Wednesday, June 20, 2018

UFT Delegate Assembly June 20, 2018--We Unanimously Approve Paid Parental Leave

4:31 Mulgrew calls us to order.

Two reasons for rescheduling—One was Janus, and the other was he knew we were close to parental leave agreement, wanted to bring it up for vote. UFT has agreement for up to six weeks at full pay.

National—Seems that President has reversed position on separating families. We will see if that holds out. Found out yesterday some of those children from Texas were shipped to NY. Juxtapose that with what we were doing today—giving parents time with children, and you see what is right and wrong with this country.

Thanks DA for being strong on this. Government hoping we only pay attention to worst stuff while they do other things. DeVos holds gun hearings and won’t talk about guns. Worried about outbreak of bear attacks instead.

In September, they will have new plan. Wanted to use billions for “choice” and vouchers. They will try again. We have to be diligent.

Then there is Janus. No decision, but could come tomorrow. Or Monday, or every day next week. 20 cases outstanding. We have had two NYSUT teachers who’ve sued against anti-Janus law in NY State. We knew this was coming. We kept it quiet so it wasn’t scuttled while negotiating it. Similar suits in  NJ, PA and others. We expect to win lawsuit but opponents have unlimited funds.

If Janus comes as we expect, we will continue all work we’ve been doing. Have been successful in conversations. People need to know it’s about them and their ability to protect family. If it’s worse, will call emergency DA.

NY State Legislature—bad news—Senate has not passed favored APPR bill. We want no strings attached. They’ve attached charter caps, back door vouchers for yeshivas. Good news is some Senators outside NYC met with NYSUT and said this bill will never affect our schools. Would only affect NYC. NYSUT Presidents said they would not screw NYC colleagues. First time every one of them has agreed.

Says let’s have a good old time w NYSUT colleagues at AFT convention. Session won’t be extended.

NY City—Negotiating team will work through summer. Cannot say more.

Wary of new chancellor, so far has been good on our policies. First major act was paid parental leave.

PPR—We said we would not let city fleece us. We have done our job quite well on that one. What will be required is nothing in next round of bargaining. One time requirement will be extension of 73 days—that’s it. Equals 30 million dollars and city will pay 51 million a year. We did our jobs well.
4,000 new family members among UFT every year. All of these things are now covered, birth, adoption, surrogate, etc., as long as kids are under age of six. You will get six full weeks of full pay. There is no 50, 75%, is six full weeks for anyone. Includes people who don’t work for DOE.

First day someone can take leave is September 4th, going forward. If you have child August 1st, you will qualify for two weeks. Spent a lot of time on “unicorns,” magical creature we will never see, but are covered. No matter what we do, someone will become more creative than we are.

For birth mothers, you may still use sick days and expand to 12, or 14 if you have C-section. Father gets six weeks, no six days. If you are married, child or multiple children equals six weeks of pay, not six each. Three weeks together, four and two okay. Father could take weeks and mom could use sick days if she wishes.

You must work for DOE for one year to qualify. While you’re on paid parental leave, you have to serve at least ten months. If you take a child care leave after paid parental leave, you still have all leave rights. You have to work ten months before you qualify for another. If you become pregnant right away and come back to work, you will not qualify.

What if you had a surrogate who was halfway through term and I got pregnant? You are covered under medical exception. If you have twins, you have six weeks of leave, not 12.

We will do a resolution in support of this deal. We tried to get this done for a few years. We had a mayor who said he wanted to do it, and it wasn’t getting done. Now it’s part of his legacy. If mayor or men in this room got pregnant it would’ve gotten done faster.

This is why it’s so important to have a union in the first place. People were frustrated because we didn’t have it. Grassroots pushed this up. If there’s momentum we can do it. That’s collective action. If we had to wait, it would be part of our next negotiation, and we would get worse deal.

City pays Welfare Fund, which will send money to members.

Governor working for education now, will only sign Assembly version. Is out there because of our collective activism. Think about these things when talking to members. No one gave us PPL. We had to fight for it. Will they try and take it away? Make us pay more? Of course.

We had a plan. Things came up and we used them to our advantage. We fought constitutional convention. We worked with state officials. State officials understand NY State must lead the way and they must protect public school system. We need to educate pols because lies will come after them.

We still have more to do and always will. We will face Janus, come up with plan and meet with negotiating team. Most important thing is we are members of the United Federation of Teachers.

Everyone who took part in this campaign should stand. Most do. Mulgrew thanks us. Mulgrew’s negotiators stand. Chapter leaders who had baby showers stand. Says we won, and it was nice. Scott Stringer said UFT got into a fight and won. Mayor turned to UFT, said it was hard fight, was good fight, and UFT won.

Remember when charters said only certain ones could certify their own teachers? They lost. We sued them, and they lost.

LeRoy Barr—Thanks spring conference attendees, members at Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Evelyn de Jesus. Sunday is Pride Parade 15th St. bet 7 and 8 at 2:30. Labor Day Parade Sept. 8, Mulgrew Grand Marshall.

Mulgrew mentions raise this week. Says it’s responsibility for every generation of the union to leave something. This generation will be known for paid parental leave.


Q—Single test in specialized HS—we demanded change, chancellor and mayor on board, how do we control narrative?

A—32 editorials against us. Chancellor took it on right away. Mayor previously silent. We have to help. Framing may not have been done well. Discovery program getting done, could’ve been done 4 years ago. We will help in Albany. What is fairest way to recognize excellence? We don’t believe it’s single test score. Multiple measures better. Barely got out of committee in Assembly. No way it would pass. We will have to lobby and educate.

Q—Welfare fund will distribute checks. What if they are not UFT members? Will they get checks?

A—Agency members get it. Only for UFT right now. Other unions not included.

Q—With PPR will there be impacts on retroactive payments


Q—Says classes were large when I started, still are. Very sad we allow children to be packed in. Teachers complained about class size thirty years ago. Only NYC has these sizes. Bad for us and children. How do city, state, governor allow it? This is racism, disgraceful. Maybe we need to go to like PPL supporters. Too many straws on camel’s back.

A—Didn’t call you out of order because you’re retiring. Thank you, and you never asked question.

Q—Been a lot in news about ATRs and cost. Can we change narrative?

A—Report from one org that never said anything good about union. ATR at 800, lowest it ever was at this point of year. Had between 3-500 for decades. I said 800 for 1700 schools, how many absences do you have? These people are funded by people who go after unions. Hope this is no longer a story soon. We have long term strategy. Want to know chancellor’s position. They can place everyone.

Q—Why haven’t we implemented courses in colleges for teachers to learn about unionism? Newcomers don’t get it.

A—The more we can do at earlier level the better. Some colleges do it. New hires saw us, we have over 800 signed union cards. We went, did what we needed to do. We need better teacher prep. Let’s just get them when they walk in, new law allows it.


Woman with baby—CL from Staten Island—Moves to add motion on paid parental leave. Reads motion.

James Vasquez—Point of information—Who is Emily James?

Speaker says she is not Emily James, who started petition, but is grateful to her for doing so.

Passes to be placed on agenda.

Resolution on APPR—

Elizabeth Perez
—Speaks in support. One test does not measure success or growth. Wants Senate to pass bill. Asks for support.

Vote passes.

—We will ask NYSUT to do early endorsement against candidate opposing Golden.

Resolution on Paid Parental Leave—Melody A
.—CL, with CL in training. Quotes Nelson Mandela on how we treat children. Speaks of how undocumented families are treated now, we stand with children no matter how they come into our lives, no matter gender. We will fight to keep families together. We support our children and future students with this.

CL—Proposes amendment—strike first whereas, not important he didn’t give it to us for three years.

Peter Lamphere
—Has amendment—Add additional resolved—that UFT continue to work to win benefits to care for sick family members, as other NY employees have. Thanks rank and file for signing petition and working for it. Our work on this issue not complete. Private sector laws are for caring for sick family members. Important we win that benefit as well.

Emma Mendez—opposes amendments. Have cared for sick parents. Respect position. Don’t want it lost in an amendment that speaks to one issue. Should have own space, own resolution. As for first, mayor did delay and we shouldn’t remove.

Dermot Myrie—Supports Lamphere. Also for teachers with sick children.

Joy Schwartz—Calls questions.

Second amendment fails—

First amendment fails

Resolution, unamended, passes unanimously.

Mulgrew—Asks retirees to stand. They are applauded. May call emergency DA.

We are adjourned. 5:38
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