be a huge error in judgment. We simply can't have it. The Revive (Unity) candidates protest too much, claiming repeatedly they are not beholden to UFT leadership. Yet only last year Pallotta sent NYSUT staffers to campaign for UFT fave Bill Thompson. Perhaps Mr. Pallotta was unaware NY mayor is not a state position. It's odd that when asked point-blank in Melville whether or not he'd support Cuomo, yes or no, he hemmed and hawed until the crowd dragged out of him the statement he would not personally support Cuomo. I don't know a single member who supports the atrocious anti-education, anti-union, pro-corporate policies of Andrew Cuomo.
Unfortunately, only NYSUT Delegates can vote in the election so the UFT's 800 voters will be people who pledged to support decisions of the caucus in union and public forums (the Unity loyalty oath). Maybe some of them will show some good judgment and break from Unity and do what is right by our members who I am sure would not want Andrew Cuomo supported in any way shape or form.
It's up to our readers to tell their Unity Chapter Leaders to vote for Arthur.
Norm Scott also addressed the NYSUT election today over at Ed Notes.
For the record I am also running in the NYSUT Election for an at large Board of Directors' Position.