Word up in Albany via Perdido Street School is that the UFT leadership might be preparing to stage another coup d'etat against their own hand picked New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee. Magee was basically installed by the UFT leadership after former NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi showed some intestinal fortitude and independence from UFT and AFT leadership by standing up to Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 and 2014.
What has Magee done wrong? She did show some resolve by coming out in support of the opt-out from testing movement while the city union won't come out for opt-out.
Mulgrew denies that he is out to get Magee but doesn't contradict the notion that he had a role in forcing the New York State United Teachers political director Steve Allinger to retire. Mulgrew is quoted in Ken Lovett's Daily News Daily Politics blog saying, "We have to get work done, move fast, and everyone has to be on the same page."
Lovett then goes on by writing this: "Union insiders say the Allinger situation is part of a larger schism that has left state teachers union President Karen Magee isolated from the rest of her union leadership halfway through her first term."
Mulgrew denies being dissatisfied with Magee but should we believe his words or Lovett's union sources? I choose the latter.
It is interesting to note how the mighty Revive NYSUT team that took over from Iannuzzi has seemed to have fallen so quickly.
I believe that the best hope for punching a huge hole in the Unity Caucus machine that controls the UFT, NYSUT and AFT (they have a different name nationally) is to take them on at the state level where they are more vulnerable as compared to the UFT or the AFT. There is no way to get to the retirees who make up a majority of the electorate in the NYC union and New York has a huge influence on the AFT.
Our best chance is to make change at NYSUT which is why I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the statewide opposition to Unity called Stronger Together from day one. ICE officially backs ST Caucus. We hope to make a breakthrough in the city too in the 2016 UFT election but NYSUT is where the locals outside of New York City can unite and bring about real change.
Only when the Unity machine that has supported so much of the education deform agenda (for example rating teachers based on student test scores on standardized exams) that has made life in the classroom intolerable for many of us is defeated can the rank and file have a real chance to once again build a real labor union.