Ballots must be received by the American Arbitration Association today as the UFT election ends. Tomorrow is the vote count. I am not going but I am very interested in the results. Camille Eterno will represent MORE-NEW ACTION along with Jonathan Halabi and some of our retirees.
Norm Scott did a thorough analysis of what to expect over at Ed Notes. He is predicting a big Unity win and he is not seeing the needle moving much in either direction this year compared to previous UFT elections. For the elementary, middle school, functional (non teaching), and retiree divisions, I agree with Norm. For the high schools, the needle doesn't need to move much to make a real difference.
In 2013, New Action and MORE received 52% of the high school vote in the election running separately. I am hoping the combined groups win a majority in the high schools so we have fully independent, non Unity endorsed representation on the UFT Executive Board for the first time since 2007.
New Action and Unity cross endorsed candidates for Executive Board seats in the last three elections. NAC remained independent, as their representatives voted as they saw fit, but they could only go so far or they would risk losing Unity backing. That real, if only implied, limitation will end if NAC is elected with MORE as we are all in full opposition to Unity.
I predict that if MORE-NEW ACTION wins, having people like Mike Schirtzer and Arthur Goldstein along with three others from MORE joining Executive Board veteran Jonathan Halabi and another NAC representative will change the Executive Board's tone. Yes opposition will only have 7 seats out of 102 but that is sufficient to matter in the sense that I believe this group of 7 will make some real noise and then try to organize in the schools based on issues they raise at the Executive Board.
Hopefully, MORE will spread the word into the schools in ways not seen in years, or really ever before, about what is going on within the Executive Board. A regular high school newsletter is essential and was distributed this year. That should be expanded next year.
On the other hand, should we lose the high schools, this election will be a real disaster for the opposition to Unity. This is of course very possible as we don't know if having the Solidarity candidates on the ballot as a third choice will cost us the high schools or if Unity's kinder and gentler approach to campaigning, where they ignored us rather than attack us in public, will net them more high school votes.
A loss at the high school level would mean it is really back to the drawing board time for the opposition. I hope that does not occur. Conversely, if we win the high schools, it would send an important message that even though many of us have been displaced from our closed schools, we still know that Unity has failed the membership and should be held accountable.
We'll know the results tomorrow. Since Camille and Norm will be there, we will get numbers to you as soon as we have them as long as I am not in class.