UFT/AFT Leadership: Friend or Foe Series – Vera Pavone

August 14, 2013 — 6 Comments

Part four of a series of posts based on our summer series forum that was presented on Thursday 7/25/2013. The purpose was to share the various perspectives on how we, an opposition caucus, views Unity, the dominant party in power of the UFT? As potential partner, foe or something in between? There were four presentations. These views do not necessarily represent those of MORE, rather they are part of the diverse viewpoints that represent our membership.

Vera Pavone:

Active member of Anti-Vietnam War organizations in 1960s, member of Member of Brooklyn Bridge/Another View/Coalition in the 70s, where she was primarily responsible for turning meeting discussions into leaflets and newsletters. Worked as teacher in District 23 at a More Effective School (short time), and school secretary in Districts 16 and 17 (long time). As founding member of ICE helped in developing platform and literature.

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6 responses to UFT/AFT Leadership: Friend or Foe Series – Vera Pavone


    At about 2:30, Vera refers to what sounds like the “Baserman case” which ( sounds like ) established the right of access to UFT member mailboxes for flyers, info, etc.

    Anyone got any more info on this? I can’t find anything online. and , if it established access , why are we still denied ( or impeded)? Seems to me it’s an either/or. Either we have right to access or we don’t. And if we do… somehow this fact is not getting thru to the school admins.

    In which case we don’t have access. Even if we “do.”

    More generally: it seems on a local level, the union is on life-support if not clinically deceased. Any way that stats can be accessed ( or collected if they don’t exist) re. the # of chapters, # of chapters that do/don’t have CLs, do/don’t have chapter meetings, do/don’t have consult committees?

    Beyond that…. I’d appreciate any help or guidance in finding reliable DOE stats in general… short of (FOILing, that is). Seems to me there’s pretty general agreement we’re dealing basically with a profoundly corrupt system… whatever way you want to look at it. My mind lately is running to the idea that an essential first step is defining the scope of the problem…. i.e. the degree of dysfunction. I’m not sure we’ve really done this effectively.


      The Baizerman decision of 1973 establishes the right of UFT chapter members the same access rights to their own school colleagues mailboxes the chapter leader has. In other words, it means that a principal cannot discriminate against caucus members for access to mailboxes.

      However, this is very different than the situation during the election. The decision does not give access to mailboxes in schools other than the one that a member works in. That right is only available during union election periods, and is granted by a special DOE memo.

      Of course, as you well know, that right was observed more in the breach during election time, and it was often challenging to convince individual principals to give us access to the mailboxes.

      Collecting the stats that you suggest about the UFT chapters could easily be done by the UFT (and some of it may have already been collected). Unfortunately, they are not subject to FOIL requests. However, there is a resolution passed by the Executive Board to investigate the miserable turnout in the UFT elections.


        Thanks for the clarification re. Baizerman. Re. the union stats: I doubt very much that 1. Unity-UFT would be particularly interested in tracking that data; and 2. any data Unity-UFT would produce and be willing to release for public consumption would inspire confidence re. validity, reliability, etc.

        No small issue since…. it appears to me (anecdotally speaking of course)….that a great many dues-payers ( perhaps even a majority at this point?) lack even the rudiments of a functioning trade union: i.e. chapter leader, delegate, consult committee and – most importantly- a contract that still functions as one. ( i.e. binds both parties to respect its content).

        Without these elements it isn’t a “union”. It’s a “dental plan” or an eye-glass voucher system. But it isn’t a union.

        Not a priority to Unity, natch. ( Collecting those stats, that is.) What about MORE?


    It seems to me that we should be concentrating our efforts on electing a new mayor and the democratic primary in September. I think you are very misguided. It’s a shame we can’t all unite to elect someone that will work with the UFT in a positive manner.


      First support a system of democratization of the UFT before we talk about working with Unity Caucus in a positive manner. Let us know what you think about New Action with less votes than MORE getting 10 seats on the Ex Bd while people who voted for MORE get no representation. If you had some bales of tea around we would throw it in the ocean – no taxation (our dues) without representation.

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