The ballots — or at least those belonging to the minority of teachers who vote in union elections — are in.
Due today to the American Arbitration Association, which oversees the city’s teachers union election, the ballots will be counted tomorrow and results should be in by the end of the day. The counting is set to take place in an unlikely setting: the Manhattan Skyline room at the Park Central Hotel.
Every election cycle, the AAA rents a hotel room and fills it with employees who run the thousands of ballots through scanners to count them. Hundreds of those votes are rejected for reasons that include casting conflicting votes (e.g. checking off a slate box and then also voting for individual candidates).
At 9 a.m. tomorrow, the counting of the valid ballots will begin in front of a live audience. Though the event is closed to the press, members of the UFT’s three caucuses — Unity, ICE/TJC, and New Action — are allowed to watch the counting.
There’s no doubt, even among opposition group members, that current union president Michael Mulgrew will be reelected tomorrow. In 2001, the first time former UFT president Randi Weingarten ran for office, she won with 76.6 percent of the vote. In 2004, she got 88.6 percent and in 2007, she got 87 percent. Mulgrew, a less well-known but also less divisive figure than Weingarten, is likely to win by a large margin. But the size of that margin is something those involved in union politics will watch closely tomorrow.
With the presidential election essentially predetermined, members of the ICE/TJC and New Action caucuses are likely to spend tomorrow focused on the election for the six high school seats on the executive board.
I’ll post the results tomorrow once the final numbers are in.