With the RTC leadership election coming up, I have asked Election Committee Co-chairs John Soldini and Nina Tribble to write this month’s column.
— Tom Murphy
RTC elections usually follow a predictable pattern. First, a bipartisan election committee is created to develop and publicize the rules of the election. That committee was created with the publication of the election notice in the New York Teacher in February.
The process is usually simple, straightforward and transparent and has never been challenged.
But we are conducting this election while the pandemic traumatizes a nation that is deeply divided and where democratic institutions and validated election results are challenged. That context prompted the RTC election committee — the two of us, plus Robert Greenberg and Vince Gaglione — to not only establish a process to overcome the technical problems created by the pandemic’s safety protocols but also to reassure you of the election’s integrity and to stress why you should vote.
The committee met the challenge of distributing nominating petitions by arranging for pickups in UFT borough offices and posting paper and digital forms on the UFT website. It overcame its greatest obstacle by making it possible for candidates to gather the required number of signatures and then return these petitions to the borough offices or file them electronically. An email blast to RTC members explained the electronic method of obtaining and submitting the signatures. The union also established a dedicated election hotline, 212-331-6310, which members can call with any questions.
Now the committee is preparing to turn over the next steps in the election process to the independent American Arbitration Association.
In May, when you receive your ballot in the mail, you will be voting for a chapter leader, four vice chairs, six other officers, 15 executive board members and 300 delegates to the Delegate Assembly, all for three-year terms. The deadline for the receipt of ballots is 8 a.m. on June 16. A retiree who does not receive a ballot should call the AAA at 800-529-5218.
The AAA will begin counting ballots on June 16 at UFT headquarters. As soon as the count is official, the results will be published on the UFT website and an email will be sent to all RTC members.
Enshrined in the United States of America is the belief that authority is subject to the approval of the people it represents. That is why the bipartisan RTC election committee has worked so diligently to run an open, fair and seamless election.
Now, it is up to you to vote. The leaders you elect will be responsible for keeping you informed, protecting your benefits, listening to your ideas and helping you resolve your problems. Social Security, Medicare, health benefits, teachers unions and even public education are under attack. The RTC has the task of protecting and advancing both public education and your hard-earned benefits on the local, state and national level.
Throughout history and still today, activists have struggled; fought; shed blood, sweat and tears; and died for the right to vote.
Please do not take that right for granted. It is not only in your self-interest to vote, but it is also the best way for us to show we believe in democracy.
RTC General Membership Meeting (virtual) Tuesday, May 18, 1 p.m. An invitation to the virtual meeting is emailed to RTC members.