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DC37 members were able to join the state’s family leave plan, which is an important benefit for those taking care of aging parents or sick children. But the new benefit is paid for exclusively through employee contributions, and only provides for partial pay up to 55% of the employee’s salary. So paid family leave ended up being a free sweetener to the contract for the de Blasio administration.

New York City workers help to set a pattern for employment wages and benefits across the metro area. We are among the few workers who do not have to pay any part of their health care premiums — an important legacy of the strength of previous union bargaining efforts that we have worked hard to protect.

But the continuation of concessions that threaten those benefits sets a dangerous precedent that will, over time, weaken health care to all those in the region.

In an era where universal single-payer health care been re-legitimized, it is foolish for city unions to concede ground on the benefits that protect working families. Instead we should be campaigning to expand protections for all.

This piece was originally published in the NY Daily News.

Lamphere and Myrie are teachers in the New York City public schools and members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators, the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers.

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Dear School Staff and Allies,

We invite you to participate in our February 28th day of action to protect immigrant students.  We are pleased that Chancellor Carmen Farina responded to public support of immigrant New Yorkers by issuing a meaningful statement describing rights and resources for immigrant students on January 30th. We applaud this first step.

At the same time, we continue to ask for more because the time to stand with immigrant New Yorkers is now. We know that aggressive immigration policies will continue to affect our students’ ability to learn, so we are asking the DOE to do its part to advocate for children and families both inside and beyond the classroom doors.

Join us on February 28 as we ask Chancellor Fariña and the NYC Department of Education to:

  1. Train and provide an immigrant liaison in every school.

  1. We ask the Chancellor and DOE to expand on the initial letter by publicizing an explicit, transparent protocol for all of NYC schools that includes no ICE agents granted entry at schools unless they have received permission from the Chancellor.

  2. Fully develop the Department’s recently created web-page to support immigrant students so that schools can connect families with the information and resources they need during this important time.

  3. Collect and distribute teacher-developed tools and curriculum that embrace our values as a multicultural and multilingual community.

And join us in calling on Mayor De Blasio and the NYC District Attorneys to:

  1. Support the New York Dream Act by lobbying the State Senate, Assembly and Governor Cuomo to pass the bill

  2. Direct the NYPD to stop making broken windows arrests and for the five District Attorneys put a moratorium on broken windows prosecutions, as outlined in the #NYCdontprosecute campaign.

  3. Work with the Department of Education to invest in restorative justice positions and practices and restrict the presence and role of law enforcement officers in schools, as outlined in the Counselors Not Cops campaign

Sign up here for more information: https://goo.gl/forms/fnNGEgvswgKXwW163

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