Skip to content

What if United for Change wins? #1

April 10, 2022 am30 12:39 am

What if UFC wins? Should we clean house? Or tidy the corners?

#1 Personnel

I am the UFC candidate for High School Vice President. If we win I will be one of 12 members of the administrative committee (AdCom) and will help shape the new leadership’s agenda.

I cannot speak for our Coalition – these are decisions that need to be made. But I am relatively confident about some decisions.

What about people? How will we marry the need for change with the need to keep the union functioning?

Clean house? or tidy the corners?

Officers

Obviously all of the officers would be replaced. The current officers would return to teaching, or retire. When Michael Shulman (New Action) beat George Altomare (Unity) for high school VP, Unity sued, won a new election, and Mike won again. Then George retired. But who knows – some of these officers might be more comfortable returning to the classroom.

District Representatives

District Reps are easy – it is a UFC platform priority to return to election of DRs, presumably as before, by Chapter Leaders. There might be details to work out, but this could happen pretty much right away. I am not sure if that call belongs to the President, the Staff Director, or AdCom, but it is one decision or one quick vote. The fascinating part – which current District Reps would run? And which current District Reps would win? There are some who are genuinely popular with their Chapter Leaders and provide good service, who would win, and some horrible DR’s who should save themselves the embarrassment. But which are which, and what of those in the middle?

Vice Presidents

VPs are currently elected at large – but it is another priority to have VPs elected by division. That process is more complicated, requiring a constitutional amendment – and probably would take months – and would take effect for the 2025 elections.

Employees in the Departments and Boroughs and Offices

The practice of hiring people based on political loyalty (or caucus membership) and not competence or ability to serve the members – that Unity practice would be immediately ended.

But that does not answer the question of current employees.

What would happen to the UFT employees in the offices and departments – both at central, and across the five boroughs? Huge question, and one that is not in our platform, and not up to me alone.

The union would require major change – but the union would also need significant continuity. We must continue to function. Questions of who have been serving our members well, and who have not, would be a big part. Also who is willing to work with new leadership, and who is not. And who is willing to follow new policies, and who is not. Again, this is not my call, but I have a strong opinion

I’ll say this: Much of the full-time staff was hired because they were loyal to Unity. But membership in Unity should not, in and of itself, be disqualifying. That’s my opinion.

Would there be a process of reapplying for those jobs? Or general performance reviews? Would this happen right away? Or after some time? Would some jobs be exempt? I can’t say at this point.

I can see the argument that clerical positions are not political. And on a related note, I’d like to see the “call center” eliminated, and a return to retired UFT members on the switchboards. Contracting out is gross. That our union does it sickens me. Every time I hear about members lost on hold, my blood boils.

It is my opinion that, today, competence is not spread evenly through the offices and the boroughs. The amount of change would necessarily vary.

Think of it this way – there are highly competent people who joined Unity as the only route they saw available to do work on behalf of members. And there are others who joined Unity as a stepping stone to doing less work than a classroom teacher.

Does this imply that a clear majority of those working for the UFT today would still be working for the UFT after a UFC victory? Perhaps.

A specific category of interest would be the Special Reps – appointed and unelected. There is a wide variety of people in those roles – from the very valuable, to some others… I can think of people that I could not imagine capable of adequately serving our members. And I can think of people who no one would possibly want to lose.

There are high profile names who members speak of highly. I am not embarrassing anyone by calling them out here – but there are definitely people I trust, and many members trust, who should remain central to the functioning of the UFT.

PM Staffers

What about PM Staffers? These are full time DoE employees, UFT members, who have after-school jobs at UFT central or a UFT office. Many work in borough offices.

These are full of aspiring Unity loyalists – many who are looking for a route to a better job. But there are also those who are quite valuable to our members. I would be in favor of a process of reviewing all of these many appointments, and changing some, but aggressively confirming that those who provide valuable service to our members will continue to do so.

And again, going forward these jobs would be properly posted, and open to any UFT member. The days of hiring based on caucus, with a UFC victory, will be over.

Staffing

Big picture: Is the UFT overstaffed? Or is it understaffed? Or just right?

That’s a good question to end on, because I know the answer.

The answer is, today we do not know.

First step would be to name a committee, or a person, but probably a committee, focused on staffing questions.

And one of their first tasks would be need to be a full review – of staffing levels, and of what that staff does.

Last Note

These are my thoughts/opinions. DR and VP election is in the UFC platform. The rest need to be decided. And I am writing about policies and decisions, some of which, if the UFC wins, will be made without me. Some, I may participate in deciding. But I thought it was worth sharing a few thoughts as ballots start reaching members.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. John W permalink
    April 10, 2022 am30 8:14 am 8:14 am

    I helped my mother retire from NYC teaching after approximately 35 years of teaching. She never knew she was eligible for the NYC Deferred Compensation Plan (457) because UFT does not advertise it, at ALL! You can imagine her anger, as she always maxed out her 403b TDA.

    • April 10, 2022 pm30 7:53 pm 7:53 pm

      That is not really the topic of this post – but it is an important point. We need to make sure that valuable information consistently makes its way to all of our members. Sometimes it does – but it needs to be much more complete and much more consistent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: