Mulgrew Against Moms


Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of The Earth School, raised a resolution (see below) at tonight’s UFT Delegate Assembly calling for the city or UFT to provide a no-interest loan for those UFT members who are on unpaid maternity, family, or medical leave and did not receive their first lump sum payment this week. Because they are not on active payroll the members who most need this money will not get it until 2017 at the earliest. If they never return they may never see their own hard-earned money. UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus which dominated the DA voted the motion down. They voted against our members who are mothers, caregivers, or who are sick and need to be out on leave.

Ms. Lee said “in my school we have moms who are on leave to take care of their children and we, as a union, need to find a way to get them the money we all got. If you read the resolution we are asking for no interest loans to the members who need it the most.”

“Medical distress should not be financial distress.” Mulgrew said earlier in the evening in regards to the skyrocketing costs of prescriptions for our members. Ms. Lee referred back to that sentiment and said “I feel the same and that should apply to retro for our members on leave.”

A Unity Caucus member, who is the Maternity/Child Care Leave Liaison for the Queens UFT office, spoke against our resolution. “I explain to those going out on maternity leave they need to be on payroll  to get retro — eventually they will be made whole. You decided to take your leave, you got to handle your own business, you have to consider things before taking leave”.

Male dominated unions got their retroactive money up front and better raises. Make no mistake, the number crunchers from the UFT and DOE figured on many of our own being out on maternity or child care leave, because we are predominately women. Those on unpaid leave for childcare or health issues received nothing, although they worked during the 2008-2015 period.  This is gender discrimination at its worst.

This is not what unionism looks like. There needs to come a time when we all work together for the good of us all. That moment is now.

DA Resolution on Immediate Retroactive Money for UFT Members on Unpaid Leave for Maternity, Child Care and/or Restoration of Health

October 14, 2015

WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers has a long history of supporting members in need, and

WHEREAS, the 2014 contract did not cover members on unpaid leave for lump sum payments stemming from the 2009-2011 round (arrears) until they are back on payroll or retire, and

WHEREAS, the City of New York ended the 2015 fiscal year with a $5.9 billion surplus, and

WHEREAS, the first 12.5% of the arrears is scheduled to be paid on October 15, 2015, and

WHEREAS, many of our sisters and brothers on unpaid leaves who will not be receiving the arrears for at least two years are having financial hardships as they are not on payroll, be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the union will immediately petition the city to make no interest loans available to UFT members on unpaid leaves who are not receiving their arrears, and be it further

RESOLVED, that if the city refuses to make these loans available, that the UFT will provide immediate, interest free loans to any member on unpaid leave who applies for one up to the amount of arrears the member on unpaid leave is owed as of October 1, 2015, and be it further

RESOLVED, that if the city refuses to make these loans available and the union does not have the means to provide the loans, the Union will arrange with Amalgamated Bank or another labor friendly institution to make low interest loans available to UFT members on unpaid leave who are not receiving their arrears and the UFT, not the borrowers, will pay the interest.

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4 thoughts on “Mulgrew Against Moms

  1. I have been a supporter/a member of the More caucus for a few years, and I have agreed with a lot of the things they support. But I disagree with this resolution that Jia brought up at the DA tonight. I also feel that the title of the article, “Mulgrew against Moms,” is uncalled for. Let me explain:
    When people take “Child Care” leaves, it is a decision they make with their husband and/or their family. They do not get regular pay while on the Child Care leave and they know that before taking the leave. Obviously, if they can take time off WITHOUT REGULAR PAY, then they shouldn’t be counting on the retro pay to help them while on the leave. Also, if they truly need the money, then they should have come back to work this past September and they would have received their retro like the rest of us. Truthfully, if they need the money that bad, then they should NOT be on a leave and they should be working. (Remember: These people will be getting their retro, it will just be later than sooner once they return to work.)
    As far as people on medical leaves, most of the people on a medical leave usually take a medical sabbatical, which means they still have their benefits, and they are still getting a percentage of their pay. Unfortunately, I do know what it is like to get sick unexpectedly, be hospitalized and out of work for a period of time. Fortunately, I don’t take many days so I had them in my CAR and used them to stay on payroll. (I used 49 days and still had 47 left after I returned to work.) There is also a way people can donate some of their sick days (two for one) to another member if need be.
    As far as the union making loans-I just don’t see why the union should be the one to make loans available to any of it’s members for any reason. There are plenty of other ways that people can get other loans, at low interest rates, from plenty of different types of lenders. I know this because I just did. It was after I lived through eight feet of water in my house from Super Storm Sandy. And yes, I did have flood insurance but it didn’t cover much of the cost to repair everything, so I needed to borrow money for a lot of the repairs I needed. As a result, I have to continue to work and work longer than I planned.

    1. The contract has set a bad precedent regarding retro pay(payout 10 years after the fact) which any future mayor will be pressured to repeat. Members who have resigned will receive nothing even though they worked some or all of the years between 2009-2015. We are told that those not on payroll will have to wait until 2017 but clearly this is not true because an arrangement was made to ensure that retirees receive retro pay. They are not on payroll. So the retro payment for those on medical or child care leave gets rolled over until 2017, the city banks the $, does the member receive any part of the interest accrued by waiting an addition two years? Let’s be clear and lets not put lipstick on the pig here. My payroll secretary informed me that quite a number of steps are required to issue a check to someone not on payroll. My eyes glaze over when confronted with byzantine procedures but why can’t the UFT go back to the Mayor and seek an agreement so that members on leave can receive their retro check when they return from their leave? Why do they have to wait until 2017? What is there to loose? What is the worst think that could happen if we ask? The mayor says no, case closed? I reported on resolution to my Chapter meeting the week after the DA and people just shook their heads in disbelief. I asked if the matter should be raised for reconsideration and all agreed. I agree that the reso should be re written and simplified. What would you say to a reso calling on the UFT to ask for retro pay for those on leave when they are back on payroll?

  2. I will report back to my chapter about the resolution and the DA vote and ask them what they think. I do not know if our chapter has members on leave who did not receive a retro check but I will find out. But even if there were no members of my chapter directly affected there may be (I hope) a feeling of solidarity, an understanding that even if no one in our chapter is directly affected, there is a feeling that “an injury to one is an injury to all” and the resolution merits reconsideration at the next DA. If the members feel there is justice here I will offer to raise the reso for reconsideration at the next DA.
    I suggest that other delegates refer this to their chapters and return to the next DA with a resolution asking for reconsideration based on the sentiments in their chapters.
    That said, allow me to suggest that MORE editors refrain in the future from employing hyperbolic headlines that sound like they come from the NY Post. “Mulgrew against Moms” Please.
    Are we selling tabloids or really attempting to offer an alternative and raise awareness? The headline is cheap electioneering crap that reflects a very limited view of what the UFT is, where it needs to go, and how it might get there. Frankly, it makes me gag.

    1. I agree Sean Ahern. (No relation that I know of but if you’re the Riker’s Island teacher who spoke at the DA, I’d be proud to be related to you.. nothing but admiration for those who take on such challenging work.)

      Although I agree with their positions most of the time, I’m not a member of MORE. I’m also not a member of ICE, New Action, Solidarity, Unity, nor any caucus for that matter. What I am is the elected representative of the UFT members in my school. I speak up in order to force our union leaders to do the right thing by them and also to try to bring more democracy to OUR union.

      The bottom line, for me, is that some of our members are being hurt because of the stipulation that they don’t qualify for retro pay if they are on leave, and it needs to be corrected. I posted some comments over at NYC Educator blog and on Norm’s blog so I won’t repeat them here but I’ll include the links, The UFT needs to right this wrong and I agree it’s much more important than union politics. I hope you will add your voice.

      Mary Ahern

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