Bring Back Union Democracy:
If a school chapter feels that they are not being properly represented by their elected chapter leader or delegate, they can change that through an election or recall. When a whole school district feels that their UFT District Rep is not properly representing them, they have no recourse. In a giant step backwards, the UFT took away the power of chapter leaders to hold their UFT district representatives accountable and to elect them. A “do nothing” district rep, appointed by UFT leadership can collect $140,000 salary and double pension with no fear of being removed. UFT Solidarity will bring back the democratic selection of district representatives, putting an end to the nepotism and favoritism that does not work to support teachers and schools.
There are five appointed UFT borough representatives and over 40 appointed district and special representatives. None of them have been democratically elected by the UFT membership.
Here is a brief history you should know:
In June 2003 the UFT Executive Board changed the District Representative position, an electedposition for 34 years, to an appointed position, and then President Weingarten argued that the change was necessary based on the DOE’s move to Regions and would not have a negative impacton the service relationship between the chapter leader, the members, and the DR. She also maintained that with the movement to Regions we were not going to have districts and an appointed position would be a better one for our UFT. Regions no longer exist and networks appear to be on the way out. The democratic process is best served when elections determine who will represent the membership, and the election of DR’s by Chapter Leaders can only cement the relationship between the two and further union democracy. (link)
In New York State we follow the Taylor Law, that not only has jurisdiction over the employer (DOE), but also the employee organization (UFT). UFT members are owed protection from their employer for their union activity, but also are owed fair representation by their union. Do you have a specific question about union democracy and what we plan to do to make our union more democratic? Ask VP for High Schools Quinn Zannoni!