Tuesday, July 21, 2015
What can be Done to Increase Voting in UFT Elections?
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.