Wednesday, January 19, 2022

UFT Delegate Assembly January 19, 2021--Spring Break, Contract, Elections and Other Stuff

UFT President Michael Mulgrew-- Welcomes us to first DA of 2022. Asks moment of silence for families who lost members in Bronx fire. Thanks school community for support, disaster relief fund. 

Despite covid wave, many things going on with state. We have new mayor and chancellor. Opening during wave significant challenge. Many bumps in communication.

Federal--Everything is stuck. Glad we got what we did. Not sure other bill will pass. During Christmas week state asked waiver for accountability on tests for NY State. Not sure how last two years determine anything. Happy that it was submitted, sad it was denied. Not sure how they read document and denied it quickly at Christmas time. We don't want schools treated unfairly, by standardized tests during pandemic. Will pursue appeal.  

State--budget proposal from governor--will be negotiated Beginning of process. Moneyblevel good, but there are problems. 7% increase in funding. NYC foundation aid funded. But charters also got increased funding, including our area. Facilities money raised for NYC as we're required to give space to charters. Sounds and is unfair. 

Mayoral control--We have not supported mayoral control since I have been President. We don't want to go back to school boards, but don't believe this has done right by children of NYC. Best example is gifted and talented. Bloomberg thought it was just handed out to make parents happy. They decided to use standardized tests for every student in kindergarten, which violated research, but suited their policy. We now have most segregated system in country. Thousands with tutoring got in, tens of thousands had no chance. 

De Blasio wanted to get rid of it. I think many students deserve this program, yet close to 16 years later, and this has been political football for two mayors. That's enough to reject mayoral control. We see policies changed for political needs and children suffering as a result. It's in budget now, and we will deal with it in lobbying. Albany now wants all lobbying remotely. 

Teacher centers, for first time since George Pataki, being funded by a governor. Money for covid recovery there too. Thousands of pages long tied to programs and initiatives. Working with NYSUT to set priorities. Our goal is to make sure we get best policy for our and parent voices, and to send money to classroom.

NYC--Covid--Some first two weeks. Had to be two roughest weeks to be CL or delegate, very proud of what you do, you are all heroes. Rates very high when we got back. Closed schools, closed one this week. Mayor wants to keep them open, we agree if lack of staff school must be closed. Dr. predicted it would go up rapidly, plateau, and quickly come down. We believe and hope that's where we are, with 57% drop from last week to this week. 

Schools may be safer than other places but numbers made it tough to believe. And then there was the snow. I said we should go remote to mayor. Mayor said they had it under control. I was concerned much staff couldn't get in. Mayor wanted to target high need schools, but there are NOT 24,000 substitutes. Attendance on Friday was high for teachers but low for students. We can't have snow days because no room in calendar and we don't want to work breaks. Didn't get remote day, but we are seeing drops in positivity. 

Let us know about safety issues and they will be fixed. We knew more than the principals. We knew all should get test kits and masks. Took two days to clarify. PreK and 3K sites now have rapid tests. 

Does anyone know official attendance policy? At one time it was if you see child you can mark present. Right now, admin trying to iron out communication process where they put out misinformation and lies. They told people there was an MOA, but we never signed it. Have had some conversations trying to fix it. They put out contradictory info, left it all up, and admin would pick documents they liked. We ask that when new guidance goes up, old guidance goes down. 

If a child tested positive, or are put into isolation for covid, that child is subject to pivot to remote agreement. Asynchronous work and office hours. Child fails health screening--We treat them as if they're absent. We know some schools treat them the same, but there is no agreed upon posting. We need one if children don't qualify. You can't just have a wink with principal, because central can deny per session. You can make agreement with principal, or we can have citywide agreement.

If a child is absent, and goes into digital classroom, just does asynchronous, child should not be marked present. As per MOA, but there is none. We hope to clarify. If principal orders absent students marked present, is violation of state attendance law.

Remote education--Very surprised chancellor said he always wanted it and UFT was holding it up. Parents called us. They meet with us and have heard us for months saying we need option. We don't want 60% of kids staying home. With all issues, we want children in front of us. Mayor walked back chancellor's comments. They'd said they didn't want it. We are having conversations. 

Before December 1 we had high attendance in elem. and middle schools, low in high schools. They're approaching adulthood and want to do things their way. We don't need a complete disruption now, complete reprogramming. We do and have always supported real remote option. Want to do high schools first, as we're missing so many. February 1 they start new classes. We will then look at other grades. 

DOE having communication issues. Seems like on Friday each department sends out whatever. Will be a parent survey on remote. Will not guarantee current teachers. Will not offer all HS courses. We don't believe in just dropping in a camera. That's bad instruction. 

I will say we need kids back in school, and enrollment up. If we get through covid with low attendance, we have even more challenges. 

Very upset with Skedula. Could it have gone down at a worse time? Fascinating to see evolution. First started by three teachers who rejected DOE system and designed better one. Many schools now rely on it. On spring break, was a lot of pressure,

David Campbell--City ordered us to work. There were religious observances. We were given 4 CAR days for that, but we retained right to grieve for full compensation. We filed very first day grievance was available. Went to arbitration in December. DOE said we gave four CAR days, should be enough, said it wasn't real work.

We argued for cash, and had two precedents. Arbitrator made clear he would not order city to write big check, knowing four other unions were coming. We know CAR day not equal to value of day of work, only if you're sick or personal, and cashed out at only half pay. We said if they took away a vacation, equal value would be they give us one. We worked out this plan, and arbitrator bought it. DOE offered CAR days, but we needed equal value. You get one vacation day for each day you work. Four CAR days converted, plus three.

Vacation days can be used for whatever you want. Have to request at least ten days early, should ask earlier. Can be denied if too many ask for same day, but only in first 48 hours. Effectively first come, first served, and then by seniority if necessary. If they deny, we can take it to expedited arbitration, likely well before vacation day. 

You have them for your whole career. If you still have them when you leave, you cash them out one for one at your current salary. Will be in bank in February. Go to vacation, opening day, or just hold onto them and take the money. 

Retirees will get it, hopefully right away. No other public school teachers ever got this.

Mulgrew thanks arbitration team. Sent out queries for anyone interested in negotiation committee. Want 400 or more, largest ever, by grade level, geography, etc. Want full representation on functional side. If attendance is still issue, will have to work out solution. Contract up in September. Do they have a big program they want to do? Are there other unions in negotiation now? Yes, for last round, but doesn't mean a union might not settle and push it farther. Financial pattern could already be set. Inflation very high now. 

Will require time allotment. Don't want other side to know what we're doing. If you want to be part of this, it's chapters helping other chapters. When was initial contract signed, and how did you build on it? We're about to rep new people in DOE seeking first contract. Will likely be more complicated than just money.

Secretary LeRoy Barr--Election petitions out today, with guidelines and statements, also on, borough offices, CL updates. Due back February 18. Shanker scholarship applications extended, please make available in HS. Join citywide HS meeting Thursday Feb 3. African heritage scholarship dinner dance Feb 1 Anton's. Sterling Roberson receiving award. Black History film series--Join us for films and conversations. CL training Feb. 12. Early childhood conf. March 9. Para chapter luncheon March 5.

Peter Lamphere--Asks for rules of non-credentialed staff in room. Some people couldn't get in.

Mulgrew--People here are working. Hopefully we can have more people after wave. Cap based on what we're being told. People here because they're working, or if they need to be here to answer questions. Some people have not registered. Last thing we want is for people not to be able to get in. We have this process for same reason we wear masks. If you want to come in person, please register, and we will send confirmation. There is abundant communication. 


Q--Something about health screening--believes most parents are honest, but hearing of situations where they are not doing test. How do we manage this, keep selves and students safe in this case?

A--That covers us too. Can this happen? Absolutely. Statement is legal attestation. Can be used to discipline us, and are legalities for parents. We are letting people know we are in this together, and need to do best we can. Hope we aren't in position where people are challenged for lying. 

Q--Attendance policy--We were told if student absent but engaging that we could mark them excused.

A--Something like that went out Friday, but is now accurate. We have no waivers from NYSED. Against state ed. law. This info went out to superintendents and principals. SED says you can't do this. You can talk to principal tomorrow, and hopefully DOE clears it up. Communication has been frustrating. 

Q--Will we have live streaming?

A--Not something we want to do. I would say no. Some members are okay with it, but educational research should matter. Teaching online one thing, when you're teaching to camera. We got criticized for remote learning. We knew it wouldn't be great. Imagine I'm teaching to 22 children, with 6 online. Imagine I teach to room, which I would. That is not remote instruction, not quality. Our position is no, but we want to protect our profession.

Q--Thanks Mulgrew for work he's done. Our school is tired, afraid, confused. We voted on ideas and sent them in. Biggest one is people wonder about rapid test. Some done in school immediately, Why can't we?

A--Never enough. we want test before every time we come in for all. DOH doesn't believe schools should give tests. Argued other systems did it. If this wave goes where we think, great. But is it last one? I agree. DOH is not with us on this. 

Q-- Per session. With pivot to remote, 2 hours, this is great. Principals not happy, as though money coming out of their pockets. Is there a limit or cap on this?

A--Tell admin it's not their money, we're performing additional work, and the majority of this, if DOE does job and calls it covid related, it will come from federal dollars. We need to make sure schools get the money they need. Common issue with special education services. There can be no more mandating. It has to be voluntary. There was no way around pivot to remote. Next thing should be per session or pro rata. Budgets very rich for principals. If they say they don't have money, I'd be curious to see how they spent it. Used to be cap on admin per session. Now wiped out. I look at that when principals say they have no money. 

Mulgrew explains use of clicker to in person delegates. 


?--This month. Moves resolution number 5 to position one because it's timely. On member engagement on contract negotiation.

769 yes 128 online no  passes 

John Shevalati--Motivates for February--Resolved--We regardless of caucus, commit to respectful open debate without attacking individuals, to maintain solidarity. Seen a lot, deals with anger, extremely disturbing this past year. Never seen things so contentious. Would like to rededicate to working together. Building and taking road at same time. 

Melissa Williams--against--Quotes tweets--Kindness matters, but doesn't equal justice. Civility counts, but is not justice. (not all recorded).

716 yes 148 no  can't hear internal again, passes.

Motion to extend motion period by ten minutes, meeting by 30. 

312 yes 556 online no does not pass


Greg Monte--Wants to expand member engagement for contract negotiation. Will be many questions about combating pandemic. Must put process that dedicates us to hearing all voices. 

Suzanne Becile--Feels committees really helpful. Excellent opportunity to express demands and give feedback. Supports.

?--Amendment--Adds resolved--that results of surveys sent to members will be released to members of each bargaining unit. Last time survey was comprehensive, but members never saw results of how successful we were. 

Elizabeth Perez--Opposes--Thinks putting out survey results in advance risks public negotiation. We're strongest union in country if not world, didn't get there negotiating in public. 

?--Rises in favor, as new to DA and UFT. Amazed at how DOE not transparent. We should increase transparency and fairness. Like hearing about how things work and what members are for or against. 

Mike Sill--Who could argue we don't want democratic conversations? Not what this is about. We will not have this conversation with like minded individuals, but rather with our enemies. We will shift balance of power. We already commit to representative committee that will have results. 

Edward Calamia--Supports. Amendment doesn't have timeline. Maybe we could hear afterward.

Mulgrew--He did say before. 

Motion--Question called on all matters.

Vote to close debate:

673 yes 152 online no debate closed.


314 yes 529 no online  amendment fails


 534 yes 199 no online passes

Support of NYS Senate Bill 728

?--Resolution to allow pharmacists to dispense pre exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV. Must be proactive to prevent transmission. Needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure.  Difficult for people to get this care. Asks us to urge passage. Will make available without prescription. 

Motion to suspend rules--Ryan Brookenthal--to do remainder of resolutions jointly. 

349 yes 369 no  online does not pass

?--No one wants to debate. Calls question. 

Calls for vote on resolution.

614 yes 85 no online 

Passes overwhelmingly.

Mulgrew--Remember, work is getting us through wave, appreciates participation, be safe, and God bless you all. 

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