Who actually needs time to read a contract anyways? – Executive Board Meeting, 1-9-2023

Summary: The full minutes are below, but here are some highlights:

  • The meeting started with two librarians talking about the specific issues they face. They called for better union infrastructure, such as the creation of a functional chapter.
  • Then, Luli Rodriguez (ICE/Solidarity) was ‘sworn in’ as the replacement for Lydia Howrilka (Solidarity), who recently left the DOE and thus her HS Executive Board seat to pursue other opportunities. We thank Unity Caucus for not running a candidate of their own against Luli. They agreed that UFC should keep the seat we won. I look forward to working with Luli in the future (her full endorsement by Ibeth Mejia can be seen below in the full minutes).
  • Two resolutions were presented on the floor. One, made in solidarity with the nurses, had no opposition. The other, motivated by Nick Bacon, was supported by MORE, New Action, Solidarity, and ICE, but voted down by Unity. That resolution asked that (1) After the experience of 2018’s rushed contract vote, especially in the DA, UFT members be given more time to read/understand contracts before holding pre-ratification and ratification votes; (2) all changes to contracts be summarized neutrally – i.e. not just claim in the ‘contract at a glance’ or equivalent that ‘there are no givebacks and we preserved premium free healthcare,’ if we actually ‘bargained’ away $600 million in healthcare ‘savings,’ basically compelling the privatization of Medicare; and (3) we get to vote on all MOAs, which function as addendums to contracts but often aren’t voted on even when they have profound effects on the workday (think ‘mandatory per session office hours when any student in your class has COVID). In any case, this resolution met with fierce resistance from Unity. Some of the points made sense. Carl Cambria in particular made a few fair arguments, like that the resolution would prevent timely votes if agreements came up in June. I still think an informed executive board, delegate assembly, and general membership is more important than a quick vote on something as important as the contract. But his point is taken. Amy Arundel, on the other hand, gave ad hominem attacks on either Nick Bacon or the High School Executive Board more generally depending on how you read her arguments – accusing the motivator(s) of having political motives. She also argued that somehow ‘being in schools and talking to members’ (a strange false dichotomy to make as a UFT staffer in opposition to school-based members) or doing the ‘teach in’ in January (where there won’t be a contract to read) is what is really needed, not additional time to actually read said contracts. It was a confusing set of ad hominem attacks and irrelevant points in an otherwise calm meeting. But, nevertheless, many in Unity applauded when she was done. And they voted down our right to vote on MOAs or have time to understand our contracts before we vote on them. A disappointing finish.

Full minutes below:

Open Mike

Victoria (Librarian): 22 year veteran. Came in as a teacher. Always felt like I had a union presence in district 85. Feel like I’ve been thrown into the waters since I’ve moved into being a librarian. Gave up money coming out of teacher leadership to become a librarian, find out I’m teaching 6 different courses and a librarian all at once. I want to be fair – a lot of people tried to help. But, no one really knew. Got into contact with other librarians. Felt like I had to come down and speak for those librarians. We went to school to be librarians and are treated like substitute teachers. Need support on a union level. UFT librarian ‘Check me out’ shirt design was disturbing. Good intentions, but our questions weren’t answered. So I’m just here to see we need help. I’m on my way out, but we’ve got new people coming in and they deserve help – the kind of union that I saw helping me all my years as a teacher.

Daniel Leviathan: Long-time librarian. Was also at the above UFT librarian meeting. The question of what can be done in libraries, especially in elementary schools, is a big question. There are library tasks (e.g. skills) that we can teach while teachers focus on content. But that isn’t happening in most places. We often find that UFT unable to help here. So, we need to ask about a functional chapter for librarians. This will help students get what they deserve.

LeRoy Barr: Introduces new district reps. Minutes approved.

Reports from Districts:

Karen Alford: For this year, instructional coordinators and social workers will remain in their original positions and not be excessed. Know the fight isn’t over, but enjoying this moment.

Amy Arundel: Update on success academy. Hearings on Success Academy. Well attended – long hearings. Asking people to get ready to come to Long Island City to join us in being vocal opponents to co-locations. Success will bring plenty of people, so we need to do the same. Another vote for a Bronx school coming up.

Debra Penny: In March of 2020, COVID death benefit, created. It has been extended to December 2024. Amazing benefit, but I hope no one has to use it. 50% of salary + health benefits for qualifying beneficiaries.

Seung Lee: Some well attended pension meetings mentioned. CDC training weekend. Next week, Asian American Lunar New Year banquet tickets. Everyone is invited to buy a ticket (March 10).

Adam Shapiro: District 21 met CLs and want to do district-wide contract negotiation activities. Button making, 75 people volunteered to donate their labor.

Nancy Armando: Feb. 2, Brooklyn will celebrate SRP event.

Carl Cambria: 500 negotiating committee. Wednesday, Feb. 1. Over 800 schools with CAT teams. Going to hold trainings for CAT members. Gearing up for teach-ins late January so they can gather to discuss contract benefits.

(one speaker missed).

Special Order of Business: H.S. Executive vacancy.

Ibeth Mejia: Nominates Luli Rodriguez (H.S. for Economics and Finance). Leader who received the majority of high school votes in her campaign for Treasurer. She was tapped for this for her extensive experience of accounting. She can follow the money on school budgets. Led evacuations out of the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Staunch advocate for students of disabilities. Used to call her the IEP maiden when worked together. Battled two abusive administrators who were trying to change IEPs. She is respected for these reasons. Elected as a UFT delegate and a member of the consultation committee in her current chapter. Her experience in advocacy makes her the ideal candidate for this position.

With no other nominations, Luli gets the nomination. She is welcomed to the Executive Board.

Resolution Supporting Striking NYSNA Nurses:

Mary Vaccaro: We support the NYSNA nurses that are striking seeking a better nurse to patient ratio, so they can provide better patient care. We support patients before profits.

Resolution passes unanimously.

Resolution Supporting Full Disclosure of Finalized Tentative Contract Agreements and Memorandum of Agreements.

Nick Bacon endorses the resolution. Full language is here. This resolution is inspired by the experiences of many chapter leaders, delegates, and regular members during the 2018 contract vote and during 2020. In 2018, there was a sense that CLs and delegates didn’t have any time to read the contract (only a few hours) before having to hold a pre-ratification vote. There was also a sense that some of the changes in that contract (later I note the commitment to healthcare ‘savings’) weren’t adequately and neutrally communicated to members. So this resolution would give members a bit more time before each vote to read over the contract. It would also ask UFT leadership to communicate neutrally and completely any changes in writing to the various bodies before their pre-ratification votes. Finally, it would obligate that all MOAs in the future are held to a vote. Many MOAs during COVID, for instance, changed our working conditions (e.g. mandatory per session ‘office hours’ when students tested positive for COVID). But we didn’t have a chance to vote on them at all. This resolution would mean future MOAs would be subjected to a vote.

Karen Alford: Stands in opposition. Charged with taking information back to our schools. It seems like a bureaucracy. We’re entrusted to make a decision. Teach in becomes very important as we make contract decisions. But we don’t negotiate in public. Would hate for all our work to lead to stuff getting leaked and the City saying ‘deals off.’ This isn’t what happens for negotiations for any City.

Alex Jallot: Supports. Giving folks to read over what’s going in our contract and to be informed decision is not just good for morale but good for participation in our union.

Ilona Nanay: Supports. Understand some of the concerns, but what we’re asking is that members have a chance to understand what they’re voting on before they vote. In elections, we have time to think about things before voting. But what often happens here is that we’re given an hour or so, don’t even understand what voting on, and asked to vote. Under COVID, I often got MOAs from my principal before the union even sent anything out. I certainly never had a chance to vote.

Mike Sill: One resolved at that time. Says it’s theatre because all this is done in terms of appendices for collective bargaining. COVID was not a typical time, was unrealistic to do some of this. Summarized.

Geoff Sorkin: Opposition. Don’t negotiate publicly. If you wait too long, beneficial agreements go away.

Carl Cambria: Stand in opposition. Can’t do everything in this reso. It will put our membership at a disadvantage. Can’t wait until every member understands every part of everything before we vote. How could we do it? Good goal, but how would it be possible. Second resolved is something that already done. Contract at a glance form is an example of that. That’s used for many functions including arbitration. Orally, not sure what’s meant there. Certain people will have certain opinions. Parts of this reso would require ratification only in Fall/Winter if something came up in the June resolution. We’d be handcuffed by some of the language.

Amy Arundel:  Ask people to join us in what we’re doing at the school level. When I read these, I wonder if people are in schools. I had lots of meetings. We had lots of structures that bring member voice back to our leadership. Speaking hostilely, says she’s offended (looking at Bacon) at all these political resos that make it seem like people aren’t doing their jobs. The key is the ‘teach in.’ Asks everyone here to join the teach in.

Nick Bacon: Point of personal privilege. This isn’t political. We’re here today because people need more time to read contracts before we vote on them. We’re here because things aren’t communicated neutrally – Michael Mulgrew said there were no givebacks. It turned out we were promising healthcare savings. Teachers didn’t know and didn’t have time to analyze. Not sure what teach-ins have to do with anything since there’s no contract there for people to read/understand.

Name Missed: Question called.  UFC votes in favor. Voted down by Unity.


  • Avatar

    I didn’t see a thing about ending the vaccine Mandates The data on his vaccines is out it’s not safe and they’re not effective. As a public health expert I can back that up with as much data and science as you want. We had members that were fired for no scientific reason. Yeah we continue to play this political game and pretend our union was not fractured. When I confront certain union people about this vaccine mandate they look the other way as people continue to get injured by the vaccine and people continue to get myocarditis. I am not vaccinated yeah I’m still on payroll because of an allergy to the vaccine I knew enough not to get this vaccine, especially for something that wasn’t that serious like Covid which was extremely overblown. When are we going to address this issue

    • baconuft

      The data clearly shows that vaccines limit risk of hospitalization and death. People with documented allergies to the vaccine like yourself should remain on payroll, but it’s our civic duty otherwise to be vaccinated. New Action, as a member of United for Change, advocated for more not fewer safety precautions. See here for an example: https://unitedforchange.vote/statement-for-immediate-release-united-for-change-covid-emergency-calls-for-action-demands-and-candidates-for-a-better-union/

      • Avatar
        Craig Persiani

        Yes I had a conversation with Lydia about Michael Osterholm and I debunked the science behind his propaganda. You said we have a civic duty to be vaccinated this is not a vaccine and it doesn’t even work. And Covid is not that serious to begin with so you need to check yourself and get some real information about the science before you push your bullshit
        and tell people what they canning can’t do with their bodies. If you want some real information about the science of the vaccines let me know because you’re clearly have no clue what you’re talking about when it comes to Covid and it comes to these vaccines and that’s really concerning because Covid it was not that serious and the vaccines are not safe and effective. I am the leading public health expert in united Federation of teachers. And I think I should provide a professional development to give some more information about what you’re saying because my concern is that a lot of members of our union continue to look for information on one political spectrum and their political bias is so evident it’s scary. Science is not political and you need to look at other members of the scientific community they’re speaking out against these vaccines. It’s not my civic duty to be vaccinated against Covid when Covid is not that serious and the vaccine sucks. You can kiss my ass with that, respectfully. and the reason why I say that was such force is because the vaccine has more adverse events than any other vaccine in history . I need you to wake up and I need you to your political bias. I can provide you scientific data, I could provide you at least 20 doctors to look up and listen to about this vaccine, I can provide you studies and all kinds of articles. My body my choice stop with the bullshit and your civic duty. This vaccine does not do anything that you claim. Furthermore people were fired for not taking this vaccine, Where was our union and how come we didn’t stick up for those people? Especially now that the data and sciences out that Covid was not that serious and the vaccines obviously do not work. If you believe in science as you claim then let’s sit down and have a debate about this because Science is all about open discourse and debate and discussion of observations. I would gladly do this over a zoom Google meets meeting with you and several of your colleagues to show the facts.

      • Avatar
        Craig Persiani

        And I just want to point out that Covid was not about your health it was all about taking our civil rights away. Again teachers are extremely politically biased and if you look how other states besides radical Democrats states like New York handled Covid you will realize they handled Covid in a much better at humane fashion. Florida for example with their surgeon general Joseph Ladapo who was in my expert public health opinion was the leader. That’s why I never social distanced I never wore a mask and I didn’t take the vaccine because I knew it was all bullshit

      • Avatar
        Craig Persiani

        When can we have a discussion so I could give you the science about the vaccines and how they are not safe and not effective? If you believe in science as you claim then you will realize that science is all about freeing open discourse and discussion of observations and facts. I hope that you can move past your political bias and have this discussion with me because surely your eyes will be open and I can prove without a shadow of a doubt how do you‘s vaccines are actually more of a detriment to society than they are a positive. And by your way you can kiss my ass with your civic duty comment that I have to be vaccinated so you can feel safe It doesn’t work that way. My body my choice oh and by the way the mask has nothing to do with your health it’s all about compliance and they want to see who wants to be a good little slave. The mask is bullshit wake the fuck up

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