SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Why Do UFT Retirees Get to Vote in UFT Elections?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why Do UFT Retirees Get to Vote in UFT Elections?

Late on Christmas night I jumped into the middle of a Twitter conversation between Norm Scott and Randi Weingarten. The jist of the conversation was about the lack, and rightly so, of democracy in the the UFT. Of course Leo Casey chimes in with;

But that is another story for another blog post. Of course losers don't get to make decisions, but the losers get to participate, no? Isn't the US Constitution set up to give voice to the minority?

But at that point I chimed in asking a pertinent question which Randi replied to;

Huh? So the rationale is as long as the retiree vote is capped? At this point, Reality Based Educator shared;

And my reply to Randi, which she never responded to, was;

Which brings us back to the question, why do retired teachers get to vote in the UFT elections?

I mentioned this to a friend of mine that drives for UPS and is a Teamster just after the UFT elections. To say he was surprised would be an understatement. We both put our heads together and were unable to think of one union that has retirees vote.

I understand that the retirees have done a lot for us in the past. They are concerned about their benefits and pensions. They sacrificed a lot in the past and we owe them a debt of gratitude. As one retired teacher friend of my family would say to me, "You schmucks have given back everything we went on strike for in 1968," I couldn't agree more. But now they are holding back rank and file to affect change.

Personally, I have no problem giving them a seat at the table. Of course they should be represented in the UFT. Be it in the DA, executive board, etc.... They have a right to have a voice. But, to be able to sway elections for current teachers with issues that are affecting us today and in the future is not right. If anything, if retirees continue voting, their votes should at the most count for one-half, and still be capped.

But as long as they get to vote, the opposition to Unity (I don't feel I am at liberty to speak for any one organization) must be proactive with the cards we are dealt and be ready for 2016.

This means reaching out to the retired chapter and forging some common bond. Find out what it would take to get an endorsement, to see how the retired chapter can best advocate for the opposition. It certainly won't hurt to try, it's better than sitting around in committees.

The issues facing the teachers of New York are in the present and in the future, not in the past.


Francesco Portelos said...

I actually asked sanitation and DC 37 as well two months ago. No retirees vote in their general election. Hey South Bronx, how is your golf swing? I think it's time we visit Florida.

Pete Zucker said...

I'm up for a round or two.

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is the UFT keeps the retirees voting so that they will vote the way the UFT wants them too. SWEET--- Strange when you figure the UFT has practically given away all the things the retirees fought for..... How sad

Francesco Portelos said...

Let's go

ed notes online said...

Trust me - I've been in this for over 40 years - most retirees (except for nuts like me) have walked away from the system and are not very interested in being organized. Unity Caucus has a massive presence in those who want to stay involved. Our dues help pay for lots of perks for retirees. A lower dues structure, pretty much free courses at the UFT, etc. Monthly retiree meetings at the UFT are mostly Unity with a few opposition voices who are easily shut down. I went for a year or 2 and tried to get something done there before giving up and deciding to put my energies into organizing working teachers. Get 35-40% of those to support the opposition - use all resources for that -- and THEN go after removing retirees as a voting factor - trying to curry favor with them is a dead end.

Anonymous said...

As a newly retired Moreista, I gotta say, if the rank and file voted, the retiree vote would not be as important.

As Chaz said, benefits (which by the way, are not as good as those of other districts or unions. For example, Long Island districts keep their prescriiption plan as it was prior to retirement. UFT does not keep the prescription plan.This is not a good thing) DC37 receives their health benefits at no monthly charge) and pension are very big issues and keep many retirees paying attention.

That said, Unity has a stranglehold on this voting block. AND they know it.