Union leadership votes to disenfranchise high school executive board members – Executive Board Minutes – 10/24/2022

LeRoy: Welcomes. Remembering Barbara Meily, moment of silence.

Open Mic:

Alison Dimas: IC in division of early childhood. On Sep. 6 we received excessing notices. Attempts to get on excess markets was unsuccessful, we weren’t listed properly. We only ever received proper attention from UFT when we came to the executive board. Initially told we weren’t really excessed. At times, felt like UFT was working with the DOE administration. Later, our excessing status turned to ‘yes.’ The question as to whether or not we were excessed keeps changing. What has the UFT done to make sure ICs are reinstated. We need to help those who cannot help themselves – the children. Let’s work together to save public education.

Melissa Williams: Unpacking what happened here on Oct. 3, a resolution on privatizing medicare, presented by Nick Bacon. Ilona Nanay brought up a personal story about her mother dying on Medicare Advantage. Was rudely interrupted by A. Williams and then Vincent Gaglione said you have to ‘know what you are buying.’ In 2015, we voted in favor of the NY health act. You can individually be trustful of Medicare Advantage and still let the resolution go to the DA. I have a lot of ideas of why you won’t let it go to the floor. When opposition critiques democracy, this is what we have in mind – the events on Oct 3. Cutting my mic when I was speaking at a negotiation meeting. The discussion on healthcare. Making jokes such as ‘teachers love to go to the doctor’ doesn’t land well on teachers with chronic illnesses. Many of us have lost family and loved ones. Many of us have seen how broken the healthcare system is. Take care on how you emphatically vote down things that can send us into traumatic responses. We are not naïve, we have thought of these issues and come to decisions.

Norm Scott: We need two hours. I looked over the FAQ that Mulgrew and it’s mostly fiction. Where are the healthcare costs coming from? The money is going to administrative costs – 15% on MA vs 2% public traditional healthcare. It’s the same as charter schools. You are helping the government privatize a public good, just like charter schools. Eva Moskowitz isn’t public school 265 part c just as public Medicare advantage isn’t privatization isn’t that. When medicare advantage gets to 75 and 80 percent, medicare will be on life support.

LeRoy Barr: Minutes all pass.

Questions Period:

Ibeth Mejia: Have some questions about administrative code. Right now the code has us pay up to the HIP HMO rate. Makes sense that Medicare pays 80 percent and the other rates are 20 percent. So the plans pay nearly as much as a plan paying $400.

Joe Usatch: Retirees do not pay a premium for their healthcare benefits. They do pay for their prescription drug plan. Medicare eligible-retirees pay for Medicare Part B, that comes out of their SS checks. But they receive reimbursement from the city. I think they pay $151.30.

Ibeth Mejia: Why are the unions saying we need to change 12-126 when the HIP rate is a pretty good cap? Also the term ‘mutual agreement’ is there for negotiating.

Joe Usatch: Response missed.

Lydia Howrilka: Shelvy Abrams has retired, congratulations. Priscilla Castro is now being identified as the interim para chapter chair. Why wasn’t there an election?

LeRoy: there will be an election. This is an interim acting.

Mike Schirtzer: question on behalf of my school. Not title 1. Fully staffed. In compliance. Correct number of SPED teachers, which we haven’t had since the pandemic. But no budget for per session or per diem. PTA is buying the paper. Had the same situation 5 years ago. Howy Shore (sp?) went to consultation. Our FSF has come down by 10 grand. Don’t have a single dollar for extra stuff. Where’s the money that the government gave us – we saw it last year, but was supposed to be 3 years? None of the stuff we had last year. Anything you can do or we can do for a non-title 1 school to have some extra money.

Mike Sill: City keeps talking about the cliff that we’re on if we use it to pay for people’s full time salaries since it will eventually dry up. But extracurriculars are so enriching – and yet the first thing to be cut. I would be happy to make myself available to you or anyone else listening to look at your budget and determine which budgets are the best to bring to the city to see what can be done.

Mike Schirtzer: We’re fine with opening our books. But what we do?

Mike Sill: CSA is saying exactly what the UFT is saying, which is that these budget cuts are awful.

Ronnie Almonte: Queston about data and the NY health act. Where are the so-called numbers that leadership has said that says the NY health act will be too expensive for the City? Only numbers come from the pro-charter Manhattan Institute – at least those are the only numbers I’ve seen.

Joe Usatch: Can’t speak to it, but I’ve heard discussions in MLC…

Nick Bacon: Friend called MAP and never heard back. Twice. This person went through a traumatic experience and no one was there. Kept being told he’d hear back and never did.

LeRoy Barr: (paraphrasing, I was standing): MAP is doing great, but of course we want to help the member, but please email me.

Nick Bacon: It sounds like we’re losing GHI, and people are reporting not being able to find providers as it is. They call the people listed on the website and it turns out they aren’t GHI providers. It also sounds like the plan is to cut costs further for whatever the new premium free plan(s) are. Might this get even worse?

Joe: National psych. Crisis. There aren’t enough providers there to support. Tina and her office are doing their best. Yes, when you go to the Emblem site they go to Beacon. This has been brought up at MLC – the website needs to be refreshed. It’s being discussed. Send me an email.

Raul Garcia: Tina and I have been working closely. One of the issues we have is identifying providers – Hello Hero. Hard to get counseling no matter where you are. This came up for our membership. Easy for anyone in our chapter. Tina has a connection, and you can be connected. So MAP is doing an amazing job. We have to take care of ourselves before we take care of others.

Ilona Nanay: Why were the other 3 people here to speak not called on?

LeRoy Barr: we didn’t know they were here. If people email me, I put them on a list and they. No one spoke up. That ten minutes has passed, so they can’t present anymore.

Ilona Nanay: It’s an intimidating space, maybe that’s why. Circling back to the IC coach. There are a lot of non-union contractors also working in similar jobs. How are we going to fight for our members?

Mike Sill: We saw what we saw to be a new crisis – a new development in this crisis last week. Stuff about status changing on the excess site. Never seen this before. Some sites excessed, some not. I’m confused now. Sometimes we give information, without necessarily endorsing management’s position. Resent the accusation. There was basically a paperwork error changing statuses and this was done without telling anyone. We’re still waiting for responses, but we’re still fighting to make sure you aren’t really excessed.

Lydia Howrilka: Over 50 teachers have come to me. It has also been brought to our attention that probationary teachers who have either been discontinued from probationary service or denied certification of completion of probation are being held up in getting a teaching position in a different DOE school, even if some new principal wants them.  The problem relates to lengthy delays on the part of DOE’s Office of Personnel Investigation (OPI) in conducting background investigations and issuing clearances pursuant to Chancellor’s Regulation C-105.  What will the UFT do in terms of looking into the situation and speeding up the process?

Mike Sill: When a person is discontinued and wants to get hired, if that’s all that’s there, a person can have a problem code. It sounds scary. In some cases is. But all it means is you can’t automatically go on to the Table of Organization on a school. So if they get discontinued and go to a different district or a different license area, they can still be hired. But high schools are a citywide district, so if you’re discontinued in a license area at a Manhattan high school you can’t go to a Bronx high school in the same license. Otherwise, there is an ‘acknowledgement’ protocol, where a principal acknowledges they see a problem code and want to be hired anyways. A principal will sometimes see that problem code and blame it on the system just to avoid difficult conversations. But often enough people are hired.

Amy Arundell: The union has done things – we’ve taken the calls, walked people through the process, called principals on behalf of people. Etc. I’ve done it personally as have many of me colleagues. So I understand the frustration as a parent of a public school student, this system does have a responsibility to do background checks to make sure people will be hired who should be. We have responsibilities to people who have been discontinued and students in this system.

Ilona Nanay: Hear the passion in your voices. But I’m curious about your take on non-union people coming into coach.

Mike Sill: That is of concern to us. We have seen postings that look like original IC postings and DOE has said they aren’t looking to work with e.g. CUNY. We will continue to raise debate.

Liz Perez: We are the UFT and we will do it together.

Theresa Bellow: Prekindergarden SPED teacher. Oct 24th. Have 3k and prek mixed together, and still haven’t received occupational or physical therapy. The schedules are full. Any guidance?

Mary Jo Genese: You can fill out a SPED complaint as can the parent. Parent can also email me directly.

Karen Alford: Thanks Theresa to take advocacy into her own hands. Recent article in the post that an educrat was accused of misleading on prek staffing issues. I’ll be sure to bring up your issue in my next meetings.

Reports from Districts:

Camille Eddy: Piggy back off what others have said. We fight like hell. Had 119 members come out to meeting today. On Friday had a D. 16 mingle fest.

Name Missed: Comeback after the setback. Welcomed over 200 members at the BJ’s brewery house, with a certification rep, an APPR rep. You can take the girl out of high school but your soul will always be there. We’re doing our annual cope voting event. Last time we brought in 10k per year for the union.

Mary Vaccaro: 32 new teacher centers opening in school. Wonderful performance by special needs students that recently saw. Will send out dates for grand openings that are great.

Mike Schirtzer: 3 reports.

-Teacher in focus hosted by Janella and Leo. Career fair. A bunch of my kids came. Saw union jobs.

-Broadway bridges. 10 dollars each for some tickets. Only opportunity for some of these kids to go there.

-Breast cancer walk. Really important for folks in both unions.

Ashley (D. 30 Rep.) A lot of people coming to our events and had a para meeting. People want to be in person.

Rashad Brown:

-Monday Oct. 31st is deadline for some loan forgiveness . If can’t make webinars, we have other venues to help. $10 million our members are saving and we aren’t done yet.

-Pride committee. Had a good happy hour event with 20 members. We’re going to take it.

Joseph Usatch: Increased income figures for Shanker scholarship (updated). Money now goes directly to students, not colleges. Made it easier to do it online.

Tom Murphy: had 175 in person people, over 3000 online. Michael gave big health care report. Retiree phone banking happening at UFT headquarters, focusing mainly on NY right now. Waiting on AFT for out of state priorities. Imagine if we lose a congressional seat – the lights we’ll lose.

Seung Lee: District 1 had event. Very well attended. Also had a paint and sing in district 4. Ms. Espert has a strong gift in painting. She really is doing the work. She was in Philly getting out the vote. Sunday, Bridget Rein’s mother was honored.

Carl Cambria: Non-DOE news. Federation of nurses recently had a huge arbitration victory and resolution. Howard Sendell was integral in getting this across the finish line. CL at NYU Brooklyn. As were others, especially A. Goldman. Contract has specific number of nurses that have to be on union. Pandemic we switched everything to arbitration, to force hospital’s hand. Took hundreds of cases. Went back to arbitration over short staffing incidents. In this particular arbitration resolution, 730 incidents of shortstaffing in one year – height of pandemic. There are 1,000 nurses, and filed over 1,000 grievances on this. We leveraged this at arbitration. In the end, we forced the hospitals to pay 734 nurses collectively over $100,000 (90 to 2000 each, depending) for work during pandemic. Other nurses nearby don’t even have the right to grieve let alone arbitrate short staffing incidents. Congrats to these nurses for their work, huge achievement. We can learn from our non-DOE union brothers and sisters.

Debbie Poulos: Closing in on SBO deadline. 4000+ modifications approaching. Line 1031 – yes you can SBO moving the extended time on Halloween to another day, but need to this week.

Special Order of Business: Smallheiser nominees.

3 motions in addition to election complaint.

Janella Hinds: Share report to central labor council. 1 million working-people votes in NYC. 20 percent of households were union households, but only about 1/3 showed up. Goal is to ramp up our turnout. Please turn your ballot over and vote yes on all four ballot initiatives: clean air bond act, racial justice commission – statement of values, establish racial equity office, measure the true cost of living.

Nick Bacon: endorses below reso. We have heard tonight that ‘we’ are the ‘UFT.’ Our union agrees on a lot of stuff. We agree that the workweek shouldn’t be 80 hours. We don’t agree on everything, and sometimes UFT leadership presents things as if we do. For instance, often there are presentations made at DAs and put out in official publications that speak as if they represent the entire UFT even though they only present the position of one caucus. UFC represents a major number/percentage of the electorate, having gotten over 15,000 votes (34%), as well as 42% of voting in-service members, and the majority of voting high school members (the only reason I’m here tonight). For instance, on healthcare, presentations are given suggesting that ‘the UFT’ supports its current approach on Medicare Advantage / reducing healthcare costs. Another FAQ recently published reads like ‘the UFT’ debunking United for Change, making claims that Unity caucus arguments, like that Medicare Advantage isn’t privatization, are ‘facts.’ You can make the argument that MA isn’t privatization, but clearly it’s just that – an argument, not a fact. Opposition caucuses make the argument that it’s privatization. Moreover, there are some outright lies in the FAQ. The UFT never said we were critical of the NY Health Act. We published a resolution in support of it. Some members of Unity caucus in high positions spoke against it despite the reso. But, opposition caucuses clearly view the act as one possible way of solving our healthcare problems without privatization. Opposition caucuses, who represent almost half of voting in-service teachers, should be able to present our views. Just as we teach our kids to listen to multiple positions, we should let our union to multiple positions. Let’s give a short period of time at DAs and the right to publish minority reports to United for Change.

Here’s the text:

Resolution on Creating a Minority Report

Whereas, both caucuses/coalitions running slates in the 2022 UFT election (Unity and United for Change) won executive board seats in the 2022 UFT election.

Whereas, the United for Change slate received the votes of 15,092 UFT members and thus represents 34% of all voting members, including 42% of voting in-service teachers, and the majority of voting high school teachers.

Whereas, recently, UFT officers elected on the Unity slate or their delegates have given official presentations and published official union literature that give one-sided takes on issues that were major sources of contention between Unity and United for Change during the election, and which continue to be major sources of contention in debates held during executive board meetings and delegate assemblies (most notably, healthcare). 

Whereas these presentations, publications, and ‘FAQs,’ presented via official uft channels, omit the critical minority viewpoint from the opposition party, United for Change.

Whereas, it is common for democratic deliberative bodies to include space/time for seat-holding opposition parties to deliver minority reports, both orally and in written form. 

Be it resolved that, for the duration of their terms, the seat-holding members elected under United for Change be allowed to give or delegate a minority report at delegate assemblies, not to exceed 10 minutes.

Be it resolved that these 10 minutes will be taken from the period of time that the UFT president gives his report, rather than from the questions or resolutions periods.

Be it resolved, that in any official communications pertaining to issues that were contested during the election or which are still being contested along caucus lines in executive board meetings, the seat holding members of the opposition caucus will be allowed to publish a minority point of view through the same official UFT channels. 

Name missed: This is political.

Lamar Hughes: Can’t find the logic in cutting the president’s report. Director of the welfare fund also spoke. Don’t think we should vote for all.

Ilona Nanay: On democracy – this could be a mechanism where you actually hear dissenting views.

Lydia Howrilka: Rise in favor – it’s antiunion to silence people just because you disagree with their viewpoints. Let us share our opinions.

Leo Gordon: Rises in opposition. Enough adequate space to bring grievances to bring whatever questions they have. We are careful to not represent for our caucus. Our presentation on FAQs. There was a caucus that tried to bring a resolution to reduce the president’s report and it was already defeated.

Ed Calamia: Rise in favor. It has been said that this would divide the union. There are already divisions in the union. The people who voted for UFC are also members of the union. For us to work through those divisions, we have to do so in a principled way where all sides come out and actually debate. We can talk about what the delegate assemblies should be – but with presidents reports so long? Do we pass a resolution commemorating the goodness of apple pie and then go home? We have to let the opinions percolate up from the union?

Mike Schirtzer: Point of process. In terms of this resolution and even the election reports, if we don’t have the information beforehand, it’s hard to vote and decide. Can these things – written things, be sent out?

LeRoy Barr: Only need 7 signatures. Can also just be 5 (point by Shulman). We don’t want to limit the ability to send out.

Mike Sill: Stand in opposition. Let’s be real – we just had a 70+ UFC election complaint.

Rashad: calls question.

Defeated loudly.

Resolution to Request Audit of Board of Education Retirement System (endorsed by Debra Penny and Tom Brown). Passes unanimously.

Reso to Reduce Exec Board Question Period to 15 minutes (Amy Arundell). Many Unity candidates speak in favor, saying that the period is now too long or too political.

Ed Calamia and Nick Bacon speak against. Ed notes that some of the answers to questions are minutes and minutes long. Nick notes that this is political, is only being offered—for the first time in exec board history—because the 7 are disproportionally asking questions, often on behalf of actual UFT members, some of whom come to the open mic. People will hear about this. This is political disenfranchisement of our members and insomuch as it’s about ‘time,’ do what you gotta do I guess to go home early and ‘do the work.’

Passed Loudly with nay votes from UFC members, Mike Schirtzer, and at least a few people from other tables.

Election Complaints (too long, will post all of it once I have it in writing).

  • Lack of access to mailboxes for ufc members (supposedly redressed by UFT leadership).
  • Chapter leaders posting Unity literature in places they shouldn’t or taking UFC literature down.
  • Complaints over salesforce.

Ibeth: Notes that the report being given this late makes the UFT out of compliance with the law. ‘The summer is not an excuse.’ This report is out of compliance with the law, which matters.

LeRoy Barr: notes that investigation couldn’t be completed when dates weren’t around. Also UFC did not often agree to meeting dates in a timely way (?). We hired outside counsel, under advice of lawyers. We’re gonna move on. Some of the same accusations for Unity were also UFC issues. So let’s come out of this as one.


  • Avatar
    Lamar Hughes

    I would like to say for the record, that your summary is incorrect. I spoke in opposition to the resolution posed in part bc it’s void of logic.

    There is no forum where a President should have their report by any amount of time, let alone 10 minutes, especially in the times we’re living in. I want my president to provide as much information as possible, so we can be as well-informed as possible. Healthcare is a big issue. Who better than the director of the Welfare Fund to come to the DA and walk members through the process of providing detail to the issue at hand.

    So, by your logic, our presidents gets his time to address the delegates reduced. Not what’s needed to get through matters that affect our schools. If you want a space to retort to the President’s Report, you’re more than capable of doing so on your own platform.

    • baconuft

      You are absolutely right that healthcare is a big issue. If we want to be as ‘well-informed as possible,’ we should see more than one perspective. The DA has become nothing but a majority report by the Unity Caucus. We asked for some time to show minority positions in a brief minority report, so that our delegates would have more well rounded understandings of the issues. Your caucus responded with a resolution to cut our time to ask questions of union leadership. This has the opposite effect of keeping members as ‘well-informed as possible.”

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