Monday, January 10, 2022

UFT Executive Board January 10, 2021--Vacation Days

Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us. 


Barr--African Heritage Committee, 19 Annual Awards Dance Anton's in Queens. UFT Black History Film Series, Jan 27 Slavery and Suffering, Feb 3. Haitian Rev. Pt. 1 Feb 10 Pt. 2 Feb 17 Marcus Garvey--Will be discussions. 

Reports from Districts--

Karen Alford--Horrific fire in Bronx, will do disaster relief effort on UFT website.

Shelvy Abrams--1900 paras got certification letters. UFT will reach out to them. Brooklyn had SRP celebration Thursday, was very moving. 

Tom Murphy--RTC had benefits meeting today in lieu of travel, 3200 signed on, was successful. 

Special Order of Business--Arbitration Update--David Campbell--Much anticipated Spring Break. In 2020 all school based employees ordered to work 7 vacation days. Grievance system was down. When it went up it moved rapidly. Received new kind of day, vacation day. We wanted money, was first demand. We submitted precedents for pro rata. Arbitrator said he would not write massive check for city, demanded remedy. Was moving toward CAR days, but was not equivalent. Only for sick or few personal days. We came up with the idea that you take away a vacation, then you give a vacation. We came up with vacation days. Arbitrator was convinced. We had received four CAR days during break to deal with holidays. If those CAR days were not used during that break, they were converted to vacation days. Four CAR days converted to vacation days, and then three more for everyone who worked those days.

We did not want it subject to approval. May be used in succession, or individually. Good for whole career, and if you keep till retirement, are cashed out one for one. 

DOE pushed back, so there are limited ways admin can deny. Staff member must apply at least ten school days in advance. Admin can deny within first 48 hours. Reasons are in arbitration, must be compelling, and can be challenged. Cannot be denied because it's adjacent to holiday.  However, if too many people request those days and it's hardship for school, could be compelling. Decision made in seniority order, but only 48 hours to deny. Effectively first come first served. Another non- compelling reason is if only one person in particular title--but if there's only one teacher, and that teacher asks for before Regents week, it's possible. Admin must present compelling reason to member, UFT, and DOE. If union disagrees, goes straight to arbitration. 

Q--Members want to know if 683 can be considered for those days.

A--We think so, not explicit, but in past we've won arbitrations that 683 is extension of work year. We believe yes, but you'll here more.

Q--Our school under tremendous strain. Feb. 1 can apply. Could principal deny for short staffing? Could principal reject sub lesson plans?

A--If too many people are out, could be. Hopefully this passes soon. Lesson plan interesting question. We have arbitration that no one can be disciplined for these day. Teacher responsibility to prep, but we shall see.

Q--Likes idea of vacation days--Read if you left service you'd be paid one to one. When?

A--We know they take their time doing these things. If you worked and retired you will be paid, but not sure when. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Thanks everyone who worked on plan. Idea is interesting. Trying to think how it could be used in future.

At this time, thanks people dealing with horrendous situation in Bronx. Thanks those who've helped families, Jeff Povalitus and team. AFT and NYSUT reached out. Waiting to see what schools need. Horrible tragedy.

We got through last week. Our safety people meet every morning with DOE, number of cases, what schools may close. DOE may redeploy staff and subs when needed. Last Sunday, no in school testing because of break. We were looking at 13,500 covid cases by Monday. Last night down to 4100. Everyone who goes to testing center who identifies as DOE goes to situation room. Tested 78,000 in schools last week. See numbers going down. Big drop this week is some positive news. 

In all schools I went to last week heard if kids are here we want to be here. We have many superintendents and principals making own rules, but there was clear info in principal hub that ended improvisation. Many kits went to teachers and HS students last week. Received 2.5 million more tests between yesterday and today. If there's a problem with supplies we need to know about it. 

We've found places where supplies have been in buildings, but not distributed. One principal wanted everyone to test in front of her. Had meetings with testing teams. If team has done 10%, we want them to test more people if they're there. Our real tool now is rapid test, because of how variant works. PCR tests are about identifying problem areas and trends. Mayor says he will try not to close schools but understands he may have to.

People keep asking about our testing plan. Across country, people ask about it. Every school district received money to do this. 

Two hours per session still in place for teachers with students having covid.

DOE now saying if you aren't in a seat or school, you aren't here anymore.

Chicago has no testing. She has a lot of money to do it. She outsourced it this year, and they're finding test kits in dumpsters. Schools will be open if city does its job. Mayor is incompetent. Vacation days available December 1. 

Q--A member asked to be tested. Principal requesting signup sheet. Forced someone to be tested, and denied another.

A--Hard to answer stupidity. Send someone in to talk to this principal. Testing teams want schools to get kids ready quickly. 

Q--Concerned because last week coaches gave consent to be tested. Were on school list, but we were considered central and denied testing. 

A--I will check on this. 

Q--Many people are out. Situation Room late, and people are exposed for days by the time we know results. We are mixing pods, and many students are exposed. This creates more cases. Refused to see staff before kids, even though they weren't busy.

A--Turnaround time must be rectified. Teams were trained to do kids first. We are talking to DOE about this.

Q--Superintendent says health screener being revised to tell people to report to work even if they test positive, whether or not they have symptoms.

A--This must be clarified. There are people with other medical issues, and there should be accommodations. You can test positive for some time, and not be infectious. There can be specialty tests, or letters from doctors stating when you first tested positive. We hope this is clarified. We have spoken to them about that. 

Q--Nurses being denied testing because names not on list. May be because we are not on Galaxy. Used to let us fill out a piece of paper and then they'd test you, they used to check on system. Now they insist we be on list.

A--Will address it.

Q--On testing thing, folks come with rules. If there are zero kids, and staff is there, they refuse to test until they see kids first. Would like some flexibility.

A--We have been talking to them about it. When we think they are just sitting there, they may be doing other work. Main thing, they say, is rapid tests, but everyone has been trained that PCR tests are the way to validate. They seem to understand I will bring this up.

Q--Anything we as a union want from city that they are not doing?

A--In terms of what our doctors have said, rapid tests, K95 masks, ventilation, cleaning, we have it. Everyone wants to talk about what is not working, but we see high levels of instruction and people doing difficult work under adverse conditions.

Q--Please speak of per session and clarify at Town Hall. 

A--I agree. 

Q---How was student attendance last week?

A--70% before Friday, teacher attendance a little higher. We will reach out to parents. They have same apprehension and anxiety. We are looking at trends. Things may move in better direction as we quickly address problems. We can support students who are missing because of COVID. Wishes all a happy new year. Hopes numbers continue to fall and we have lower anxiety.

Supervisor school security passed. Asks for moment of silence.

6:52 We are adjourned. 

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