Wednesday, May 16, 2018

UFT Delegate Assembly May 16th--We Offer Lessons for Janus and de Blasio

President’s Report—Michael Mulgrew

Mulgrew asks moment of silence for Queens music teacher Keith Johnson.

Says this is last DA before Janus decision. Compares Sandy to Maria, brings St-Thomas-St.John Federation of Teachers president up.

She thanks us for prayers. Says things on islands depend whether or not your home is intact. If you have no roof, not so well. 13 schools housed in 8 buildings. St Croix—13 in 5 buildings, triple sessions, quadruple in on high school. Cannot wait for end of this school year.

In state of limbo waiting for modular schools. Goal to avoid double sessions. Modular schools ordered only last week. Infrastructure not in place. Promised for August, but not much confidence. Students have adjusted, moving forward, please send prayers, supplies, donations. Loves to see solidarity. We stand with you. What we do together affects all our children.

Mulgrew—We will continue to send more support. Forced them to open schools so teachers could watch water dry. Want to extend school year even though teachers were there. Same garbage everywhere with these idiots.

Federal—Secretary of Ed. came to our city. No bears met her. She had proposed 2 billion in cuts, stopped majority. Some things got through. Non public schools can use title one with outside vendors. We have to watch her. First year not so good, but has a lot of money and influence. Have to remember she wants, in the end, to get rid of us. Would love us with no union or fight back.

Wisconsin now walking out as state cuts funding for public ed. State after state, no raises 10 years, benefits slashed and schools don’t have basic supplies or many, exploding class sizes. That is their goal for all of us. States saying we have nothing to lose. What else can they do to us? We will continue to work with those states. Big picture is using them to show real blueprint for ed—weak union, no collective bargaining, no funding, and then blame teachers and privatize. AFT pushing to get this narrative out.

State—Attorney General—now temporary, will be that way until general election. Appointment process, but legislature will not do it. We have to change our plans for November. Most expensive statewide race will be AG in NY. AG office has sued sitting President at same rate as CA, but because the Trump Corporation is in NY, have sued them too. GOP will want the seat that controls the cases. We will only support those who support our profession, workers’ rights, and NY State.  We will go after congressional seats that oppose these things. Didn’t expect big AG campaign. Will readjust.

180 days issue going back and forth. OK in NYC. Important to know what’s going on in schools, and prefer not to ask principals. Big debate at SED, say no state counts passing time, actually only three that don’t.

NYSUT RA was in Buffalo. Asks if they had a nice time. Seems to be growing solidarity across state. Everyone knows Janus. Bill passed that no one will mandate testing for evaluation. Governor supports. Assembly passed it. Comes down to Senate. NYSUT doing good job with this, wants nothing tied to it. About misuse of test scores.

Consultation Committee with new chancellor. Says he’s very nice guy. You can be a really nice guy, but taking over that office is another issue. They want to know if we have to renegotiate. Law says we have a year. If moratorium lapses and we don’t have law, all teachers 50% standardized test scores. We have to take people out if they don’t vote for this. Whatever happens, it doesn’t matter. In NYC evaluation is toxic because it isn’t being used properly, and it’s getting worse. Members are observed day after they speak up about something, and admin who do that should be fired. Basis of law is about supporting work of people in classrooms. If professional admin perverts and twists it to lord over and beat people, they shouldn’t be allowed near children.

We don’t want to do anything about evaluation until we understand that this needs to stop. Some people are left alone, Some schools do this the right way, and every one of us wants to work in these schools, really talking about craft of education. Then, we have really bad people. Observation and evaluation should not be a benign activity. We should be in secure environment evaluation ourselves and letting others look at it.

Chancellor agreed if that’s what’s going on it’s no good.

Real possibility Janus released on Monday. It’s coming. Important we have great spring conference on Saturday. Please get people here. First big public speaking event for chancellor.

What if mayor comes with parental leave issue? He’s not doing so good. He’s mad because I called him gender-biased, said if he could get pregnant it would be solved. Mayor needs to own up. He also said we just make up sexual harassment complaints. Generally policies good, but we can tell him to stop the nonsense.

Paid parental leave coming along, city council helpful. We did fed, state, and now doing city budget. NY State has increased 4.3 billion last three years. We don’t see it in our schools. City says it’s in salaries but it isn’t. Council likes that we use money as intended when they give it to us. Makes difference in communities. We have several former teachers in council. Isn’t it time we baseline Teachers Choice?

Shanker awards last night. Children very thankful. NYC teacher union donates 1 million dollars a year. Harmon and Mulgrew got thank you letter from student, close to retirement, who said 40 years ago Shanker scholarship changed his life. $250 a year isn’t a lot now, but he used it then to feed family. Now a chief physicist at NASA.

Janus—All working hard. Don’t know what more we can do but will think of it. One to one conversations important. Door knocking has been great. Next piece membership teams.

We don’t want to fall into position of having nothing left to lose. We need to lead fight to show what unionism needs to be. Agency fee numbers lowest ever, under 1%. We have to have these conversations. When people have correct info, they make good decisions. We flipped vote on Constitutional Convention.

We will have to find every new hire and explain to them what union it is and why they should be part of it. We make sure someone watches after them, ask for raises, make workers part of political process. Won’t let them take away our rights and abilities. Will be shocked if it hasn’t come down by June 13th. Our destiny is in our hands. We are ready. We will give members facts, face to face.

Staff Director’s Report—Leroy Barr—Saturday was 5K run. May 11, UFT provider awards ceremony. Jun 2, first Denny Drumm scholarship brunch UFT central. Tuesday June 12 counselor recognition. Next DA June 13th.


Q—Last month, said legislation would mitigate Janus. What can we tell members?

A—One section about communication between employer and employee clarified. We have cooperation. Lots of things union does outside of collective bargaining. In state law that is gray area and open for litigation. Law now is definitive anything outside of collective bargaining not for non-members. Mistake to withhold all service. Right now we have exclusivity. In other states they will have five or six unions repping same group, some financed by Koch Brothers. Charge less and give fewer services. Many services have nothing to do with CBA. In disciplinary process, we go further than contract. We no longer have to supply attorneys for non-members. NY State now has strongest union rights laws because of that.

Q—Lab specialist CL—hearing that CLs are not permitted to attend step two with members.

A—They have a right. We will straighten this out. Maybe new chancellor will end this.
Tell borough office. System is crazy. Superintendents tell people to do anything. This is a right. Permission not required.

Q—Recently we had contentious CL election, got heated. Was divide. Now with Janus, I’m concerned about uneasiness. How do I bring them together.

A—Booze. No, not really. As someone who never had an uncontested CL election I was through it. You have to have meeting right away, bring staff together. We broke school into subject areas. I let departments pick reps. Do it through actions and find time for people to socialize.

Q—Many members antsy about new tax plan. Haven’t seen effects yet. We know in NY we will get slammed. Governor offered protection. How can we help and prepare.

A—Different provisions in state budget to move money from things that can’t be deducted. Tax package attacked us and ten other states. Is a donation process, and process on how you can use piece of payroll tax, which is still deductible. I’m not an accountant. We might want to use accountants who deal with teachers and specialize. We will develop that.

Q—SS department had PD options out of building, but many had costs attached. Teachers told they wouldn’t be reimbursed. What are their options?

A—I would’ve tried to have conversation and negotiate something.


Peter Lamphere—Moves to resolve on gubernatorial election. Primary next month.


Lamphere—Says we should have input into decisions. Need to examine closely. Asks for poll, interviews for Democratic candidates and Green Party candidate.

Point of order—Rich Mantel—Says motion out of order. NYSUT makes gubernatorial endorsements.

Mulgrew—All state endorsements by NYSUT in August unless NYSUT frees up locals. Under current rules UFT does not endorse. Resolution is out of order. In terms of process, there are many people who do this work.

Point of information—Lamphere
—Is it possible to make a recommendation to our delegates to NYSUT?

Mulgrew—As duly elected delegates they are free to do what they want to do.

Tim Myer—Possibility of making CTLE hours in two parts. Are now too long.

Mulgrew—Good idea, but this is motion period.

Special order of business

Resolution to support poor people’s campaign—Anthony Harmon
—Speaks in favor. Campaign led by Rev. Wm. Barber, friend of UFT, much momentum around country. 50th anniversary MLK assassination. NYSUT passed similar, asks endorsement.

Passes unanimously

Resolution to End Sexual Harassment

Janella Hinds
—Every employee should feel safe. Discrimination disrupts work. Comments, all forms disruptive to safe work spaces. Attacks victim’s confidence. Security threatened. We stand for respect, safety, security. We ask for full, fair and complete investigations.

Arthur Goldstein--As an ESL teacher, as a human, I’m deeply offended by stereotype. It’s the product of ignorance and never valid.

That’s why I’m so disappointed Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken stereotype to a whole new level, claiming that 98% of UFT sexual harassment victims suffer from a “hyper-complaint dynamic,” whatever on earth that may be. Mayor de Blasio seems to feel that the threshold for dealing with sexual harassment is reached only when the city pays out $830,000 over an administrator we’ve known about for years now. In our workplaces, in the schools our children attend, if there’s anything that cries for zero tolerance, it’s sexual harassment.

I know people who’ve been victimized, some very close to me. The very last thing victims need is to be publicly humiliated by the supposedly progressive mayor of New York City. It’s particularly egregious when his information comes from the blithering incompetents  at OEO, who as far as I know, have never encountered a deadline they could meet. It’s even worse if it comes from the 30 dollar an hour thugs at DOE legal, many of whom can’t comprehend the most unequivocal language in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. I’d be humiliated to discover any of them had gone through my beginning ESL class.

We are educators Let’s teach the mayor no, you don’t get to stereotype teachers. Let’s teach the mayor no, you don’t get to stereotype victims of sexual harassment.. Let’s teach the mayor what a terrible idea it is to take advice from fanatical ideologues left over from the Bloomberg administration. Let’s teach the mayor the United Federation of Teachers stands up for our own.

Let's vote yes for this resolution and show unequivocal support for those among us who most need it.

Passes unanimously

We are adjourned.
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