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UFT Delegate Assembly – Who will talk about health care and Stringer?

May 12, 2021 pm31 4:46 pm

Scott Stringer, collecting endorsements, including the UFT’s, ran into a sexual harassment allegation. What will the UFT do?

Retiree health care, stable for years, the Chief broke a story that the Municipal Labor Coalition, including the UFT, are negotiating with the City to move to Medicare Advantage. There is much worry and concern, and the UFT leadership has been attempting to put out the fires.

Delegates Unlikely to be Allowed to Debate Medicare, Stringer

So here we are, UFT Delegate Assembly, two huge issues in front of us, and what will the delegates do?

My prediction: Nothing.

Not because that is what delegates necessarily want, but the UFT’s Unity leadership is unlikely to allow any discussion.

Mulgrew will discuss (and spin) both in his report. It will be a long report (it always is) and he will play down both issues.

Delegates might ASK about either issue in the Question Period – but that’s not discussion – and Mulgrew’s answers will be far, far longer than any question.

New Motions Period – Unity Obstructs the Process

And in the New Motions period? Those ten minutes are the only real time that a delegate can introduce an item for discussion? Nope. Apparently Unity rigged the system.

There is a system. A UFT email goes out on Sunday. And delegates can respond by submitting a reso. First come, first served? Hmm. The first two resolutions up for discussion were introduced by Unity members. If they were submitted first, that had to have been done with coordination by the leadership. And there is real question about when things were actually submitted. At least two of the resolutions on the agenda are listed out of the order in which they were submitted (according to the submitters, and the return receipt timestamps from the UFT).

Here’s the list:

  • Motion No. 1 — Resolution to celebrate Provider Appreciation Day (submitted by Tammie
    Miller)
  • Motion No. 2 — Resolution in support of School Nurse Appreciation Day (submitted by
    Cynthia Bennett)
  • Motion No. 3 — Motion to endorse David Weprin for New York City comptroller (submitted
    by David Pecoraro)
  • Motion No. 4 — Motion to move the resolution on Medicare Advantage to the top of the
    agenda (submitted by Peter Allen-Lamphere)
  • Motion No. 5 — Resolution calling for the UFT to rescind its endorsement of Scott Stringer
    (submitted by Ariela Rothstein)
  • Motion No. 6 — Resolution to increase union participation and build a stronger union
    through hybrid in-person or virtual participation and voting options (submitted by Daniel
    Alicea)
  • Motion No. 7 — Resolution for transparency in health care negotiations with New York City
    (submitted independently by David Price, William Russell, Caroline Sykora and Alex Reich on
    behalf of Retiree Advocates/UFT)
  • Motion No. 8 — Resolution in support of school libraries at summer school sites (Submitted
    by Roy Whitford)

Order of Submission was Manipulated

Since the email went out at 12 noon, and the rescind Stringer reso was submitted at 12:03, something is going on funny. #4, #5, #6, and #7 are all topics that Mulgrew does not want delegates to debate. And Mulgrew, almost certainly, will slow down #1 and #2 so that they come up. I don’t know if he will let #3 come up.

Timing can be rigged; Timing has been rigged in the past

Does Mulgrew really rig the timing to keep motions from being introduced? Absolutely. Just this past November, I had a resolution up, it was #2 on the list. Mulgrew did not want it to come up (It was a call to end blended learning, which would have been a big shift since no one pushed blended more than the UFT leadership). #1 ended. Three minutes left. Mulgrew just talked. Filled the time. Filibustered. Ran out the clock. Yes, he rigs the timi

“Stuffing” the Agenda

To avoid the filibuster, Unity submitted “filler” resolutions to eat up agenda time. Tammie Miller belongs to the UFT Executive Board, and can submit resolutions there. They are, I think, very short meetings. Lots of time. I don’t know if Cynthia Bennett belongs to the Executive Board, but she certainly attended them back when I was a member. Why go through New Motions at the DA where there are only ten minutes available, and not do it at the Exec Board where time is unlimited?

Stringer?

Should the endorsement be rescinded? It should be discussed.

Mulgrew will announce that he referred it back to the committee that made the recommendation. The propriety of such a move is dubious. The committee made a recommendation to the Delegate Assembly. It is the DA that should decide whether to refer an issue to that committee. But the goal here seems to be to keep the debate away from the delegates.

Health Care?

I have more to say about this. This is a huge topic. Healthcare for members is coming up next, healthcare for retirees now. Big stuff. The proposed changes are in some ways not that serious. But they are also horrendous. This is a huge topic, and needs serious discussion and debate.

But for now, should this process stop while delegates discuss this? Absolutely. Will that happen? Absolutely not. Mulgrew is reporting right now. There may be a question – which Mulgrew will give a long answer to. And that, as Unity wishes, will be it.

Why?

Unity never likes discussion that it does not control. But after the April DA, when the delegates rejected Unity’s political endorsements, they must be terrified.

Long report. Half an hour of questions (which is a Good Thing). But delegates do not debate hot issues. The leadership does not want that to happen.

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