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UFT elections – first impressions

April 28, 2013 am30 12:39 am

Last Thursday noon-ish I left school. I had been offered release for a full day, but chose to stay for all but my last two classes.

The UFT vote count was underway. I was on my way to the 57th Street Holiday Inn, to watch the American Arbitration Association process the UFT votes.

I texted Mike Shulman, New Action cochair, to get a sense of how things were going, before I got on the train. I was concerned going in. I thought New Action’s vote would fall, and Unity’s would fall, and MORE’s would probably finish ahead of New Action. But I thought we had a chance to edge them. I also was worried that we might lose our 3 high school seats, including mine, on the executive board (we were safe to hold our 7 at-large). Mike’s reply text was not positive:  turnout was down about 20% across the board, and MORE was beating New Action 3:1 everywhere.

The train ride I was trying to imagine the worst. Losing the seat would at least lift the responsibility that comes with it. And New Action has a core of support, a few percent, that is unshakeable. We would have seven seats, and we would do work. But there could be no spin, no self-delusion, nothing to make the drop in turnout into anything but trouble. And if MORE had an electoral breakthrough, New Action’s safe 4-5% would not necessarily mean much.

It turned out, New Action’s result was disappointing, but not a disaster. MORE had a stronger than expected showing, but no breakthrough. The biggest losers were Unity and the UFT as a whole (not for the same reason).

(Story continues here)

I’ll talk about the count, and analyze the vote in the coming days. I may even look back at the campaign… but it’s a bit early.

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