Police Violence and Charters – 2-13-2023 – UFT Executive Board Minutes

Summary: Both Unity and United for Change speakers discussed what we can do to win the charter schools fight. Ed Calamia spoke about the train derailment in Ohio and what we could do as a union to help. A moving resolution was passed on ending police violence. During the open mic, one member spoke on compensation issues for substitute teachers who take long term positions. A Manhattan CL spoke about the need to advocate for universal healthcare.

Analysis: No fights tonight. On the bright side, there was unity (little ‘u’) around many of the issues. On the negative side, there wasn’t much debate (with some notable exceptions).

  • We got a nice resolution on ending police violence. My minutes won’t do justice to the moving way in which it was motivated by speakers. Ilona Nanay (MORE/HS. Exec Board via UFC) did suggest that the resolution could have gone further  – especially in terms of pushing to remove police from schools and increase restorative justice programs. It’s worth noting that United for Change members of the executive board (such as Ilona) are often criticized by UFT leadership for pushing ‘political’ resolutions without first sending them to Unity (i.e. UFT leadership) for their pre-authorization. However, we are not given the same courtesy in return. Indeed, this is a resolution on which many of us would have liked to add our two cents.
  • With the exception of the CL of Fashion speaking on universal healthcare, nothing else was really said (just Mulgrew’s usual vague ‘fighting for premium free’ stuff). Mulgrew did not answer Nick Bacon and Daniel Alicea’s call to ‘show us the receipts’ on why UFT reversed the will of membership on fighting for NYHA.
  • The district reports often present very interesting information on future and previous events. However, they are almost entirely given by UFT staffers and make obvious a glaring issue with the executive board: very few members at the executive board are school-based. United for Change almost entirely ran school-based members, but Unity almost entirely ran staffers with patronage positions. Unity won all seats but the high schools. This sometimes makes the executive board feel like a staff meeting, and not a meeting of school-based unionists raising issues and addressing policy. District reports also drag on for quite a while and make us wonder why it was the question period (primarily used by school-based members) and not the reports (primarily given by well-paid staffers who barely work in schools) that was cut by Unity.
  • We got some answers on how membership might get involved in the Charter fight, though it’s still somewhat vague on how widespread the organizing will be. Charters do present an existential threat to public schools and unionized teaching, so it’s an opportunity for both opposition and leadership to work together on something for the good of all members. I hope we make good on this opportunity.


Moment of Silence: for a Chapter Leader and Pat Filomena, both who recently died. Rashad Brown speaks on Pat Filomena. She was on eboard and DR for years, union activist. Worked in D. 7, poorest congressional district in the US. Worked at one of first schools in community schools model. Chair of Italian American Committee. Close friend to me. Made me the unionist I am today.

Open Mic:

Tammy: Issues of concern for long-term substitute teachers filling in for long term vacancies. Not much information on UFT website. However, per diem substitutes are supposed should be paid like regular teachers. I don’t teach on occasion – I plan and teach every day. Can you give guidance on retro pay for substitute teachers in this position? Queens Borough Rep. agrees to speak with her after meeting.

CL of Fashion: Last week interesting things were said about healthcare. Mulgrew said the union would be busted because of budget issues. I’ve taught for a long time and question how many people have done the work. If teachers are made to pay for healthcare, I’m afraid they’ll leave. I don’t want to split with retirees. Benefits are what held me together when I saw my friends go away and make much more with the same education. Smarts are here – we do what was done in Queens against Charters and maybe we’d get universal healthcare. It would improve my working conditions if all my kids had glasses. Maybe it’s time that we dream and fight for universal healthcare.

Minutes approved.

LeRoy Barr: Black history month continues. Twenty Pearls next film on the agenda. School counselor conference coming up. Herstory celebration. March 13th – Lobby Day, Charter School Campaign.

President’s Report:

Proud to announce that we have opened a teacher center in a D79 transfer school. Cookie cutter stuff doesn’t work for D79 – in talks.

Fight is on charter schools in Albany. We have a whole plan. There’s a caucus weekend now. We’re going hard on the Gov. It’s us, the state union, parent groups, saying no, no, no, and no. Some legislation needs to be undone. We appreciate a lot of Hochul’s actions, but not on charter schools. Continue that campaign. Budget ends April 1st.

Contract: Believe bargaining will move forward. One big thing with CAT teams was supporting other unions. Hope is that pattern will be set in a couple weeks by DC37 or PBA. Only benefits us if they get a good contract. Mayor can say all he wants that we’re falling off a cliff, but it’s not true. We have record reserves and surpluses.

DOE – a lot of people coming and going. Presented demands from negotiating committee last Wednesday. Our demands are good. We want to be paid, secure our healthcare premium-free. But, we also just want to do our job – can you just do us a little help.  

Question Period:

Nick Bacon: Raises concerns about Charters coming into NYC. Thanks UFT leadership for successes with huge negotiating committee and CATs. Asks what can be done by members at the chapter/individual level – beyond the stuff happening at Albany.  Can we draw on our successes in contract organizing?

Janella Hinds: Asking UFT members to come and talk to politicians in districts where we will be directly affected.

Amy Arundel: Out of Charter school fight in Queens, building a coalition that will work beyond this moment. The war is a public relations war with people like Eva and maybe even in the DOE. So we need to be talking to communities.

Ed Calamia: What can we do in times of grave human suffering? Terrible train derailment in Ohio – highly toxic chemical leak. Would like to propose and ask – what can we do to raise awareness for this event?  This happens with ‘speed-ups.’ It’s a union issue. And how can we bring awareness?

LeRoy: will check with AFT.

Reports from Districts.

Seung Lee speaks on various successful events.

Rashad Brown speaks on the success of the Black History Film Series. This week is 20 Pearls. Pride Committee scholarship to be publicized soon.

Nancy Armando speaks on MS51, mentions that principal has finally been removed. Thanks members for working together. First teacher center opened in District 15.

Pat Christino speaks on new teacher center. Only one to operate after 3:00 PM.

Tom Murphy speaks on Chicago Mayoral primary. Janella Hinds mentions that charters represent an existential threat to our profession, as does technology. We had a conversation on this. This Thursday, Alzheimer’s event, virtually. Herstory is March 11 (in Queens), same day as school counselors conference. Keep your eyes pealed for news on our charter campaign. Will be kicked off at the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus event. We’re going to need all hands on deck.

(Name Missed): Brooklyn SRP event. Honored related professionals in Brooklyn. Another teacher center opened.

Joe Usatch: Al Shanker scholarship deadline increased to March 10. Financials better; immigration status no longer a factor.

Servia Silva: In East Harlem, CEC has already endorsed anti-charter resos. We need to talk to our legislators. We’ve already spoken to many of our reps.

Adam Shapiro: Mets game officially sold out. Button making event. There were over 60 members from the district there to donate labor. Labor seder is coming back. March 30.

George Geist: D. 30 teach-ins were amazing. A lot of people who weren’t traditionally union organizers came out.

Amy Arundel: Thursday, CAT teams should wear green and black in solidarity with DC37 who is organizing. Significant to have two largest labor unions in NY joining together in one action.

Resolution in Support of Just, Respectful and safe public safety practices for all.

Janella Hinds motivates. Aftermath of so much police violence, we need investigations, policy change, ongoing education and dialogue.

Tanesha Franks: Rise in support. What we are seeing in the most recent killing of another Black man. If we look at the systemic nature of this problem, you can have black police officers who get into a culture who believe that not all lives matter. This is not a matter of bad apples. This conversation is about systemic problems. If we don’t deal with it, there won’t be change. Numbers show something is going on. We prevent the next George Floyd by preventing the next Derek Chauvin. This only stops with education.

Ilona Nanay: Rises in support and would even ask that we go a step further. As we come to the end of the BLM week of action comes to a close, we think about police in schools as something that we want to fight for. We need to remove police officers from the schools and bring in restorative justice.

Amy Arundel: Stand in favor of resolution. Appreciate the way it’s written in a way that addresses that UFT members have police in families. But we need to talk about trust. There’s none where I am in East Harlem. This helps us think about things in terms of a systems instead of persons. Bring this back to your chapters.

Rashad Brown: Rodney King, we didn’t learn then. Floyd, we didn’t learn enough. Continuous attacks. Always nervous when police are behind me. Country was founded on racial issues and not over. Look what is happening in Florida. Erasing a whole history, are you serious? Urge you to vote for this.

Motion carries unanimously.


  • Avatar
    Joey R.

    Prediction: DC37 is going to settle a low raise contract and we are all going to be stuck with it. Mulgrew is telling us to support DC37 because he does not want to be blamed by us for whatever we gotta take from the city due to pattern bargaining. My only hope is that since DC37 leadership informed its members that contract discussions with the city talked about the possibility of more hybrid/remote work options, that we can get the same type of deal to do the extended day and PD at home. I really, really, hope the 500 member committee presented this type of remote option to the city. Every teacher at my school hates the extended time. Veterans such as myself, have been dealing with it since 2005.

    • baconuft

      Also think extended time needs to go the way of the dodos, especially if we don’t get a decent raise. (After all, we exchanged that extra time for raises in the first place; if the raises functionally go away, shouldn’t the extended time?). Let’s stand with DC37 in their fight to set a decent pattern. However, if their leadership fails and tries set something below inflation for all public sector unionists, we need to show up and let DC37 management know that’s not OK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *