Archives For May 2016

MORE-NEW ACTION slate vote (1)

From Jonathan Halabi- New Action observer at UFT election count

There was no slate report by division. Instead I used the lowest total of any candidate in that division
Grand total is rounded
Retiree totals are back-calculated. I ignored the cap on retiree votes. These retiree numbers are calculated, not real, and likely to be significantly off, and only marginally better than nothing.
The grand total may exclude several functional non-DoE or non-school titles. It also includes per diems, etc. This leaves, in my mind, some questions both about the functional and the retiree numbers I am reporting

Division Mailed Returned % Voting
Elementary 35606 10,026 28.2%
Middle 11197 2,856 25.5%
High School 19539 4,747 24.3%
Teacher Total 66,342 17,629 26.6%
Functional 46731 10,953 23.4%
InService Total 113,073 28,582 25.3%
Retirees (back calc) 62,991 24,464 38.8%
Grand Total 176,064 53,046 30.1%
Division Unity MORE/NAC Solidarity Total slate-y
Elementary 7,040 2,306 222 9,568
Middle 1,649 882 178 2,709
High School 2,061 2,275 108 4,444
Teacher Total 10,750 5,463 508 16,721
Functional 7,651 2,232 323 10,206
InService Total 18,401 7,695 831 26,927
Retirees (back calc) 20,775 3,048 625 24,448
Grand Total 39,176 10,743 1,456 51,375
Division Unity MORE/NAC Solidarity
Elementary 73.6% 24.1% 2.3%
Middle 60.9% 32.6% 6.6%
High School 46.4% 51.2% 2.4%
Teacher Total 64.3% 32.7% 3.0%
Functional 75.0% 21.9% 3.2%
InService Total 68.3% 28.6% 3.1%
Retirees (back calc) 85.0% 12.5% 2.6%
Grand Total 76.3% 20.9% 2.8%

From James and Camille Eterno- MORE’s observers at the UFT Elections count

The fractions are there because retiree votes are capped at 24,000 so after that it is pro rated based on 24,000.

Jia Lee, MORE/NEW ACTION          10,743.073
Michael Mulgrew, Unity                       39,175.623
Francesco Portelos, Solidarity               1,455.958

Camille Eterno, MORE/NAC:              10,815.386
Howard Schoor, Unity                            38,851.577
Michael Herman, Solidarity:                   1,466.236

Assistant Secretary
Carol Ramos-Widom, MORE/NAC         10,773.42
Leroy Barr, Unity                                        38,858.577
Christopher Wierzbicki, Solidarity             1,466.446

Kate Martin-Bridge, MORE/NAC             10,762.691
Mel Aaronson, Unity                                   38,991.073
Victor Jordon, Solidarity                              1,387.992

Assistant Treasurer
Gregory Distefano, MORE/NAC                 10,840.012
Thomas Brown, Unity                                    38,906.127
Felix Backer, Solidarity                                 1,368.992

Vice President At Large
Minday Rosier, MORE/NAC                        10,714.317
Evelyn De Jesus, Unity                                   38,964.436
Scott Krivitsky, Solidarity                               1435.755

Vice President Elementary Schools
Lauren Cohen, MORE/NAC                            10,867.943
Karen Alford, Unity                                           38,901.127
Poonita Beemsigne, Solidarity                           1,333.439

Vice President Intermediate/Middle Schools
Nelson Santiago, MORE/NAC                         10,806.317
Richard Mantell, Unity                                       38,850.058
Nancy Zazulka, Solidarity                                   1,416.271

Vice President Academic High Schools
James Eterno, MORE/NAC                              10,762.351
Janella Hinds, Unity                                           38,866.088
John Silvers, Solidarity                                       1,440.378

Vice President CTE High Schools
Christine Gross, MORE/NAC                            10,748.557
Sterling Roberson, Unity                                     38.824.951
Judeth Napoli, Solidarity                                      1,474.137

Vice President Special Education
Margaret Hobson-Shand, MORE/NAC               10,626.622
Carmen Alvarez, Unity                                         39,119.34
Eric Severson, Solidarity                                         1,391.168

Vice President NON DOE
Anne Goldman, Unity                                              39,646.455

ICE (Independent Community of Educators) and TJC(Teachers For A Just Contract) are two opposition caucuses that preceded MORE and ran as a joint slate. Most of their members are founders of MORE.

NAC (New Action Caucus)  cross-endorsed with Unity  during 2004-2013 elections, but ran as a joint slate with MORE in this election.

Reported from Jonathan

In 2004, ICE/TJC had 1,239 elementary votes, NAC had 556, combined 1,795.
In 2007, ICE/TJC had 1,337 elementary votes, NAC had 562, combined 1,899.
In 2010, ICE/TJC had 703 elementary votes, NAC had 978, combined 1,681.
In 2013, MORE had 1,140 elementary votes, NAC had 534, combined 1,674.
In 2016, MORE/NAC had 2,306.
Together, we got the best result in over a decade.

In 2004, ICE/TJC had 422 middle school votes, NAC had 311, combined 733.
In 2007, ICE/TJC had 444 middle school votes, NAC had 273, combined 717.
In 2010, ICE/TJC had 248 middle school votes, NAC had 421, combined 669.
In 2013, MORE had 398 middle school votes, NAC had 161, combined 559.
In 2016, MORE/NAC had 882.
Together, we got the best result in over a decade.

In 2004, ICE/TJC had 1,417 high school votes, NAC had 700, combined 2,117.
In 2007, ICE/TJC had 1,524 high school  votes, NAC had 521, combined 2,045.
In 2010, ICE/TJC had 1,369 high school  votes, NAC had 774, combined 2,143.
In 2013, MORE had 1,430 high school  votes, NAC had 452, combined 1,882.
In 2016, MORE/NAC had 2,275.
Together, we got the best result in over a decade.

In 2004, ICE/TJC had 990 functional votes, NAC had 512, combined 1,502.
In 2007, ICE/TJC had 1,032 functional votes, NAC had 548, combined 1,580.
In 2010, ICE/TJC had 703 functional votes, NAC had 708, combined 1,411.
In 2013, MORE had 1,140 functional votes, NAC had 951, combined 2,091.
In 2016, MORE/NAC had 2,232.
Together, we got the best result in over a decade.


From Norm Scott-MORE’s observer at UFT Elections count

There is a range because it’s the total slate votes plus split tickets.

To better explain; in every division each candidate gets every vote from those that marked off a slate , Unity or MORE/NA, but then individual votes get tallied as well. For example, one of our high school candidates got 2292 while another got 2276 because their individual tallies were different. Each candidate got votes from those that marked a slate plus those that voted for them as individuals. Solidarity did not have a slate, so it is only individual tallies.

High schools: MORE-NEW ACTION 2276-2292

UNITY: 2063-2077

Solidarity: 110-121

Middle schools:

Unity: 1649-1655


Solidarity: 179-195

Elementary schools:

Unity : 7041-7065

MORE-NEW ACTION : 2306-2333

Solidarity: 222-254


Unity : 7651-7728

MORE -NEW ACTION: 2248-2333

Solidarity : 108 -323.



Contacts: Ashraya Gupta

Jia Lee


NYC High School Teachers Vote for Change, Electing MORE/New Action Social Justice Slate to Union Leadership

Teachers Poised to Bring Change to Crisis-Ridden NYC Schools as National Wave of Teacher Activism Continues


NEW YORK- In an historic victory for social justice reform in the nation’s largest union local and largest school system, NYC high school teachers have created a rupture in the 56-year near-monopoly of the UFT’s Unity Caucus by electing the MORE/New Action reform slate to the union’s executive board. The victory will bring a voice for progressive change to the table in the union’s coming 2018 contract negotiations. The tri-annual election for the leadership of the UFT exposed a deep crisis in the New York City schools, with a new report from MORE demonstrating that 32% of NYC teachers are unable to make photocopies for their students when they need to, nearly one in five city educators works more than 20 hours of unpaid overtime per week, over half teach in overcrowded schools, and that behavior support, special education, ESL, and other mandated services for students are often criminally lacking.


Marcus McArthur, newly elected to the UFT Executive Board said, “The rank and file have cast a vote for more democracy, more teacher autonomy, and more justice for our schools. I look forward to representing their voice and collaborating with my colleagues on the executive board for a better public school system in NYC.”


Decaying working and learning conditions are generating a rank-and-file upsurge in the UFT, with vote totals evidencing a continued ebb in support for Michael Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus and a turn toward activism. MORE/New Action’s victory follows the growing national trend of social justice reformers coming to power in teachers union elections and leading strikes for critical improvements in the schools in Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Paul, Detroit, and other cities across the country in recent years.


MORE’s Executive Board member Ashraya Gupta said, “In a year when public-sector unions were under threat, it is heartening to see a vote for a more democratic UFT. The increase in voter turnout and the win for MORE and New Action means New York City teachers are mobilizing for the schools and city we deserve.”


Mike Schirtzer another new Executive Board member adds, “For far too long the leadership of our union has been disconnected from the real problems we face in our schools. They have signed on to one anti-public education policy after another, without watching out for the best interests of our members or the students we serve.”


Presidential candidate Jia Lee observed, “The high school win is a crack in the glass ceiling that keeps Unity caucus’ in power. Rank and file educators are galvanizing a more humane vision of our teaching conditions and our students’ learning conditions. There’s much more work to do, and I’m really looking forward to the future knowing we have principled voices on the executive board.”


While MORE/New Action’s victory for the high school board seats will bring much-needed change to UFT leadership, machine politics continue to dominate the union. In an effort to consolidate control over the union, in 2012 Unity Caucus increased the cap on retiree votes (a group that traditionally votes for Unity, since they led the union when they were in service) from 18,000 to 23,500. In 2013, retirees cast more than half the ballots for UFT leadership, with only 17% of active members voting. In 2016, 25% of in-service members voted, contributing 28,582 ballots, while 24,464 retirees voted, mostly for Unity Caucus.




The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE), is the social justice caucus of the UFT and largest force for change within the teachers union. In the 2016 elections, MORE formed a united front with New Action Caucus  to challenge Unity Caucus, the bureaucratic political machine that has dominated New York’s teachers’ union for the past 56 years. Over the past decade, Unity has led the UFT into crisis, signing off on harmful policies such as overuse of standardized testing and pay increases that fail to keep pace with inflation, while the NYC public schools have decayed. MORE advocates for a vision of social justice unionism to fight for the schools New York City’s students and teachers deserve.


The Movement of Rank and File Educators is thrilled to announce that in the 2016 UFT elections our candidates swept the seven high school teacher seats on the union’s Executive Board. Running as part of a joint slate with New Action/UFT, we increased our vote totals in every division of the UFT. More/New Action’s presidential candidate received 10,743 votes, roughly doubling MORE’s presidential vote totals from three years ago.
When we decided to run in the 2016 UFT elections MORE set itself three goals: 1. To win the high schools, 2. To increase our votes in other divisions, 3. To increase the overall vote totals. It appears that our efforts have been successful. While our share of the votes by division did not increase, our absolute numbers rose substantially. This is a credit to all MORE and New Action members who tirelessly distributed campaign literature and got out the vote within their own schools. Credit is also due to the UFT itself. The union sent repeated emails and text messages to members urging them to vote. That the share of active members who voted rose from 18% in 2013 to 24% in 2016 is a good sign for all of us.
In the days to come MORE will publish more detailed election reports. And we look forward to building on our success in the coming years.

party time

If you have not voted yet, please do so immediately. Ballots will be counted on Thursday to determine who will lead the UFT for the next three years.

MORE and New Action are co-hosting an election night party. We are getting together to share some drinks, food, and laughs.
We will find 
out the results of the UFT elections.
This is our time to celebrate! Bring your friends too! 
Thursday 5/26
Dark Horse Pub
17 Murray St, Downtown NYC near City Hall
Petitioning, get out the vote, organizing, all our hard work-now it is time to have some much needed FUN! 
Please do your very best to come out-the MORE the merrier.
We have rented the bottom floor, it will be a cash bar and order your own food. Dinner and appetizers there are great!


On Tuesday May, 10, a New York State court ruled that the use of value added measures for a teacher’s evaluation was “arbitrary and capricious.” Let us repeat that, the use of VAM scores in teacher evaluations is null and void. Sheri Lederman and her attorney husband Bruce Lederman helped expose VAM as junk science.


This flies in the face of the Annual Professional Performance Review that the UFT leadership shook hands on in 2013. This historic court case has validated the collective angst of every public school teacher, not just in New York State but across the nation. Will our union organize a class action lawsuit on behalf of its members for systematically distorting the focus of teaching and learning to a single metric? Under a MORE/New Action leadership, this is possible.


A collective processing of this ruling is in order! While the use of high stakes tests, a supposedly non-subjective, scientific and mathematical method, to evaluate teachers was on trial, human values reigned.

  • Teaching to students rather than to tests won.
  • Those who have refused to have their children take the tests and those who have refused to administer the tests are fully validated.
  • Progressive public schools who have stood their ground and resisted bending under the pressures of compliance are justified in safeguarding their communities based on collaboration and whole child learning.
  • Those who have spoken out against the reallocation of funds for test centered programs vs. culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate pedagogy are fully justified.
  • Many experienced mid-career teachers, who have found themselves targeted for excess or harassment because of the test-centric atmospheres in so many of our schools, can have peace of mind that they are, indeed, the professional and competent educators they’ve always been.
  • Schools have been ranked, sorted and labeled for receivership or renewal arbitrarily and capriciously as well.


The values that we voice must align with the actions we take. The Lederman case is a tremendous win for what we believe in as educators. Our union can be the vehicle to make our visions a reality.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) recently conducted a survey of United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members to find out more about their working conditions and students’ learning conditions. The findings of this survey indicate that the decay of the New York City schools has reached crisis levels under the leadership of the Unity Caucus, the incumbents in the current elections for leadership of the UFT. Change is urgently needed.




MORE-NEW ACTION slate vote (1)


Those of us who have dedicated our lives lately to going to schools to tell the membership that there is a real alternative to Michael Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus now have to spread the word to get out the vote. In the 2013 UFT election, less than 1/5 of active UFT members voted. This is pitiful. We can do better. My wife and I have penned this letter to our schools and friends. Much of it is based on what we have heard in the schools from many members. A member driven union needs to fight for what membership wants. Please feel free to reproduce and share.

If we are to have any chance of denting the Unity machine, everyone who reads thismust reach out to every UFT member they know (word of mouth, phone, email, social media or carrier pigeon) to urge them to vote MORE-NEW ACTION.

May 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you know, ballots for the UFT election were mailed out on May 5. One should be in the mail at home. The strength of a union comes from a membership that is willing to be engaged in standing up for themselves. One of the simplest ways to become activated is to vote in union elections. As you look over the ballot, we urge you to place an [X] in the MORE-NEW ACTION box and then drop it in the mail to easily vote for hundreds of union activists who will make the UFT a stronger union.

If we are elected, we would never consider accepting a contract where members have to wait over a decade until 2020 to fully receive raises and retroactive money that other city unions (police, fire, sanitation, DC 37, etc…) were given between 2008 and 2010. Singling out educators to wait for raises and back pay while the city has record surpluses of $6 billion and NYC is creating more jobs now than ever before is a slap in the face to educators. UFT President Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus allowed this to happen. The pattern raises that Mulgrew accepted for this round of collective bargaining in 2014 for city employees is 10% over 7 years, the lowest pay increases in a contract of our lengthy careers. All unionized city workers are basically stuck with Mulgrew’s pathetic deal. Mulgrew/Unity needs to be held accountable.

In addition, in the 2014 contract the UFT and other city unions agreed to healthcare savings but they wouldn’t tell us what they were. We found out recently that members on GHI and HIP have had co-payments for emergency room care tripled from $50 to $150 while urgent care co-pays have risen to $50. Some members who are on HIP are seeing co-payments of $10 for the first time as HIP’s network for free care has dwindled by a third. These are not the last of the savings as next year we have already agreed to an additional $1.3 billion. These health givebacks recur forever.

Unfortunately, our choices are to keep increasing co-pays, which hurts the people who need medical care the most, or to start charging everyone a healthcare payroll deduction. An honest union leader would have told us all of this when the contract came up for a vote so we could vote with our eyes open. Mulgrew has not been up front and should be ousted.

The teacher evaluation system is a disaster. We are rated now on subjective cookie cutter 1-4 Danielson rubrics along with results on unreliable student test scores on exams that were not designed for rating teachers. If we are rated ineffective for two straight years, the burden of proof for tenured teachers shifts to us in dismissal hearings. This amounts to teachers being guilty until proven innocent and is truly un-American. Mulgrew-Unity refuses to push for repeal of the evaluation system. If you elect MORE-NEW ACTION, we will work to create a fair evaluation system.

School secretaries, guidance counselors, social workers-psychologists and paras continue to have workloads expanded while absent teacher reserves have weaker due process and the army of lawyers hired by the previous administration at the Department of Education continues to help administrators make life miserable for UFT members in many schools. Some schools are plagued with abusive, vindictive, viscous and/or incompetent principals and assistant principals. Useless paperwork is out of control. Close to half of newer teachers are forced to sign extensions of probation letters. Many non-tenured teachers have been dismissed and had their careers ruined. Mulgrew has no answers to any of this other than to try to buy off politicians with contributions in a corrupt political system.

An engaged UFT membership fighting for what it wants is the answer to the problems that plague the system. Union power comes from the rank and file, not the leadership. There are close to 200,000 UFT members. Imagine the strength if we activated ourselves to truly fight for our rights and our schools. We can envision class sizes actually being lowered!

A robust, active and engaged membership will become a reality only if we elect a union leadership that pushes for it. The time for Mulgrew making back-room political deals where membership loses and out of touch leadership wins more perks for themselves is over. Give yourself a voice by voting for the entire MORE-NEW ACTION slate!


Camille Eterno, Candidate for UFT Secretary


James Eterno, Candidate for Academic High School Vice President