Sunday, April 26, 2015


Last week we urged people to run for Chapter Leader or Delegate in the upcoming UFT Chapter Elections taking place in May or June.  For those thinking about a run for office at the crucial school-chapter level, we have copied below the UFT's Election Guide and Bylaws.  Please read them closely and email us any questions.

If NYC teachers are determined to change the UFT, now is the time to step forward and lead.  It will basically be impossible for us to make any moves in a positive direction if we don't elect a healthy number of new independent Chapter Leaders and Delegates who will not sign the Unity loyalty oath. Unity Caucus is Michael Mulgrew's political party.

Unity requires their members to sign an obligation stating they will support leadership positions in union and public forums.  Unity representatives vote as they are told and then go back to their schools and repeat the Unity party line. Busy rank and file members either accept it or become cynical and detach themselves from union involvement.

Do you believe leadership when they call the teacher evaluation system a victory for us?  It isn't; it is awful and getting worse. Question your Unity Chapter Leader/Delegate on this. I also recommend asking every Unity Chapter Leader if they voted against a strong resolution to support the parent opt out revolt against common core testing that is occurring throughout NYS?  Unity voted it down.

You can be sure your Chapter Leader/Delegate belong to Unity Caucus if they are heading this week to the NYSUT Convention in Buffalo. One has to run on the Unity slate to get a chance to get free trips to the AFT and NYSUT conventions.

Good people can no longer sit on the sidelines. 16,000 teachers voted no on the contract last year with its meager 10% raises over 7 years.  That contract will also make us wait until 2020 to be made whole for money most other city employees received back from 2008-2010.  The best way to stop the top-down mismanagement of the UFT is to elect independent Chapter Leaders and Delegates who will represent you and not Michael Mulgrew.

Chapter Election Procedures
Election of chapter leader, other chapter officers and delegates to the Delegate Assembly shall be conducted by secret ballot under the supervision of an election committee.

The Election Committee may be designated by the chapter leader with the approval of the chapter, or may be elected by the chapter.  Candidates for chapter leader and DA delegate may not serve on the Election Committee.  If the chapter conducts an election, there must be clear notice of the process posted or discussed at a union meeting.

The duties of the Election Committee shall be:
 1.  To choose the chair of the Election Committee.
 2. To prepare a Notice of Election. This notice shall contain:
 a. A list of the positions to be filled.  In addition to the chapter leader, the notice shall state how many delegates are to be elected: one per 60 teacher members or major fraction thereof. The school printout provides the number of DA delegates. The chapter may include other chapter positions exclusive to the school.
 b. A procedure for nominations.
 c. An election calendar.
 d. A procedure for appeal.
 3. Preparing the ballots and the ballot box and determining eligible voters on the basis of UFT-  established rules.
 4.   Conducting the actual election.
 5.   Counting the ballots.
6.  Certifying the election to the UFT Membership Department on the appropriate form.
7.  Keeping the ballots and the ballot box in a safe place for at least one month, in case of a challenge to the results.

A copy of the Notice of Election with the Election Calendar must be distributed to each chapter member through the school mailboxes, including those in annexes and school sites, and shall be posted on the UFT bulletin board at least three (3) school days prior to the date of nominations in each site and annex.

The Election Calendar must include the following information:
·       Date of Nominations  This date must be at least 3 school days after the distribution of the Notice of Election.
·       Date of Election
The actual elections must take place on one day. This date must be at least 5 school days following the distribution of the Notice of Election.
·     Time and place of voting
This schedule must be suited to the school so as to give all UFT members an opportunity to vote.  The schedule must make provision for all school sites and annexes.
      An election calendar
Sample election calendar:  Thursday, May 7th:  Notice of election distributed; Thursday, May 14th: Nominations close at the end of the school day; Thursday, May 21st: voting.

Every school is entitled to elect a para-professional representative and the vote may take place at the same time as the chapter election. Only paraprofessionals may nominate, run and vote for paraprofessional representatives.

The UFT Constitution does not provide for co-chapter leaders. If a chapter chooses to have a co-chapter leader, it may only be on an informal basis. Only one name may be submitted as chapter leader of record.

The chair of the Election Committee must verify that all nominees accept their nominations.
Provision will be made for members who are not on the school’s table of organization but eligible to participate in the chapter’s election to nominate and be nominated.

Conducting the Election
The ballot box must be secure and monitored at all times by the Election Committee.

Provision will be made for members who are out on official school business—e.g., a class trip or conference—or who are not on the school’s table of organization, but eligible to participate to cast ballots before the close of balloting.

Members must vote in person; no absentee ballots may be cast.

Voting must take place by secret ballot on the date announced in the Election Calendar.

In cases where positions are not contested (only one candidate has been nominated for a particular role), those candidates can be confirmed without a formal vote.

Time and Place for Counting Ballots
The count shall take place on the day of voting, and provision must be made to include the vote
of all school sites and annexes with the school count.

A supervised ballot box must be provided at a specific location. A membership roster must be available, and is to be initialed by the voter at the time the ballot is cast. Each chapter leader will have a membership printout and a chapter certification form. The printouts should be checked immediately by the Election Committee for errors or omissions.

Members who were not on the school’s table of organization but were assigned to the school on the first Monday in May will be added to the roster.

An individual whose name is not on the printout, but who claims membership and can display evidence of UFT membership—such as a NYSUT membership card or check stub with proper dues code (“-U”)—should be allowed to vote.

The ballot, however, is subject to challenge and must be sequestered. 

Ballots shall be counted at the time and place announced in the Election Calendar. Candidates or their observers may be present at the count.  Election shall be determined by the highest number of votes.  Challenged ballots shall be set aside and, if their number could affect the outcome of the election.

The Election Committee shall place an announcement of the results on the UFT bulletin board immediately after the election.

All ballots and election materials shall be retained by the Election Committee for at least one month to allow for review of results.
As soon as results have been certified by the Election Committee, the Committee Chair must complete the Chapter Certification Data Form and send it to the UFT Membership Department, 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, 11th floor.

Procedures for appeals
Appeals of elections must be made in writing to the UFT borough representative, with written notice to the chapter within five (5) school days following the election. In the event that a challenge to the election is successful, the borough representative shall establish an expedited election procedure.

Any full-time member may nominate, run for a position and vote in a school’s election if he or she is on the school’s permanent table of organization or assigned to the school on the first Monday in May of an election year.
Only teachers are eligible to nominate, run for and vote for school DA delegate, provided that they have signed the union card at least 60 days prior to the election. 

Secretaries, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and other functional chapter members are represented in the Delegate Assembly through their functional chapters and may stand for election as delegate from their functional chapters. 

District 75 and District 79 members nominate and are nominated for chapter leader in their District 75 or 79 school.  District 75 or 79 members and others who are permanently housed in the school building may vote in that chapter leader election.

Agency fee payers may not nominate, run or vote in chapter elections.

Schools with Multiple Sites: To facilitate communications and service, schools with multiple sites often have liaisons at these sites. These liaisons are not chapter leaders nor are they DA delegates unless they specifically run for those positions in the school’s election.

Persons on split assignment shall vote in their payroll school. Like others, these members must vote in person; no absentee ballots may be cast.  F-status substitutes (those with regularly scheduled part-time assignments) may vote in their school election.


Anonymous said...

James, Unity CL'S and delegates are in it for more than just the free trips that the UFT offers them, they get protection from abusive principals and preferential treatment in their schools if they collaborate with the admin. BP

ed notes online said...

Good point BP - and if they are on top of the food chain - meaning they work their asses off to get ahead the union will negotiate behind the scenes with the DOE to get their ass out of a bad situation - don't undersestimate the obligations for the ambitious to get that full time job and out of the schools - that is the big enchilada. On the other hand, can you blame some people for joining Unity to give them an extra layer of perceived or real protection?
We saw certain strong Unity schools - like Maxwell and Grady kept open- while Jamaica which was a base for ICE - closed. Not saying strict cause and effect -- but I do wonder just how many schools with Unity CLs were closed.

Bronx ATR said...

Hi James,
What about ATRs? We don't know where we will be. What happened with the complaint you filed? Thanks.

James Eterno said...

While I understand that getting rid of my chapter was certainly one reason for Jamaica's demise, plenty of Unity schools were closed too. For example Far Rockaway had Unity's Ray Taruskin as Chapter Leader. Unity's David Pecoraro was Chapter Leader at Beach Channel. They closed. In fact David was Unity's Chapter Leader at Andrew Jackson too when they closed. Facts from high schools do not support theory that Unity protects their own. Even if they so desired, they do not have power any longer in most cases. These are just a few examples.

I can say with no reservations that as an opposition Chapter Leader, I received good support from UFT. My wife was a CL who was helped when she needed it too. Grievances went through and people almost always responded to calls for assistance. If Unity was trying to do us in, it was political (they unsuccessfully tried to get people to run against me) which is understandable. Turnabout is fair play. It is a huge myth that non Unity Chapter Leaders are left hung out to dry. Today, we have very little union power left which explains why people naturally get close to administration.

James Eterno said...

They ignored our complaint which was sent twice. We will post more later.

ed notes online said...

Dave and Ray were not top level Unity -- they don't protect everyone. When Far Rock was announced as closing Rona Freiser went there to tell them to work on their resumes. An angry non-tenured teacher invited me to come to a union meeting the next afternoon. I showed up and Ray was running it and then turned it over to me. So he was not that heavy handed. I'm sure he paid for that.
Of the 150 schools that were closed I'd like to know how many had Unity people as CL.
In fact, when the DOE fired that untenured teacher who invited me one of the charges was that he invited me into the building.

James Eterno said...

Ray had a union job. Chapter leaders aren't top Unity by definition. Lane was Unity when it started phasing out. Go back to our friend Ron Kaplan. He joined Unity and ended up friends with Camille and me. What good did Unity do for Lane? Besides Jamaica and Springfield, I can't think of a non Unity school closed in Queens. Clarence Reynolds at Law and Government was a Unity CL who worked in Queens office. Sal Emanuelli at Parsons was a Unity CL who also had a union job. Both schools closed. Rona's school is August Martin. Look how they are getting shrunk. Non Unity Tom Maher is CL at John Adams. How are they still going?