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.