–Jonathan Halabi is a NY city math teacher. He blogs at JD2718.
Turnout was up in every division – but still far too low. If “I didn’t bother to return my ballot” was a candidate, he would have swept every office, every division.
Voters tend to be more involved, more active. Their voices should be heard. But let’s be careful about the responsibility to represent members (what the winners actually earned) and a mandate.
Let’s take a look. I’m going to use teacher votes only, since I am most certain of them.
President. This time Mulgrew got 16.2% of all eligible teachers, Jia Lee got 8.2%. 74.8% Not Voting.
Last election: Mulgrew 14.1%, Julie Kavanagh 4.6%, 81.3% Not Voting. Time before Mulgrew 21.2%, Kit Wainer 3.4%, 75.4% Not Voting.
Elementary School Exec Board. This time Unity 19.8% to MORE/New Action 6.5%, with 73.1% not voting.
Last time Unity 15%, MORE 3.3%, New Action 1.6%, 80.1% not voting. Time before Unity 21%, New Action 2.6%, ICE/TJC 1.9%, Not Voting 74.5%.
Middle School Exec Board. This time Unity 14.7%, MORE/New Action 7.9%, Other 1.6%, Not Voting 75.8%.
Last time Unity 11%, MORE 3.7%, New Action 1.5%, 83.8% Not Voting. Time before Unity 16.9%, New Action 3.6%, ICE/TJC 2.1%, Not Voting 77.8%.
High School Exec Board. This time MORE/New Action 11.6%, Unity 10.5%, with 77.3% not voting.
Last time Unity/New Action 10.8%, MORE 7.5%, 81.7% not voting. Time before Unity/New Action 16.9%, ICE/TJC 6.9%, Not Voting 76.2%.
Participation in the elections has clearly improved, but it’s not enough. All of us, every caucus, have a strong interest in seeing even greater participation next time around. And I think that means greater participation in everyday union life in the schools. Which means inactive chapters need to become active. Inactive members have to get involved. And in schools without chapters, we have to help start them.
Especially in high schools, the break up of our traditional schools made it harder to maintain regular union functioning – which both makes our organizing efforts in the mini-schools more important, and serves as a reminder that we must be advocating the reassembly of some of our large high schools.