The Unity caucus has won the 2013 UFT elections. The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) congratulates them on their victory, and looks forward to working alongside our union brothers and sisters to defend and improve our union and our schools.
The election totals, however, tell an important story about the state of our union. MORE members and supporters should be extremely proud of our results, but all UFT members have cause for concern.
MORE INCREASED THE OPPOSITION VOTE IN EVERY DIVISION
MORE members and supporters can be proud of the fact that MORE increased the opposition vote (previously ICE/TJC) in every division. Meanwhile votes for UNITY and New Action declined in every division. Compare this year’s results with those of the last election (see chart at the bottom). Most significantly, MORE ran neck-and-neck with Unity in the High Schools — with an elementary school teacher as our presidential candidate! We got 40% of the vote there, while Unity got 45%. We still have a long way to go, but MORE’s growth is the result of all the hard work of our members and supporters who carried petitions, distributed leaflets, and promoted MORE’s message far and wide — THANK YOU!
75% OF UFT MEMBERS DID NOT PARTICIPATE — WHY?
The majority of UFT members did not bother to participate in these elections. Out of 173,407 ballots mailed, only 43,138 were returned. When 75% of the membership doesn’t think voting is worth their time, that’s a serious problem. We can’t read the minds of those roughly 130,000 non-voting members, but we can imagine that frustration, demoralization, and basic alienation from the union at the chapter level must be ingredients in the explanation. While public education is facing an historic crisis, our union has thus far failed to involve the majority of members in a struggle to defend our rights and to improve our schools.
The participation results, listed by division, are shameful:
Mailed ballots Returned ballots
High School: 19,040 3,808
Middle School: 10,807 1,879
Elementary: 34,163 7,331
Functional: 51,040 7,704
Retirees: 58,357 22,462
Retirees contributed the majority (52%) of the ballots. Among UFT members who are still on the job, only 18% voted. When the active membership is less engaged in the life of the union than those who have stopped working (and, in many cases, live in other states!), that is cause for serious concern.
HOW CAN WE BUILD A STRONGER UFT?
MORE wants to invite UFT members — whether they voted for us or not — to join us in the struggles ahead. We’re going to have to organize fights against cookie-cutter evaluation rubrics (such as Danielson), against the plan to tie teacher evaluation to high stakes standardized test scores, and in defense of basic protections such as tenure.
In this election, most UFT members did not vote for any group. But everywhere we go, we find educators and other school-based workers are responding to MORE’s basic message: we don’t have to lie down and accept the logic of corporate education reform. We can and will stand up and fight back!
Join MORE at our next city-wide membership meeting:
Saturday, May 11
12 to 3pm
224 West 29th Street, 14th Floor
CHART: VOTING SHIFTS FROM 2010 TO 2013
slate votes only * remainders are split ballots
MORE 1,140 703 for ICE/TJC
New Action 534 978
Unity 5,111 7,761
Middle School Division
MORE 398 248 for ICE/TJC
New Action 161 421
Unity 1,185 1,981
High School Division
MORE 1,430 1,369 for ICE/TJC
New Action 452 774
Unity 1,592 2,595
Functional Division (non-teachers)
MORE 951 708 for ICE/TJC
New Action 754 1,175
Unity 5,167 7,337
MORE 1,490 1,037 for ICE/TJC
New Action 1,880 2,234
Unity 18,155 20,744