Wednesday, June 16, 2021

UFT Delegate Assembly June 16, 2021--Hybrid DA Passes

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Welcomes us to last DA in COVID year. Says NYS has reached herd immunity, and we've been talking about it since last March. We're not past it, but in a better place than we were and we have served union, schools and city well. Many of us have losses. The idea that we reached 70%, compared to where we were--In August we had 3K building response teams who handled and helped through changes. 

Everything became about testing, tracing, positivity and guidelines. City and state had different numbers. Schools opened and closed repeatedly. Remote learning was not easy, were thousands of operational complaints. Led to many members being compensated. Finally we see positivity rate declining. UFT opened up school system, added BRT, dealt with craziness of competing programs. Looking back, it sounds like utter chaos. This delegation and others have made a great accomplishment, keeping safety upfront, even it the view ofa attacks from some parents and media.We kept moving. People can be crazed, are passionate and sometimes can't be reasoned with. 

We just had our first full live UFT event, the 5K run. We will have more, including Teacher Union Day. Majority of us turned our homes into mini broadcast centers or went back and forth to school with lots of PPE. We thank those who've supported us throughout this. We'll see what CDC says, but would like everyone to take a deep breath at this moment. Herd immunity is a milestone, Thanks all on call.

National--Infrastructure bill. Trying to make it bipartisan, though some Dems want to do it on their own. This bill will help our economy. We can't have COVID money running out and economy crashing.

We had to move quickly with ventilation and things. We need this bill to retrofit schools and build clean, green schools. MLK campus could not be opened without a whole lot of work, but you can take an old ventilation system and install up to date MERV 13 system. We were able to take ultraviolet lighting and put in wellness lighting. I want to do that work in all city schools. We need federal help and will push very hard to make this happen.

NYC has a net zero building, school that produces more energy than it produces. That's a model. We are working with science groups and national groups to get this for our schools. All children in that school are climate warriors, concerned with fixing the planet, evidently because adults did not. 

State--Very strange end of session. Was info that Albany was going to do "big ugly." When Senate, Assembly and Governor get bills and vote on them as one. Did not happen. Senate passed many bills. For us, biggest was automatic enrollment of paraprofessionals in pension system. Have seen paras who thought they were enrolled and didn't have pensions. This is a big deal. Will talk to governor to see it gets signed.

Pensions are at 7%--they wanted to drop it lower. We opposed and were able to block it. Lots of special ed, bills. Chickens have come home to roost for DOE and how it treats kids with IEPs. 

APPR--Ruled that school district does not have to do it, but can do it. If DOE wants to do it, they will have to plug in MOSL. Good we have agreement in place. We believe with MOSL agreement we will be in good place. Waiting to see what they do. We will deal with whatever they do.

We believe Assembly will not come back, but Senate will. 

NYC--Glad to see ticker tape parade for essential workers. Important we celebrate that and be out there. Will get out details when available. Will have UFT bus, float, band, and kids there.

Tuesday primary day. City budget not done, will be done after primary. We are involved in 50 races, never had so much contact as this year. Thanks participants. No one knows what to make of ranked choice, but we will learn from it and make sure we set a structure with all our friends who get elected. We don't know where mayor race will go. News not good for our candidate, but they all have plan to dismantle DOE bureaucracy and put money into schools. Whatever else happens, we will deal with it.

Our kids need campaign going well. Will be 6K new hires for DOE. This is why they opposed ERI, they said. Without a specific program for how newcomers will be used, this will be a problem. We are focused on class size. We know we have a big challenge, and some schools overcrowded. We know we have some that are not, and we can reduce class sizes. If children will need more time, only way to do that is to reduce class size. It's one thing parents and us completely agree on. Hopefully we'll have something out next week. We've been trying for decades, thwarted by courts and city hall, which has ignored CFE. 

Teacher's choice should be back, Mayor took it away last year in temper tantrum. We have a lot of things in city council budget and should be in good shape.

DOE--Summer school--Looks like if you apply you will get it., Large enrollment uptick, We will follow safety regs. UFT will visit all sites. Watching carefully--they don't want to do Big Apple Games, but something different. We say those who've always done work must be recognized.

SBO season alive and well. Will try to extend. Changing hours, and four day instruction popular. Staffs had more time to meet and it appears people liked it. Many schoolwide SBOs give groups time to work. That's what people are gravitating toward this year. We will bring this to negotiating committee as contract expires in November. DOE showing more SBO flexibility now. 

Programming next. Goal is not to end up where we were last year, which is no programming done until September. We need some expectation of what we are dealing with. Try to get rough programming done before you leave this year, even if it's subject to change. 

Special ed.--DOE is under corrective action plan on compliance, because US told state they had to do it. Amount of time and money we spend fighting special ed. compliance is insane, and goes back to Klein and Bloomberg. Schools don't make programs to comply with IEPs, and make IEPs conform to existing programs. Principals deny violations that are documented. DOE repeats that and it goes back and forth. When they finally admit it, principals say they have no money. DOE says it's not their fault. This is why we've seen bills given independent hearing officers new powers.

DOE will likely blame principals. UFT has been fighting this whole time. Hope to get something in place and get CSA to work with us. Bloomberg and Klein didn't care about lawsuits, but this will be a big deal. This is sad, frustrating, and ridiculous, but kids need services. It shouldn't have come to this, but this is what needs to be done to get kids services.

UFT--We have issues to deal with. Will have health care report. Retiree plan being done through MLC moving to Medicare Advantage Group plan. Mediator involved has not made a decision on which group to recommend. Recommendation not binding. Group plans are better than individual plans. This one will keep same services, same doctors, and use savings to create new services. All of our health care negotiations are done through MLC. We would not be able to afford prices we have now if we weren't doing it as a group.

When people send in motions and resolutions--If we were forced to say we couldn't use MLC, we'd be on our own, which would immediately increase our health care costs. We negotiate together because we get a much better deal.  We want better services and savings to put back into our health care. We have had a significant increase in our senior care program, though city picks up only 20%. We need intervention at federal level on health care costs. Drug companies, hospitals, and medical groups driving prices way up. We need to keep premium health care for in service and retirees. We cannot be passive users. On our own, we couldn't get deals we do now. MLC gets together, takes a vote, and we abide by it. 

Contract--We've informed city our temporary agreement sunsets on July 1st. Grievance department ready. First arbitration will be for appropriate compensation for working last spring break. We may need short term agreements on other things. Filed for impact bargaining about principals mandating virtual classrooms. If we need something temporary for this year, we will come to it, but this will be part of our next contract negotiation.

This will be our last DA, and our temporary DA agreement is sunsetting. How do we take what has been good and bad about this and deal with it? I think people came up with a good idea. This year was like a lesson. We always try to make things better. Will it ever be perfect? No. At this point, what they've come up with, beginning in October, is a way to engage more people, even if they can't be in person. People have participated in DA in record numbers this year. 

We think it's good for more people to get info, and we want to keep remote option. We also want to incentivize people to come in. Heard all arguments from both sides. We're proposing a hybrid DA. Has to be secure. We have many enemies out there. People can choose to be only remote, Some people said people could only participate if they came in, but those people came around. We want to allow them to participate. Everybody gets to vote, in person and on the phone. We will upgrade second floor wifi. 

We will follow traditional rules for people in person. Remote participants can vote, ask questions and speak. We experimented with some things that did not work. We will revisit this at the end of next year. 

Mid November contract expires. Won't have new mayor but will know who it will be. We may not know until July. Would like volunteers for committee at October DA. We will go through training, have lists of demands, discuss things. Chapters are intertwined and rely on one another. Will put together that plan over summer. We may need a resolution. Staff will work with chapters, who will work with DOE directly. Each chapter needs real voice.

Will also need committee on digital work.

Wants next year to be about celebrating our work, supporting our families and loved ones. Membership did a great job. We protected them, our protection and livelihood, Was horrible to deal with losses this year. Hope we can come together next year.

LeRoy Barr--UFT is involved in making schools clean and green, installing solar panels. Juneteenth June 19, AFT holding panel discussion tomorrow. June 22 primary day. Don't forget to vote. Thanks to all for signing onto virtual DAs for past 15 months. Have great summer.


Q --Will we maintain Google classroom next year?

A--DOE says they can mandate. We say they can't and may go to arbitration. We had agreements for that for this year. We will go forward, and hopefully come to agreement for this year. We should be compensated. 

Q--PT conferences--If we do SBO for six hours and 50 minutes, how many conferences?

A--Think you have to do four, but remote.

Debbie Poulos--If you go to six hours and 50 minutes, you only have two. If you stay with reconfigured, you do four. 

Q--Untenured teachers excessed and extended by new principals--Anything that can be done?

A--We will talk to new chancellor. This is not CBA but state law, so not collective bargaining. We have had some, but not all of these rectified. Depends on superintendent.

Q--Will ratings be used even though observations at our school were canceled?

A--Depends whether ratings were done before or after agreement. If before, no. If after, yes. DOE has been good enforcing this.

Q--When will we have SBO votes?

A--CL can start arranging them now. We are all set up. We have online voting system. 

Q--What will instruction look like next year?

A--Mayor says business as usual, but it won't be with kids coming back for first time in a long time. Frustrating that only we are thinking about new programs. It won't be regular. We will push DOE to put out plans instead of saying schools should figure it out on their own. We need this DOE dismantled and rebuilt. They just say they're looking at that, and that's it.

Q--ERI--What is status?

A--We had until May 31st. City said with fed money they wanted to increase head count, and not incentivize people to leave. That ended the negotiations. There is no ERI.

Q--Grievance process--Will it be fully open? CLs have grievances we want to file. Do we have to wait until September?

A--Grievance dept. will put out guidance. Will probably be for September. Will handle summer school and reorgs via operational. 

Q--Managed care has high out of pocket costs. 

A--Why do you think we would subject retirees to that? Advantage care has two programs. Individual ones you see on TV are what you described. We would never enter a program like that. We don't know if we will move to that program, but that won't happen in one we agree to. All doctors they go to, all hospitals will be available. We will manage, with provider, our services. People are using this as an internal political issue. We want better care, at a better cost. We will be the second or third largest group in country. Individual programs are not relevant to what we are going to do. We will look at program, and MLC will make a decision, or consult us. Our retirees, and we all hope to be them, ought not to worry about medical and health care. We don't want our senior care program to cost more out of pocket.

Q--683--Those who choose not to work will not lose their retention rights this summer--If someone were not in person first day, would there be a problem? Also, a person accepted the program but may not be able to work,

A--Both of those people should contact Michael Sill tomorrow and we will deal with both of those issues, It has to happen tomorrow.

Q--Additional counselors and smaller classes--When will we know if our school qualifies?

A--Pay attention to city budget. We may have update next week. City hiring mostly social workers, but we want counselors too. We have proposal before city council. After Tuesday may move quickly. We will keep you posted. Hoping this thing will grow. Have been pushing for class size for years. 

Q--Fall--We are working hard to give every teacher program. Principal's weekly promised orientation, social and emotional support. How can we get ready for all those in need, without even knowing whether we'd have social distancing?

A--This is why we meet weekly with DOE.

e will keep pushing. We were supposed to deal with this in summer school. They're not ready. They want to test for learning loss with no baseline. I don't have a lot of faith that they will do they work and a real program. I will meet and discuss it. Our goal is to have real materials, programs and support systems. There will be unanticipated situations. Will keep you updated. Still waiting to deal with really overcrowded schools. Hope to resolve by August 1

Q--If we have hybrid DA, telephone or Zoom?

A--Phone right now. 

Q--Can we push for not only solar panels, but also green roofs?

A--We would like that. Will definitely be part of what we're pushing for. My generation screwed up. Children we met yesterday were very nice. Clear to me they know our earth is in trouble. We have a lot to do on that, and education should be at center.


Peter Lamphere--Resolution ruled out of order is about motion coming in a few minutes. 

Mulgrew--Made sure everything was done in order it came in.

Lamphere--Withdrawing resolution number 2.

Seung Lee--This month's agenda. Move resolution about anti-Asian hate crimes to top of agenda.

79% yes--carries.

Ellen Brody Kirmss--This month--retirees understand UFT and MLC negotiate health care. Concerned about transparency in process. Retirees financially vulnerable. Understand big orgs get better prices, but Advantage companies are for profit, look good initially, but often are not. None of my doctors, for example, take GHI anymore. To reduce stress and allow planning we want transparency. 

Mulgrew--Last resolved problematic. UFT doesn't have right to stop MLC process. If MLC moves forward, we can only stop them if we don't want to participate in MLC negotiations anymore. Calling it out of order because we don't have that right. Other things can be brought back, and all will be out there. We are already working with for profit groups. In service has for profit providers. 


Seung Lee--UFT should condemn hate crimes against Asians. Rise in crimes exponential. Many don't feel safe. UFT at very least, should recognize and condemn this. First step in tangible change to make schools safe and welcoming for all students. 

Janella Hinds--Seung said it all. Would like to call question for all matters.

93% yes. Carries

LeRoy Barr--Moves to extend through hybrid reso.

85% yes. Carries

Barr--Virtual format hasn't been perfect, but we've been working on it. Still working through glitches. We correct them as we find them. Our virtual DAs and town halls much improved. Doubled participation. Decided we must to all we can to increase participation. Propose hybrid model. For over 16 years, you had to be present to vote, speak or ask questions. All members present will have ability to vote. Goal is to increase rights by providing new option to participate. Ask you support. 

Jennifer Rogers--Supports reso. UFT delegates can best engage in vigorous debate from floor, encourage yes.

Nicole Puglia--In favor. Loves idea of having choice. Like option. SI 90 minutes each way. 

Sean Cafregolia--Against motion. Over past year we stood together, Much lost by not standing together at 52. Time to safely stand together in person.

Rachel Bulla--Supports as we move away from fully virtual. Hybrid good compromise. If people need to speak, will show in person.

Mulgrew asks to call question.

92% yes. Carries. 6:11 PM

Mulgrew urges us to relax in summer. Thanks us for taking on leadership role through this.

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