Posts Tagged 'UFT Executive Board'

Privatization of UFT Positions; Political Endorsements: UFT Executive Board Minutes 4-3-2023  


During the open mic, two visiting members spoke about the ongoing conflict going on for Instructional Coordinators and Social Workers in the DOE’s early childhood department. As a recap, massive excessing occurred over the summer and there is good reason to believe that the City is seeking to replace UFT positions with non-unionized contractors via private companies. Members of UFT’s administrative committee responded, but didn’t speak on many specifics. Another member spoke out about getting assistance for UFT parents whose own children have IEPs.

During the questions period, Ronnie Almonte pointed out that, despite asking many times now, we still haven’t heard back about where the data comes from that supports Mulgrew’s decision not to support the New York Health Act despite two DA resolutions telling him to do so. I wrote about Mulgrew’s missing homework here with Daniel Alicea. Rather than give Ronnie the still missing answer, LeRoy Barr suggested that this had been asked and answered. But, New Action hasn’t missed a day of executive board minutes this year. The question has been asked many times; it’s never been answered.

Two massive political endorsements were put up with no prior notice made to the High School Executive Board (and therefore to any caucus other than Unity). We pointed out that it was impossible for us to vote on this many endorsements at once, since no one coordinated with us – literally only giving us the lists of names the moment of the vote. We also pointed out that it was difficult to believe the endorsements were ‘bipartisan’ (in the union ‘caucuses’ sense of the word), because some of us were literally dropped from the endorsement committees between when we were in Unity and when we were a part of other caucuses. We also pointed out that just through a quick look, we could spot names that we weren’t sure should be there – such as people who voted for DOE budget cuts. We didn’t ask for any amendments, just that we be given more time before voting. Unity wouldn’t grant it.  No offense Unity, but who is really political?

Mulgrew wasn’t there, and we heard nothing about healthcare or about what the DC37 pattern means for our upcoming contract negotiations. Surprisingly, only one person—George Geiss—spoke out about the contract actions last week (see info here for mine), though it was better optics for a school-based member to speak on school-based actions rather than UFT staffers. Geiss had a good story about a ‘contract action haircut’ that went viral. But, he also offered that the cycle on Trump’s indictment probably drowned reception of our organizing out. To that end, I wonder how widespread/effective the overall strategy was. Does analyzing our contract actions make me ‘against organizing,’ as Unity misrepresented recently as part of a blitz on high school representatives? No. Rather-as I have argued in various places, the fact that our union officers are against even having the right to strike, and are willing to accept bad patterns over risking disharmony with other labor leaders, has put us in a bind. Their unwillingness to organize in these critical areas has done us no favors in terms of mobilizing our members or leveraging our power against the City. Nevertheless, I hope the contract actions prove to be a success. At a minimum, they helped organize chapters to bond over union activities and engage with their communities. I certainly saw that at the contract action that I attended. But, let’s hope they swayed the City too. Because now that we’re stuck with a bad pattern, the nature of our fight just changed big time.

More from the executive board can be seen below. Alternatively, see Joe Diodato’s minutes here.

Informal Minutes for the 4-3-2023 UFT Executive Board Meeting

Open Mic: (Name missed): Instructional coordinator supporting birth through pre-k. Noticing that my colleagues and I are being glossed over by the UFT, prompting me to speak out this evening. My colleagues and I are the UFT, and here’s what we’ve done: we’ve spoken out, had rallies, come to executive board meetings before, spoke with the Deputy Chancellor and their team, conducted a vote of no confidence, written articles; yet still, our voices are not being heard. Decisions are being made without us in the room. We know there’s a new admin – but their changes are privatizing union jobs. We are asking that our union be our ‘ride or die.’ We appreciate the work that’s been done before, but our future is up in the air.

Jia Lee: I’m on sabbatical this year, and it’s been pretty busy. In September, 2 days before school started, early childhood people were told their positions were being eliminated. We fought, we organized. I appreciate everyone in the room for their efforts. But, it’s unknown what’s going to happen for next fall. Seems like these positions are slated to be eliminated. It’s about sending a message to this administration. There’s nothing about us without us. Educators/admin are saying this is our central support; not perfect, but can’t just eliminate them. We’re asking that the executive board please meets with these essential workers. We know the goal of this administration is privatization. They’re getting ready to contract out. Let’s come together and make changes together.

Christina, School psychologist. Also a parent with a child who has an IEP. This year, my child with an IEP wasn’t getting services. It’s been a long road. Would like there to be a mechanism for UFT parents. Found a lot of support from our own members; key people in my chapter. Moving forward, having such a mechanism would be a good thing to have around.

Minutes: All approved.


Ronnie Almonte: What is the data around the NY Health Act that says it is not in our interest. Can you please correct the current source being cited – which cites anti-union persons in favor of privatization. I don’t want to be misconstrued on facebook. I’m simply asking about that data – following up.

LeRoy Barr: This has been discussed ad nauseum in these meetings. President has said it doesn’t make financial sense. I’ll punt that question to the president (not here).

District Reports:

Mary V. Curriculum report wasn’t exactly what we planned. Not that it was bad, but we didn’t get info on the actual learning. We will have workshops ready to go on May 1st. So we should be ready to go on all three curriculums as well as Algebra.

Ibeth Mejia. I would like to report in recent months there has been a spirited resistance started to grow at Middle College and I been their CL for 5 years and I am very familiar how the principal retaliates against any teachers that uphold the contract. I myself was retaliated against the principal for advocating for children with special needs and I was eventually pushed out and with that said I got some very disturbing information that a union official came into a school and bad mouthed two members of the UFT opposition at a meeting of a group of chapter members. I raise this not to attack anyone. That said, can we get clarification that when UFT officials go into a school in their official capacity that all of us here are on the same team, the UFT, and we don’t represent a caucus or look to criticize members who might not hold the same political views within the UFT as we do? 

LeRoy Barr: Hard to address this because it’s vague, get why you don’t want to say names when there’s a record. We can talk 1:1. I like to believe that we are on the same team. Sometimes comments made here or outside are not indicative of unison, because people aren’t coming for me, they’re coming for the entire UFT, so unless we guard the gate together, they will get inside the gate. Goal should be moving forward as one. Unfortunately, that’s not always what people say. Know this, when there are attacks, and it feels like it’s undercutting the foundation on we stand, ultimately we’ve weakened us. I can talk for hours on this. When people go into buildings they represent their truth. I am not going to shackle my people who have an opinion whose opinion might differ from that of others. Let’s have a more private conversation.

Ibeth Mejia: It was purely contractual violations.

LeRoy Barr: Taking opportunity to talk about how we can be better to guard the gate.

Janella Hinds: On Tuesday, a group of us went to Albany to continue in our public schools over corporate charters campaign. Partnered with many groups, including NAACP and NYSUT, to fight back against the Governor. The budget is late, so there’s still an opportunity to lobby. We have a letter writing campaign  – please do that this evening. We want to make sure public schools are strengthened.

Chris Verdone: Reporting out on safety updates. Thanks to everyone for opportunity to speak. UFT liaisons have been holding meetings with CLs – open to all. Working with all stakeholders to ensure safety of our members. Forum for CLs to discuss rise in violence. During first Manhattan meeting, CLs expressed concerns, we brainstormed solutions.

Rashad Brown: Meeting with members about student loans. Holding webinars for paraprofessionals/librarians.

Rich Mantell: Labor seder last week. Well attended. Jewish Labor Committee applied to AFT to become a national caucus. Nov. 30th having first ever Jewish labor committee – award.

Karen Alford: Visited Richmond pre-k center. Girls came over – high school kids read to 3 and 4 year olds. Kids see the high school students, many who are women of color. Big to bring these kids to this center. On Saturday, this room was transformed – early childhood conference. Great day.

Karen Alford with Mike Sill: Karen: Looking at all of what ICs and social workers. With regard to where we are right now, we have debriefed with DOE and are still waiting to hear—when we get back from the break—about their plans for next year. We know that any title can have changes done. We want to make sure it is changed the right way and that they have the right to make those changes. Mike adds that it is April 3rd, the day before MLK was assassinated. He gave a speech to striking workers about collective struggle. Things don’t always move as quickly as we’d like them to move. We have to move toward radical selflessness. To say that the concerns have been glossed over is wrong. UFT has done a lot, including rally. Had demands: (1) no excessing this year; (2) chancellor needs to know what the folks do; (3) any changes made must be made after talking to ICs and social workers. Things don’t go quickly, but we are right there. We’re all working towards justice.

Luli Rodriguez: This Saturday, school librarians did outreach, including here, helping parents access digital library. We talked about the need for having a librarian in every school.

George Geiss: Round of applause for grade-in. Got upset that news of indictment took away our thunder. My barber in Queens showed up and gave me a haircut. Students were reaching out – saying like your haircut, hope you get a fair contract. This is coming full circle. Next action in District 30 on 4/20. Our noise worked.

Ilona Nanay: Speaking on behalf of division of early childhood educators. Sent a letter to the UFT district reps. Urge us to consider all the functionals that make up our union. They are hungry too and want to be considered a part of the membership.

Special Order(s) of Business:

Resolution on City Council Endorsements: (follow hyperlink)

Nick Bacon: Just seeing this list of names for the first time. I used to be on the committee that selected these names; not sure why I was taken off. To that end, I’m worried about how ‘bipartisan’ this resolution is. I don’t know who was on the list to select them. There has been criticism here that when I and others here bring resolutions forward, they aren’t sent to you with enough time in advance so that you can collaborate. But what about this? This list of names is too long for me to look at right now and vote yes, especially since I have no way of verifying that they were selected in a way that respected the diversity of views in our union. I have to do more research and can’t possibly vote yes on a list this big at this at this time.

Response: Political committees in districts. Worked with district reps. Not everyone drew an election. Some members on list we already have a good relationship with. Politics is important. We have 51 members. We have issues where we won’t agree on them. The people on this list have either drawn an election or are leaders.

Rashad Brown: People on committee did the work and sat down. They came up. Mr. Bacon worked at a different school.

Luli Rodriguez.: It’s not necessarily the people on this list, it’s about time for us to vet it. Should table.

Ilona Nanay: Last week we passed a resolution on budget. A lot of the people on this list approved a budget that decreased funding for public schools, including the speaker. Some may have signed a letter of regret, I don’t see them working towards rectifying it. So why are we endorsing?

Motivator: In politics, we can go through each of the names on this list and find things we don’t agree with. Budget was a tough situation. But budget as a whole was a good situation. Relationships now very close. We have to be careful.

Name Missed: Calls all questions before the house.

Resolution Carries, but with some no votes and abstentions from H.S. Exec Board

Same person (name missed) endorses another resolution on District Attorney positions (same link, scroll down).

Ilona Nanay: Should table.

Mike Sill: Speaks against tabling.

Nick Bacon: We’re educators. We don’t do politics full time. So we should have time to vet these names.

Rashad Brown: As members of society, we should be informed what’s going on in our own boroughs. This body is collective, so we have enough people who do know and can make the decision.

Motion to postpone fails.

Motion itself passes.


Who is political? A Further Note on the 3-27-23 Executive Board Meeting (and its aftermath)

At the 3-27-23 executive board meeting, we heard from two working UFT mothers – Ibeth Mejia and Luli Rodriguez, who sought to put some teeth into a mostly symbolic resolution written by members of Unity Caucus. That resolution was about recognizing disproportionate maternal mortality rates. Ibeth and Luli’s amendment would have asked the UFT to do something to actually help reduce maternal mortality for women in our own union by fighting for living wages and keeping healthcare viable/affordable, among other things.

Immediately, Luli and Ibeth were attacked for (a) being political; (b) not being collaborative; and (c) raising an amendment that had nothing to do with the resolution at hand. So just a few thoughts.

  •  Political. The word that is always thrown at opposition. I wrote a detailed piece on this a few months back. And in this instance, I want to seriously ask – what political gain could Ibeth and Luli possibly have had by raising a resolution at executive board? This isn’t like the DA, where independents potentially hear from people with different viewpoints. At executive board, Unity cut off access for regular rank-and-file members to view our proceedings months ago, so it’s not like there was an audience. Other than the 7 members and a handful of colleagues who came to support us, there was no one there who wasn’t already tied to the Unity machine. Unlike Unity Caucus members, there’s no financial political gain that Luli and Ibeth could have from raising the resolution either. No one from opposition is ever going to be hired for a job with the UFT. When I left Unity, for instance, I was actually reducing my political standing in that sense of the word – ensuring that I’d never get a cushy union job. Luli and Ibeth, similarly, were de-politicizing themselves in order to fight for the general good of members. This irony shouldn’t be lost here, because most of the people I see attacking opposition for being political do have union jobs that they got in part from being loyal to the Unity machine.
  • Attacking opposition for not being collaborative is disingenuous. For one thing, we reached out to Unity with two resolutions for this executive board meeting. Both passed. For another, Unity never returns the favor. Unity never reached out to us about the amended resolution. They never sought our input. We only knew about it because it was in the adcom minutes. Yet, when Ibeth and Luli raised an amendment to a resolution that Unity wrote without collaborating with us, they were vilified, along with the rest of opposition, for not working with Unity. Unity can write their own resos, but it is a cardinal crime for anyone from opposition to do anything on their own.
  • The final complaint is that Luli and Ibeth’s amendment about healthcare/wages for working mothers had nothing to do with maternal mortality. But that’s patently absurd. For that, I can simply go to Michael Mulgrew. For the last few weeks, he’s been using the idea of a ‘committee with real teeth—arbitration/penalty power’ to help keep Aetna honest (as he pushes retirees off of traditional Medicare, where that sort of ‘teeth’ wouldn’t be needed).  Unity here put forward a symbolic resolution without teeth. Yes, maternal mortality is terrible, so what are we gonna do about it?  Luli and Ibeth found a way that we can do something about that as a teachers union – by fighting to make sure that mothers in our union have medical benefits and living wages. Yes, that’s not the whole story. But, that’s at least something our union can do to help working mothers. The argument from Unity that maternal mortality doesn’t have anything to do with mothers having good healthcare/wages is completely ridiculous. I suspect even they know that. And of course, they voted it down, and have been blowing up their social media with political attacks against two working mothers who tried to fight for more than symbolic help for our members.

Let’s call Unity’s highly public reaction to Luli and Ibeth what it is – a deflection from their losing battle on healthcare.

Healthcare, Tucker Carlson, and Maternal Mortality – UFT Executive Board Minutes, 3-27-2023

Quick Summary/Analysis: Tonight was mostly about healthcare. Kate Connors came to the Open Mic to talk about the New York Health Act. Ed Calamia asked about Aetna’s ongoing MAP fraud case, to which leadership answered it would not affect our deal. I asked about what specific ‘cost savings’ were being discussed by the vendors in the new in-service RFP, but didn’t get many details. Then Mulgrew came in to give a long, but mostly meaningless diatribe, comparing progressive opposition unionists like me (or probably just me) to Tucker Carlson – I guess for having the audacity to question the decisions of current UFT leadership, like their brilliant move to increase our urgent care copays from $15 to $50, and now to $100. (Incidentally, I do share an alma mater with Tucker, but that’s about it.) I guess we did get one thing out of the president’s address, though – that prescriptions are now the line UFT leadership is giving for why we are cutting costs for regular medical care (according to Mulgrew, we need the money to pay for increasing pharmaceutical costs).

Alex Jallot gave a report / asked questions about safety and charter expansion. Then, Ibeth Mejia and Luli Rodriguez gave impassioned motivations for an amendment to a Unity resolution on maternal mortality rates. Ibeth and Luli argued that if we want to reduce maternal mortality, we need to make sure to fight to keep our pay/healthcare/maternity-leave in line with other wealthy countries. Unity voted the amendment down, with Mike Sill of all people leading the battle against, but Luli and Ibeth’s speeches are worth reading in their entirety (toward the bottom of these minutes). Then, in sharp contrast, two shared Unity/UFC resos (one on charters and one on budget) were immediately put forward, both motivated by the same pair: Ilona Nanay and Janella Hinds.

Informal minutes follow.

Open Mic: Kate Connors: Appeal to Mulgrew to accept Sen. Rivera’s invitation to discuss the New York Health Act (NYHA) before everything is finalized. Confident that the UFT will approve of NYHA after hearing. It won’t affect the budget – there’s separate funding. Also, eliminating overhead from insurance companies will save us billions. To make a different argument, you have to rely on conservative arguments, and the UFT links to some such arguments on the official website. I’m not sure the UFT really thinks the budget is why they shouldn’t support. That’s not why they said they had a problem with it. They did say that we’ve sacrificed wages for healthcare. That’s not an argument for why not to do NYHA now. Many people who died from COVID died because of insurance gaps. We don’t want to be carved out of the statewide bill; NYHA is better than what we have now, no copays, prior authorizations. And I don’t want to give up raises for healthcare or vice versa. Don’t be concerned about people who work in the welfare fund – they can be retrained and work as care workers. Implore you to learn about NYHA outside of this conversation. There is a virtual townhall (MORE) at 6:00 PM on March 29th. I’ll come around and give you info. You’ve heard a lot of lies. Time to dispel them.

Minutes: All passed.

Question Period:

Alex Jallot: Recently, come to our attention that there are safety inspections coming to us from the Mayor. Why are they inserting themselves in this way? Including on dress code?

LeRoy Barr: Jeff not here, but example of dress code for instance is about officers not teachers/students.

Ed Calamia: My question is about Aetna. It’s recently come to my attention that they’re under investigation from the DOJ for fraud in its dealings with MAP contracts. GHI is not under such an investigation for traditional Senior Care. Does Aetna’s fraud investigation impact our dealings with them?

Geof Sorkin: We want the federal government to investigate all insurance companies if they are accused of fraud. No, it doesn’t impact our contract.

Nick: Want to ask a question. We’re hearing about an RFP with four potential providers to potentially replace GHI at a lower cost. Not asking about the four respondents – asked last week and wasn’t answered, though you’re free to tell us. However, we know how some of the cost savings have been realized for retirees – like prior authorizations. We also know about some of the cost savings we’ve already realized for in-service – like forcing first year teachers onto HIP or adding huge copays in GHI for most Urgent Cares – 15 bucks to 100 bucks since 2016. What types of ‘cost savings’ are these four vendors suggesting to make the cost savings? What types of copays? What types of networks – diminished? New prior authorizations?

Geof Sorkin: I have NDAs. I am proud that I will not reveal who the potential bidders are. Benefit design: a number of things: looking to replicate to GHI, but also looking across the country and seeing how we could leverage things. We have not met with any of the bidders. Michael has said we’ve identified 4. One of the complexities is we are looking at the info they’ve provided and it’s not always an apples to apples comparison.

President’s Report: Let’s hear it for the paras, who just had their event.

Getting near the end in Albany. When it gets quiet, it gets interesting. That means real conversations happening. Charters and funding are the two big concerns. Seem to be in decent shape at this point. Small group going up tomorrow. Education advocates, NAACP, but Eva is also going up. Should be interesting.

 But, Saturday is basically it. We don’t want late budgets, which means late payments. Then City gets to claim hardships. For years it was done that way.

In terms of the healthcare stuff. Everyone is leadership and has a right to their own opinion. But everyone in this room needs to do their job to protect the union here and in the future. Heard the silliest crap in my life in the past 6 months. This union is different than any other. It’s easy to say that’s the bad man. The easiest way to organize is fear and anger. Bloomberg had us a very organized union. Then you tell people to pick a side, and then it’s just attack. Healthcare is a serious issue. Yes, I wish we had a national plan. Not sure we’ll get there. It would definitely help if the feds were helping. But workers are getting screwed everywhere. We can sit back and do something or nothing and lose.

I get phone calls at town halls. You said UFT would only agree to MAP if it was the best that doesn’t exist. I say that because it’s what I believe. Believe UFT can do that. We stuck by that. Certain people here will continue to say this is terrible, but we do have the best MAP in the country. I read all the reports of executive board from here. Some people in here want to take Tucker Carlson’s job with how they write.

Don’t understand that an arbitrator/mediator set a deadline and we acted like it didn’t exist. When they started to realize they had to work with us, we started to get somewhere. We have talked to everyone. We know all the pitfalls. We were told that no insurance company would agree to what we wanted. But we got it – everything. Yes, Aetna had to call their lawyers when we asked to get rid of prior authorizations. They didn’t think it was illegal. They were wrong. So, we were able to get that done. Lawyer also didn’t like the expedited arbitration option with penalties. There’s nothing like that anywhere but here. Will make sure retirees are taken care of. We’ll be active members on that committee, which has legal authority. And we don’t have to go to court.

Doctor can always say no. I know you all think you’re healthcare experts. Growing field is concierge services. You have to pay to even have access to the doctor.

If you want to disagree, disagree, but check the facts. But, with in-service we’ll do the same thing. We’ll figure out how to increase our benefits, decrease out of pocket costs, and have more control over plan implementation. We don’t have a committee of union people yet like retirees, but we can. We don’t have to do anything, but if we can increase quality but reduce the cost….and I didn’t even go into drug cost yet. Hundreds of millions a month being spent on certain drugs. UFT is proud we’ve never denied it to a single member. So we need money to go into that part of the healthcare. If we can do all this, maybe we can buy some time to do something at the national level.

Love the conspiracies – love them. First one was that the MLC wanted to give a billion dollars to the UFT from their own benevolence. Nothing factual there. Sure, it’s easy to point at people and say ‘they’re the bad people.’ I know it’s political.

Had the class today from the NY Post Article. No one wants the facts. Members wanted this class because they owe continued education credits to the State. This qualifies. Also, all the toxic crap we hear, the kids bring it with them. So we need to know these things. So it’s appropriate. These counselors need to give intervention around related issues.

Hoping people will step back. It’s not how you run in a union. Sorry if I take up too much time. But I was listening and thinking enough. Last thing you want to do an RFP when it’s being foisted on you. You want to do it when you can walk away – you don’t wait when it’s a crisis. I’m always going to do it the way when we have control.

Report from Districts:

Sean Rockowitz: Had meet the president. Mulgrew answered lots of questions so it was good.

Priscilla Castro: This Saturday, March 25th we had the Para Festival. Autism workshop was amazing. Thanks several UFT staffers. Paras mobilizing for contract on Thursday.

Tom Brown: Sad news, lost Harold Rothman last week, a UFT pension consultant at the Brooklyn office for over 45 years. Legend. Trained many others in pension consultation. Wonderful man, we loved him. Moment of silence.

Alex Jallot: Situation in 754X, D75 school. Since 2019, share space with University Prep Charter MS. Has been OK for a while, but now the charter wants to expand. Their SLT has come out released a statement. Holding a public hearing on Thursday after the grade ins. If you can make it, speak with Christina Gavin. Not to get rid of University Prep, but to maintain the space for the students.

Nancy Armando: This week, Brooklyn is starting safety workshops.

Rashad Brown: We will have two special loan forgiveness workshops on April 4 (paras) and April 25 (school secretaries).

Michael Friedman: Requests another moment of silence for event in Nashville, senseless mass killing in school. Until we can figure out a way to get rid of these guns, it will keep on happening. We aren’t immune in NY. Moment of silence.

Special Order of Businesses:

Janella Hinds Endorses below reso: Maternal mortality is a huge issue. Our statistics are significantly higher than other industrialized nations. In the aftermath of COVID, that number has gone up significantly. For black women, it’s even higher – 69.9 deaths for 100,000, irrespective of income, prenatal care, education, etc. This reso speaks for the need for comprehensive quality healthcare that takes care of people before they give birth.


WHEREAS, more than 70% of the membership of the United Federation of Teachers are women; and

WHEREAS, reproductive and maternal health is a primary concern for many of our members and the families and communities we serve; and

WHEREAS, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, maternal mortality is defined as the death of a childbearing person, while pregnant or up to one year following the pregnancy, from a cause related to, aggravated by or irrespective of the pregnancy; and

WHEREAS, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than most other high-income countries; and

WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, this rate stands at 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, which represents a significant increase from 20.1 in 2019 and 23.8 in 2020; and 

WHEREAS, a recent National Public Radio article on the CDC study cited the U.S. rate “which is more than ten times the estimated rates of some other high income countries, including Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan and Spain which all hovered between 2 and 3 deaths per 100,000 in 2020;” and

WHEREAS, the 2021 maternal mortality rate for Black women at 69.9 deaths for 100,000 live births is more than double the average rate of other American women; and

WHEREAS, research has shown that in the United States, Black women are also twice as likely to have a preterm birth (PTB), give birth to a low birth weight (LBW) infant, or experience the death of a child before age 1, when compared to white women; and

WHEREAS, the maternal mortality rates for people who are Indigenous, low-income and more than 40 years old are also abnormally high in comparison to the national average; and

WHEREAS, the American Medical Association, the CDC, the Commonwealth Fund and other national organizations have reported that many instances of maternal mortality are preventable; and

WHEREAS, lack of access to comprehensive, coordinated and respectful health care, the prevalence of chronic conditions and inadequate postpartum support are among the reasons attributed to our nation’s high maternal mortality rates; and

WHEREAS, research indicates that these disparities are symptoms of broader underlying social and economic inequities that are rooted in racism and discrimination; and

WHEREAS, the trauma that results from these incidents, while rarely discussed, has long-lasting and profound impacts on our schools, offices, families, colleagues and communities; and

WHEREAS, In the latest data released by the DOE, 41.1% of public school students are Hispanic, 24.4% are Black and 71.9% are economically disadvantaged, and their mothers of childbearing age are at risk; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT call upon health care organizations to offer ongoing resources, education and professional development for those providing reproductive care in an effort to decrease maternal mortality rates, especially among women who are most affected; and be it further

RESOLVED, the UFT work with educational, public health and other organizations to offer resources and direct assistance to support educators, school counselors, social workers and psychologists as well as whole schools and communities serving people affected by maternal mortality; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT support legislation promoting the expansion of birthing centers, particularly in communities where maternal mortality rates are highest, so that more women may receive quality reproductive care that is caring and respectful to all families of newborns; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT encourage professional learning and instruction that addresses implicit bias among staff and students, because instructional staff must be able to address implicit bias within themselves in order to teach students headed into professions where unconscious beliefs about different groups can create harmful racial disparities to treat all people equally; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT call for more research on the causes of these disparities and support working with coalition partners to increase investment in efforts to decrease maternal mortality rates in the United States.

Ibeth Mejia:


RESOLVED, that to improve the well being of mothers, infants, children, adults, and the elderly who are dying in higher numbers in the USA than in other wealthy nations, the UFT as a union that includes many thousands of working moms will take the lead by demanding for its members annual raises that keep up with the US inflation rate, and the UFT insist on healthcare improvements for its members and all Americans, rather than increased copayments or diminished healthcare choices — as well as, improved parental-family leave policies.

If we adopt this amendment and follow through, it will play a big part in actually reducing maternal and other mortality rates in the United States.  

We are repeatedly told here at the Executive Board and at the Delegate Assembly that the United Federation of Teachers is the most powerful union on the face of the earth. 

We have tens of thousands of mothers in this union who are working under abominable conditions in many school buildings. 

There’s no lactation rooms in many schools or refrigerators to store breast milk or air ventilation or quality control for temperatures. 

In 2018, the UFT got paid parental leave passed but it is totally inadequate. How am I supposed to bond with my child in 6-12 weeks which is the best case scenario? That goes hand in hand with post partum depression.  

We need paid family leave that is like what they have in other wealthy nations like they have in Western and Northern Europe where they can bond with their infants for from six months to a year and not have to worry about losing their job. 

Going further, the United States is the only wealthy nation without universal healthcare. 

UFT members and their children cannot afford $100 copayments for urgent care and then we have to try to get child care. 

Add to this, the UFT is leading the fight to privatize our seniors’ Medicare to leave more of our healthcare in the hands of a giant insurance company whose primary responsibility is to make profits for shareholders. 

That isn’t helping mothers and many of us have to worry about taking care of our elderly parents too who are retired city workers. These mothers aren’t helped either.

Furthermore, we have  seen the cost of food go way up! Especially the cost of baby formula and prices rocketed skyhigh during the formula shortage in the United States.  

How are working mothers supposed to survive the out of control high cost of living and provide for their families, particularly in and around NYC?

Yet at UFT meetings, we hear about the wonders of pattern bargaining so we will be stuck with salary increases that DC 37 got in their pattern setting contract that don’t come close to keeping up with inflation so are de facto pay cuts. How is that helping mothers? 

Meanwhile, out in LA school support staff went on strike, plenty of moms on those picket lines in California last week. The teachers went on strike in support. What did the support workers get? 30% raises while at the UFT DA we are told strikes are white privilege. 

To summarize, if the UFT was really interested in enhancing motherhood, we would start by acting like the powerful union we claim to be a real one – and demand and then fight with any means that are available for better conditions for the tens of thousands of mothers in this Union. 

That would truly be leading, and it would set a trend that would end up truly reducing maternal mortality.

Mike Sill: In all seriousness, I appreciate the motivation for this amendment, but I rise against it. It’s not what’s included here that it’s not worth fighting for – it’s that we are fighting for those things. I don’t want to run afoul of NDAs. This is a typical tactic I’ve seen here, a false dichotomy, that we should be doing this instead of that. I won’t even go there…When it says we should be demanding raises. People know what we’re demanding. Copays? We’re living in the realm of the absurd. We’ve talked about that – it helps us fight price gauging. But the reasons we have copay issues is because of the Judge’s decision. The same folks who would support this decision fought against that. I see what’s happening here, I don’t appreciate it. We could have worked together on this.

Karen Alford: I stand here as a mom. I brought Aftershock to the UFT. Had a family member who almost lost life in childbirth. This issue is so much bigger than copays. This issue isn’t even about people who had insurance. Healthcare is an issue in regards to maternal mortality, so this is a federal government issue. This is about doctors recognizing our pain when we are giving childbirth. This amendment frustrates me. What matters is not your copays, but that the healthcare system is broken. So I stand in opposition.

Mary Vacarro: Take offense to this amendment. I’m a mother of two. I was in labor for 48 hours with my son. If I didn’t have my midwife next to me, I’d be one of these statistics. Always in the back of my mind. So when we wonder about inflation. I wasn’t worried about inflation when I was lying there, I was worried about my son being born. When we spoke at the DA about honoring the UFT, it turned out to be a discussion about the strike, and that was the language that came out afterwards. When we are talking about women giving birth, now we’re talking about inflation here. This might be an amendment for somewhere else, but has no place here.

Luli Rodriguez: I stand in support. I was an accountant prior to becoming a teacher. Thankfully, I had good coverage – a room all to myself that could fit ten people to help. I experienced a life and death situation myself. First my son almost died, and the second time I was about to die. I’m here because my health insurance covered everything. Not a lot of women of color have that option. There is a socio-economic disparity in our society and a racial one. I have friends who are African American who have been at the point of dying because of their skin color because their issues aren’t taken seriously. But, I had 6 months maternal leave – we don’t have that here, just weeks. Why are your sick days taken out of your CAR to take care of your maternity? I didn’t have to do that before I became UFT. I was able to use my sick days. I see teachers talking – about how they can’t take kids for immunizations because their childcare fell through. A lot of mothers can’t cover the costs with our healthcare. Not all of us here have two salaries – double jobs. We’re just teachers. There’s nothing wrong with asking that things be equitable. I’ll we’re asking for is 6 months.

LeRoy Barr: I didn’t see anything about 6 months in the text of the amendment?

Rashad Brown: I rise against. I see information dumping that waters down the essence and spirit of the original reso. So let’s separate the two and write a resolution.

Janella: Speaks in opposition to the amendment. I think that many of the arguments support this resolution. But, it’s reprehensible that women have come to this mic and said they’ve been on death’s door. That’s not about healthcare, it’s about the system. Ask you to approve the resolution as written.

Amendment: Fails, only H.S. Exec Board votes in favor.

Resolution: Passes.

Resolution Against Charter School Cap Being Raised  

Ilona Nanay:Pause in respect of reso before. We are in the spirit of collaboration. We did collaborate on the following two resolutions. Motivating with Janella Hinds. Resolution to oppose Hochul’s move to raise the charter cap. Came to DOE because I believe in public education. Without public education, democracy crumbles. Corporate charter schools are not beholden to the public and not held accountable to the public. They starve us of resources. So I ask everyone to support the resolution. It is based in research. Proposal could add additional hundreds of charter schools, which also have declining enrollment. So the argument that they need more resources/space due to demand is just false. NYC is only district obligated to provide space for charters. Charters already cost 3 billion.

Janella Hinds: We worked together on this resolution, because members of the UFT have made themselves heard, calling on legislators to stand against this ridiculous proposal.


Whereas,  Gov. Hochul has proposed to allow about 100 additional  charter schools in NYC, even though the legal charter cap has been met, by eliminating the regional limits and by adding the number of previously authorized charters known as “zombie charters” which have closed or had their charters revoked; and

Whereas, the total funding diverted from the NYC DOE public school budget is already substantial and growing each year, currently at approximately $2.69 billion – not counting the space and services that co-located NYC charter schools receive for free; and

Whereas, NYC charter schools that are sited in private space also receive subsidies from DOE to help pay for their rental costs, that this year totals an estimated $200 million; with 60% of that reimbursable by the state; and

Whereas, given the need to lower class size according to the new state law which mandates class size reduction starting next fall, charter expansion could deprive our public schools that opportunity; and

Whereas, 58% of the city’s charter schools have lost enrollment over the past three years, not including charter schools that opened or closed during that time; and

Whereas, most NYC charter schools have far lower enrollment rates of high-needs students, including English Language Learners and students with disabilities, and are known for their excessive disciplinary policies that push out students who do not comply with their strict disciplinary codes; and

Whereas a recent report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA revealed that charter schools in NYC are even more intensely segregated than district public schools; and

Whereas the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) has engaged its members in a campaign in opposition to Governor Hochul’s charter proposal, empowering members to educate and lobby their elected representatives in their boroughs, on social media, and during legislative events in Albany; and

Whereas, this campaign has flourished in partnership with the Alliance for Quality Education, the New York Branch of the NAACP, Make the Road NY, among other parent and community organizations, resulting in the removal of most of Hochul’s proposal from both one house bills released in March 2023  be it therefore

Resolved that the UFT strongly urges the Legislature to oppose the Governor’s proposal to increase the number of charter schools in NYC, either by eliminating the regional caps or allowing the re-issuance of “zombie” charters; and be it further 

Resolved that, instead, we urge the Legislature to repeal the law that obligates DOE to provide space to charter schools in public schools or help pay for their rent– the only district in the nation with this onerous requirement; and be it further

Resolved that, in addition, the UFT will lobby the Legislature  to make NYC eligible for state charter transition aid from now on, and be provided with the $2.62 billion in past transition aid that was unfairly denied;  and be it further 

Resolved that the UFT will work with NYSUT to lobby NY State and NYC Comptrollers to perform financial and performance audits on the charter sector,  as well as NYCPS in their financial support of the charter sector; be it further

Resolved that the UFT will fight to ensure that all charter schools are legally obligated to adhere to the same disciplinary and suspension policies that public schools are required to follow under state law; be it further

Resolved that the law shall require the boards of all  Charter Management Organizations to be subject by law to Open Meetings law; be it further

Resolved that the UFT will work with NYSUT to lobby the state legislature to pass all of the 2023 bills in both the Senate and Assembly that strengthen the accountability and transparency of charter schools so that all of the schools that serve NYC students operate on a fair and just playing field; and be it further 

Resolved, that the UFT will continue to fight for fairness and equity for all New York City schools through our “Public Schools over Corporate Charters” member campaign.

Passed Unanimously.

Resolution on Budget:

Janella: The budget is harmful to our City’s public schools and students. We are calling for more transparency. Calling for a fair and just budget.

Ilona Nanay: Last year, lots of people were excessed. We want those jobs restored. We are still in a pandemic and it would be sick to drop resources now.


Whereas, the Mayor’s preliminary budget cuts at least $500 million from the NYCPS budget, in addition to the cuts imposed on this school year;  and

Whereas, according to the New York Independent Budget Office, the cuts in the Mayor’s preliminary budget for FY 2024 are projected to lead to another headcount loss of about 900 positions; and

Whereas, it is unclear how NYCPS proposes to spend the additional $568 million in state Foundation Aid for next year, the final payment in three-year phase-in of about $1.3 billion, resulting from the CFE lawsuit meant to provide NYC students with their right to a sound, basic education including smaller classes; and

Whereas, it is also unclear if the adopted changes in the Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula, which will send an additional $90 million to schools with a high number of students in temporary housing and/or those in poverty will cause other school budgets to be cut by that same amount; and

Whereas, starting this fall, the DOE is mandated to start lowering class size by 20%, with far smaller class size caps to be required of all schools over the next five years, which will require more funding for space and staffing; be it therefore

Resolved that the UFT demands data showing the total and individual level at which schools would be funded next year (FY 2024) as compared to this year (FY 2023), via their entire Galaxy budgets as well as FSF allocations, to have a clear understanding of any potential reductions in school budgeted amounts; be it further

Resolved that the UFT will advocate that the budget, if adopted, will be used to maintain or supplement current staffing levels at schools unless there are register losses; be it further

Resolved that the UFT ask NYCPS to clarify that the additional $90 million in FSF funds provided to schools with a high concentration of students in temporary housing  and/or in poverty will not cause other schools to be cut by that same amount; be it further

Resolved that the UFT demand that funding for new capacity in the capital plan be expanded rather than cut, to ensure sufficient space for all schools to meet the class size caps in the new state law; be it further

Resolved that the UFT demands that NYCPS include details as to how the $568 million in additional State Foundation Aid will be spent; be it further

Resolved that the UFT will urge NYCPS to allocate these funds to schools to allow them to restore critical programs and positions eliminated during FY2023, and to help them reach the smaller class size caps that are mandated by the new state law. 

Motion carries.

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June 2023