In a vote only a little less unlikely than the election of Donald Trump as US President, it was reported by NYC Educator that four Unity Caucus members defied their caucus obligations to vote for Norm Scott for a seat on the UFT Executive Board. There was a vacancy on the Board and an election to fill the seat was held on Monday.
We know there was Unity dissent since there were only six opposition members who were in attendance at Monday's meeting and Norm received 10 votes. That means four from Unity had to have voted for Norm. Four Unity votes for an opposition member is unprecedented. The Unity candidate, Nancy Barr, still easily won but elections are about expectations and Norm was expected to get six votes. He wildly exceeded expectations.
I was a member of the Executive Board representing the High School Division for a decade. In that time there were plenty of interim elections to replace Officers, including the President, and Executive Board members who retired, moved on to the AFT or passed away. Over the twenty years I have been following the Executive Board, only once can I recall a single Unity Caucus member not voting for the Unity candidate. It was in 1997, my first year on the Board. It was such a rare event that then President Sandy Feldman noted from the chair that the vote crossed caucus lines.
One Unity member in two decades that I know of crossed party lines to vote for someone in the opposition until Monday night. Norm in one election quadrupled twenty years worth of vote totals for opposition candidates.
Maybe Unity members were impressed by Mike Schirtzer's speech on behalf of Norm or perhaps multiple Unity people wanted to actually make a protest point. Then again it is possible that the Unity candidate was someone who was unpopular or maybe four of them like that the jokes are back in Norm's Ed Notes.
Before anyone thinks there is a real crack in the Unity machine, let us remember this was a secret ballot election so we will never know, unless they come out and say, who the Unity dissidents were. They are about as likely to admit they voted for Norm as they are to split a mega-millions jackpot on Saturday. Then again, these are strange times for sure so perhaps we will find out.
Anyway, congratulations Norm on a job well done! You won over more Unity people than I ever did.