More than two months ago I posted my thoughts on the New York State United Teachers election headlined “Iannuzzi Is Toast.” My conclusion had nothing to do with the policies of the incumbent NYSUT president or his slate, nor did it take into account the policies of his challengers, Revive NYSUT. I simply took a look at the number of delegates and the locals pledged to the challengers, particularly the largest teachers’ union local in the nation, the United Federation of Teachers.
In recent weeks Iannuzzi’s slate, named Stronger Together, has trumpeted its growing list of endorsements by NYSUT local presidents and boards. We started to see graphs like this one.
That’s an impressive show of strength and it would be decisive if the NYSUT Representative Assembly assigned a single vote to each local. But the votes are weighted according to the size of the local, and that’s where Stronger Together gets a lot Smaller Together.
I don’t have a list of delegates and I have no special insight into how individuals might vote on the open floor (no secret ballot in NYSUT). But the two slates are using local endorsements as a proxy for voting power and I will, too. I know how many teachers are in each district they represent and can usually add pretty well.
I took a look at the list of 300 or so local presidents on the Stronger Together web site and discovered: a) there was some double-counting of locals; and b) the total number of teachers those locals represented came to about 60,000.
UFT by itself has 64,000 active full-time K-12 teachers.
So if UFT stood alone, Stronger Together would have a fighting chance to pick up votes from the rest of the delegation. But the Revive slate also boasts the endorsement of virtually all of the largest locals in NYSUT: the Professional Staff Congress, the United University Professions, and the K-12 unions in Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse. Stronger’s largest declared local is the Brentwood Teachers Association, representing about 1,100 teachers.
My unscientific extrapolation estimates Revive NYSUT holds about 56 percent of the delegates, Stronger Together 24 percent, and 20 percent are unknown or undecided. Iannuzzi’s slate would have to capture all of the undecideds and peel off about 11 percent of Revive’s delegates while holding on to all of its own.
My prediction: Revive NYSUT picks up at least 60 percent of the vote. If it climbs to 70 percent, I would not be surprised.