Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Demcracy for USA and UFT Too

There's a national movement to thwart and override the insidious Electoral College. So far ten states have signed on. If enough states to make an electoral majority agree, it will go into effect. Once they hit 270 votes, these states will automatically pledge their electors to whoever wins the popular vote. Thus, the choice of the people will be President of the United States.

Now some may say this would favor the Democrats, who've been burned twice in sixteen years. But GW Bush came close to winning the national vote and losing the election term two. Our current President-elect believed that Romney had won the national vote and lost the election, and had a tweet storm over the awful injustice he'd felt that represented.

In fact, in another he called for revolution. Alas, in 2016, after the same thing happened, he felt somewhat differently.

You see how that works? Now I look at AFT President Randi Weingarten, who's looking at the popular vote rather than the Electoral College:

And with that, I see a lot of talk about something Randi and Leo Casey call a "circular firing squad." Essentially, this seems to mean that we are criticizing union leadership rather than Donald Trump. Randi called it, "the first thing all of you want to do." I'm curious who, "all of you" are, and why that's different from the blatantly stereotypical, "you people" remarks you hear every now and again.

This notwithstanding, I am bone weary of being told to sit down and shut up by union leadership. I've been hearing that from them since 2005, when I took exception to the contract that created the ATR. This is hardly the way we invite dialogue or involve members. To her credit, Randi offered to meet with us over this. I'm happy to do that, and hopefully it will happen.

Nonetheless, the proper response to dissenting voices in union is not shutting them down. It's ridiculous to surround yourself with loyalty oath signers and expect what they tell you is reflective of what membership thinks and feels.  They will say and act as told. I've had Unity members tell me it was good that the burden of proof was on teachers at 3020a, because that way they could own it. It's pretty outrageous that people paid to represent us would actively advocate for us being guilty until proven innocent. I've watched UFT employees tell chapter leaders how lucky they are not to have to live on a teacher salary. I've had members report getting very bad advice from UFT pension consultants, and seen no consequence for that.

But when you represent us based on loyalty rather than competence, that's the kind of thinking you promote. If Randi does indeed meet with us, we will advocate for representative democracy within the union. UFT has some pretty odd rules that shut out the voice of high school teachers and chapter leaders, just to name a few, and we have got precisely zero voice in NYSUT, NEA, and AFT.

We'll soon see if they want to do something about that, or if they'd rather continue with the same sort of rules that made Donald Trump President of the United States.
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