Monday, August 31, 2020

UFT Executive Board, August31, 2020 --Still Negotiating, but UFT Can Ask for Strike Authorization Tomorrow

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--6:06--W have to focus on safety, livelihood and profession. Not there on safety yet, Still issues with livelihood, and as long as schools shut down we are in danger from privatizers. However, many districts have learned online educational platforms don't work.

Significant progress last 48 hours. Our plan has to be stamped by independent medical experts. Otherwise we aren't there. But we haven't finished this yet. We need to make sure that we have an agreement on PPE social distancing and what happens in each school. We have an agreement and doctors signed off. Inside school buildings day to day we have an agreement. That means our agreement needs to be customized for each school, so not yet in place. We need to go back to schools and put it in place. We need Covid buidling response teams.

We do NOT have an agreement on testing policy and protocol. We need to monitor every school community to catch issues ASAP. We need a mandated medical monitoring system. We have to either get there or move toward a strike. 

We also said we needed a check and balance because trust was broken in March. Not finalized, but we are closer to that than on testing. If we get to a final decision, we have to be part of making all parts work in school buildings.

I want your permission to continue to see if we can get to a deal, but if we don't have it by tomorrow, that we go to DA with strike authorization vote. I want you to understand that if we get to an agreement we have a lot of work. Can it be done by September 10? I think not, but we will see.

If we don't have that agreement, we ask you to authorize a strike vote. Has been tough week, but everyone now understands this is serious. This is personal for us. I'm glad we took the position we needed independent medical people to certify our plan. We will have the most aggressive policies and the strongest safeguards of any school in the US. We need to be able to get relieft quickly and keep people out of harm's way. If not, we will have to take a strike vote. No one wants to be on strike and no one wants to look at layoffs, and no one wants to fight to go back in a safe way after what we've been through.

I want the authority to continue to work. We may have an announcement pending DA approval. If you hear no announcements, you know what I have to do tomorrow.


Q--Can you walk through this--some of us have little activism experience, What would strike look like?

Main work would be strike plan for each school. We go, leave and come back together. We stand together. We hope cooler heads will prevail and we get to an agreement. But once you authorize you have to be ready to walk.

Q--If you come to agreement, do you have any timeline for in person instruction?

All work has to get done. I don't know how we do that in short time. We need to get processes at school level and it will take time.  Safety is more than words on a page. 

My school has no PPE. What exactly is testing protocol we want?

Everyone being tested makes people comfortable but they are concerned with medical monitoring, We just saw that at work in Oneonta. Every school has to have a representative sample mandated on monthly basis. Also some zip codes have uptick. We had some issues and city did right thing by putting a lot of people in quarantine. Doctors say that's how we do everything. We have to have a very quick mechanism. 

Q--Janitorial staff concerned--You get sense that they feel unready to open. They can't figure things out. In one school ventilation was broken for years, and they were adamant students not come in. It's a disservice mayor doesn't listen to us in terms of testing. Country looks to us for leadership.

If we come to an agreement, there's no way that school opens.  You know procedures, and many custodians and school leaders do not. This is a great source of frustration. Thank you for doing the work. There will be a lot more. If we have an agreement, schools like that won't open yet. People in DOE thinks progress is being made, but they haven't done anything for two months.

Q--Also doing walkthroughs in D75--Ionizers come with wrong chemical, waiting on new tablets. Thermometers without batteries, no signage. One principal said we need you guys not to let us open. We can't open until everyone is safe, We lost a member at my site, and a member lost a husband. We can't have anyone else dying.

I agree. That's why we needh a strike vote if we can't get there. Members are afraid, and rest of country is looking at us. But they haven't been through what we have. Walkthroughs show what happens when DOE waits until last minute. If we have to go to court, we will use that. If not, we will give them time to fix it.

Q--D75 neglected, no bus contract, busing is crucial, will result in IEP violations. If they want us in first, why do they help us last. I support UFT actions.


EB gives leadership authority to negotiate--if no agreement, we will have strike authorization vote 9/1 at DA.

Resolution passes unanimously.

Mulgrew--We won't agree without approval of doctors. We are prepared to do a lot of work either way to keep our union safe. We will also be looking at layoffs. Right now they want to lay off 9,000 members without any additional state cuts. Without help, that number could go higher, If we have an agreement we will have a quick EB meeting before DA.

Everyone will wear a mask in a school. If you have a meeting, it will be multiple times so as to enable distancing. If a principal doesn't understand, call us immediately.

Mulgrew returns to negotiations 6:46

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