Wednesday, May 01, 2013

What Can an Opposition Caucus Win?

A comment from Norm Scott on one of my recent posts has been rattling around in my head lately, and it really bears a little more attention:

34,000 elem school teachers get only 11 Ex bd seats, 11,000 middle school tchrs get 5 EB and 19000 HS teachers get 7 EB seats for a total of 23 out of 101 eb seats. 

This means if an opposition caucus were to win all the divisions, high school, middle school, and elementary school, under UFT rules, they'd have less than a quarter of the seats on the UFT Executive Board.  As high school, middle school, and elementary school VPs are all elected "at large," none of these divisions would be led by their actual selections.

With retirees controlling more than half of the votes, it would be almost impossible for working teachers to trump their control. So while I wrote a parody piece last week declaring us the United Federation of Retired Teachers, it appears that's already pretty much the case.

So I'm appending one more thing I'd like to see from a social justice union, and that is representative democracy.

The prime purpose of union is to represent the interests of its members. The way our election rules are set up, it appears the prime purpose of the election is to maintain control of the dominant caucus.

That's unconscionable, and I can certainly understand the cynicism that keeps the vote down when I contemplate such an absurd system. I can't help but vote every chance I get, but I can understand why a lot of members might see it as a futile act.
blog comments powered by Disqus