Executive Board Meeting Minutes, 3/28/2022 – Election Complaints

A. Routine Items

1. Approval of the Minutes (March 19) – All minutes (eboard and adcom) passed unanimously

Announcements: Negotiating committee will be starting at 4:30 on Wednesday, all in person, giving time for people to come from the outer boroughs. Next eboard is March, next DA is April 18th. The DA in May is now May 25th, which is not the original date.

1. Report from Districts

Rashad Brown, executive board at large, had legal plan meeting with great attendance.

Janella Hinds: Hosting 2 events next week, Tuesday April 5th, Academic High School meeting, 4:30-5:45, followed by the academic high schools award ceremony, including education, union, community, and solidarity awards. Last year’s winners will also be exited. That’s Friday, April 8th.

(Name Missed): First books event just occurred, where 12,000 books were given to many different schools in Chinatown. Lots of support.

2. President’s Report : Michael Mulgrew: Apologizes for being late, but says he’s been on meetings in Albany. Says budget, a lot of it was taken up by Buffalo Bills Stadium. Tier 6 reform discussions will be occurring all week. April 4th is now the final date of the budget, strange. Congratulate nurse chapter, settled with Northwell last Friday at 4:00 AM. Able to get contract settled and they did a great job. Thanks all involved. Now, all private sector nurse contracts are back in place. At least a year before we have to deal with another issue. On April 14th, prep is going on for Listen up – the number of teachers we have is so many that we are going to have to expand. The idea is for education leaders and policy experts to listen to teachers for what is going on and needed right now. We knew, we have a whole bunch of educators who want to do that kind of work.

Chapter leader hub goes live on Friday. Will continue to field test it to make sure all goes well, but it’s a big deal, and we’re hoping that everything goes well. It is that time of the year. We don’t have the calendar yet from the DOE, and I’m frustrated, because we need to start planning for next year now, and the DOE is taking quite a bit of time on the superintendent process, so we’ll see how that goes. Besides that, we have the NYSUT RA, and thanks all going for doing that work. It’s really tight and it’s nonstop for two days, sitting in chairs and making sure we’re representing our local in the state-wide piece. Apologizes, but has to leave.

Thanks everyone for a phenomenal chapter leader weekend. Talks about great energy and optimism, great to see how great it was. It was a well run weekend, so thanks everyone. Be well, bye.

Reports from Districts reconvenes:

Rich Mantell: April 9th is the Middle School conference in person, no remote option. Some of the classes are STEM classroom, Google Earth, CTE partnerships, loan forgiveness, morale, socio-emotional health (yoga). See you there.

Mary Vaccaro: CTLE workshops, everyone is calling. We’ve added a lot of them. Anyone on the waitlist, we’ll let you know, especially for our Apple workshops, cap being lifted to 450. In addition there are ELL credits associated if that applies to you. April 6th, Goldie Haun workshop will have workshop on SEL, free one year subscription. Many schools invited to attend. Anyone who wants to attend from eboard, we’ll get an invite out to your.

Karen Alford: Had elementary school workshops last week, was great to be back in person. Had an elementary school town hall with about 500 people online, who asked questions and heard the reports.

Tom Murphy: April 11th is next meeting for retired chapter. Will now be a regular mail letter for retirees, including for retirees who don’t have email.

C. Special Order of Business: Election Complaints

Background from LeRoy Barr: alleged misuse of union resources in election, Christina Gavin is a UFC member. We are going to review her complaint and take steps. In other instances, we have found that some Unity Caucus actions are fine, with response to use of personal accounts by UFT employee on social media. Every 3 years, we have elections. The 2022 election committee has reps from each slate, Unity and UFC (doesn’t mention how many in each). Email was sent by Christina with respect to use of media. UFT gathered more information, after which Christina amended her complaint and added additional evidence. With regard to official UFT accounts, no caucus business, email should be sent out…..with use of officer headshots from website, we say that Unity should pay a reasonable market rate for use of the photos. But recommend dismissal of the rest of the complaint.

Complaint that UFT employees use personal accounts for both UFT and caucus business, but some of these activities are not electioneering. Nothing wrong with sharing UFT information. Allegations of union employees using personal accounts to ‘electioneer’ on social media. Since personal, this is not illegal. There are also accounts that official UFT accounts should not be used for caucus purposes, and these accounts should cease being used ASAP. Some accounts are used for non-UFT purposes or caucus purposes, but this is fine. Uses of UFT and archival photos for caucus purposes, which showed caucus logos on republished UFT footage. Under LMRDA, the union is not required to stop communications to regular UFT. While it’s true that LMRDA is against using union funds for electioneering, this is not true when there is equal access. For instance, there can be a candidates forum or post in newspaper. Since anyone could have downloaded the video in Queens, anyone else could have done that, not just Unity Caucus. The same is true of the photo from the labor archives.

Use of headshots from the Unity website and campaign materials. Unity used headshots that were paid for by UFT funds. This has been ruled that one campaign’s use of photos from the website does not violate election law, because those photos are not UFT property but officer property. Still, Unity Caucus should pay a reasonable market rate for use of the headshots. President Mulgrew’s letter in support of Debra Penny for TRS Board. The allegation that Mulgrew’s praise of Debra Penny, incumbent candidate for Treasurer, and asking for signatures from all chapter leaders. The 3 teacher members serve 3 year terms, and it’s Debra Penny’s turn for an election. The DA voted overwhelmingly in support. Only after this resolution did Michael Mulgrew send the letter in support. The DOL has found this regular work of the union to be permissable during officer election season. The letter didn’t endorse Penny for UFT Treasurer, so the complaint is denied. The letter is fine.

Union representatives were found to enter different schools during UFT work hours and distributed flyers. Winnie Thompson sent caucus business from her UFT account. This matter has been addressed. And another DR allegedly dropped off caucus pamphlets to a CL in the parking lot. The other DRs deny the evidence, but they should be reminded not to do it.

Michael Sill: Only members of the eboard may debate, but Christina Gavin will be given an opportunity to speak for 3 minutes.

Christina Gavin: Our union has been in existence since 1960. The DOL has regulations, set in 1959, for election guidelines. Our union should be upholding federal labor laws. These labor laws underline the fiber of our union, but we see repeated violations. Mr. Barr and Ms. Norton take exemption and want to interpret regulations and Carl Cambria’s reminder to interpret guidelines in another way. It’s my right to appeal that. Unity Caucus has violated labor law as well as Carl Cambria’s email to them that explicitly reminded on much of what was discussed above. Cambria later said he was amending his original email. But, when you write a rule, that is what you need to be bound by. I look forward to seeing what AFT will say of this matter.

Michael Sill: Do we accept the report? No debate. Motion passes unanimously.

Barr: Ballots on April 8th. Reminds everyone to vote. Motion to adjourn.

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