Now that I have had the chance to fully analyze the Department of Labor's letter concerning the UFT Absent Teacher Reserve Chapter Election complaint, there is something very interesting in their reasoning for the rejection of our appeal. While I completely disagree with their decision not to take our case as Chapter Elections are unfair union elections for ATRs, I do find a statement in their rejection to be telling.
The Delegate Assembly has over 3,000 members, and votes on issues primarily of a political nature regarding education, social justice and the broader labor movement. Delegate Assembly minutes show, for example, that members voted on resolutions regarding which candidates to endorse in state and local political elections; whether to discourage the use of standardized testing in schools; whether to commemorate landmark events, such as the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington; and whether to support the causes of other teachers and other unionized workers.
The DOL goes on to say the DA has real constitutional governing powers but it does not use them. Since the DA resolutions are in large part pulled from Ad Com (officers) and Executive Board minutes, they basically represent what the union does.
It is kind of difficult to argue that our union isn't just a a top-down bureaucratic political organization that spends the bulk of its time and energy advocating for politicians, social justice, and education issues and not for better working conditions for its members.