Quorums are defined by Robert's Rules of Order as, "The minimum number of members who must be present at the meeting of a deliberative assembly for business to be validly transacted is the quorum of the assembly." The UFT quorum requirement is 20% of the Delegates of the Delegate Assembly must be present.
It says in Robert's Rules on page 348-349, "Before the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is his duty to determine, although he need not announce, that a quorum is present."
I thought the UFT President waited until a sufficient number of the certified Delegates cards that come to us in the mail were collected by staffers before they started the meetings. We found out recently that even this rudimentary parliamentary procedure is not adhered to by the UFT.
At the May DA, our friend Jeff Andrusin asked why the UFT didn't report the number of Delegates present at meetings. President Michael Mulgrew answered that we would start announcing the numbers in June. Then, our June DA Agenda and May DA Minutes came in the mail and Jeff Andrusin noticed that the number present at the May meeting was 547. It also says in the agenda that the number of Delegates is 3,454 and the required number for a quorum is 690 (20%).
We didn't come close to a quorum in May and as for June, my viewing of the room was that it was a smaller number of Delegates as compared to the May DA. Mulgrew even closed the extra room on the 19th floor down and called the Delegates up there to the 2nd floor main room since it was so empty. To sum all this up, unless my crowd estimating skills are way off, we have not had a quorum for the DA since at least April but the DA has conducted plenty of business without one.
Why does this matter?
Robert's Rules explains it on page 21:
The requirement of a quorum is a protection against totally unrepresentative action in the name of the body by an unduly small number of persons."
That is the Unity Caucus: a small, invitation only group of mostly bought and paid for UFT members who control what happens to all of us.
What about business conducted in the absence of a quorum? Robert's Rules says on page 348: "The prohibition against transacting business in the absence of a quorum cannot be waived even by unaimous consent, and a notice cannot be validly given.
The DA's actions for May and probably for June should be null and void. However, since this is the UFT, where rules mean virtually nothing, expect the quorum rules to be completely ignored.
Who do we complain to? Mulgrew? The AFT? NYSUT? The Department of Labor? State Public Employees Relations Board (PERB)?
All dead ends as far as I can tell.
Jeff already informed me that he emailed Mulgrew and Assistant Secretary-Staff Director Leroy Barr about the lack of a quorum and he is still waiting for their response. He will probably wait a long time.