Monday, November 04, 2019

UFT Executive Board November 4, 2019--A Lesson for an Arbitrator, and a Founder Speaks

6 PM Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us.

Speaker—Walter Rendone—As teacher I career changed, went into it for love of learning. Taught 15 years. At PS 24 in Riverdale. Was brought up on 3020a. Told I was not performing well. What changed from being a great teacher to being pushed out?

Aside from creating science curriculum, I was critical of principal, who was gambling on school hours. Principal only taught two years of HS, got AP principal, charged with corporal punishment and became principal.

I started to get written up. Left prep to move car. Small things were accumulated. They now tell me, after giving me G and T program, that I’m not doing well. Not sure what my position is, as I now make photocopies and carry boxes.

Have letter of support from 60 parents. Not sure what I’m supposed to do. Came here to pose question—is this normal? Should I sue this man? I want to protect other teachers. All of a sudden our school is constricted and hands are around my neck.

Once I touched a smart board during an exam by accident. Yet he then placed me in two testing grades and had me conduct state science exam. I read what they’re accusing me of, but I also know what the principal has done.

Does anyone have a similar story, or support? How can I exonerate myself and make my school the great school it should be?

Barr—Thanks speaker. This is not a Q and A session. Your borough rep is here. She will guide you through this process.


President is not here tonight.

Barr— Make sure you vote and encourage others to do so. Members have rights to be released up to three hours. Some misinformation out there. If anybody notified by close of business Friday, they should be released. If that is an issue, please let us know.

CTU strike is over. Settled. Congratulations to our Chicago brothers and sister. We will meet November 18 and change Wall of Honor. We will have an event here. Suggesting we start at 5:30.

Moved, seconded. Passed.

Hall will open at 5:15 or 5:30. We will end early and move to lobby. People honored are Leo Hoenig, Carmen Alvarez, Frank Caruchi, Sandra March, Bob Ostrowsky, and Shelvy Young-Abrams.

Bronx parent conference Saturday 9 AM. Brooklyn parent conference Saturday 16 9 AM.


Arthur Goldstein—The new class size process has worked very well for our school. In fact, the only classes remaining oversized were music classes, which had been oversized for years. The arbitrator ruled that performing groups could remain oversized, but that music classes renamed “required music” for the purposes of the hearing were oversized.

Though we have a new process, the arbitrator still determines what we can do if the class sizes are not resolved. In our case, he directed that our teachers of oversized classes would be relieved from their C6 assignments two days a month.

Does anyone here know of a principal who would correct an oversized class rather than give C6 off two days a month? I wonder why an arbitrator would find that a reasonable remedy. I wonder whether they have any idea what it is to teach a class of 50. I’ve done it, and I think the arbitrator’s remedy is a cruel joke. I’m being kind when I use those words.

Can we make arbitrators teach classes of 50 before allowing them to make decisions on topics about which they clearly know nothing?

Barr—David Campbell is here.

Campbell—There is a change in remedies. Previously, the school would be given 5 days to comply, and then there would be a meeting where the DOE would offer an “action plan.” There were some discussions, but if they were found reasonable they were accepted.

Now the arbitrator, when they issue decision, gives remedy. One advantage is action plans didn’t amount to too much. Now they are rendered earlier. Yes we would like stronger remedies. They are tricky to find. C6 suggests teacher needs more time. That’s one way. We were disappointed with that outcome. Didn’t seem adequate. We want to fight for stronger remedies. Are open to ideas.

Reports from districts—

Rashad Brown—Youth empowerment dinner LGBQ students. Please purchase tickets.

Hector Ruiz—Latino caucus had fundraiser for disaster relief. Everyone had good time. We raised $5,000.

Camille Evy—Thanks boroughs for participation in aiding Hurricane Dorian victims. Have more items than we can ship.

Janella Hinds—On Thursday, had Future and Focus, 500 students and chaperones spoke with people from 40 different unions. Had fantastic time learning about labor movement collective bargaining, and pensions. Really good day.

Barr—Moment of silence for Lila Ezro. Worked for MAP for many years. Did a lot of work for UFT. Passed Friday.

David Kazansky—Was director of school safety, worked with her for 3 years. Was backbone of victim support program. We had many traumatic events. She also directed MAP, helped countless members with suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol addiction. Made union and world better place.

Legislative report—Janella Hinds—Yesterday, pres. delegate workshop hosted by UFT and other unions. Tried to ID people who’d serve as delegates. Gave info. Fantastic turnout. Proud of work. Will bring people together for census November 18. Important for UFT and labor. Will have more info soon. Don’t forget to vote.

Barr—Resolution commemorating UFT strike.

George Altomari—Thanks us for remembering. 1960 strike started with fight for money respect and dignity. 1953, three young men and one woman in 126 Queens, went to begin careers. Al Shanker taught math. Thought we’d be supported.

Door opened and in came a tyrant. He opened the door and asked why there was so much noise, in a perfect classroom, full of participation. Called me out into the hall and complained. We decided we couldn’t stay and be treated this way. Same principal harassed Shanker. Asked him to pick up papers on floor in front of kids.

We decided they wouldn’t drive us out. Went to local 2, Teachers Guild. Told story. They said join the union. We did, that same week. Most schools didn’t have one member. We started organizing. Had details of strike. We knew nothing of importance is given—it must be taken. We fought for dignity.

I went on to high schools, organized Franklin K. Lane. We got help. People wanted us to be ready to help ourselves. District reps came from district chapters we organized so we could have a strike. Our number one demand was collective bargaining. We prepped in 1959. When you go that far, you don’t turn back easily.

November 7, 1960, day before election of John Kennedy. We used Delaney cards to organize. We used enemy’s ammunition. Red book had every district, school, principal. They were our computers.

We got money, yes, benefits, yes, but also dignity. I was strike chairman then. We were proud to be able to get so many people to fight for what they believed in. We got 5600 on strike and 2000 who called in. We had no safety net. Today you’d have a pension. Then you’d have nothing. They risked everything and the UFT is here. We now pass that on to you, and hope you don’t have to strike. But you’re ready to do it again. We know that. We are in solidarity, live it together, have to thank giants of the past that will be on the wall.

Barr—George is the last of the original officers of the UFT. I always learn something new from these stories. Never really put it in context of day before Kennedy was elected and what country was going through at that time. Had elected one of the most progressive presidents of all time. Asks founders to stand.

Resolution carries unanimously.

We are adjourned 6:42.
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