Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What can be Done to Increase Voting in UFT Elections?

     Looking at the abysmal statistics for voting in UFT elections one thing becomes very apparent - the overall apathy of its members. Retirees are allowed to vote in UFT elections (!) and have been doing so at a higher percentage than their active counterparts. I don't know of any other union that allows retirees to vote in current elections. The retirees are actively seduced for their votes and have nothing to lose if they vote in an abject provision (via their vote for party or individual) that will fall squarely on the shoulders of the active members.

     What would happen if voting became mandatory? For instance, if you didn't vote you got a knock on the door (or a Skype call, etc.) in order to obtain that vote? The Census goes around to collect data that affects us in a myriad of ways. Our population pool is much smaller and technology has made information retrieval much easier. Our UFT votes and lack of them have a profound impact on our lives.

     Do I believe mandatory voting is viable? At the present time, no. That may change if union dues become optional. I'm assuming you wouldn't get a vote if you opted out of paying. What I do feel needs to be changed is the way in which we vote. Most people when they see that incredibly large envelope with a due date, leave it on the kitchen table and forget about it. When they remember it, it has expired and they toss it in the garbage. The people who don't, are the ones who have a lot of free time (i.e. retirees) and those who keep on top of union matters (an increasingly small minority). The UFT voting should be done electronically with an electronic signature. I have completed many legal documents this way and have never had a problem. This would greatly increase the voting statistics. This leads to another question - does our union want an increase in voting from its active members. I would venture, no. The reason being the whole retiree vote. It smacks of manipulation of data, in that there is no legitimate reason they should be voting in active elections. (This is meant as no offense to any retiree - I hope to be one soon.) In my opinion, the entire voting procedure for the UFT needs to be changed in order to assure an increase of input from the active members.

Update: I was informed that New Action brought an excellent election case to PERB requesting addresses of retirees. This was in order to give all groups an equal footing with Unity. PERB ruled that because retirees are not part of the bargaining unit, they aren't covered under the Taylor Law. The case was dismissed. So not only does Unity have full and unlimited access to a large constituency of voters, they have been basically allowed to legally thwart competing groups access to them. My incredulous reaction to all this is, how if they aren't part of the bargaining unit are they legally allowed to vote? It's in the UFT constitution.


  1. How easy would it be to have the actual, working members of he Union vote in their schools for our all powerful leader. He shouldn't worry about the election since most of us are sheep and willingly do whatever our chapter leaders tell us. Oh. But there might actually be people who inform their coworkers about the issues if they do that!

  2. If they can vote inside the schools for Chapter Leaders, I don't see any reason not to do the same for all other positions. The fact that they don't and that an a far inferior method is being used is a very obvious way to keep the voting low. That coupled with the retiree vote gives those in power a large advantage.

  3. Good post. As UFT Solidarity pushes on with the 2016 campaign, we have ideas on how to increase voter turnout. This is another reason we started campaigning so early. If we increase turnout we can get Mulgrew out.

    1. Yes, even the retirees I've spoken to see through his luncheons and pandering. People have to come to the realization that Mulgrew/Weingarten are not the union. Being openly critical of them is not a betrayal of the union. Voting against Unity is the only logical course.


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