At the UFT Executive Board this evening, the Board voted 94-6 to create a two-tiered hybrid system for Delegate Assemblies for the next school year. Those who can make it to 52 Broadway in Manhattan will get full rights to vote on motions, to ask questions, to make motions, to second motions, to move motions, to speak in a debate, to raise points of order, to raise parliamentary inquiries, to ask for points of information, to propose amendments, and more. On the other hand, those who are remote will get the right to listen to President Mulgrew filibuster, to speak in a debate, and then vote secretly.
If you are a Delegate who is a parent who can't get to lower Manhattan by 4:15 P.M., or a Delegate who is incapacitated and or may have an emergency at school or home, Mulgrew, and the Unity Caucus are denying these Delegates some basic rights.
It is 2021; the technology exists to put a system in place so that those attending remotely for whatever reason have the same basic rights as those attending a meeting in person.
How do famous deliberative bodies handle voting and participating remotely in a pandemic or proxy voting for new parents? The US House of Representatives permitted proxy voting during the pandemic. Probably the most copied legislative body in the world, the UK House of Commons, has given members the right to vote by proxy during the pandemic and they also allow new parents to vote by proxy.
1. Proxy voting shall be available to
a. new mothers, new fathers and adoptive parents,
b. Members who do not wish to vote in person for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic.
2. A Member shall demonstrate eligibility for part (a) of the scheme (parental leave) by self-certifying that they meet the eligibility requirements.
They vote by proxy as their constituents who voted for them have a right to know how they voted. UFT remote votes are anonymous as they will be in person too according to what I was told. I don't know of any deliberative body that votes on everything by secret ballot. Where is the accountability for elected Delegates and Chapter Leaders? Back to the UK, when they are attending remotely, Members of Parliament have these rights:
When the House of Commons was recalled on 30 December 2020, MPs agreed to extend remote participation in proceedings in the Chamber to all MPs.
This means that all MPs can participate remotely in:
- Departmental questions
- Urgent questions, and ministerial statements
- Debates, including moving a motion
- Presentation of petitions
Oh sorry, ladies and gentlemen. I am dreaming again. I am expecting the leaders of the Unity Caucus who run the UFT to be fair to new mothers and other Delegates who can't attend meetings in person and to treat people that disagree with them with respect. Our UFT President can't even figure out how to run a debate where one speaker speaks in favor of a motion and is followed by a speaker against and then one for and then one opposed, etc. I plead temporary insanity to expect basic fairness from Unity Caucus leaders. Perhaps DOENUTS has it right comparing the UFT to the Republicans.
Women make up the vast majority of the UFT membership and parents with child care responsibilities are probably a big share of Delegates but if they have to be remote for the Delegate Assembly, they get second-class status.
You can read about the debate at the Executive Board here. The vote was 94-6 in favor of second-class status for those who attend the DA remotely. That means five Unity Caucus members joined independent Mike Schirtzer in opposing the hybrid remote DA rules. That's five more than usually vote with someone opposed to one of Unity's proposals. Maybe it's a start.
In other Executive Board news, here's something a regular commenter (at least one) can't wait to see:
On July 1st we hope to file arbitration on last year's spring break.
Nothing much new on retiree healthcare and for some reason the UFT is negotiating on evaluations. I am not a lawyer but I thought the Legislature and Governor were pretty clear that the law was waived for 2020-2021.
The entire resolution on remote DAs: