Monday, April 06, 2020

UFT Executive Board, April 6, 2020 (via phone)--COVID Takes 26 UFT Members

5:51 Roll Call

6:01 UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr
thanks us for coming on call.

—approved via email.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew—Mentions growing number of UFT members who have passed. Holds a moment of silence and reads names. There seem to be about 25.

Our condolences go out to their loved ones and school communities.

Last week, not great. Governor put out an executive order saying he wanted instruction to continue. Was up to individual school districts, but state funding would not have been lost if we'd taken Thursday and Friday. Governor said best case scenario would mean beginning of May for recovery, but next two weeks would be very tough.

To not recognize the two biggest religious days was the mayor's decision. Governor and mayor can make us work, but not for free. All unions DC37, CSA and us, came to an agreement that until we get to an arbitration process. There is none in place at the time.

We were able to get four days in CAR, but we will demand compensation for all seven days. Mayor was not happy when I said teachers were not respected by Mayor, but that was the truth. We had to do a lot of work, and mayor did not help.

We have great pride in what our nurses do, but just a little support from the Mayor would have helped. If he's upset, too bad.

Now it's about the list of names. This is very troubling. We knew it was coming, but this list is growing quickly and dramatically. These families are in crisis. We must honor them.

Diedre McFadyen--We will create a memorial site honoring UFT lives. We will share photographs and write celebrations of their lives. We will seek information and start a memorial site. We will allow people to comment underneath the posts. We will share on social media and celebrate their lives there if families wish.

Mulgrew--After a terrible week, DOE tells people last Friday that people can't use the tool most people used. One company changed safety and security, but other company said they'd fix, perhaps months from now. Attorney General said Zoom ought not to be used for confidential meetings. Chancellor, yesterday, sent out a more open message, seemingly written by a human being. Will be transition period. Hoping school leaders will not immediately pull from members.

We have been doing well in terms of keeping instruction going. Parents would like it toned down a little. In an interview I said it's not fair, we're angry, but we will figure it out. Would be nice to have a little help.

Good we were able to keep Google at least.

We have had two relatively good days in terms of numbers. A glimmer of good news that may help us go forward.

Everyone has four additional CAR days in bank. We gave up nothing for that. If people wish to use them during our no Spring break, they can, but we have retained all of our rights for a complete compensation package for 7 days. We have that in writing.

We knew remote learning would be tough. Can't be understated we are in our homes and teachers are having relationships with entire families. For next week, it's an educational opportunity. There are learning opportunities even in bad times. We want the week about family, wellness, future, arts, science and technology. We would like a different theme each day and suggest different things on a daily basis.. Looks promising.

No, we are not taking week off. We are educating. If you think the only way to learn is via documents, you shouldn't be in education. Students learn best when they're happy. That's how they retain things. Plan should go out tonight or tomorrow.

Evelyn de Jesus--Plan is approved, thematic, community based, civic based, fun activities, virtual tours. Families can participate and be part of these things. Parents can engage with their kids. Team did a great job over weekend and we are proud. I think you will like it. DOE was collaborative.

Mulgrew--We have this great program for seven days with a lot of resources. Depends how it's delivered in school.

People are asking about summer vacation and retro check. None of this has been discussed. Everything is about the virus. For us, we haven't stopped school. It has continued. Regents probably not happening, but who's going to question in NYC whether students have been in school.

Can they force us to work? Yes.

Can they force us to work for free? No.

Everyone knows NYC schools are working. Retro check is not even a discussion.

State budget--We are flat from last year. Greater crisis, after health, will be financial crisis. When they laid off thousands of teachers in 70s, people were still getting raises.

Questions (mostly answers, actually, as questions were previously submitted):

Lots about Google, DOE has put out some guidance. If you were using Zoom, we will help you transition. You have a period of time. Real way is by talking to people who were using different protocol. District reps have a plan.

Zoom is easier but there are security problems. We don't condemn the DOE for cutting Zoom. There were stories coming all over country. I would assume they'd fix it, but they want to take six months to look at it. Chancellor did give a transition period, but when he said don't recreate school day, hundreds tried to do it anyway.

We believe 26 UFT members have died of COVID, but sadly that number will not stay the same.

We will try to have another Town Hall about family engagement during non-Spring break.

Several questions about things already covered.

Don't know if we'll get back to school this year.

As for graduating seniors, not unprecedented. Last time those who were on track, and passed classes got diplomas. However, a lot of kids get more work done at end. This could make for a large summer schools.

We will see where those conversations go. Even though some numbers went down, this week and next will be very tough. We will work and support people to get through this crisis.

Our nurses need outside workers. They can't even staff hospitals because so many are sick.

Our job is to keep our members supported however and wherever possible. We will all do that. Before they open schools, we will make sure proper procedures are in place.

Our prayers go out to all who've lost loved ones.

Cassie Pruett--Budget--Due to challenges of COVID 19, there is an economic challenge for state. Part of what they had to do was close 10 million dollar deficit. Funding flat, schools get the same as last year. Because we got 1.2 billion in fed aid, that allowed for flat funding. We go 11.34 billion in school aid. Helped save special ed and CTE funds. Charter school budge would've allowed 18 zombie charters, was rejected. Charters took small tuition cut $26 per student 138 million total. NYC teaching centers get 6 million dollars. Pushed back troublesome managed care language that would've increased our cost 3%.

Barr calls meeting to close. 6:42 PM.

Roll call for latecomers.
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