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Is New Action really independent?

April 3, 2013 am30 7:43 am

New Action is an independent caucus.

We have an electoral agreement with Unity – we endorse their presidential candidate – Mulgrew. They cross endorse several of our exec board candidates. For high school exec board, we run 3, they run 4, and all are cross-endorsed.

On the basis of this electoral agreement, MORE’s bloggers claim we are not an independent caucus. MORE implies the same thing in its literature. And they are wrong. New Action has separate membership from Unity. We do not follow their discipline. We have our own Exec Board. We make our own decisions.

During the election, New Action differentiates itself from Unity. We raise positions on issues that we think are important, sometimes in agreement with, often opposed to Unity policy.

But there are three years between elections. What happens then? New Action‘s record is strong. We support the leadership on many issues. But we decide whether to do so or not. We oppose the leadership where they are wrong.

Go to Norm Scott’s blog. He has a picture of me speaking against raising pension contributions for future employees. That was the best speech at that DA (and no ICE people spoke, if I recall correctly). Against a Unity-endorsed position (that some good people mistakenly wither voted for or abstained on. They were dangling the return of the two days in August that Weingarten sold the DoE)

On the constitutional amendments last year – Mike Shulman and myself spoke – strongly – against them at the Exec Board. And then Shulman was the strongest speaker against at the DA. I remember some of the MORE comments were less than coherent. And New Action put out literature urging delegates to vote no.

On the Teacher Evaluation work… New Action has opposed this every step of the way… from supporting Mulgrew when he said Weingarten’s proposals would not work in NYC, to opposing him on RttT, and on the evaluation itself. Now, we weren’t silly enough to demonstrate against Mulgrew after the evaluation deal blew up (we just got a temporary reprieve) – but our record has been consistent. Our literature has frequently warned about what was coming. I should not write in detail about the Evaluation Committee, but MORE supporters on that committee know that I (and I think I am the only New Action person there) I have at each meeting both constructively contributed to the issue immediately in front of us, and made clear that we need to find a way out of this.

On embarrassing things in the field – New Action brought the massive extensions of probation of two years ago forward (DRs knew, but seem not to have been reporting). MORE bloggers were squawking about Galaxy flagging – but it was New Action that brought it to the leadership last Spring, and got the issue brought to PERB.

Do we always oppose the leadership? No. (I’m not writing “of course not” because ICE had people on the Exec Board once. Jerky behavior IS possible). There are many more issues where we agree than disagree, and the exec board minutes reflect that.

More Additional posts to follow

I’ll follow up with

  • why the electoral arrangement is good for the members, good for Unity, good for New Action.
  • There’s another sort of issue that we bring to the Exec Board – social issues, and they deserve a separate write-up.
  • There’s the mechanics issue of how New Action handles individual issues on the UFT Exec Board (What do we do if we agree, disagree, amend, want to offer a resolution, etc)
  • There’s the question of why MORE is campaigning like this – not sure I’ll bother going there.

The campaign is pretty much over 6 days from now. We’ll see how much I get written. No promises.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. a teacher permalink
    April 4, 2013 pm30 5:08 pm 5:08 pm

    What I wonder, as a UFT member genuinely trying to make up my mind, is what it would take for New Action to decide not to endorse Mulgrew. Less hypothetically, was there a real discussion this time on the merits of whether to run a separate candidate for president, or was it simply assumed that there would be cross-endorsement?

    • Kate permalink
      April 4, 2013 pm30 9:26 pm 9:26 pm

      Yes, New Action had many discussions (btw all our discussions are real) on running a separate candidate vs. cross-endorsing. Let me be clear, these were discussions held over the course of several months. There were a variety of opinions, give and take, time to reflect and then we voted. The cross-endorsement for this election cycle is the result.

    • April 4, 2013 pm30 11:29 pm 11:29 pm

      Kate’s memory is correct. We even discussed sitting out the election (quickly dismissed). I’ll write about the process in greater detail over the coming days.

      – Jonathan

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