Four months before the election, Michael Mulgrew is reaching out to campaign. Evidently the commercial with the bus did not get membership sufficiently fired up. Of course he doesn't say he's doing that. No, the guy who tells us all to get on Twitter and doesn't bother to do so himself is reaching out in a way only he can--having a gala reception for himself on our dime and inviting us to come.
And in a fashion typical of leadership, they are doing a terrible job. I received the note to the left on December 10th, and the invitation to the gala says deadline to RSVP was two days ago. So there are two possible interpretations. One is that they screwed up by sending the note late. The other, and more likely explanation, is that they did not garner enough interest in their previous efforts, and are now making a last-ditch effort to fill the hall.
I've been a chapter leader for seven years, and in that time Mulgrew has had meet and greets once or twice. In the past, we chapter leaders were actually discouraged from attending. We were asked to send new members who hadn't met him before. The first time I really tried to get people to go, but was met with very little interest. Two or three members from my school went, and I went too. It was unmemorable. I believe there was a second time with which I did not bother at all. I don't recall the first being life-changing or anything.
It's tough for me not to note that I'm the chapter leader of the largest school in Queens and that Mulgrew cannot be bothered to answer my email. I've sent him three or four over the years, and after he ignored the first I cross-posted whatever I wrote him to the blog. It's odd now that I'm expected to take time out, pull out every stop, and drag people to see him talk about the great job he imagines he's doing.
Of course I'm not a typical chapter leader. The overwhelming majority are riding that Unity gravy train and have signed a loyalty oath to do whatever they're told, whether it's good for members or not.
Here's the thing--if Michael Mulgrew had gotten all punchy when we went five long years without the raise everyone else got, I might be dragging everyone to see him. If he hadn't offered to punch the faces of virtually every right-thinking person on education for messing with his precious Common Core, that would help too. If he didn't get up in front of God and everybody and declare that bloggers were purveyors of myth, and talk about how nice he was for not calling us liars, even though that's precisely what he was doing, I might feel a little differently.
If Michael Mulgrew managed to get us the only attractive pattern bargain in my living memory, 4 plus 4 in a tough time, I might go meet him. If he hadn't stretched it out over ten years and dumped the worst pattern in my living memory on our brother and sister unionists, I might go. If he hadn't thanked the Heavy Hearts Assembly for passing the worst piece of crap evaluation system I've ever seen, I might go to see him. Or not. But you'd better believe every Unity chapter leader in the city is making copies, talking this up, and trying to drag as many UFT members as possible to praise Mike for all the Great Things he's accomplished.
I'm not feeling the love for Mulgrew, the convenient pre-election meeting, or the rigged election in which elementary teachers will help us choose the High School Vice President. And I'm not lifting a finger to help him as he pretends not to be electioneering. We may have the Friedrichs verdict by then, and win or lose it will be a victory for Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Machine.
One more reason I'm voting for Jia Lee, and MORE/ New Action.