Wednesday, January 15, 2020

UFT Delegate Assembly January 15, 2020--The Census, the UFT Legal Plan, and the Chapter Leader Network

UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomes us. 4:34

Speaks of support for chapter leaders and delegates. Says chapter leader most important union position, as members identify with CL. Says work from focus group will go live February 3rd to several districts. Will roll out over week. There will be a chapter leader community on internet and CLs can ask questions. There is a knowledge base that UFT phone support uses, and from February on CLs will have access to it. This knowledge base evolves as new questions are asked.

There are issues with incorrect answers to questions and knowledge base can help cut down on that. Will be a CL chat room. There will be rules, and legalities, not for political use inside and outside of the union. Urges against bad language.

There will be a my school section with basic info. There will be a repository of school info so new CLs can see it, including SBOs and grievances. Union looking for other ways to use it, new applications, and urges constant back and forth. CL handbooks may be put online.

Looking to have a high percentage of registration for this. Tying this to a project. Everyone will get a letter signed my Mulgrew, Carranza and president of CSA saying that math and ELA must have a plan tied to new standards. Test scores aren’t everything, but we don’t want a dramatic drop either. UFT will do inventory, and CLs will have to log on and provide info on what materials school uses. Union will provide support.

Majority of existing materials are not aligned to new standards. Materials can be modified to do so. Will have to be evaluated by committees, which will approve or not.

Phase two will be lists of approved materials. Schools can choose from these materials and curriculum and programs will be provided by DOE. Each school district in NYC, and each school district in NY must have a PD team, the majority of which is chosen by the bargaining unit.

Student debt program—First program officially started as members only. We are about to start our second, with housing.

This union is part of two national lawsuits against student debt companies. Anyone in a 30 year repayment program is in wrong program. City teachers can qualify for forgiveness in ten years.

We’re paying for a service, most is free, but there can be a nominal fee for complex situations. Between December and June, average monthly payment went down $143. We’ve saved 43.7 million dollars for teachers. Average savings 80K per person. Companies deterred people by not answering.
This year we’re moving them to webinars.

There will be a new UFT legal services plan. This may address landlord-tenant disputes and letter writing. Every member of union will have access to law firm, majority free, but for complicated things there will be copays. Wills, trusts, elder law, bankruptcy, leases can be included. Will be soft launch next week. Will replace NYSUT program for us.

Florida—Mulgrew was in Tallahassee yesterday and Monday. To be a teacher in Florida is not a good thing. Has been working closely with teachers. 46th of 50 states in ed. funding. Retiree chapter has worked with FL ed. association. Was huge rally of teachers at State House, first time ever.

Florida teachers appreciated support of UFT and CTU. This battle is now our battle. NY funding much better than Florida. Top salary 45K in some FL districts.They have year to year contracts. National press now in Florida. Governor put out plan to give raises only to new teachers.

Right now our legislative session faces a 6 billion dollar deficit. All of it is tied to health care, largely Medicaid. We will have to deal with this. We want to maintain ed. funding. Governor wants us to teach kids tolerance. National discussion fueling this.

We have a homeless crisis in this city. We need to talk about it in a way that corrects people. It can’t be as portrayed in Post, a male yelling at people, 70% is women and children. We have 120-140K children who are “shelter-challenged.” How many districts have this many students living in shelters.

We now have political action teams. UFT now has political teams not just by borough, but also by district. Will bring about 200 people to train on grassroots level action. Political work is about relationships. We want candidates for council seats.

Census—Should count every person, not citizen who resides here. This will determine funding and representation. State funding is at risk. Last year we had 34.5 billion. NYC and NY State performed worst on census. If we get 10% higher, we will still be worst. But that means 3.45 billions a year, for ten years. That would’ve more than erased deficit.

We need to educate public. Education funding is at risk. 10% more would’ve brought 9 billion dollars to NYC education. Ten years ago, no one bothered with census. National average is 74%, but NYC is 61.6. Federal money should be coming back here, but is now sent somewhere else. We are building highways in Mississippi.

Mulgrew gives examples of communities that failed to turn out people for census.

City council put 40 million into census count, up from 180K last time, due to UFT lobbying. Will split city into ten areas. We have allies. There will be marketing. Chancellor will support schools being used for this.

Right wingers will lie and suggest census data will throw people out of country, or eject them from dwellings. This is a federal crime. Even this Supreme Court agrees.

Number one undercounted group in last census was children. Parents fail to include children. Trying to get chancellor to work on educating people at parent-teacher conferences.

We will encourage this online. Asks that CLs talk to members about this. We were only school district to get through recession without layoffs. 179 teachers laid off in Rochester this New Year.

This is our money in the first place. The feds and people who hate us have done everything in their power to screw us. They pushed a citizenship question. Needs everyone to get this out. Will give Powerpoint to every elected union official.

We are one week away from term in which everyone should have been evaluated. Mulgrew asks how many schools have not had eval, Many hands raised.

Mulgrew wants eval changed from what it is to a supportive tool. We have to engage to change dynamic. When members get low ratings, it looks as though there was not enough engagement. Evidence of growth for principals could be higher ratings. We have to engage in process.

Teachers choice receipts due. If you don’t file, they will take back the money.

Women’s march Saturday Central Park.

Shanker scholarships—1 million to children of NYC. Applications due Jan. 31.

Negotiating for nurses very nasty. There may be multiple picket lines.

LeRoy Barr
—African Heritage scholarship dinner dance, Anton’s, Black History film series. Feb 27, College Behind Bars. Para luncheon March 14 NY Hilton. Lobby day March 16. Also anniversary of UFT founding, 60th anniversary. Next Da Feb 12.


Q—Disciplinary meetings—You sit down with admin, they should do investigation, and substantiate or not. Seems like “legal” is in control. What are we doing about “legal” controlling things as opposed to admin?

A—CSA doesn’t have a contract. They aren’t happy. They don’t have parental leave. One pushback is investigations are not their responsibility by contract. Also DOE writing them up for doing it improperly. Once legal is involved, common sense is gone. Will bring it up and consultation w chancellor. All cases now are centralized. We see trends now. Issue is CSA acting out more and more.

Q—Can UFT assist us with sexual harassment training workshop. Difficult to log on. Get warning that site will steal personal info.

A—Send it to me. I will help.

Member suggests this will not happen on school desktop PC, but member says she was using one.

Q—Can we get superintendents to college data about how teachers are rated. We are rated between I and D.  Is this normal?

A—This is in Advance. We can ask, and if they say no we can FOIL.  Superintendent should see, by school, what ratings are. Would like conversation with borough rep. Maybe they want to do better next time to show “growth.”

Q—When teachers request medical or personal days we are getting probing questions from admin. A member was going for a colonoscopy, and principal said member only needed one day as opposed to two. How much information do they need?

A—They aren’t allowed to ask for this. Mike Sill will send circular. Members request it be sent to all CLs, and Mulgrew agrees.

Q—My principal gives counseling memos to people with documented absences before or after holidays.

A—That’s called bridging, There has to be a pattern. Will have grievance dept. follow up. Principal being a bully.

Q—Our school was selected to apply for Bronx plan. Principal stopped it. This year we are invited again. Can we work with CSA to get this going.

A—There is issue of contract, and they weren’t happy with Bronx Plan in beginning. Make sure school community and parents are aware. It will benefit school. I understand another union has right to own opinion, but this is part of our contract. Principal and CL must both agree. That is a condition. We want to build collaboration.

Q—If E or H, you can still request formal. Any follow up?

A—Haven’t yet been to consultation on that. We are trying to move observation. Principals and many teacher prefer not to. We cannot mandate it.

Q—Investigations—Principal slow walks investigations and letters. Is there a time line?

A—Grievance dept. will address that. Depends on circumstance.

Q—Personal days—Principal will say it’s a travel day, so you can have it unpaid. Put in for Friday, and he said since you’re traveling you won’t get paid.

A—Speak w grievance dept.

Dave Pecoraro—Motion to move item 3, endorsement, to first item.


Motion to be placed on this month’s agenda to support earthquake victims.


Motion for next month’s agenda
—NY public schools have large Haitian population, UFT will lobby for French translations. Says Haitian student speaks no English. Many speak Creole but read and write in French. Haitian Creole translations don’t help some students.

Against—Majority of Haitians only speak Creole, not French. Majority are not getting public education. Is a problem. Education in big cities is done in French. Large movement to have teaching in Creole. There are, however, few books in Creole. Best would be to offer both languages and keep Creole.

Point of information—Is it possible to modify motion to request both languages?

Mulgrew—Possible but not on floor at the moment.

Speaker says he wants French as other option.


Motion to extend time by 5 minutes.


Point of order
—Motion period was only 7 minutes long. Can we extend?

No extension.

Amy Arundell—Moves we endorse Donovan Richards for Queensborough President. Has repped SE Queens since 2013, fought for school resources, tech, stood in opposition of school closings in Rockaway. They remain open. First community learning school and supports UFT initiatives. Will fight for tenant rights.

John Nolan
—Favors Richards, helped in Sandy, strong vision.

Rashad Brown—calls question.

Resolution carries

We are adjourned. 6:10 PM.
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