SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Without Jia Lee Stronger Together is Weaker Apart (UPDATED 2/22/17)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Without Jia Lee Stronger Together is Weaker Apart (UPDATED 2/22/17)

UPDATED 2/22/17: The views expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. At no time did anyone from MORE or any other union member ask me nor attempt to coerce me into writing this blog post. 

One more thing. The kitten on the left represents ALL teacher union members across New York State.

The beginning of this month we shared on these pages that NYSUT VP Andy Palotta will be running for NYSUT president as the Unity candidate against  Michael Lillis, presidential candidate for the Stronger Together caucus.

Recently, both Arthur Goldstein on his NYC Educator Blog and James Eterno on ICEUFT Blog have both queried why ST does not have any UFT members on their slate.

Arthur writes;
"When I realized that Stronger Together was running four people against five, I saw an instant solution to my problem, which is that they have no UFT representation whatsoever. They could run Jia Lee, who bravely faced an uphill battle against Michael Mulgrew last year. They could run James Eterno, who got the majority of high school votes for High School Vice President, but who isn't VP because UFT Unity rigged elections....
And James;
"I'm not happy that ST didn't agree to support any of us UFT dissidents for NYSUT office, particularly since some of us joined ST when it formed back in 2014. Arthur Goldstein (Chapter Leader Francis Lewis High School in Queens) ran for Executive VP back then against Pallotta."
Now while I have the utmost of respect for both Arthur and James I have to agree with Arthur and truly believe that MORE UFT presidential candidate Jia Lee should have been on the slate for ST. Mind you that the ST slate only has four candidates whilst normally there are five.

Why is Jia not on the slate? 

Jia not only has a great reputation throughout NYC, but across the state and nationwide. Jia has testified before the United States Senate, has close ties with the anti-establishment locals, close relationships with New York State legislators, Badass Teachers, and just as importantly, received 20% of the vote in the 2016 UFT elections. No small feat when going against the entrenched machine of Unity. And let's not forget what Jia has brought to not only the Opt-Out Movement in NYC, but just about everywhere.

Yes, unseating and winning the NYSUT elections is a tall order for anyone not backed by Unity. The 2017 RA is on Unity's home turf at the Hilton in Manhattan and we all know how anyone associated with Unity will vote. But why not give those who are against Unity an outside chance?

There are some indisputable facts in the upcoming election that we must heed. NYC, Yonkers, Albany and Rochester will vote Unity. That's a given. On the other hand Buffalo, Long Island, and the North Country will and should be behind ST and even more so if Jia were a part of the slate. The Southern Tier will probably be split between Unity and ST, as well as the Hudson Valley. With Jia ST will without a doubt give Unity a run for it's money. Without Jia it'll be another Unity triumph for sure.

But let's say that ST does pull it off. Then what? Without NYC representation the doors will be slammed shut in Albany and Washington DC. There will be no clout. Nada. Bupkus.

MORE in the previous election lifted ST. Where is the reciprocity from ST? Arthur however brings up an interesting question in his blog post which bears a ponder;
"Could their (ST) negative relationship with a single MORE member have led them to stereotype us?" (Hmmmm, could this be someone who does not play and work well with others?)
Whatever the reason ST did not choose a UFT member, let alone Jia, not only it is ST's loss but more importantly, and much, much worse, but a major setback for the teachers and students of New York State.



Anonymous said...

Andy Palette was District 10's rep before he hit big time. He stank as a rep for the teachers of District 10. He was only in it for himself. Doesn't surprise me he at the top now.

James Eterno said...

You should note that nobody in NYC, including Jia, answered ST'S email or facebook request for candidates. Also, while I think ST would be stronger with some NYC representation on the slate, Lillis/ST are much better on issues like teacher evaluation than Pallotta/Unity. I endorsed Lillis.

James Eterno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara Molloy-Grocki said...

Is it true that ST tried to make a deal with the statewide unity caucus? If that is indeed the case, why didn't they reach out to UFT MORE or ICE or Solidarity? Maybe people didn't get the email or aren't on Facebook regularly.

sullio said...

-NYSUT's 5th officer may as well be scraping gum off the tracks of the 2 train - it's a waste of Union money.
-NYSUT holds an election every 3 years; people should plan accordingly.
-Mike Lillis actually gives a shit and will be MUCH better than Pallotta.

Vote ST Caucus

Pete Zucker said...

Tara ask ST why there is no MORE representation. As for ICE, they are not a true caucus (Anyone correct me if I'm wrong). As with Solidarity, they're not ready to be with the grown ups.

Brian said...

Yes Tara. It is true they tried to broker a joint slate with Unity. They didn't reach out to MORE because they felt as though being allied with MORE compromised there ability to make a deal with Unity.