November 2014 UFT Delegate Assembly Report
A resolution calling for the UFT to support the cause of students in Mexico who have “disappeared” and one calling for Time Magazine to apologize for their teacher bashing cover were passed at the November Delegate Assembly yesterday. The Mexican students had disappeared and were probably tortured and murdered. Abe Levine of the ruling Unity Caucus asked for an amendment calling for the AFT to do research on the nature of the organization we were supporting before we fully support them and the body agreed to his change before passing the resolution.
Two different resolutions failed. One was introduced by Megan Moskop who wanted the UFT to support a teacher hiring diversity petition. She wanted it placed on this month’s agenda which is not debatable and requires a 2/3 vote to be added in. Before she raised the motion, Unity’s Leroy Barr during his Staff Director’s Report commented that the UFT was doing much already through its Social and Economic Justice Committee to increase diversity in hiring. Megan did get to make a few points even though her motion was for this month’s agenda so she is just supposed to make a motion. She did not get the 2/3 vote necessary to put it on the agenda.
Another motion was raised by Marjorie Stamberg to support First Amendment rights in Ferguson Missouri. This also failed to carry. Mulgrew noted that AFT may take a position on this.
What do we say about the elections that just passed?
Low voter turnout- 28% in NY State, lowest number ever. That’s what the people who don’t like us are always pushing for. If we vote and get our people out to vote, we’re in a good place.
You all have TVs, so Mulgrew didn’t get into details.
Governor’s races are a problem.
Tons of mailers. We need to spend some time and money organzing people to actually get out to vote. Fewer mailers.
Tech bond act passed- millions of dollars to technology in NYC.
94 struggling schools in NYC
1. We want to o set up meetings jointly w/ DOE and UFT folks in schools. Farina keeps saying, and keeps getting beaten up over collaboration. When she says trust she means trust for the whole school community. Integrity. Shared responsibility. Must move from being an individual profession to a team profession. The job is too hard; we can do it better together. Successful schools should be sharing ideas. She’s been clear that the hunger games are over.
2- Automotive & Boys and Girls: special cases
UFT Submitted a plan a while ago, but it was rejected. It is clear that SED was going to close the schools. Long hours to come to agreement. We feel this is a good plan for how to move forward without closing the schools. (Will not close until we first try to help them.) These two schools have never been treated fairly. They have huge numbers of of high need kids. Now we have a planning committee. Change in conditions of work environment now. Plan will include more work time including at least one week during the summer. Teachers from these schools must reapply for their positions before a personnel committee, 50% will be chosen by UFT. (if dispute, it is taken to Mulgrew and Farina). We want to show people that this is how it should work.
Note: During Question period Mulgrew added “teachers that are not hired at these two schools will be placed at another school for one year, for five successive years.”
(Editorial- Mulgrew says people displaced from these two schools won’t become ATRS but annual placement for ATRs is precisely how ATRs were used before the infamous 2011 rotation agreement when the UFT inexplicably agreed to weekly movements from school to school. Then again, it is indefensible that the UFT agreed to give up preferred placement when schools close in the infamous 2005 contract. No real gain here, just easing the loss a bit.)
Please see more on how this is similar to the original ATR plan by Randi Weingarten here
Aris and Amplify
Contracts have been cancelled for both.
Motion to dismiss California copycat case to end tenure in NYS filed by us in late October. Should hear an answer by November 28.
Consultation and Paperwork Committees
Every school needs a Consultation Committee. Must bring up school-wide issues during the contractually mandated monthly consultation meetings with the principal. The newly empowered Superintendents can help resolve problems if we have raised them at the school level first. The same applies to paperwork. We need to bring the issues up at the school level first.
Arbitration on Arrears for Retirees
Last night the arbitrator ruled that there would be arrears paid to those UFT members who retired between 2009 and June 2014. Intent was for everyone to get the money up front (Editorial: That’s already not happening). We will work with arbitrator to make everyone whole. $60 million in a $5 billion contract should not be difficult to fix. Lucky we had a clause to reopen this if there was a problem.
Leroy Barr Staff Director’s Report.
The next DA is December 17; he also announced other upcoming events with special emphasis placed on the UFT committee that helps the homeless.
Question: What is being done about principals who make our members’ jobs more difficult?
Answer: Superintendents are now in place who will oversee like the law says they should. Since Superintendents serve at the pleasure of the Chancellor, none would dare do much under Bloomberg but now they are empowered under Farina. Superintendents are now educators. 15 have been replaced. Farina says there needs to be trust. Principals must respect staff. Fixing accountability system is next.
Question: Can administration dictate binders that call for everything including what colors they should have be submitted?
Answer: No, this is an example of something that should be worked out in consultation and if it can’t be resolved, then take it up with the District Representative.
Question: Aren’t we creating new ATRS in Automotive and Boys and Girls?
Answer: People have to reapply for their jobs because we changed the working conditions by adding a mandatory week of work in the summer. Persons not rehired will be placed in schools for a year if they cannot find a new position.
Question: A principal says there is no money in the budget for supplies. Is this a proper excuse for not having supplies?
Answer: File a grievance under Article 7R. The School Leadership Team is required to discuss the budget. Schools have to decide how to use their money. Administrator per session has been abused in recent years.
Question: There is a leaky roof at Clara Barton High School that is leaking into an electrical box. Isn’t this a dangerous situation where we should walk out?
Answer: We are informing the School Construction Authority immediately. This is a dangerous situation and we will do what it takes to ensure safety of the school.
Writers: James Eterno, Megan Moskop, Mike Schirtzer
Commentary may or may not represent the official positions of the MORE caucus