Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Did Mulgrew Get a Such a Sizable Majority At the DA on Wednesday?

He talked!

He talked so long that people who don't usually go to Delegate Assemblies (many of whom feel out of place just being at one) were afraid they'd miss the train home and finally just decided to leave.  (I should know! I saw ten of them who I had spoken with earlier (and were going to vote no) plain up and walk out before the vote).

"The one thing you don't want --- is air in the conversation"
He talked for so long that the press, who normally love to present 'both sides' of an issue, left without waiting for the traditional quotes as the delegates left (but I got my two cents in with at least one reporter earlier in the evening as did many others).

He talked for so long that people who, at this moment, still intend to vote against the contract once it comes to a general member vote, voted for the proposal simply because they hoped it would make him stop taking!

He talked (a salesman's tactic, mind you, that helped me out a lot at parties back in my college days) for so long that, that so many people -mentally- simply gave up and submitted to what he was suggesting (that this is only a vote to send it to the members so they can vote on the contract. (Don't you think it's fair that they should be able to vote for themselves?)).

(this is an update) He talked! And he wasn't completely honest! He informed the members that the city doesn't have the money for a higher-than-inflation raise (it does). He said that the changes to our healthcare wouldn't equate to premiums (it may). He said that the ATRs would be just fine under this contract (they're not). He also said that members would get a chance to vote "at their schools" (they won't. They'll be mailing the ballots home). Such is honorable combat in the 21st Century world of unionism.

He talked for so long that James Eterno got ahold of the mic and rhetorically beat the living hell out of him for talking so much. This occurred on a level that -truly- only alpha males can understand -until it got so loud that everyone in the ballroom understood (Mr. Eterno's depiction of the exchange is far too understated for what I witnessed from the back of the hall).

Of course unknown to him, this happened with Brother Michael's face plastered on enormous HD monitors on either side of the stage. Those monitors displaying a beaten, shaved head and beleaguered scowl which revealed to all of us that he was clearly overwhelmed by the arguments placed in front of him at the moment. They also revealed a relieved smile when he ruled James 'out of order!' and took the floor from him.

And, of course, once that happened he stopped talking.

But the long (long) talk did it's job. It got him what he wanted: The vote. And when he stopped talking he called that vote.

Not before he assured delegates that they were only voting on a vote that would allow the members to vote (doesn't my union make so much sense?).

And when he got his vote, after almost 2 hours of straight taking, it was over. The delegates overwhelmingly decided to send a contract that provides wages which are more than 10% below inflation when measured against 2009, and special, lessened, protections for ATRs -the same contract that failed to cap class sizes, failed to cap case-loads for guidance counselors and failed to commit resources that would continue down the path of the Cincinnati Model where wrap-around services are provided at the school level -the same contract that doesn't go far enough to relieve the terrible plague of racial segregation that infests our schools and our city- to the members for a vote. And that's how my union president got the wide margin that he received.

"The one thing you don't want" says Big Dan Teague from the classic movie "is air in the conversation".


  1. I never understood how we had to give the rank and file the right to vote. They always had it! This was a two hour dog and pony show for the unity faithful. I had many discussions as to why this vote was necessary, not one unity person had a good reason as to why we vote to give someone else the right to vote even though they already had the right to vote?!?!?!? creepiest part of the whole event was when unity faithful slowly realized they must give supreme ruler mulgrew a standing ovation. slowest, least enthusiastic ovation I ever witnessed.

    again, what was the reason for the vote???

  2. Haha! The rules call for the legislative body to decide to send it to the full membership for a vote. Its the vote to send it to a vote.
    And if you think that's nuts, this vote was preceded by an Executive Board vote on Monday to send it to the DA, which was preceded by a Negotiating Committee vote to send it the EB last Thursday :D
    Ya can't make this stuff up!

  3. So, technically, we have to reassert the right of the rank and file to vote on the contract? Even though the precedent has been set.

    Then why did we do everything else but that until 6:15?

    There should have been two separate meetings. One meeting to discuss the merits of the contract and whether it should be presented to the membership.

    Then another meeting to determine the rights of the membership to vote on the contract, although that continues to be reestablished anyway.

    Or at least have two separate votes.

    The Delegate Assembly tacitly approves the contract every time we vote like this. We talk about the merits of the contract for the vast majority of the time, then "reaffirm" the right of the membership to vote on the contract. I am sure this confuses many people, (by design) especially since many of the unity people could not explain what transpired and why.

    1. The constitution of the union (the bylaws) require all of the members to be able to vote on a contract. It's just how it goes. In an ideal world, meetings like last night would be discussing the details of the contract as the debate took place. The facts of last night were, of course, less than ideal. Case in point:

      'Then why did we do everything else but that until 6:15?' As I wrote about above, part of president Mulgrew's tactic was to talk the swing voters (the ones who weren't so sure as they walked into the ballroom) into voting yes on the contract. In order to do this, he talked ... a lot!