NYC Educator carried a post earlier in the month with a quote by Leo Casey of UFT Unity:
To honor their democratic decisionmaking processes, some parties and caucuses adopt an understanding that is known as cabinet rule in the British parliamentary system: Once a democratic decision has been made within the party or caucus, its members are obliged to not oppose it in Parliament. If the matter in question is one of fundamental principle, one can always leave the party or caucus and oppose it. In my view, this understanding is essential for a caucus to function as a democratic body.
I couldn't agree more. UFT members need to take loyalty oaths attached to the powerful purse strings of lucrative, double-pension earning, after-school positions in union offices, expense-paid trips to conferences across the country, a host of additional perks and the good life in general. If you can't shut up and toe the line or shut down your own independent thought, then in the best parliamentary fashion, "Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God," and your double pension, "go!"
But remember it doesn't hurt to employ tactics of the bully pulpit! Because when eight-hundred people are sworn to uphold what you do at the D.A., you can't go wrong. Manhandle the opposition, if you like, and banish the thought that your own caucus could ever be emboldened enough to actually represent differing views of either conscience or constituency! After all, who wants consequences when it could mean off with their second jobs and double pensions?
Since you are a true parliamentarian, democracy pulses through your veins. It gives the life-blood to your caucus. Increase the weight of retiree voting. Who cares anyway if most retirees are out of touch with the current corporate-backed war waged against educators? Send the ballots home instead of allowing voting in schools. You can probably ensure that more than 50% of the voters will be retirees. And, they love you. Unity can sure look golden from a golf course or a rocking chair. Just keep the cupcakes and bagels fresh in Florida and retirement sweet. And, maybe, just maybe, the current rank and file will survive long enough to be served one of your cupcakes someday. They sure look sweet from the vantage point of a "bare cupboard"!
When matters like the contract arise and all the cupcakes with which you've plied retirees in Florida no longer have meaning because they can't vote, then let the voting be done in schools. Don't bother to send your reps to see what the rank and file want. After all, you are a parliamentarian at heart. Why would you need to do such a thing? Just send out your reps after the contract is a fait accompli to purportedly answer questions, but really sell it. E-mail your chapter leaders and tell them to pass down the line the words of demoralization: This is the best that we can do. The "cupboard is bare." Do you want to go to the back of the negotiating line as #151? Banish the thought and vote for the contract now! Then, in the name of God, and the parliamentary system, go!
Since you're a parliamentarian at heart, have no compunction for shoving the contract down throats. Force feed the M.O.A. past your Contract Committee, Executive Board and D.A. before most have time to make much sense of it. You are a parliamentarian with eight-hundred caucus members hoping to keep their cupboards filled by your generous union offices. Let the undigested contract pass through the system. You'll never be an ATR. After all, you're a parliamentarian. So what do you care?
With such wonderful democracy in play at our UFT headquarters and such great policies in place, including mayoral control and V.A.M., why would anyone consider antiparliamentarianism? It's too hard to spell. And, besides, it's not even a word!
So, someday if you play your cards right,
you may get your own statue.
and one can always hope that time and the truth do not take its toll.