Filibusters and Fabrications- Thoughts on the March, 2022 Delegate Assembly

The March DA was December all over again, as Mulgrew avoided giving any space to members of United for Change by using every tactic under the sun to silence us, and really all non-Unity members of the Delegate Assembly.

  1. Abnormally Long President’s Report: Mulgrew’s report dragged on for over an hour and left virtually no time for official business. He even invited some speakers to make the report particularly long, a tactic he uses when he really wants to filibuster. That presentation, full of glitches, was about an online system for chapter leaders that could have just as easily been an email. (Keep in mind, most delegates at the DA are not even Chapter Leaders…they’re delegates). It’s worth mentioning that one of the presenters was Unity Caucus’s Maggie Joyce, who Mulgrew suspiciously called on in the last DA too, even as he couldn’t manage to allow a single UFC delegate to speak in either of the last two DAs. Watching the talk, one couldn’t help being reminded of the December DA, when Mulgrew called on a staffer to give a time-share like presentation about how good Mulgrewcare was. Mulgrewcare, of course, was later scrapped after UFC’s own Retiree Advocate (working with some other groups) exposed it for the fraud that it was and won in court. And, despite a pretty interesting question period, with speakers making critical points about things like abusive administration, undelivered vacation days, and delayed payment to OT/PT, Mulgrew’s answers left much to be desired, though he spent tons of time answering them (to avoid taking other questions).
  2. Making up rules: When Camille Eterno tried to make a minor parliamentary inquiry about a mistake on last month’s minutes regarding what she had said then, she was ruled out of order and not allowed to speak. The reason? Mulgrew claimed that parliamentary inquiries can’t be made during the President’s Report. Of course, the Delegate Assembly is deliberative–and as such uses Robert’s Rules. Searching as we have, we’ve found no place in Robert’s Rules specifying Mulgrew’s rules. That leads me to think he may have, you know, made it up, so that he could silence Camille. It’s worth noting that Mulgrew erroneously accused Camille of electioneering, even though she mentioned nothing about the election or about caucuses. Ibeth Mejia, who I’m running with for High School Executive Board, tried to use a point of order to advocate for them to take Camille’s point, stating that it was absurd for Mulgrew to interrupt her with a simple request about the minutes, but was also shouted down.
  3. Not Calling on UFC Members (Redux): We at United for Change are used to not being called on by Mulgrew at this point. Indeed, we haven’t been called on for a new motion since November, and to this day I think I was only called on to read our resolution on healthcare back then because Mulgrew still thought I was with Unity Caucus. This time, when many UFC delegates were amongst the first to shoot their hands up, Mulgrew waited and palpably searched the audience for Thomas Conavoy, so that he could read the inherently uncontroversial resolution on recognizing Diwali. Another non-UFC person was called on after, and this was the last person recognized by Mulgrew. Earlier in the DA, Daniel Alicea asked a point of parliamentary inquiry about needing to rotate between those for and against given motions, and Mulgrew answered that when there is a debate they do have such a procedure, which of course begs the question: why was that procedure so conspicuously not followed in February, when a debate followed Camille Eterno’s motion to appeal the chair. Of course, that ‘debate’ consisted of Mulgrew recognizing the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and another Executive Board member, all of whom of course agreed with Mulgrew. Indeed, in that debate, not a single person was called on who disagreed. Not a single person was called on from United for Change.
  4. Not allowing the meeting to be extended: Mulgrew talked for so long during this DA that there was no way we were going to get to any resolution on this month’s agenda. He also prevented UFC from raising an important resolution on mayoral control, as well as another resolution on Tier 6 (which, ironically Unity was also prepared to present a similar motion on…if only Mulgrew hadn’t run out the clock). Peter Lamphere tried to make a motion to extend the time, but was ruled out of order for technical reasons. Mulgrew claimed there was too much important business to conduct right after the meeting, because the UFT members of the RA were meeting right at 6:00. I made a point of order, because I hold the invite, and it clearly says 6:30. He claimed that 30 minutes was needed to prepare the room. So I stuck around after the automatic adjournment at 6:00. When I left at 6:20, the chairs were exactly where they left them. There was no need to end at 6:00 PM, but I think we all knew that. (And by the way, Mulgrew, if you know in advance that you ‘need’ to adjourn at 6:00 PM, why not make your President’s report a little shorter in the first place so there’s no need to make a motion to extend)?

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