Ex Bd Report- If MORE Says Sky Is Blue, Unity Will Argue It’s Green


Our correspondent Mike Schirtzer is sending us information from tonight’s Executive Board.

President Michael Mulgrew reported that Teacher’s Choice would be going up next year.

Arthur Goldstein asked a question on why there won’t be a vote on the new ATR Agreement. Secretary Howie Schoor answered that there is no obligation for the Union to take a vote on the agreement.

Amy Arundell said that ATR’s who take the severance package will get the lump sum payments through 2020 if they retire but will not get them if they resign.

One of the teacher members of the retirement board says the UFT pension people are ready for individual consultations.

Here is the MORE-New Action resolution in support of the elected bodies of the UFT and ATRs themselves voting on the new ATR agreement:

 Whereas the UFT Constitution states in ARTICLE V EXECUTIVE BOARD-SECTION 6.  that “The Executive Board shall direct the affairs of this organization”

Whereas ARTICE VII DELEGATE ASSEMBLY- SECTION 6 states “The Delegate Assembly shall have the power to legislate all matters”  and has repeatedly been referred to as “the highest decision making body of our union” by President Michael Mulgrew
Whereas UFT members under the title “ATR” do not have a chapter of their own, nor a chapter leader or delegate 
Whereas an agreement regarding  the status of ATRs was bargained and signed by representatives from the UFT and City of New York without the formation of a committee to do so, nor a vote by this executive board or the DA
Resolved that there will be meetings in the five  boroughs for ATRS to discuss and vote on any agreement regarding their status
Be it further resolved that the UFT DA and Executive Board will discuss and vote on any agreement in accordance with the UFT Constitution  and consistent with our union’s democratic process 
Mike Schirtzer from MORE motivated this resolution. He said it was about process more than anything and the Movement of Rank and File Educators stands for democratizing the UFT. Mike said process is important and one of the ways to engage members when our union is under threat with the Janus Supreme Court case possibly ending automatic dues checkoff is to have people vote. This may be a good deal and it isn’t really about the deal, it is about having something that impacts ATR’s being voted on by the people impacted. ATRs need to be consulted.Democratic process is crucial to saving our union.

Mike also noted that the Unity majority voted against every resolution that came from the MORE caucus all year. Every one of them. If MORE said the sky is blue, Unity would say it is green!

The Unity response to Mike boils down to the fact that they talk to the ATRs all the time and they are excited by this deal because it gives them opportunity to make their own decisions.

The Unity majority overwhelmingly rejected democracy and voted down the resolution. The MORE-NEW ACTION High School Reps all voted to support the resolution. Unfortunately, our reps were outnumbered about 90-5 at the meeting.

UFT: Union UnProud, as Ex Bd says NYET to Votes on ATRs

It could have been so simple for the leadership to support the MORE resolution – see below – or even parts of it —- but NOOOOOO! As Mike Schirtzer said in his excellent motivating speech, if we had a reso saying the sky was blue, Unity would vote against it and say the sky is green. (Stuart Kaplan would ask for an explanation on what is a sky. — semi-inside joke.)

Arthur Goldstein began the festivities with this question, as reported on his blog:

Arthur Goldstein–MORE–Given the near certainty of impending US Supreme Court decisions it seems a good idea for our union to expand, rather than abridge fundamental democracy.
In 2011, there was an ATR agreement voted on by the Executive Board and the DA. In 2014, there was an ATR agreement that was part of the UFT Contract, and of course we voted on that too. This year, we have an ATR agreement that was not voted on by the DA, or any rank and file, let alone ATRs. Clearly there is precedent for us to vote on ATR agreements. Why was that precedent not followed this year?

Howie Schoor sang the no-bla-di, no-bla-day song in response:
Schoor—No obligation for us to have a vote on ATR agreements. I see there is a resolution and we can debate that.

And so they did debate.

MORE’s Schirtzer gave them every chance on the ATR agreement (THE ATR AGREEMENT NEGOTIATED IN SECRET) to make it appear the UFT has even a sliver of democracy in a passionate speech on a reso calling for the UFT leadership to hold votes in the Ex Bd and the Delegate Assembly.

All they had to do was say “Yes” to a vote at the EB and at next week’s DA, both dominated by Unity Caucus — and they would have the veneer of democracy. But not even that,

Keep in mind this quote from Mulgrew, who spent 8 minutes at the meeting:

By next year we will be right to work state and nation. 

He should have added — but we won’t do anything to make our members feel there is a reasonable process for people to particpate.

Mike pleaded the case, not on the merits or demerits of the ATR agreement, but on the issue of how a union, under the gun of Janus and a soon to exodus thousands of members, should operate to try show these people there are reasons to save the union. Go consult the ATRs and respond to inquiries before heading into what could be a stressful summer, at borough meetings.

Arthur took some good notes on Mike’s speech:

Unions are under attack Public schools under attack. We have to involve members. As a union and exec. board we have responsibility to follow democratic process. We the UFT need to consult with people whose lives will be affected. 

Amy Arundel, who I usually respect, came up with a la-di-da — “we hold borough info sessions in September” — a nice “screw you” to people who have anxiety over the coming agreement. She announced that UFT offices would be available for individual ATRs to come in. The leadership seems to fear holding any gathering where ATRS might congregate and start trashing the UFT leaders.

James Eterno, blogging from home as Mike sent him reports, had the instant ICE report on the essence of Mike’s speech practically before he gave it.

This may be a good deal and it isn’t really about the deal, it is about having something that impacts ATR’s being voted on by the people impacted. ATRs need to be consulted.Democratic process is crucial to saving our union.

My feeling is that in the future, Leroy Barr or anyone in Unity, should speak against any MORE reso before they see it.

As I saw Stuart Kaplan and other Unities head to the mics to oppose the MORE reso, I whispered to Arthur — you are about to get a gold mine of dumb and dumber comments to fill your blog. Arthur’s notes has the essence of what they all said, but let’s give Kaplan, sometimes known as the village idiot — TVI — some space:

Stuart Kaplan—Spoke to two ATRs today. Were excited about opportunity to decide. Is an opportunity. We deserve to give ATRs that opportunity. No one would deny ATR the decision. Many demonized in media. We don’t negotiate for some. We negotiate for all.

I leave it to you to try to make sense of it.

New Action’s Jonathan Halabi, who didn’t support the reso, gave some praise to the leadership’s intentions:

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—Wants to recognize positive comments. I know that we as union stay in contact with ATRs. There is no assumption of anything but good faith. I believe agreement is good, but I haven’t seen it.

I don’t give them credit for good intentions. Mulgrew pretty much said it — the UFT and the DOE want the ATR issue to go away — and the only way is to go back to a time where if you are excessed you get placed into an available slot, even if someone has to get bumped. The UFT was a partner in creating ATRs in the 2005 contract – and they should be reminded of that at every opportunity.

And Priscilla Castro—had her proud Unity moment as she spoke for the first time this year: calls question.

Gregg Lundahl, who is a designated and dedicated Unity “call the question” geek, seemed crushed as the meeting adjourned. But the UFT needs to diversify the crew that calls the question. Think of the many creative ways to say “call the question” to cut off debate.
Arthur has last night’s UFT Executive Board funny pages in full:

NYC Educator  

James Eterno’s report:

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