UFT Delegate Assembly Notes 2-7-2014

Summary Analysis

  • James Eterno, who tragically died well before his time yesterday, was honored tonight with a moment of silence. James was a former NAC member and a giant of the UFT opposition. He played a big part in my personal decision to join the UFT opposition, and I know he did the same for many others. He deserves to be honored, and I appreciate that UFT leadership, entirely constituted by Unity Caucus, acknowledged him with a moment of silence.
  • Most of Mulgrew’s DA report was already in yesterday’s executive board report, but much longer. Somehow, when he speaks at the executive board, it takes five minutes. When he gets to the DA, he takes over an hour. I’m sure that has nothing to do with reducing the time for us to discuss resolutions, right?
  • One of Mulgrew’s speeches was a grueling PowerPoint about contract implementation. Members were put to sleep while looking at slides that said very little. Mulgrew can be as optimistic as he wants to pretend to be about the contract, but the bottom line is we did terrible. Our raises are low, much lower than the new nurses contract UFT keeps bragging about. Indeed, our raises are below the non-unionized national average. It’s an embarrassment, and we should be ashamed to be speaking optimistically about it – we should be acknowledging its faults and working to correct our mistakes before we get to the next negotiation.
  • Mulgrew also finally showed us his consultation notes – they were a tad lackluster. If basic instructional supplies, staffing, wifi issues, and bulletin boards are all Mulgrew is talking about, where is curriculum choices, abusive administration, etc?
  • Daniel Alicea of NAC and EONYC asked a great question about pension. Mulgrew did his usual response when faced with a good question from opposition – he pretended that the person asking was saying something untrue, then confirmed what that person said. Yes, it turns out negotiating with the City to jointly lobby about pension reform is critical to the state certifying pension reforms. Mulgrew even acknowledged NYS generally looks for that before reforming pensions. What he didn’t mention is there is no agreement in our latest contract for the UFT and the DOE to jointly lobby NYS for pension reforms. So, what are we doing to reform Tier 6, other than printing out glossy pamphlets with our dues?
  • After the anti-democratic decision to rush through a successor to Dave Kazansky at executive board just two days ago, somehow that resolution found itself at the top of the agenda today. (No one ever confirmed altering the agenda, so this is a problem). Indeed, it was the only resolution even called upon. After pressing their thumbs on the scale, a series of Unity speakers got their way to endorse someone most of us haven’t heard of to replace Kazansky. I tried to get NAC’s brilliant pension aficionado, Ben Morgenroth, co-endorsed, but Unity stacked the deck – bringing out VPs and high level adcom speakers to crush the amendment, calling only on one pro-amendment person over the phone. Shout out to Peter Lamphere who spoke well on the antidemocratic problems with the resolution as unamended. While several hundred votes were counted for Ben Morgenroth to also be co-endorsed, ultimately we lost that vote. But, he can still run. Those of you who couldn’t make his tier 6 webinar should look at his PowerPoint on Tier 6 – it is eye opening.

Informal Minutes.

Moment of silence for James Eterno. Activist who bettered this union. Valentine’s month.

Contract implementation – we have our contract. Tough part was it had more changes than ever before. Great, but we have a massive implementation headache.

Nationally, President’s race going on. Donno what else to say. Happy that court of appeal that no person is above the law of the US laws. That’s good. Can’t believe had to have 3 judges decide that.

Souzzi race. Thanks volunteer. People saying all sorts of nice things. Gonna always stress this. We look at both candidates – who is in best interest of this union. You can vote for someone else, but we endorse who best protects our interests as unionized workers. Pretty simple who to endorse. One party doesn’t like public education, wants to privatize. Massive early voting has happened on both sides. Gotta keep going will see what it is. Talk about governor’s budget proposal.

State: Budget proposal changed – how money is determined. Not afraid of changing foundation aid formula – advocated changing it for years. Plenty of data of how to change it for needs of students. Not just 10 year average and take high and low number off – that’s no thought. Taken from Olympics – we don’t need this.

Hold harmless provision we also have a problem. Not the one you might think of – schools and budgets. There is a recognition that there’s a cost to opening a school building. Because not a burger store or retail chain. Size of class is very important. Lose students, perhaps class sizes smaller. Hold harmless question is about extra money for students who aren’t there. Gotta have a plan, phase it in so it makes sense. Just opening the building costs money. Anyone working with colleagues not in this district – what the rest of the school districts are focused on.

Charters. Right now, 1900 per pupil increase in charter, 400 for public school. Because of a confluence of events – tuition lags, increase in allowance. Also, allowance for rent the charter pays. Add that together, bad place. Not like that’s new. Many legislative session. Why do we have to be the only school district that supplies space/rent, especially since charters get rent money even if get space. Thanks Moscowitz, Bloomberg.

Wanna be clear on fix tier 6 – all of our issues in AFL-CIO. Much better approach doing it that way. We will be lobbying about that, was asked all three days. Unfair, this was jammed through during last recession. We do not negotiate pensions, that’s illegal. We lobby for pension changes. We can change this. Need everyone understand the process. Don’t want members running around saying we have to demand this. Took us 20 years + to fix tier 4, ahead of space. Strategies we do with all the public sector unions. Early morning meeting.

Mayoral control – when it sunsets, know what our position is. Want to be a little bit more. Position mayoral control, went through Cleveland’s, Boston’s, New Haven’s – they have mayoral control, the mayor chooses the final decision making panel (i.e. PEP), but the Mayor may only choose from people selected by nominating committee, of which they often have little control. Once put on these boards, they’re on a fixed term, mayor can’t do anything about it. Not saying what want, but have to dispel myth that changing mayoral control from way it is here—with mayor picking majority of PEP—is only version of mayoral control. People here fired for not doing what they’re told – that’s crap. Goal of last week was to tie different things together. Has the mayor supplanted school funding (yes), was there a financial reason (no).

How do you give the mayor any sort of control, who supplants funding, who removes money from funding despite being bound to lower class sizes by NYS law. One thing in that law that allows process to be stopped. Happens in a year in a half. Had all the money we needed and since then 2.5 billion dollars have been taken out of the capital plan, because trying to use financial review period to stop the law.

We are suing, but why do we have to wait for a lawsuit to end in 2 years – just give us a law making it illegal for him to do this!

They’re biggest thing is – look what done with science of reading. Would a panel without mayoral control support science of reading for support? Yes. But would be against supplanting budget. That’s what’s at stake.

Seems that governor has put mayoral control inside of the budget. Believe the senate/assembly want to take that out of the budget – which is a good thing. Bad things sometimes happen inside of budgets, and budgets are only supposed to be about what is economic. We’ll see where all that goes. For you to know the process, the rest of this month, there will be a lot more…All happens in March. Governor’s bill out there now, then one from senate, then house, then you get negotiations from the elected officials in Albany. Monday, March 11th UFT lobby day – important. Thanks those who have been coming to these hearings.

Finish, April 1, minute done we roll right into City budget. Could be even more interesting and fun that what just did in Albany.

Congestion Pricing  – whole bunch of people now sued. Some look familiar, look like plagiarism. Judge has asked for councils of all lawsuits to meet – some based on different things. Implementation is coming April 1, waiting to see what happens. This could stop it. 18 other plaintiffs who have joined us under plaintiff status. Now completely bipartisan.

Thank negotiating team for VNS nurses – finalized contract, 1 vote of no. Not easy. Think about those jobs, how difficult they are, driving around taking care of so many people.

Website, Ask George, is alive and well. Supposed to help you, get information you and members need faster. First person helping us must be George Altomare (applause), family happy.

Next chapter leader weekend March 2nd.

Contract Implementation report.

Wages – already received. Money for ratification, raises x2, digital classroom, uniform allowance are done. Annual bonus is still coming. Some issues with ratification bonuses for people on leaves, but mostly done. Credit—hard for me—DOE payroll department. Everyone has received their money. May pay coming up. So far, has been very smoothe when compared to other contracts. Good job, especially folks in payroll.

Consultation at the school level  – complaints resolved around 55 minute remote work. 1,100 + paperwork and operational issues raised in consultation committees. 95%+ already resolved at the school level. Had to deal with the 55 minute stuff, for some reason some had a problem with everything, others easy. Thanks CLs for getting things resolved. 95% of complaints – when members use rights, get relief.

Consultation at the chancellor’s level – different system. Have been doing well. Have added basic instructional supplies, staffing, wifi issues, and bulletin boards. Best thing about this, the chancellor is like – why are these issues. 2 months in a row…problem of communication below you. Principals trained to think that bulletins boards must be pretty – teachers always write me, they don’t care about lesson plans, etc, but care about bulletin boards. Problem in the system, because this is a joke. Never would have been on my consultation – there because so many people tried to resolve and couldn’t resolve.

96 schools filed paperwork and operational reports – brought up in schools, but could not be resolved. 76 schools were able to resolve all recent issues – space for functional members, unreasonable emails, basic instructional supplies (printers, copiers, etc), staff development committees, sbo implementation (the way it’s written and voted on – we’ve pulled ones that weren’t implemented by the principal), parent engagement logs. This is about enforcement.

Elementary schools, 4 periods in a row. Has been an issue forever. Elementary school teachers have to go to the bathroom too. This one tough because schools were already programmed – hopefully fix more in Feb and Sep. Only 55 elementary schools that have someone programmed for 4 in a row.

Dismissal harder, because say they’ve always done it. Think if we do a deeper dive we’ll see a bigger issue.

Workday and remote work – 55 remote was easy, well some fighting in some places because of some stupid administrators. School-based functional titles was nasty. Calendar agreement for next two years.

Virtual learning – not going well. Biggest failure of contract. We are at the table with voice, input, and control. DOE wanted this, but they had no plan. When it was clear that no school would be open in September, we asked the PROSE schools so we could show something. 20 PROSE schools began in fall 2023. Second part of the school year, was expecting large number of high schools to take advantage. 20 schools is bad – DOE is doing usual. When something has to be figured out, but have to remember – high schools, credit recovery is a huge piece. Already have a list of schools where I’d say no, because they’ve done things that have already been done. Should at least be setting up evening and Saturday programs. That’s the easy thing – high schools. 9th grade, biggest bang for buck in terms of graduation rate. 11th and 12th it’s harder – need different type of program. We’re the only ones talking about this – DOE doesn’t even know this. We should be designing programs, designing around them. Putting together a program during the school day is more complicated, but only way we figure it out is by doing it. Have to do the work. Massive supporters of 3k and prek. Now, we want virtual to work.

Almost like someone is telling DOE not to do something because the public will like it!

Special Education – best thing to ever happen was SPED training, record number of complaints. Most of them have been fixed at the school level, but erased decades of myths, blatant lies.

School special education committees, approximately 50% of schools have met and reported. 20% completely resolved issues at meetings, 53% had improvements. All outstanding issues being escalated to the district. Number one issue is pulling IEP teacher when someone is out. NY is under state review.

Sick, personal and other leave time. People using new bereavement time (sad to say), parental leave – no problem anymore. Injury in line of duty, OP200 form, has allowed to speed up whole process. Now have more medical arbitrators.

H-bank and cybershift access. Good news and bad news, we resolve the issues on salary issues. DOE too busy. So let’s expand UFT access so we can do the research a lot faster. Still have problems for OT/PT overtime. Chancellor is good on these issues, can’t understand why people don’t get paid.

Labor Management Committees (LMC) – all 13 have been formed. Programming committees: focused on 4 in a row issue, why we’re down to 55 schools. Next time number will be down. Working on getting school-based members involved. Working on developing a list of all assessments. If you add something, need to take something away, otherwise taking away instructional time.

Guidance – 13 pieces of guidance that keeps getting misinterpreted.

Guidance issued to date – appropriate space, professional activities for SPED, etc.

You took these things and ran. Should be very proud of work. Everyone will get paid. Everything will be implemented.

Report ends at 5:19 PM

Secretary’s Report

LeRoy Barr: CTE awards coming up, Friday Feb 9th in this room. Phenomenal gala. Please purchase tickets if haven’t already.Sold out actually, so next year. Thanks Vice President, Leo Gordon.

School counselors conference here in Shanker hall. Thank them.

 Social worker appreciation day, March 8th.

Nominations for High School awards is Feb 16th. Get in nominations.

UFT middle school scavenger hunt, March 19th. Ask Rich Mantell.

Lunar New Year – join Asian Heritage Committee for celebration. Ask Seung Lee. House of Joy.

Black History Film Series. Firm film last week, high on the hog: how African American cuisine transformed America. Next one is a documentary on racism in the U.S. Then Rustin, bio pic. Final one on March 7th, Ladies First: a story of the women in hip hop.

Herstory celebration, taking place on March 16th. Please speak to Janella Hinds.

Para festival: New York Hilton.

Early childhood conference (Karen Alford – we will have the author of the Pete the Cat series!) LeRoy: guess I have to read that!

UFT Peloton rides coming up.

Ends at 5:24

Mulgrew: Watching the high school people, they’re like ‘what?’ about Pete the Cat. More laughter and banter.

Question Period (5:24)

Daniel Alicea: Thanks body for honoring James Eterno. Know that Randi Weingarten negotiated a merit pay program with Bloomberg, in exchange for 25/55. We know that in 1991, we negotiated a one year contract some creative financing that dealt with our pensions. Also in the 80s, some contingent. 12-307 admin code says we have the right to mandatory subjects of agreement including healthcare premiums, pensions, wages, etc. Taylor Law also speaks to it.

Mulgrew: Pensions can only be done through legislative acts. No legislator will act unless there is an agreement with municipalities and workers, but don’t have to have that agreement. Don’t have to when there is an agreement either. What happens is the state is responsible for any changes. So can talk to others, but can’t negotiate another tier. When Tier 6 pensions came out, wasn’t negotiated. Can we lobby with the City for something, yes? Does that mean it gets done, no. Very concerned in NYS when it has to do with one municipality and not the rest of the state. Not collective bargaining because can’t come to an agreement, but can agree to lobby together.

Name missed: stabbing in school, then labeled one of worst schools in city, now less and less safety agents. Has there been any conversation with the city about stepping up schools with issues involving violence. We are stepping up, but is the City saying anything about being accountable to safety of students and staff.

Mulgrew: Only thing they’ve said anything about this is – we’re in a budget crisis, load of crap. Know the mayor cut the last safety agent. Going to do a class of 125 agents which is ridiculous. We need 3,000. Have been woefully short for years, don’t treat them correctly. Part of NYPD technically, but don’t get the same training. We do some joint training with them once they’re working in the schools. Feel this is important work. Woefully understaffed. Gonna keep going after them on this. Not the right amount. Can’t let mayor supplants money. Surplus for this operating year. What we look for all the time. Shifted billions into future debt, a way to hide money. This is why budget is so infuriating. About what we’re doing to core of what we need to do our work. When it gets real, we’ll be honest that it’s real, but this is not real. We will finish with a surplus. OMB was off by 12 billion dollars. This is a game, when you play this way people get hurt.

Seth Gilman: Who can we contact as CLs when it comes to this. We’re done at my campus by many agents. Someone has to die or hurt before something changes. Who can we contact?

Mulgrew: Gotta be a City council priority. Mayor now hiring more police officers, who will come from the school safety agent ranks.

Yvette Collins: When you do have a ICT class, can the gen ed teacher be pulled and ICT stays?

Mulgrew: No, minute one is closed it’s a compliance issue.

Name Missed: Feel like I’m the next contestant on the price is right. CL. Big thing coming up in my building is will the time for PD and parent engagement being reconfiguredfor the next school year?

Mulgrew: No, not for us. Parent engagement time is a remote issue.

Name Missed: members not liking parent engagement being remote because of accountability part.

Mulgrew: Talk to your DR.

5:39 – new motions.

T. Reaves (Murrow CL): honoring the impact of women for women’s history month for next month’s agenda. We see a lot of females working alongside men in our union, ensuring that we join in every fight. Looking across table, there were women standing tall and proud to ensure we were together on the fight. Want to urge everyone here to show that we’re working together as a union. Who are we (UFT), who are we (UFT)? Ask for support to put on the calendar for next month’s agenda.

Passes: 89% passes to go on next month’s agenda.


Kat McGrath: next month’s agenda, resolution for fairness in excessing. Resolved – to support that when a school has to excess, it is done with full fairness, not just UFT represented employees, also what is fair to kids. In other words, CSA also has to be excessed (Mulgrew’s clarification).

Passes: (percent missed).

Motion Period.


Mulgrew does motion of personal privilege to speak in favor of Dave Kazansky, taking job at AFT on pension, right person for job. Stay a bit here, but can’t do his old job.

Dave Kazansky: Throw support behind UFT behind Christina McGrath. Grew retirement fund while I was here to over 120, while doing what is right around climate, diversity. Will miss work. Fantastic. Tom will talk and speak about her, but what an honor it was to do this work for all of you. Throws support behind Christina.

Victoria Lee: supports after congratulating. Need to prepare an understudy. Have capabilities. Not as known her involvement behind the scenes. We need a candidate already deeply engaged. More than 20 years in pension department. Extensive experience. We throw behind full support.

Tom Brown: Congratulates Dave Kazansky, gonna do good things at the AFT. Support reso to endorse McGrath. Started as elementary school teacher. Pension workshops. Editor/coeditor. Led way for members for virtual pension consultations. Smart, strong. Part of process to maintain continuity. Can say with total confidence that qualified.

Motion to extend (passes)

Nick Bacon: I would like to make a motion to amend. I would like to motivate after

MM: What would you like to amend?

I am not asking to remove anything just amend

Whereas, Ben Morgenroth is a qualified rank and file pension advocate supported by members of the UFT Executive board, Resolved the UFT will co-endorse Ben Morgenroth and accept and support whoever wins the election.

One important thing, we are talking about the UFT endorsing someone for an election. Any teacher in the DOE can get 1k signatures and run, regardless of who gets an endorsement today. I want to thank David Kazansky for his work. There was not much of a process to endorse his successor. I just found out about it on Friday, and I’m a member of the UFT Executive Board. There was no process.

Ben Morgenroth is another candidate. I am not asking you not to endorse Christina McGrath. I think we need at least two candidates and support whoever wins.

Ben is a tier 6 teacher. He studied economics and applied mathematics at Brown University and worked on wall street before becoming a teacher. He teaches at Brooklyn Tech as well as at universities in the subject of math. He knows math and finance and is a passionate pension advocate. If you saw his pension presentation last week, he without inside info or pay, was able to do an amazing presentation. Only with his quantitative brilliance were we ever able to understand that it is millions Tier 6 members lose relative to traditional Tier 4 members.

This is an election open to all. Ben is qualified has exec board support why not endorse him too?

Karen Alford: Listened to last speaker, never heard the name of that candidate. All in agreement that when our wonderful work is done, we want someone qualified. Heard three trustees who wholeheartedly gave their support, no other names mentioned during that time. Dave Kazansky, Victoria Lee, and Tom Brown. Want their recommendations. Unity gets up to do a standing ovation.

Peter Lamphere: I am speaking in favor of Nick’s amendment. With all due respect, this is a question of democracy. TRS pension board is an elected position, even though there’s never been a contested election that I am aware of. If there are multiple candidates, it’s not a question of whether 2 or 3 individuals, whoever they may be, decide – it’s one that should be decided by the entire membership. We should be willing to have that process, where members meet the schools. Should be able to have discussions and vote on who support. Should trust our membership to be able to make this decision. If this goes, everyone has the right to have a discussion and educate members. 2/3 of are TRS board have turned over in the last few years, it’s important that we think through who we replace with him. I have respect for Christina McGrath, but why not give all members a chance to look at all the candidates and have the ability to make their own decision.

LeRoy Barr: Rise to speak against the amendment and for motion. Personal privilege – worked closely with James Eterno for years. Just because we are opposite sides doesn’t mean we aren’t advocates for this union. OK to have opposing views to ultimately get to the best position in this union. Also important that amendment was raised, but this is democracy what we’re doing right now. Ultimately have a responsibility to say that we have a candidate who is qualified. Whoever wants to run, this is a fund of 100,000 dollars. Have to be prudent. Why we were elected. We need to make a decision today. As leaders you have a responsibility to say this comes from a line of people who have been doing this for years. Looking to what should we do.

Liz Perez: Call the question.

Close debate: 485-48. 142-9


Adding amendment, reads badly, almost purposely.

Yeses – 221, nos 305; 22 yes 131 no. Fails.

Resolution –

Passes, amount missed. 85%.

Nick Bacon is a co-chairperson at New Action Caucus. He is also an elected member of the UFT executive board


  • Avatar
    Bronx Public Teacher

    Nothing about inservice healthcare? He mentioned on Monday that they are still 3 insurance companies vying to be responsible for our healthcare. I bet that this will drop over the summer when teachers on vacation. We will all come back to school in September and folks will be livid. I know that most teachers at my school have absolutely no idea that they may be soon be loosing their primary care doctors and will have to once again deal with prior authorizations. (In addition to tons of other headaches related to this change)

    • Nick Bacon
      Nick Bacon

      July is one estimate I’ve heard, yes. I’m also wondering what’s going on with this Anthem lawsuit, though it’s sealed so we don’t know if has anything to do with future in-service care. Let us know if you’d like copies of the healthcare petition for your school. Not only does that help build awareness, but it gets us closer to the threshold we need to force a referendum vote on democratic input over healthcare changes.

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