Monday, February 14, 2022

Why I'm NOT Voting for UFC

I was pretty stoked about being in opposition for a pretty long time. A few things turned me around. The big one was when MORE, with which I was affiliated, and to which I'd contributed, started acting very strangely and doing odd power plays. 

At the last MORE meeting I attended, I was criticized for putting forth a resolution without running it by "steering." Steering is a committee I'd had no contact with before. I wasn't even sure what it was.

It was odd because I'd already put forth a number of resolutions without contacting "steering." I couldn't attend the next MORE meeting. I was at a UFT event for ELLs. Evidently they voted, without me there, that we needed to run things by them before introducing them at Executive Board. This directly contradicted an agreement I'd made before running--that we'd be able to make our own decisions. 

Then there was some other resolution I don't remember, about how awful we were or something, that kind of surprised me. Soon thereafter, the steering committee was term-limited and replaced. Somehow, MORE managed to dump all or most of the new members. Rules were important when they were making them up as they went along, but didn't matter much when a small clique was no longer in control. I then saw an email by a MORE leader labeling me, the deposed committee, and other people I know as "right-wingers."

The people behind these moves were part of some socialist faction or other that's since disbanded. I don't know what the agenda was of these particular socialists, but whatever it was, my priorities were not theirs. I'm not sure exactly what made me a "right-winger." My first choice for President of the United States was Bernie Sanders. If that makes me a right-winger, so be it. 

Whatever it was they were doing, it entailed trying to sell me socialist newspapers for a dollar, and going to meetings at a diner where one faction of socialists would argue vehemently with another. Some were not UFT teachers anymore, and I had no idea why they were even there, let alone why we needed to listen to them. I sat through these long discussions, didn't favor one side or another, and, for the most part, didn't even understand what they were arguing about. 

There was some sort of agenda in all these resolutions. The leaders of MORE, evidently, shared this agenda. I have no idea what it was. It certainly did not entail winning more union elections. After all, we'd really tried to push them in that direction. We had a newsletter that they took over and promptly ran into the ground. Then, of course, they made it a priority to boot out the only people who ever won elections for them. They ran again, and were pretty well-trounced, on all levels.Now, perhaps, they want to be relevant again. Why? I haven't got a clue.

Alas, I don't trust them at all, I don't support them, and I won't be voting for them. There are some people in opposition I have great respect for. There are, however, a good number of them who I wouldn't count on to spit on me if I were on fire. Some of them, who I'd naively considered friends, sorely disappointed me.

I've been going twice a month to Executive Board meetings for years. I've also been taking notes and sharing them publicly, which no one from opposition ever bothered to do before.

At first, several people from MORE assured me they'd be there supporting us. Their presence, in fact, turned out to be a very rare and fleeting thing. That wasn't so bad, particularly after they made it clear they didn't really support us anyway. What was important, for some of them at least, was control. For the life of me, I have no idea why they wanted it. We did bring their suggestions to meetings. That, though, wasn't enough.

My primary union involvement, for 12 years, was as chapter leader of Francis Lewis High School. It's a huge school, with 4500 students and 300 UFT members. The job was immense. The most I ever got support or assistance from MORE was never. I didn't know anyone there who was particularly expert in the Contract, or in resolving the frequent conflicts that occur in a building this large. Given the frenetic and tense nature of the meetings I attended, I didn't think conflict resolution was their strong suit.

I tried to help one of the opposition leaders get a job in my building. I got a teacher from the department in question to advise this person how to ace the interview. The person was set to get the job. Concurrently, my principal had just appointed a person dean who'd just been dean. This was a violation of rotation rules. There were several candidates ahead of this person, and they planned to grieve this appointment. 

When I brought this to the principal's attention, he withdrew the posting, deposited the would-be dean back into the department, and there was no opening for the opposition member. This person was strident and abusive to me. Evidently I should have said to hell with the rotation, screwed the members I represented, and made sure this person got the job. I see this person as unfit to lead.   

MORE is the big dog in UFC. I love dogs, but this one is not getting my vote, ever. When I needed support, for twelve years, I got it almost exclusively from Unity members. When people contact me asking for help, I refer them to Unity members. When I want things done, I ask Unity members to help me. And they do, always.

I will have chapter and verse on that in a future blog.

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