Mulgrew Overturns OT/PT ‘No’ Vote – Revote Scheduled This Month

This afternoon, UFT leadership decided that the OT/PT bargaining unit would be split up between those who voted no (OT/PTs) and those who voted yes (nurses, supervisors of OT/PTs, nurse supervisors, and audiologists). The subunits who already voted ‘yes’ will not get a revote. They will automatically get their contracts ratified, despite the initial bargaining unit voting ‘no.’ This includes nurses, who, incidentally, might have voted otherwise (‘no’) had they known that municipal hospital nurses would break the pattern and get pay parity with nurses in the private sector. School nurses, who will follow the UFT’s much touted ‘pattern,’ indeed, will now be amongst the lowest paid nurses in New York City. They will not get a revote. But, yes votes were never the issue to Unity. No votes were.

And indeed, with ‘no votes’ the issue, only those titles who voted ‘no,’ i.e. OT/PTs, will be given the ‘opportunity’ to do a revote. Despite voting 2/3s ‘no’ the first time around, they will be made to vote again- with the hope that they will vote yes this time around. The entire process will take place by mail, and will be completed in the month of August, when many members will be on vacation. Notably, the decision comes just after the OT/PT Executive Board voted overwhelmingly to not do a revote, but after hundreds of OT/PT members, mostly (but not entirely) members who had already voted yes or failed to vote the first time around, petitioned to overturn non-ratification by holding a revote

There’s a lot to unpack here, and while I won’t comment on the ‘reverse gerrymandering’ of the bargaining unit, there are many reasons that the ‘revote’ decision is problematic. After all, nothing about the contract has changed. It is just as bad as it was before. All that has changed, in fact, is that Mulgrew has conveyed that he won’t be able to do the job of renegotiating, especially in a timely manner. This is not a reason to revote on a contract – it’s a reason to get UFT leadership to do their job (or find someone else to take their place). 

Instead, UFT leadership decided to work with others in their caucus to divide the chapter, for political gain. After decimating the ‘unity’ of the chapter; after telling them that they were only going to get the City’s first deal, nothing better; after telling them that organizing was pointless; after aiding and publicizing a ‘revote’ campaign, which was deliberately politicized to scapegoat non-Unity OT/PT leadership for daring to think that organizing was worthwhile; after all this, Unity-aligned UFT leadership set up a situation where this time, they are much more likely to get that yes vote.

But mark my words – those new ‘yeses,’ if they come out that way, won’t be affirmations of the contract – they’ll be votes of no confidence in the ability of Mulgrew to do his job. 

Not only is this situation an insult to OT/PTs, who deserved better but were stomped down and told they wouldn’t get it no matter how hard they tried; this is an insult to unionism in general. It is clear now that UFT leadership was never in the business, this contract season, of more than uncritically communicating messages from the City/DOE and doing whatever they could to get membership to agree with taking less. This situation is case and point. Now we know that if we ever vote that the City hasn’t done enough – that we deserve better, like nurses in public hospitals deserved better – now we know what the Unity-led leadership will do: whatever it takes to dismantle democracy and avoid ‘doing the work.’

The full email from UFT leadership follows: 

“Thank you to those who attended our meeting last week concerning a revote of your chapter’s contract. After looking into the details of how to break up the bargaining unit, we can now announce that we will move forward with the split within the next week. 

In the past several weeks there has been an outpouring of opinion from your chapter concerning the idea of a revote. We weighed all sides of the arguments and took everything into consideration including the fact that the Supervisors of Nurses and Therapists, Audiologists and School Nurses are officially being removed from your contract. The OT/PT chapter will now stand alone and, as a result, the situation has changed significantly. We now feel strongly about having a revote only for your chapter. The other three groups already ratified in the original vote in June so there is no reason for them to revote. Please note that the result of your chapter’s revote – no matter the outcome – will be final.

We met with the American Arbitration Association to discuss the voting process and determined that the ballots will be mailed on Tuesday, Aug. 8, and will be due Aug. 29. They will be counted on Aug. 30. Additional voting instructions will be mailed with your ballot.

We recognize that some members may be away for the summer vacation. If this applies to you, you can provide us with a summer address that is different from your home address by contacting our election coordinator, Yasmin Colon ([email protected]), and we will have the ballot sent to that address. 

We will also have a dedicated hotline for anyone who needs help with the revoting process. Please call 212-331-6310 if you need assistance at any point. 

Again, thank you for speaking out to make your voices heard.


Michael Mulgrew”


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