Archive for the 'UFT' Category

Why ‘the UFT’ can threaten to sue its elected opposition representatives without a vote – and other notes from the 3/20/2023 UFT Executive Board Meeting

Quick Summary/Analysis:

There was a bunch of debate about why the UFT is using our dues/resources to threaten to sue its own members (members who happen to be in the opposition) without any known process of coming to that decision. Two members came in to plead to keep our healthcare (traditional Medicare and GHI). Another member came in to thank UFT staff for responding to gun violence around their school. We heard slightly more detail on the new curriculum news, and heard some reports from districts. Most other news mirrored what was said at the Delegate Assembly last Wednesday.

Informal minutes follow.

Open Mic:

Norm Scott: UFT member since 67. Wearing a UFT logo and hope no lawyers contact me. Healthcare: MAP isn’t Medicare. If I were to pay someone to go to the grocery store for me, that’s kind of like what Aetna is going to do with our healthcare. If you don’t understand that healthcare hasn’t increased in cost because of profits and denial of benefits…I hear some people say I don’t really care about it – it’s just politics. I’m really disturbed by the fact that I may not have access to my doctors. I’ve got doctors for every part of my body. I’m getting calls from all over the country by people saying they might not get access to doctors. 60% of people are now on MAP. But what happens when it’s 80 and 90%? I’m sorry to say but this union is acting like the Republicans – the Republicans will end up killing Medicare. Mulgrew talks about representational voting at MLC, but not in the UFT. Even though Retiree Advocate got about 1/3 of the vote in the retiree chapter election, we get no say at all – not a single delegate. We think there should be a vote on questions of healthcare. We are starting a petition campaign, where if we get 1/3 of this body, we can get a referendum to vote on any healthcare changes. You might win that vote  anyways – why not support it. Give members a choice to vote.

Name missed: Last Tuesday, there was a shooting at my school. There was a panic. We were telling parents to go the other direction. Chris Verdone has an appointment coming this Thursday. They found out shortly after us. Then there was a lockdown for 30-40 minutes while it was going. Just want you to know how responsive the UFT was and how unresponsive the DOE was. SSA only found out 50 minutes into the shooting.

S. Cohen: Teacher at Aviation on exec committee. Been teaching for 29 years. Concerned about proposed changes to our healthcare. Concerned about what’s happening with GHI. Are we going to be maintaining our GHI for free? Concerned with losing healthcare that everyone is happy with. We’re in solidarity with the retirees – we’re tomorrow’s retirees. Everything said before is very concerning tomorrow. Why is it incumbent on the UFT to get savings for the City when we were promised something similar?

Minutes: Approved.


Ilona Nanay: Following up on what a member asked around GHI. Just curious what the plan might look like for in-service members. What happens next?

Joe Usatch: RFP out there. Some bidders. Not sure who. Plan as good or better without a premium.

Nick Bacon: I have a question about process. I received a letter from a law firm, Stroock, asking me, on behalf of “the UFT” – I assume they meant on behalf of the officers –  to remove material from a blog I write.

I sit on this body and listen closely to the proceedings. I read and vote on minutes of AdCom. But I was completely unaware that either of those bodies engaged lawyers to write to me.

Who decided to have the lawyers send me, a UFT Executive Board member, this letter? Where was this decision taken? Who was involved? Why is there no record?

LeRoy Barr: Think about the election complaint. Tons of complaints there about using the UFT logo. The logo belongs to the UFT.

Nick Bacon: I remember the election complaint. We had records for that. We had debate. We came to a decision. There was none of that this time. Also, I’m an executive board member – elected by the members. I’m being threatened by the UFT for using the UFT logo? Am I not UFT? Who is?

LeRoy Barr: There’s a record now.

Nick Bacon: Yes, because I brought it up after the fact.

Alex Jallot: When is it appropriate to the use the UFT logo? A lot of those schools are modifying slides. When would it be appropriate for members who use dues to use the UFT logo?

Barr: If you’re using the UFT logo to denigrate it, that’s when it’s a problem.

Nick Bacon: Feel free to call me out of order, but I have to say it. Do we mean UFT or U-nity, because I haven’t seen anything about the caucus, Unity Caucus, using it in their logo.  I’ve seen opposition members get in trouble for using it. Sounds like it is about which UFT members use the logo?

LeRoy: We sent letters to everyone who used the logo in a denigrating way. Add that to your records.

Alex: When is it appropriate to modify? Because we were told to modify.

Amy Arundell: Part of team of people who created the teach-in slide show. Saw the slideshow created with the UFT logo. There was a slide that said givebacks. That was not part of the slideshow we created. That’s an opinion – a political one. By putting the UFT logo on a slide on a slide that says givebacks – there’s an implication that the UFT agrees with that. So to clarify, I did say to people to use this slideshow. But to put in a slide with a political viewpoint over whether or not the UFT has successfully bargained over the last 50 years. UFT obviously doesn’t agree that we’ve had givebacks. Yeah, we said modify – you might take out a slide, take a different kind of action.

LeRoy Barr: Don’t use the UFT logo to make a political point.

President’s Report:

Mulgrew: We can keep having these debates. We can play politics, but is it moving our agenda or are we just trying to play games. I hope people are not trying to do things for the wrong reasons. But game playing is a part of our society now I guess.

State: Budgets are out. Major primary season in June. Some will be unopposed, but others will have 5 or 6. So we’ll have to work on that.

City Council: Mayor still claiming that NYC is gonna fall off a cliff. That will be fight number one.

Contract committee, when doing at a level when we’re doing what we need to do. Need to wait for DC37 full vote, then see PBA piece, then is there retribution for UFT blowing up Mayor’s plans to do healthcare in this round of bargaining?

LeRoy Barr: Contract action survey coming out.

Brad Alter: Thinking strategically, this will come out to membership. Leading into March 30th action. For instance, what percentage of your day is spent doing tasks that don’t contribute to helping students?…

LeRoy Barr: Lobby day – several things like fight against charter schools. A lot of what we fought for has ended up in the budgets put out. (Missed some, but see DA minutes for more specifics). Mayor is proposing cuts to the City budget. Going to fight school cuts, especially as DOE now has to comply with class size law.

Special Order of Business:

Mary Vacarro: There will be curriculum, not saying we’ll like it. 3 choices in elementary: wit and wisdom, h and h (inter reading), expeditionary learning. Algebra – there will be 165 schools that are a part of it. Under Karen’s realm, there will be an early childhood curriculum.

DOE is telling us that DOE engaged their community. With that happening 15 districts will be doing new curriculum. Other 17 will be the following year.

We’re going to work with DOE to help do PD across the City. So we want to make sure that every para/teacher who works in ELA gets support in their classrooms before the curriculum is actually sent out. Hopefully we’ll get started in next month and a half. By June, we’ll be pushing into schools to provide some PD. In July, we have the citywide training at the teacher center. Anyone will be able to come in and work on the curriculum. We have put in a request that every teacher in these schools gets everything before they leave for the summer. It doesn’t mean you’re planning all summer long. Algebra, 165 schools. We’ll work with Janella to see how you are going to get supported.

Ibeth Mejia: How do we know who will be participating in high schools?

Mary Vacarro: We don’t know yet. We’ve been told it’s a diverse setting – low, medium, and high.

Melody A.: Schools were asked to choose other curriculum. Can they keep it?

Mary Vacarro: Yes and no. Only if it was the one chosen by the Superintendent. Some other curriculums will still be supplementary.

Luli Rodriguez: Will it be differentiated?

Mary: Yes. Will also include self-contained.

Reports from Districts:

Janella Hinds: Two events. Last Saturday, Queens UFT had an annual herstory event. Had students including jazz band welcoming into space. Had cosmetology services from students. Did gallery walk. Thanks many UFT officers and staffers.  

Gratitude to Nick Cruz, Bronx division of UFT in support of 2500 students in the house. Thanks others. Many came to talk about scholarships and college life.

Karen Alford: Early childhood conference is coming. We give out awards. Honoring ICs and social workers this year.

Camile E.: Happy to report we opened a teacher center in district 16. Teacher centers are a missed opportunity. Especially good for colocations.

Name missed: District 23/school. Had a wonderful time celebrating the UFT birthday. Appreciate your duty free lunch.

Name Missed: meeting on Saturday at Gateway school. 20 teachers and paras. Good info.

Melody A.: May 13th is the AFT/UFT teacher leaders action showcase. Randi’s favorite program. She will be in attendance. Program expected to get attention it deserves. Small but mighty cohort.

Seung Lee: March 1st Manhattan borough office had sabbatical workshop. Lunar new year banquet was lovely.

Rashad Brown: Daniel Dromm scholarship deadline is May 1st. A lot of help given to members for student debt – lots of debt forgiveness.

Amy Arundell: Queens has March madness too. These aren’t reports about bragging, they’re reports about muscle building. You can’t just wake up and fight. So sitting down during lunch builds a muscle, so when we do an informational picket the muscle built.


Why doesn’t UFT leadership want us to have the right to strike?

At last week’s DA, James Cole of MORE proposed an amendment to a resolution celebrating the UFT’s 60th anniversary. Had it passed, the amendment would have added language that recognized the role of striking in the formation and early success of the UFT. More controversially, it would have also compelled UFT leadership to lobby New York State to pass legislation guaranteeing the right to strike.

Immediately, multiple members of Unity Caucus took the mic to speak in opposition. Most powerfully, LeRoy Barr gave an impassioned speech about why we’re better off with the Taylor Law than without. As I pointed out when I spoke, this created a false dichotomy of ‘the right to strike’ vs ‘Taylor Law protections’, since the amendment didn’t ask to repeal the good parts of the Taylor Law and only asked to re-grant the right to strike. Barr also argued that if we really needed to strike, we’d go ahead and violate the Taylor Law. His rhetorical style here was compelling, but misleading. He simultaneously painted the UFT as being willing to strike while arguing against having the right to do so. He also left out the obvious – that we haven’t actually struck since 1975.

There were other Unity speakers as well, though Barr probably single-handedly did the convincing. One Unity speaker probably actually lost them a few votes when she absurdly suggested that striking was only for people with generational wealth and white privilege. For some more analysis on the blow by blow see MORE’s statement or my minutes (linked above). In the remainder of this article, however, I’d like to examine why Unity Caucus actually argued against our right to strike.

  • Possibility 1: Unity isn’t against the right to strike. They just didn’t think it was appropriate for the amendment to go into a resolution celebrating the anniversary of the UFT. This is an argument I’ve seen circulating on social media. It was also brought up to me by a few people who attended the D.A. I’ll admit that, while I spoke in favor of the amendment, even I was a little surprised to hear it raised in the context of a resolution celebrating the birth of the UFT. But, while a sense that this amendment was out of place might explain why some people were turned off enough to vote it down 62-38, that’s clearly not why Unity Caucus spoke against it. If that were why, they would have mentioned it. They didn’t. They did, however, argue against the logic of petitioning for the right to strike.
  • Possibility 2: Unity actually thinks we’re better off without the right to strike.While opposition clearly disagrees with this position, it’s possible that Unity believes it to be true. After all, there are provisions of the Taylor Law / Tri-borough Amendment which ostensibly help us and which likely only exist in ‘exchange’ for public sector workers giving up their right to strike. A good example of this is that our contracts don’t expire if a new one isn’t negotiated by the time of its ‘expiration.’ It behooves us, of course, to keep this right, but again—currently we’re only talking about adding the right to strike, not getting rid of the parts of NYS labor law that we do like. So, until we’re directly facing legislation that only gives us back striking rights in exchange for getting rid of other labor rights, this argument falls flat.
  • Possibility 3: UFT leadership represents the City more than it represents its own members. This argument is commonly mentioned in arguments and conspiracy theories, as to why, for instance, UFT is throwing retired members onto MAP. So it’s worth considering. There is an uncanny resemblance, after all, to LeRoy Barr’s arguments against striking and the City’s own in their amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court during the Janus case (follow the footnote for an excerpt).[1] Nevertheless, the argument is unlikely. UFT leadership is commonly at odds with the City; they are not ‘lockstep’ on everything. Possibility 3 falls apart when we look at the many times UFT has represented our members in opposition to the City. Frankly, our years with Bloomberg are case and point. Therefore, while the City of course benefits from UFT not having the right to strike, that doesn’t necessarily explain why UFT leadership is also against it.
  • Possibility 4: Unity thinks that UFT leadership and the labor bureaucracy is better off without the right to strike. Unity of course did not make this argument. If they had done so, they would have clearly lost the vote. But, as the caucus that makes up the leadership and paid staffers of our union, Unity clearly benefits from us not having the right to strike. First of all, it’s much more difficult to organize a strike than it is to do backroom deals with the City. If they could keep their jobs and not have to organize strikes, that would benefit them. Second of all, without the right to strike, rank-and-file educators seemingly aren’t directly involved in union fights. Therefore, Unity can take credit for all of our union’s wins (‘we do the work’), while hiding behind the downsides of labor law (like bad ‘patterns’) when things don’t go our way. This helps them hold onto power both during and between elections. Finally, Unity itself doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of being a weak union (i.e. subpar working conditions and low pay). Members of UFT leadership either barely work in schools or don’t work in them at all. They also enjoy Wall Street level salaries that aren’t paid by the DOE; they therefore aren’t affected when we are forced to take a bad pattern. Neither are the many Unity members who get patronage jobs. Many of those jobs, I’d add, only exist because we are so committed to Post-Taylor business-style unionism. If our organizing abilities got strong enough, they might limit the need for some of the positions in our union bureaucracy. This means that many UFT staffers have a direct interest in keeping membership from having a right to strike.

Possibility 4 is the most likely reason why Unity Caucus argues against our right to strike. Sorry, but that’s not a good enough reason to deny us what the U.N. has called a ‘human right.

[1] Excerpt from the City’s amicus brief in Janus: “When a ban on strikes paired with collective bargaining and automatic dues collection proved an ineffectual response to the crisis, the City and State turned to agency shop agreements as part of a broader labor management strategy designed to promote labor stability. The City’s collective bargaining system flourished thereafter, and its success has helped protect public health and safety ever since. Over the decades, the reliable funding provided by agency fees has enabled the City’s public-sector unions to pursue informed bargaining strategies that benefit the workforce broadly, rather than short-term or confrontational approaches designed to serve only the interests of those most willing to pay union dues. Effective collective bargaining regimes are time- and resource-intensive, and must protect all represented employees, whether active or inactive, member or nonmember. Financial stability helps empower unions to build long-lasting and constructive bargaining relationships with the City, improving the provision of public services to the benefit of all residents. Indeed, disagreements between the City and its unions now rarely result in the sort of public disruption that plagued New Yorkers before agency fees were used.”

UFT Leadership to Members: CityMD Copays should be $400; we’re better off without the right to strike. Notes on the 3-15-2023 Delegate Assembly.

Quick Summary/Analysis: Big news tonight on healthcare. Mulgrew not only justified our new $100 copays to CityMD, but said if he had the power, he’d make it $400. Not sure teachers and paraprofessionals agree there, but hey, read the minutes and see what you think. Kate Connors had an extremely interesting exchange with Mulgrew over the NY Health Act, where he bizarrely hid behind the need for a reso to support it, despite the UFT DA already having passed such resos twice. No other news on retiree/in-service that you don’t already know if you read this blog. Retiree Advocate and New Action Literature, which was being passed out at the door, is frankly more informative.  Although, I’m sure that for weeks to come, opposition will be unpacking what Mulgrew meant when he said “If I’m not president anymore, it’s up to the next administration.”

On contract, we had an extremely interesting debate. James Cole offered an amendment to a UFT anniversary reso, which would acknowledge the role of ‘striking’ in forming the UFT and push us to seek reforms to the Taylor law. LeRoy Barr made an impassioned plea to keep the Taylor Law as is, because it protects us, drawing much applause from Unity Caucus attendees— misconstruing the proposed amendment in the process, which I’ll get to in a moment. Maggie Joyce, also of Unity, then made the argument that striking is for the privileged—that paraprofessionals, for instance, wouldn’t have the luxury of taking days off to strike. I pointed out that this amendment didn’t ask to repeal the good parts of the Taylor Law, just the draconian anti-strike clause. I also noted that the Taylor Law has hurt us before, such as when we were sent an email from UFT management back in March, 2020, that we shouldn’t take sick days during our final week in the building, because it might be seen as a sickout, losing us a ‘dues checkoff.’ We are hurt by the ‘no strike’ clause of the Taylor Law, without question. I concluded that this amendment doesn’t mean we’re signing off to strike, but that we’re getting very little without a no-strike clause right now, such as 3% raises – the types of things that don’t exactly fire up our members to organize. Why not fight for the right to use one more tactic? I thank Mike Mulgrew for explicitly giving someone the chance to speak out in favor of the amendment, but ultimately far more people were allowed to speak against it. The question was quickly called before others, such as Ed Calamia, could make pro-arguments, and we only got 38%. This is a sad day for our union, but I don’t blame membership, especially those on the phones who couldn’t see the amendment language, as Unity wrongly and fatally misconstrued it.

Otherwise, not too much other news. You can read the minutes for budget, safety, etc. I might add as an aside that some new curriculum initiatives are coming out of the DOE. They take away principal’s choice and give it to the Superintendent. Mulgrew seemed tentatively optimistic, but I’m wondering what this will mean for teacher choice in instructional materials, particularly for math teachers in middle and high schools. That’s all for now – the minutes follow.  

Informal Minutes

President’s Address:


Federal: Huge budget:  high need, SWDs, early childhood education. Preschool is not childcare. New spending on ELL. Budget of course probably won’t happen: two proposals: lower deficit by taxing billionaires and corps. You will see education enter political arena, as it’s being weaponized by the other side, while this president just wants it for communities. Especially being weaponized in FL.

State: Thanks everyone for participating in Lobby Day in Albany this Monday. Good time to be there, as budgets put together this week. Both houses rejected Gov.’s proposals on charter schools. They support fully on foundation aid – additional billion dollars in education aid. Teacher center, career and technical, etc got funding. End of pay and pursuit, more money for our healthcare. We didn’t lobby on it, but I’ve been lobbying on it, lunch in schools with certain students not being able to eat lunch. State union has worked with us for universal lunch. Now, until April 1, hopefully this gets done on budget.

City: In the meantime, Mayor is trying to cut funding. Administration keeps acting like maybe we’ll do the class size – maybe not. But this is a law. End of story. We’re going to comply (easy in first few years). Need to be planning on years 3+. It can be done, but requires willing partner. Not an unfunded mandate – it’s completely funded, possibly overfunded.

Safety: Yesterday, not a good day. Crazy shootings outside of schools. Thanks Jeff and other school safety people. Constant what city is going through. A lot of youth gangs across the city, and is becoming an aggressive issue. Our goal is everyone goes to and leaves school without safety issues. Not good if administration tries to hide issues. Will give credit that City is doing drop bys, looking at safety plans, asking if safety meetings are happening, checking in on procedures in case of events like shootings. Please make sure you’re doing your monthly safety meetings. We need to know about safety issues.

Curriculums: Latest update on plan that keeps changing. This union has advocated that every teacher gets a real appropriate curriculum with PD aligned to it, with all necessary supplies ‘supplied.’ That’s how the rest of the country works, was once in NYC too, not now. Chancellor is focusing on K-8 literacy and algebra 7-12. K-12: Superintendents will now decide for district (not principals). 15 districts this year will choose between 3 curriculums: expeditionary, words and wisdom, (name missed). Foundations, Wilson are add-ons that can also be used. We’ve told DOE we’re more than happy to work with them as long as there is actually a calendar of PD created to go with curriculum, along with supplies given. Waiting for their answer. Maybe through teacher centers? Not doing unless we have discretion to make sure it works for our members. Districts in question are diverse – some have challenges, some don’t, some in middle. Will only be one curriculum offered for algebra, but I don’t know what it is. This will be the first time since I became president that the DOE has told principals they must do something. Principal’s choice is half the problem in our arbitration events. Again, if it meets our criteria… For instance, everyone always gets upset with Teacher’s College – doesn’t meet the definition of a curriculum per our contract. Of course, many people in city are invested in Teacher’s College expanding…maybe for non-educational reasons.

Contract: DC37 in Ratification process. PBA is deeper in negotiations than UFT. There is more value in DC37 pattern than 3%. There’s an equity fund inside of it, for instance. (They have a lot more titles than we do). We’ll wait to see what happens with PBA. In New York, we have a ‘uniform allowance,’ which means uniformed workers get a little more. I don’t want to debate it right now, but I know how I feel about it.

Retiree Healthcare: MLC has voted in Aetna (CONEY). Relationship with our retirees is different. We watch after them; them after us. No program like this exists, but we need to make sure we police it and make sure the implementation goes right. We are completely in the middle of this and on top of it. Daily communications with the company. They do a presentation, we tell them what’s right, wrong, comprehensible, etc. We’ve told retirees not to ask doctor yet, because since it isn’t a plan yet officially, of course none of them are saying they’re in the plan. They will be in the plan. I’m in daily conversations on this. Majority of folks just want to know ‘is my doctor in my plan.’ So yes, they’ll be in the plan or have a billing agreement with Aetna. We’re quite confident we’ll get them all. Our folks in different parts of the country now have much greater access. UFT retirees have more information than anyone else. There’s a lot of information out there I disagree with, it isn’t true. If I’m not president anymore, it’s up to the next administration. We have legal authority over how the plan is implemented and run. Aetna is now saying they have best MAP in country, and we’re saying no – run with us, then yes.

In-Service Healthcare: Some of what we wanted in retiree gave us information for in-service. We want legal authority to make sure plan is correctly implemented in an expedited arbitration with financial penalties if the change isn’t made. We’ve had to change because one company reneged. On in-service, CityMD. We are now increasing the copayment to $100. I would have increased the copay to $400, but we work with the MLC. These hedge fund people reneged on reigning in costs. Average doctor visit is half of what CityMD costs just going in the door. We’re talking $280 and $400 for covid test ($680). Healthcare isn’t free. It’s part of our compensation package and we need to protect it. We’re doing that differently.

Contract: Some technical issues yesterday. Flyer with different things for March, e.g. CAT teams. Yes, there is one day where we want one action, but you also have freedom to other actions. Don’t have to do everything. But, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. Mayor keeps saying the City is broke. Now it’s, see the banks failed, I was right. We want our Mayor to be successful, but if you play games, we’re going to call you out. A lot of guidance out now for the Grade Ins on the 30th. No healthcare savings whatsoever, we blew that up. We can work together the right way to do these savings – if we can continue to save money, and we get a 5 year contract, which is a really good contract, we increase the benefits and lower the copays like we did for retirees. If we can get all this done and focus healthcare issues on the national level, that would be good.

Banks: Our pensions are fine. We have a very small liability, but our pensions are fine. They’re doing phenomenally well.

Secretary’s Report:

LeRoy Barr: Happy birthday to UFT tomorrow, 3/16. On March 25th, we have the paraprofessional luncheon. Please come in to support that – at Hilton. Reach out to the paras at your schools, make sure they sign up. Early Childhood Conference, April 1st from 8:30 to 3:00 PM right here at UFT headquarters. Social workers appreciation week was last week. CTE conference last week, appreciate what they do. Guidance counselors had a luncheon on Saturday – thank you. College fair on Monday at Bronx UFT (3/20).


Jennifer Brown (CL at Brownsville Academy HS): January, 28th, Emergency SLT meeting for merger with us and another, due to declining enrollment. Been here before. Real estate issues. Often no plans for older students. Able with the Union’s help, became a successful school. Never been on the state list. Over the last two months, we’ve mobilized at PEP. So it will become a co-location not a merger. Thanks President Mulgrew and leadership for always helping transfer schools. Fight not over. If enrollment doesn’t rise, we are still at risk. Amount of space also not equitable. So question is: can the allocation be changed if the population continues to grow and can we challenge their building plan?

Mulgrew: Allocation can certainly be changed. Your school should be looked at by state.

Lina D.: Curriculum. You say the schools are supposed to give the training with the curriculum. But after COVID, admin is sending a DOE link, ‘teach Hub.’

Mulgrew: Teachhub is not a curriculum – it’s a resource guide. Curriculum is a resource guide. Covers material, has pacing, has standards that must be met. Should be working with district consultation now. Make this a part of your district leadership teams. Teachhub is not curriculum.

Kate Connors (D25, delegate): Last week on Brian Lehrer show, New York Health Act discussion. Discussed how good it was economically, and how it could be good for labor. Hasn’t had the chance to meet with UFT. Will you commit to reaching out to Sen. Rivera?

Mulgrew: When he makes the amendments. We supported him greatly. But we have disagreed that it is cost neutral. The only people who say it is cost neutral are the people who want it. If it was cost neutral, of course we’d go with it.

Kate Connors: Link on website is from a hedge fund, pro privatization. So you aren’t committing?

Mulgrew: Here we go. Not committing until amendments are made.  We will not move forward on legislation unless DA says the homework is done.

Connors: We did, twice.

Mulgrew: Not until the DA passes another reso…

Name Missed: Can teachers be disciplined for not putting up student work on bulletin board? It goes against privacy training.

Mulgrew: We’d LOVE for them to bring that to arbitration.

Name Missed: Question about the Regents. Told by principal that a student with a failing Regents grade can get them to graduate but it can go against your MOSL.

Mulgrew: We’ll be in touch. Love when administrators make this up.

Motion Period:

Ryan Bruckenthal: Motion for this month’s agenda. ‘Mobilizing UFT Members for Action During Week of Earth Day.’ Drastic improvements are long overdue. Climate change is urgent. Educators are ripe for doing this work. Union has already supported a carbon free and healthy schools campaign. Therefore, be it resolved that the UFT will promote the National Week of Action for Green Schools, April 16-22. A lot of what we can do on this is similar to our CAT work. Resolved that we’ll establish an Environmental Justice Committee. Be it resolved that we’ll coordinate with other unions, and that we want to be fully carbon neutral schools. Seek out funding to make that happen.

Phone: Yes: 567; No: 102 ; Room: yes: 158; no: 25. 85% Yes. Passes (to be on this month’s agenda).

Mulgrew: Our colleagues and Florida can’t even teach about global warming.

Seth Gillman: Next month’s agenda. Substitute Teacher/Paraprofessional Resolutions. We’ve all had issues hiring subs. DOE has told schools they’re unable to nominate if they haven’t used sub-central. But DOEs don’t mandate use of subcentral. Pandemic has given lots of reasons for absences. Inability of schools leads to too many coverages/burnout. Inability to track substitutes leads to illegally taking educators out of their classrooms for subbing. Reso resolves for reforms to hiring process for subs including a hard to staff differential.

Phone: Yes: 569, No : 52; Room: Yes: 182, no: 7 – 93% yes. Passes (next month’s agenda).


Dave Kazansky rises for Tom Brown to be re-elected to TRS board. Victoria Lee also endorses: mentions 92 Tier 4 improvements, and some new changes to Tier 6. Peter Goodman adds on the phone. 99% approve.

Michael Sill: Honored to support the resolution speaking in favor of UFT’s anniversary. Asks founders of union to stand for a round of applause (standing ovation). 60 years ago, we faced off with the DOE on contract. That had never happened before. 1960 may seem like an abstract concept. Many teachers we meet elsewhere don’t have collective bargaining rights. They might have consultation rights, but can’t do anything on salary/vacation days. Teacher I spoke to makes 30k; at end she’ll make 35k. She pays a premium for healthcare. That’s life without collective bargaining. Our founders looked around them and saw tons of groups, divided by subject, age, ethnic background, vision. They wanted to bring these groups together. They built a whole wing onto the house of labor. Without them, maybe the Florida teacher might have seen my salary and thought I had it bad. These aren’t mythical creatures. Standing ovation.

James Cole: Rise to make an amendment. Adds one whereas about the key role of the strike, without which we couldn’t have formed. Also resolved to fight for right to strike, now illegal. 1960 wasn’t just a vote that brought us together – there was a strike. And in doing so, we were able to win collective bargaining rights. Over the years, those have been codified in law, but with draconian anti-strike clauses. Strikes brought us real raises – not 3%. Currently there are legislators who are working to amend the constitution. We improve our collective bargaining but winning the right to strike.

LeRoy Barr: Rises in opposition. Acknowledges who were here. With respect to amendment, if case where contract was going to go away, would you go on strike? Gives some other examples. There are reasons we would go on strike, break the Taylor Law. This union was built on the strike we had in 1960. If we didn’t ask to get rid of Taylor Law. Without the Taylor Law, we would have lost the contract. Can romanticize going on strike. Understand what you’re asking for – people will go on strike.

Maggie Joyce: Taylor Law protects our contract. Other districts HAVE to go on strike. Chicago went on strike to get what we have. Remember when we were about to go on strike? My husband can support me, but I have paras who support their entire families. A lot of people here live paycheck to paycheck.

Tracy I.?: Do not agree with the amendment. This shows we won’t get the numbers. It makes us look divided. Most of staff is not on board with strike.

Nick Bacon: speaks in favor. This amendment DOESN’T ask to repeal the entire part of the Taylor Law, just the anti-strike clause. We’ve been affected by this clause. We got an email during the beginning of COVID that we had to go in – not take sick days – or we might lose the automatic payment of dues. That’s the Taylor Law. This reso doesn’t mean we’re going to strike – it just asks the UFT to push for our right to be able to do so if we need to. Others have said that we’d strike if issues were big enough, but right now we have the opposite issue – we’re getting so little (from collective bargaining), such as 3% raises, that our members feel the opposite of mobilized to take actions. Let’s join many other unions in this country in simply having one more tool in our union toolkit – the right to strike.

Question called on amendment. Yeses: 271; Nos: 363; Room: yeses: 37; nos: 148. 38% yes, 62% no. Failed.

Reso itself: 87% yes. Passed.

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April 2023