Unpacking the October, 2022 Delegate Assembly

On October 12th, the UFT had its first DA of 2022. James Eterno at ICE-UFT has published detailed minutes, so I’ll focus on a few points of analysis.

Protest Outside: People on the phone missed out on the biggest part of the DA – hundreds of retirees protesting the UFT and MLC’s incessant moves to kick them off premium-free traditional Medicare outside UFT headquarters. One downside of hybrid DAs is that most of the ‘swing votes’ don’t get to see awesome work like this, often organized by Retiree Advocate.

Gov. Hochul: Gov. Hochul didn’t seem to notice the hundreds of people protesting Mulgrew’s mismanagement of our healthcare on her way in. Instead, she gave a glowing review of the UFT president, bordering on an endorsement: ‘Mulgrew has done such a great job advocating for teachers. [I’m] proud to work with Mulgrew and other teachers across the state.’ Many in New Action and other opposition caucuses did not stand to applaud Hochul, remembering how quick she was to renew mayoral control, which Adams promptly used to defund our schools. We also remember how slow she was to sign off on the class size bill. The list goes on. Nevertheless, she did sign off on the latter bill eventually, and it’s a good sign that Hochul doesn’t mind being seen with the teachers union.

One note remainder of DA: The remainder of the DA was dedicated to healthcare misinformation. Countering the hundreds of fixed-income retirees protesting outside, just two, highly paid executives of the UFT, Mulgrew and Geoff Sorkin gave their pitches like used car salesmen. Often dog whistling that their opposition does things for ‘political’ reasons (rather than out of the goodness of their hearts like Mulgrew and Sorkin) we heard one sided arguments on why Medicare Advantage will be awesome, as long as it’s the UFT’s Medicare Advantage. Former Unity (and once-opposition) exec-board candidate Arthur Goldstein published a good article recently on why he is not convinced by all the healthcare propaganda. It’s worth a read, though I disagree with his conclusions on opposition. But attendees last night didn’t hear from him. They also didn’t hear from anyone in the opposition. For our arguments, you can see what the ‘7’, including myself, said on healthcare at executive board last week. Indeed, until we get the chance to give our own ‘minority report’–something we must push for–UFTers might prefer to attend executive board sessions to the DA. You get a far more varied set of perspectives when Mulgrew and Barr have no choice but to call on everyone there.

No time for opposition: Mulgrew called on one opposition member all night – H.S. executive board member, Ilona Nanay (MORE), who asked a good question (and got a bad answer) on changes to the city council administrative code. It was no accident that Mulgrew called on a known opposition member during the question period, but not during the new motions period. During a question period, it’s easy for Mulgrew to regain control of the room. He can spend lots of time answering a short question, and making it clear that his perspective is the right perspective. During a new motion, opposition has far more space to convince the audience. Mulgrew knows that, so we haven’t been called on since last November, 2021 to raise one (and that’s when I was technically still a member of his Unity caucus). It’s also worth noting how obvious it was that Mulgrew knew who he was picking in advance. One of the people he called on, Maggie Joyce, is someone he calls on frequently to raise new motions. She is a familiar Unity face to him, often present at UFT functions. Another of the people he called on was raising a motion he noted before it was even raised (on migrant children). Our healthcare reso didn’t stand a chance.

We didn’t even get to the business of motions on 10/12’s agenda. We lost all that to the most brainwashing filibuster Mulgrew has ever given. I’ll give my same advice again – if you want to see diverse union perspectives, come to executive board meetings where you have any chance of actually seeing them.

1 Comment

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    Howard SIegel

    Let it not be lost in the chaos that if Mulgrew succeeds in placing us in the proposed inferior Medicare Managed Care, he will next force in -service personnel into an HMO which are even worse. For profit insurance companies involved in Medicare are compelled to follow Medicare guidelines, although they try to circumvent the rules wherever they can. In service personnel will have nobody watching out for them.

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