Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Do you want to fix the United Federation of Teachers?  Do you really seriously want to be involved in repairing the mess that our union has become? If the answer is yes, then right now is the time to step up and be a part of a movement for change by running for a Chapter leadership position.

We all know President Michael Mulgrew and his ruling Unity Caucus are in bed with management now that a Democrat, Bill de Blasio, is mayor. Unfortunately, their collaborative relationship has not led to improved teaching and learning conditions in most schools. The mayor's Chancellor, Carmen Farina, has done little, if anything, to advance the teaching profession in NYC.

In addition, our union's leaders did almost nothing to put a halt to Governor Andrew Cuomo's anti-public school agenda and now UFT officials are not lifting a finger to assist parents as close to 200,000 students statewide are boycotting invalid, abusive Common Core exams.

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, other social media and complaining in the teacher's room about how awful the union leadership is can be helpful but it's not enough. Right now is the time for each and every UFT member who has seen our profession come close to being destroyed to do something about it.

Chapter elections are coming in May or June in every school.  These are the really important UFT elections since the Chapter Leader and Delegate basically control the flow of information from the union leaders to the rank and file. Many UFT members are too busy to follow the day-by-day workings of the union. They count on their Chapter Leader and Delegate to help them understand what's occurring.

Sadly, however, too many Chapter Leaders and Delegates belong to Unity Caucus, Michael Mulgrew's political party, that has dominated the UFT for half a century.

Unity requires its members to sign an obligation compelling them to support caucus positions in public and union forums. Critics call it the Unity loyalty oath. In exchange, they get free trips to conventions where they endorse whatever the leadership wants, even if it is harmful to teachers.

Unity Chapter Leaders and Delegates return to schools after union meetings to spread the Unity party line no matter how horrific it is for the rank and file. Examine the contract with its paltry raises or the anti-teacher evaluation system that changes every year that Unity always claims is a victory.  We know conditions are rapidly deteriorating but Unity paints a rosy picture so they can stay in power.

Many members hear the Unity nonsense and become apathetic. Some wish to ride out the perpetual storm in a low key way until retirement. The indifference is understandable but it is not the answer to our problems.

If we ever are to change the union and improve working conditions in the schools, we need at the very least a few hundred independent people to take Chapter positions away from the Unity Party. We must stand up to the leadership when necessary instead of having what one Unity member once called "blind faith" in the UFT president.

It is not that difficult to be a  UFT change agent.  A Delegate has only nine meetings a year to attend and then report back to the Chapter on what goes on.

Chapter Leader is a more complicated position but groups such as ICE and the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) contain within their ranks experienced Chapter Leaders who can provide a great deal of support.

Email us if you or someone you know wants to help rescue our union from its current pathetic state.

Step I is taking back the Chapters one-by-one.

Remember, the U in union stands for you!


Anonymous said...

What about ATRs who want to run and have at least a one in a million chance of winning? Right now it's a ZERO chance.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to say that PS 8 in the Bronx has 2 delegates and a chapter leader who are not Mulgrew/Unity Puppets. We select people who are independent thinkers. Our chapter leader and one of the delegates are two of the strongest minded people I know. No one can make them turn against what they think is right. They were both vocal against the last contract and are wise to the big wimp running the UFT and all of his Unity shills. Roseanne McCosh, PS8x

Anonymous said...

We need more members like those in Roseanne's school. Her chapter is an example of what true unionism should be. They are there to fight and protect the profession without having to politically prostitute their values and moral conscience for those "union perks". Kudos to her chapter.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you mean by "free trips to conventions". There is nothing free about it. It is total work. From early in the morning to late at night. There is no time at all to see the sites of the host city. Most of the time a convention delegate is involved in the necessary legislation that runs the union.
Not complaining. Every Delegate should be proud to serve their Sisters and Brothers. It is about the Union. That is why we run.

Anonymous said...

To 7:42,
Why not save yourself the trip? There is no dissension allowed. All must vote with one voice; that voice is Mulgrew's, and that voice is Weingarten's.

ed notes online said...

You have to be joking. That is why you run. I go to AFT conventions. All work? I see all of you guys lunching (on our dollar), shopping - on your own - I hope - and partying at dinner. All expenses paid with meals, hotels and transportation covered - for all 800 of you. Add that up. A couple of million - at roughly 2 grand a person. And since you all vote as a block you might as send Mulgrew to cast 800 votes - and that is allowed. Many locals can't even afford to send their people.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 7:42: Everytime someone such as your self claims the conventions are hard work, someone else reminds you that all you do is vote the way Mulgrew tells you to vote. We see through you. We know you arrive to the covention on bended knee waiting for Mulgrew to give you permission to stand. Why spend our money and attend? Ednotes is right----just have Mulgrew go and save the money---you're just going to vote the way he tells you to. Roseanne McCosh

Raving Lunatic said...

Let me clarify what we do. We exercise party discipline. We think through things carefully and come to the best conclusions. We work continually and don't stop until there is 100% agreement. Because we are so brilliant and determined, everyone agrees with everything, always.

It's the best of all possible worlds. I urge you to vote for chapter leaders who will represent leadership, because honestly, you members don't know what's good for you. In fact, you don't even need to decide or vote because we are more than happy to sacrifice ourselves and do it for you.

Thank you. You may now go about your business.

Anonymous said...

We also need to vote for someone else instead of Mulgrew!

Anonymous said...

I am getting out a violin for you.

Anonymous said...

Change is necessary. I thought it was the politicians who looked for the big buck benefactors but unions are not that far behind. When we have a union telling the members that there was a victory to the anti-teachers, anti-public schools budget bill, then it is time for a true union leader that throw perks to the loyalists.

Now I see why they call you a Raving Lunatic because you just proved to the readers that anti-teachers and anti-public education is acceptable through our present leadership.

Let's get the billionaire bucks out of politics and bring back DEMOCRACY.

"Capitalism is against the things that we say we believe in - democracy, freedom of choice, fairness. It's not about any of those things now. It's about protecting the wealthy and legalizing greed." - Michael Moore

Anonymous said...

"then it is time for a true union leader that throw perks to the loyalists."

It should say:
"then it is time for a true union leader that does NOT throw perks to these so-called loyalists."

Anonymous said...

Michael Mulgrew makes two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year and does not even teach. I want the job.

Anonymous said...

In my weekly update email to members at my school this is what I told them about upcoming chapter elections:
Chapter Elections

When we come back we'll need to set up an election committee. Once we have the election committee in place, I'll post nomination forms for the three positions that you'll be voting for: Chapter Leader, Delegate, and Paraprofessional Representative. Details can be found here and information on chapter election committee training here

If anyone is interested in running for Chapter Leader, trust me, I will not be upset. I know Michael Mulgrew and UFT Unity would probably be happy to see me go, hell, they may even throw a party. ;) So if you think you'd like to give it a go, be ready to add your name. All I would ask is that if you do decide to take on this role please always remember that you should represent the concerns and best interests of the members you represent TO the UFT and not the other way around.