Posts Tagged 'Delegate Assembly'

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.

Notes on the UFT February Delegate Assembly (2-15-2023)

Summary/Analysis The President’s report was similar to that given two days ago at the executive board. Same with the Secretary’s report. Still worth a look.

Questions: There were only three questions tonight (really two). Most of the time was eaten up by one question – really a planted statement from a chapter leader whose chapter was able to rid their school of an abusive principal. I applaud the chapter, but this is not a normal case. To that end, I question whether the far more common CL who wasn’t able to get rid of a principal despite similar organizing tactics would have been allowed to eat up 7 minutes of question time to tell their story without Mulgrew calling them out of order. Frankly, I think it’s irresponsible of UFT leadership to put forth propaganda that chapters can get rid of abusive principals and that the UFT will help them do it. The normal course of events is outlined here. There are far more casualties than victors in our union, and most victories turn out to be pyrrhic.

Resolutions: It’s amazing how many resolutions we can get through outside of an election year. When I walked into the DA, the materials table was covered with hundreds of copies of several resolutions. If this is the new normal, and resolutions written by opposition unionists are also allowed to be motivated,  I’m happy.

I motivated one of the few resolutions UFT Leadership has approved out of the UFC-elected High School Executive Board. The reso called for discontinuances and denials for probationary teachers in high schools to be limited to geographic districts. Currently, if we’re discontinued by a single principal, we can’t work under that license at another high school in the entire city, whereas elementary and middle school teachers are allowed to apply to schools in any other district. Mike Sill motivated the resolution with me and made some jokes about the irony – referencing this blog (which, apparently is now rated the 9th best teacher blog on the web, go figure). It was a good moment, though I wish it could happen with more HS resos, which are seeking for lots of progressive change and yet routinely being quashed.

The resolution about ending police violence was motivated in beautiful fashion by several speakers. No one from opposition amended it to talk more about getting police out of schools and fostering restorative justice programs. There had been talk of doing this, but the moment wasn’t right.

There were also good resolutions about solidarity with other unionists and a well-amended resolution on the fight to save libraries. Two resolutions were also motivated that will end up on next month’s agenda – one well written resolution on helping those affected by the recent earthquakes, and one good resolution on putting an end to standardized testing for elementary school students. I look forward to voting yes on those resolutions in the future.

Outside the DA: There were a number of people handing out leaflets, including supporters of the New York Health Act (NYHA), Retiree Advocate, and Unity Caucus. New Action was also handing out leaflets, which can be seen here.


President’s Report:

Contract: A lot of press on what’s going on with contracts. Teach-ins were a success. DC37 up first. Mayor is putting up 1.25% for raises – unacceptable. Pattern bargaining rules the day. We won’t set the pattern this time, so tomorrow’s action is important. All the unions work together in MLC. City is trying to do things that the MLC halted. Next step is to halt the other unions. Our subcommittees are working. The DOE is having some dysfunctional issues. They’re listening on us to some extent on things we need just to be able to do our jobs better. We want more money, we want healthcare. Then we want to be able to do our jobs. Can we at least get what we need to do our jobs? Stop wasting our time. Let’s do the work we have to do – it’s challenging enough – to help the children of this city. In the rest of the country, teachers get curriculum, trainings aligned to that curriculum. We don’t get either. We’ll start speeding up the subcommittees right after the break.

Federal: President says teachers deserve more money. Also said all career training should start in high school, not after…

State: Funding/Charters: want money in school systems but not given away to corporate charters. We’re going up to Albany. Budget fight is that we want the money in the schools. Coalition of AFL-CIO unions about stopping expansion of charters. We are for transparency with charters. Legislation needs to be overturned that says NYC and ONLY NYC must supply rent payments or school spaces (rent free) to charters. Mayor said this was an unfair unfunded mandate. He said the same thing about class size bill, which we corrected him on.

Mental Health: We support, but how do we get children-directed services done at our school. We need actual supports in our school. Already dealing with the DESA, which doesn’t serve any function despite all the work. This has to come down.

Tier 6: Working across the state. This is every public sector union’s problem in the state. Our goal is that no one ever actually retires under the original version of Tier 6. We’re working on it – a little ahead of schedule.

Yesterday, lobby day announcement went out. It’s clear in P-Weekly that this is the day to go. Buses, not virtual. Monday, March 13. That’s also a DA week.

Professional front: graduation requirements. Real possibility that State might do something other than the 5 Regents exams. Tough conversation. Some states made it easy to graduate; we kept our standards. There’s a balance. Testing out of control (3rd graders doing online testing!?) But actually would save districts a lot of money to reduce testing. Supposed to be PD on exam delivery with clear explanations. Not happening with most. DOE has claimed they’re checking the broadband in all of our schools. (laughter). We need support doing these exams.

Safety: Last week was one of our worst weeks. If there’s an incident in your school, CL gets a copy of OORS report number. The specifics won’t be there, but there are mechanisms for UFT making sure details match. Shootings out of control. Chancellor yesterday met with principals and superintendents – relationships with police commanders. I had a challenging school safety wise. If you have a principal who hides things, it blows up. Get us that info – we’ll share that info with the police department if there are real concerns. This isn’t just high school.

Budget: DOE is locking down budgets. If you need something, make sure to talk about adjustments now. Principals wanted rollover last year and DOE said no. We had a big fight. Don’t have to worry about a rollover if you spend it.

UFT: Memberhub is going nicely.

Early childhood fight. What was reported to us is these people did nothing and were disrespectful to principals. It turns out they were wrongly told they got a curriculum…. Applauds the teachers in early childhood fight.

First teacher center in DC37 school.

Secretary’s Report:

Black history film series continues. 20 Pearls is being shown in person in Manhattan, Queens, SI UFT offices. Can also do online. March 2nd there will also be an installment, Aftershock. March is also women’s history month.

Lunar New Year Banquet is Friday, March 10 (House of Joy, 6:00 PM – register in advance). See Seung Lee for details.

School counselor’s conference and Herstory celebration same day.

March 16: anniversary of founding of the UFT. There will be a resolution on that. 63rd birthday. That’s in line with teachers.

Holocaust conference on March 19.

Paraprofessional rewards luncheon on March 25 at Hilton. E. De Jesus will be key note speaker.

Danny Drum scholarship fund – please contribute. See Rashad Brown for info on donations.

Next DA is March 15. Enjoy Feb Break – brought to you by UFT.

Question Period

Chapter Leader MS 51 (D15): was a shining star school, highly ranked. We were a family. Fall of 2020, we had a shake up of administration. That led to many negative impacts. Safety was a problem. There were actions against unionists – including sending them wrongly to the Rubber Room. Birth of a movement came about. What started with a small group became a grassroots movement to save our school. As a CL, can’t stress how important it was to document everything. That’s the only way to prove ineffective leadership. Members had support of the union, which is why they felt they could do it. Votes of no confidence on March 8, 2022. Still wasn’t enough. Led by our DR, Nancy Armando and VP of MS, Rich Mantell, UFT Rep. Brad Alter, Anthony Valentino, and Mary Vacarro, we forged forward. We had flyers, tshirts, outreach to the neighborhood, but still nothing changed. There were retaliatory responses. Consultation was a problem. We persisted. Filed the largest union animus grievance in the history of the UFT. Was able to speak to Michael at a CL meeting. Morale was gone. We continued to file and document as much as we could, but there was no improvement. Finally, we saw our principal was absent. A new principal came in and there was instantly a change. Sharing this story to tell you that you are the union. Question: can you come to the school to help us continue to forge forward? (Mulgrew: yes).

Name missed: We just received a lot of asylum students. Big problems. What do we do?

Mulgrew: So frustrated. We did not get into the profession for this – we need to be able to help these kids. Last week, we had a school that just wanted food. Teachers were bringing in clothes for kids. None of this is being taken care of, not where the kids are every day. We all need to all write a letter and send it to higher ups like the President. We need support. No one is asking us what we need. Let’s write this letter.

Randi Boxer: We are suffering every single day in our school, lack of paras. Crisis of coverage. Every single day it’s a concern.

Mulgrew: DOE claims we have 11,000 substitutes in the pool. That’s absolutely not true. Becoming a crisis.

New Motions:

(Name Missed) For tonight’s agenda. Resolution in Support of the People of Turkey and Syria. Resolution in response to earthquake on Feb. 6, in which over 20,000 are expected to be casualties, along with many other terrible consequences. In solidarity with them, the AFT, NYSUT, and UFT will find out how we can assist those in need, and that we will seek monetary donations in our own UFT.

(Name Missed): Motion for next month. Resolution to call on the panel for educational policy to end high stakes standardized testing in grades 3-5.

Resolution on Ending Disproportionate Impact of High School Probationary Teachers. Nick Bacon motivates alongside Mike Sill. This reso was written by the UFT High School Executive Board and aims to make sure high school teachers aren’t completely terminated from the DOE when they are discontinued/denied tenure. They deserve a chance to work in other districts and boroughs, a right afforded to our peers in elementary and middle schools. Sill notes that many might be surprised he’s up there with Bacon, which goes against the ‘blog narrative,’ but this is a good reso. 98% vote in favor.

Resolution Supporting the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers. Most excited about last resolved: the UFT educate our members on the labor struggles that face working people in this country and across the globe. We can build connections – points to teacher strikes in Woburn, to nurses, and to DC37 now. Excited to build these connections.

Resolution Supporting New York Public Libraries (motivated by Randi Boxer): Mayor threatening to close public libraries via budget cuts. We need to support the libraries.

Christina Gavin: Excited about resolution. Motion to amend (crowd-sourced). A few motions have to be made as the amendment is long and apparently out of order. But all motions pass. A few supporters from different caucuses speak in support.

Gabe Barry: Resolution Supporting KCVG Amazon Workers. Already union busting in their efforts, so we need to unify with them more than ever. Already, similar resolutions have been made by other unions. Mulgrew adds that AFT is on board and that UFT is now the main meeting hub for the Amazon union. 97% vote in favor.

Resolution in Support of Just, Respectful and Safe Public Safety Practices for All

Janella Hinds: Discusses tragic Tyre Nichols death and links it to statistics on massive numbers of people who have died, particularly people of color. I have been stopped many times. Every time I hear the siren my anxiety is off the charts. Because I could end up like the many who have been killed by police. Asking you to support this resolution so that we can have a society with true justice. Amy Arundel adds that we can have conversations around our schools. Important that some areas do and don’t trust police. So we need to discuss this and push for a better society. Let’s have these difficult conversations at our schools. Another speaker also speaks in favor (name missed). Tanesha Franks speaks in favor – had first incident with Rodney King, thought it was isolated, but it turns out police brutality is a historic issue that has been going on since the origin of policing. I continue to work to decrease police brutality. Eric Garner murdered in walking distance from my home. In conversations with NYPD, we’ve gotten to a better place. But this issue isn’t about bad apples, it’s systemic, began in 1619. Might be confusing that 5 black officers murdered Nichols, though non-black officers have also since been disciplined. This is an opportunity to look at education and how we create the understanding of our future citizens. We get to impart wisdom on the next generation. Law enforcement needs ongoing education on this. Police have high domestic violence rates, suicide rates. Hurt people hurt people. If you can hurt your own spouse, what will happen when you see a Black child that you’ve conditioned to think doesn’t matter? The largest local can impart change. Tired of being afraid. We need everyone to get on board. We don’t hate the police. Motion passes.

Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
March 2023