Monday, October 13, 2014

Who Is UFT Making Calls For?

I'm a little surprised, not only by the volume of email I've received, but also by the message I'm getting from leadership. In numerous ways they're asking me to come out and make phone calls. But not once have I gotten a message about who exactly we're supporting. In fact, I have no idea. As for why, specifically, we should come, the only message I see is this one:

The following will be the schedule of what food will be served on these days.

Mondays – Chinese
Tuesdays- Italian
Wednesdays- Bens Best
Thursdays- Chinese

I'm afraid that's not enough to motivate me, let alone get me to drag others along. I'm happy to help candidates that merit our support, and I'm glad to encourage further support if I can. But I need to know who I'm supporting and why. It would be great if I trusted the union to decide, but I'm afraid I can't. After all, our union was instrumental in making sure Zephyr Teachout didn't get the Working Families line. Randi Weingarten made robocalls for Cuomo's running mate as opposed to Tim Wu.

I made calls for Grace Meng and Tony Avella. I was very proud when Avella managed to win after his quixotic bid for mayor. Of course he broke my heart when he joined IDC and put his lot in with folks who support vouchers, charters, and killing LIFO. But I haven't got a crystal ball, and I can only suppose the more trustworthy people are the less likely they are to enter politics. Is UFT making calls for him this year? Who knows? But I'm not joining them.

UFT leadership made an all-out bid to support Thompson for mayor, four years later than they should have. Mulgrew loudly ridiculed a commenter at the DA who criticized that decision, saying he didn't believe in democracy. I suppose it was too much effort to get off the stage, punch the guy in the face and push it in the dirt. I have to say there wasn't a whole lot of dirt at the Brooklyn Marriott that day, so it may have made little difference.

I declined to work for Thompson, given that A. He'd told the Daily News editorial board that it was too costly to give teachers the raise that all other city employees had received, and B. Bill de Blasio was surging by the time they'd made that push. It turned out to be yet another bad call from UFT leadership, and I can't help but wonder whether de Blasio would have been better if we'd made the right call. But there's nothing we can do about it now.

Fortunately for leadership, they've got hundreds of Unity oath signers who will support whatever they're told to support. They'll wave the flag for mayoral control, APPR, VAM, two-tier due process, more work for less pay, or whatever. So clearly leadership will be ably represented this election season.

It's too bad, though, under our current system, that absolutely no one represents rank and file.
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