Notes from November DA – UFC High School Executive Board Authors first Resolution with UFT Leadership

This was a fairly straight forward DA. Opposition got in a good question on healthcare–raised by a MORE Chapter Leader–but of course weren’t called on to do our healthcare resolution. The full minutes are here. What stands out is that, while UFC and Unity would probably never collaborate on a healthcare resolution, we were able to collaborate on a resolution about something else – the terrible incident involving alleged human trafficking of teachers from the Dominican Republic by a group of DOE administrators. We need to make sure this never happens again.

See the text below, written in collaboration with the UFC ‘7’ (Ronnie Almonte (MORE), Nick Bacon (New Action), Lydia Howrilka (Solidarity), Alex Jallot (MORE), Ibeth Mejia (ICE/Solidarity), and Ilona Nanay (MORE)) and UFT leadership, including Janella Hinds (VP of Academic High Schools and therefore Unity). The resolution was motivated wonderfully by Ronnie Almonte, who was joined by Janella.

Supporting Newly Arrived Educators Exploited by DOE Administrators

Whereas, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) in partnership with other organizations to recruited twenty-five teachers from the Dominican Republic to come teach in New York City, and;

Whereas the DOE has recruited international teachers before, and has included the United Federation of Teachers in the induction process, but this time excluded the UFT from the induction process, and;

Whereas, multiple agencies are investigating whether these teachers were coerced to pay exorbitant rents to live in substandard housing, allegedly under threat of deportation from the very administrators who recruited them, and;

Whereas, at least one of these administrators was also the principal who many of these teachers reported to, giving him abusive power over every aspect of their employment and shelter in New York City, and;

Whereas, these teachers uprooted their lives to provide our students with bilingual instruction, and

Whereas the DOE did not assign the twenty-five teachers from the Dominican Republic in an equitable way, where they were most needed, and; 

Whereas, it has been reported that the DOE assigned the teachers as substitutes and is paying them as substitutes, while the teachers are teaching regular programs, and; 

Whereas the United Federation of Teachers represents all teachers working for the DOE, and is appalled by the way these 25 teachers have been treated, be it therefore

RESOLVED that the UFT will work with the AFT to support these members regarding their employment visas and other areas of support, and be it further

RESOLVED that UFT will monitor this initiative and any future program developed to recruit international teachers will do so in a way that ensures full pay and benefits, and services including but not limited to: immigration assistance, support in securing affordable housing, as well as mental and emotional health supports, and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT will fight to ensure the DOE understands that these 25 teachers are entitled to and covered by the same rights and protections of all current UFT members.

In the end, this resolution passed overwhelmingly to go on next month’s agenda.

See below to see the literature passed out by New Action at this delegate assembly:

New Action/UFT

a caucus of the United Federation of Teachers

615 77th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11209

November 2022

Dear UFT Chapter Leader and Delegate,

Not long ago, the Municipal Labor Committee met in secret to make changes to our health care coverage for retirees in the City of New York. In exchange for salary increases in 2014 and 2018 the MLC agreed to find $600 million in savings for the City annually starting in 2021.They planned to switch Traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage. First it was retirees and now it is also targeting in-service members (threatening to impose a $1,500 per year increase). For two years UFT President Michael Mulgrew has been trying to force us onto an inferior plan under the guise of wanting to provide us with more healthcare choices.

This plan would be administered by Anthem and Empire Health. Perhaps, the MLC could have consulted with various union members, including retirees, before planning for this program. THEY NEVER BOTHERED. The MLC did whatever they pleased. Union democracy be damned.

 Then Michael Mulgrew, and others tried to sell this “New and Improved ” Health Plan, as the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. Retirees did not buy this new plan. Over 65,000 retirees opted out. Anyone that has read the numerous articles about a Medicare Advantage Plan realizes that this plan will bring great profit to the companies involved and inferior services to members.

As you may also know, a lawsuit was filed by the NYC Organization of Public Service Employees on behalf of the 250,000 retirees that worked for the City of New York. The first part of this lawsuit was won. But, this is only round one. The City of New York has filed an appeal to overturn this decision.

Many retirees in CROC, Retiree Advocate, and New Action, to name a few, took the lead fighting this attempt by rallying at City Hall, marching, and demonstrating at UFT headquarters.

At this point in time, our UFT President is saying that the only way to get a raise is to reduce healthcare costs, and the only way to reduce those costs is to change Administrative Code 12-126, the law that protects the guaranteed healthcare of both retirees and in-service members. Will the in-service employees be targeted along with retirees? Definitely! Will they be railroaded into a managed health care plan? If this section is changed, it will have a negative impact on our health insurance. We cannot let this happen!

Our voices must be heard loud and clear. A change in Admin. Code 12-126 will destroy the health care for thousands of present and future retirees, and in-service members.

President Mulgrew’s recent email is telling UFT members to urge their local politicians to change Admin Code 12-126, the law currently protecting our healthcare.  Don’t do that!  Clear and comprehensive information about healthcare, not just “spin” must first be shared with all UFT members, and we ALL need time to review the information and discuss how we want to move forward as a union.  In the meantime, here is what you can do to protect your family’s healthcare:  

1. Call and/or contact your City Council Member and tell them, “I am a public educator in NYC.  I need my family’s health care to be better, not worse!  Do not change Admin Code 12-126!  Here is a link to the contact info for NYC City Council Members:

2. Contact UFT President Michael Mulgrew at: [email protected], and tell him why it is so important for us to fight for healthcare gains, not healthcare givebacks!  

3. Share this with friends in other schools.

Support the UFC Resolution to Fund Health Care with New Taxes on       

                                       Millionaires and Billionaires

New Action/UFT calls upon all Chapter Leaders and Delegates to vote for today’s resolution on healthcare, if it makes it to the floor. For all of the “Whereas”  points that go along with this resolution refer to the entire document that is handed out today or visit What follows is the entire “Resolved” section.

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the UFT now stands in opposition to revising Administrative Code 12-126, and urges the MLC to follow suit, and be it further 

Resolved, that the UFT in collaboration with NYSUT will look for fair funding sources to help the City meet its health care obligations to its employees and retired employees without reducing the quality or quantity of medical service, and be it further

Resolved that the UFT consider sources including, but not limited to:  a progressive income tax for those with incomes over $5 million; restoration of the Stock Transfer Tax which could gain over to $12 billion of income to the state, or tax on the wealth of billionaires, or closing the carried interest loophole, or a pied-à-terre tax on luxury second homes in New York City, or implementing an inheritance tax on the highest 1% of inheritances, or repealing the corporate profit tax breaks implemented by President Trump within New York State and restoring pre-2017 percentages, or eliminating rebates for taxes on stock buybacks, or repealing tax exemptions on luxury goods such as private planes and yachts, or eliminate city property tax breaks for real estate billionaires, and be it further

Resolved that the UFT will take the lead urging the MLC to wage a full-scale campaign to push the City and/or State to institute or restore these revenue sources, which could be used to secure the continued stability of our members’ and retiree’s healthcare.

New Action/UFT Deplores the Abusive Treatment of Teachers from the Dominican Republic

A news source reported that “bilingual teachers brought from the Dominican Republic to work in New York City public schools have been treated like indentured servants by educators acting as their slumlords” (New York Post, Nov.14, 2022).

According to the article, “Bronx principal Emmanuel Polanco and a group of fellow Department of Education administrators have put nearly a dozen teachers recruited from the DR in an apparently illegal boarding house in The Bronx — and charge the instructors $1,450 each month for the privilege, multiple sources say.”

There was also an implied threat to have the Dominican teachers deported. This outrage must not only be condemned by our UFT but the administrators responsible for this scandal must face severe consequences. Any abuse of a  member by an administrator is unacceptable. New Action/UFT declares that our union must do all it can to support and protect our colleagues.

Labor donated                                                                                                                    Labor donated

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