Friday, March 30, 2007

Congratulations, Ms. Weingarten

If emails I'm receiving this morning are correct, Unity, as expected, won the election, and though ICE-TJC outpolled fake opposition party New Action, Unity's cross-endorsement has given it the high school seats, the only ones, frankly, that were ever in play. Preliminary figures in high schools:

Unity 2183
ICE-TJC 1524
New Action 521

This means Ms. Weingarten will no longer have any opposition whatsoever on the executive board, having rid herself of the only six people who opposed letting PERB design the 05 contract. It also suggests the overwhelming majority of high school teachers, like all teachers, didn't even bother to vote.

That may have something to do with the AAA snafu, but not that much, so shame on us all.

It also suggests, however, we are well within striking distance. And as for the other branches, a well-informed electorate is no friend of the Unity machine. Preliminary figures indicate Ms. Weingarten may have received only 12,000 votes total from working teachers (of 70,000), including 1500 from New Action, many of whom were undoubtedly unaware they were voting for Ms. Weingarten.

Meanwhile, New Action's leaders can claim victory, quash the voice of the real opposition in the Executive Board (which is precisely why Ms. Weingarten keeps them around), keep their patronage jobs and pretend they aren't beholden to the Unity Caucus. They can make believe they were elected rather than rubber-stamped by the Unity patronage mill. They can pretend they want change.

They can pretend not to have supported the 05 contract, even though its leaders were part of the committee that unanimously endorsed it, and even though they played no part whatsoever in the very lively discussions all over the net.

Whatever they say, Unity-New Action has brought us:

  1. permanent hall patrol
  2. punishment days in August
  3. the end of guaranteed placement
  4. the end of the UFT transfer plan
  5. 90 day suspensions based on unsubstantiated allegations
  6. mayoral control
  7. the end of high school teachers selecting their own VP
  8. a phony, diversionary "opposition" party dedicated to fooling rank-and-file
  9. over 30 years of no progress whatsoever in reducing the class size of 34
And I know, I've said this before and I'll say it again, but they did this (and more) for less than cost of living. I was there when we took two years of zero-percent, two years in a row, for the end of hall patrol. It was bad business, and lazy negotiation from a tired, entrenched, cynical and outdated leadership.

These figures are very rough, and very tentative. But if ICE-TJC turns out to have gotten only one vote, it was mine.

We will continue to tell the truth about the rampant corruption that swirls around the spineless, disingenuous and self-serving UFT leadership. We will explore new ways to get our message out, and we will be in the faces of those who've repeatedly sold us out every step of the way.

We have time on our side, and we have the truth on our side. Apathy, Unity's best friend, is not ours. We must reach out to the overwhelming majority of rank and file who did not find it worth their while to vote.

And we will do precisely that, beginning now.

Thanks to Norm
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