Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Democracy, UFT-Style

New York City child care workers have voted to unionize and join the United Federation of Teachers.

Officials of the State Employment Relations Board reported that 8,382 home-based child care providers voted to unionize while 96 voted against.

There are 28,000 child care providers in total in the city.

Less than 8,500 actually took the time to vote.

Under state rules, even though far less than the 28,000 child care providers actually voted in the election, the UFT nonetheless wins the right to represent providers.

While I believe unionizing will help improve working and economic conditions overall for the city's child care providers, I am troubled by the number of providers who actually voted in this very important election.

Just as 75% of New York City public school educators didn't vote in the last United Federation of Teachers election, 70% of the city's child care providers didn't vote on whether they wanted to unionize or not.

The United Federation of Teachers leadership has made a living out of elections where the overwhelming majority of union members (or potential union members) do not vote in elections.

A cynic might say the UFT leadership likes it that way.

When only 25%-30% of members (or potential members) vote, the UFT leadership can easily win elections by turning out the usual cast of party apparatchiks, cronies and mindless sheep.

That isn't democracy, that's good, old Tammany Hall-style machine politics - get your guys out to vote while suppressing and/or turning off the rest of the electorate.
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