Saturday, October 29, 2016


There is a vacancy on the UFT Executive Board for non-teachers (functional chapters). One would think a rudimentary feature of a democracy would be to allow the functional members to pick who they want to serve. However, the UFT Constitution only allows the Executive Board to fill vacancies if there is an opening between UFT general elections.

Keeping this in mind, a non-Unity candidate (Unity is the ruling party of the UFT) has less than a zero percent chance of winning an interim election. Understanding this situation, we were still able to convince veteran activist Norm Scott to throw his hat in the ring for the open Executive Board seat.

MORE's Mike Schirtzer nominated Norm at the latest Executive Board meeting. Here is a summary of his nomination speech from NYC Educator:

Mike Schirtzer--MORE--nominates Norm Scott, taught 27 years, was CL, involved in public ed. and this union. Built coalitions, worked with secretaries, paras, parents, continues to work with robotics, at Rockaway Theatre with teachers, coined term ed. deform movement. Norm helped lead this movement that charters did not have best interests of our students at heart. Stood against testing, with opt-out movement. goes to AFT (convention) on own dime, goes to UFT DA, many ask him for help. Knows we are democratic union, welcomes dissent, and Norm offers it from time to time.

Norm is certainly as qualified as anyone to serve on the Board. He certainly has the experience and skills needed for the position.

NYC Educator continues his report by describing Anne Goldman's nominating speech for Nancy Barth Miller, Unity's nominee who will surely win the election by a wide margin. Miller is qualified but in a democratic system there would now be an exchange of ideas between the two candidates and there would be a real election among all of the non-teachers in the UFT. However, since this is the UFT, the loyalty oath taking 95 Unity members on the Executive Board will obey caucus obligations and all vote for Miller so Norm's ceiling is 7 votes from the non-Unity members of the Executive Board from MORE and New Action.

Would it be that difficult to have interim elections to fill seats on the Executive Board or among the officers if they come open between general elections? Obviously, it would cost some money.

How about interim elections if an officer position is vacant between elections? It won't happen.

Allowing the Executive Board to fill seats is one way Unity Caucus keeps tight control of the Union. UFT presidents never run in a general UFT election as non-incumbents. UFT presidents traditionally resign in the middle of their terms; Unity's huge majority on the Executive Board elects a successor. The NY Teacher newspaper then worships the new leader as the brand-new messiah, and the President then runs for reelection as an incumbent, which is a huge advantage.

For the current election, we wish Norm all the best. May he sweep all 7 opposition votes.


reality-based educator said...

On a related note, yesterday Randi Weingarten accused James Comey of "rigging an election" and subverting democracy over the HRC/email mess.

Leaving aside the Clinton thing (which is NOT my point here)I left this for her:

Your post today reminds me just how good AFT/UFT leadership is at making sure "union democracy" is "Unity only."

Mike _ MORE caucus UFT said...

Norm took on charter schools while the UFT/Unity was still pushing for them. When Unity was telling everyone parents, especially those of color ,want more "testing" and "accountability" Norm was on the forefront of organizing with parents for their children to be able to opt-out of these exams. When unity was selling us a bill of goods on how great the 2005 contract was, Norm was the one of the first to point out the looming ATR crisis. When unity has been absent from co-location battles, Norm can always be counted on to be there to speak and record the banana republic proceedings. We talk about being a union that can build coalitions, he has done so since the 1970's. He goes to the AFT as an unpaid reporter, he walks into school after school to meet with teachers and parents under attack and never gets compensated from the UFT. He is the very embodiment of what this union is supposed to be about

Jeff Kaufman said...

All of us from the non-functional chapter support you Norm!

Anonymous said...

I agree there should be intermediate elections. But perhaps if the exec board would vote by secret ballot, more of the Unity locals might be courageous enough to vote their conscience. Go Norm!


Anonymous said...

That was unity loyals

James Eterno said...

It is a secret ballot. That won't make a difference. Unity votes caucus not competence. In ten years, I only saw one Unity person vote in one of these intermediate elections for the non Unity candidate. Sandy Feldman noted it.

ed notes online said...

Thanks you guys. There are advantages to having a Unity control - I won't have to endure 3 years of Ex Bd meetings. If elected I may have to pull a Sherman.

Anonymous said...

I personally wish Norm Scott the best.He is the light of the world ie. the voice of reason and support to struggling teachers throughout NYC. I am testimony and proof to his ability to make you feel good although you feel like crap .Can the Magnificent 7 secure a resolution to have Norm and the other candidate debate or talk about their visions/ education philosophies as prospective Exec BD members in lieu of the president's report at the next Exec Bd meeting. Let's take the Greyhound up to Albany and get Norm on the Board of Regents ASAP

James Eterno said...

Agree on Norm's value. Debate will never happen but it is worth noting how the election is a joke.