Monday, January 13, 2020

UFT Executive Board January 13, 2020 Things Are Happening All Over

6 PM—Secretary LeRoy Barr welcomes us

Robert Halkitis, speaker, is not here.


President is in Florida.

Wednesday, Jan. 15, new delegates meeting following DA. Feb. 7—African heritage scholarship dinner, Anton’s in Queens. Black history month film series begins Feb. 13. Feb 27 is second film. March 16, Lobby Day, also 60th anniversary of UFT. Please let members know. Next Exec. Board Jan. 27.


Mike Schirtzer
—Proud to have worked defending union rights with so many members. Many have been asking me about an email they received from PERB about a member. What should we tell them about this email?

Barr—Sometimes you have a situation where DOE needs to be held responsible. We try to do that every day. In this case, this member was found to have been harassed and targeted after identifying financial irregularities. DOE lost case, In settlement, DOE was supposed to notify people in 2017. PERB sued DOE and won. Went to Supreme Court. Because they were resistant, court said it had to be sent to 120,000 people. Kudos to PERB. Tell members what happened.

Schirtzer—New contract has protection against harassment and retaliation. What should members do?

Barr—First, contact CL, who can work with DR. Must keep those responsible involved and informed. It’s case by case.

Arthur Goldstein
—I teach in a trailer. It has a great heating system. In September I recorded the temperature at 99 degrees, but the thermostat doesn’t go higher, so who knows? Now the temperature is between 85 and 89. We leave leave the outside door open so we don’t pass out. Still, one side of the room is too hot. The other is too cold.

The custodians have told me since September DOE is coming to fix the climate system. My friends teach in another trailer where there is no heat at all. The school has placed four space heaters in that trailer, but since no one turns them on in advance, period one is very, very cold.

A former student of mine teaches bilingual math in the trailers. Her students, sitting in the miserable September heat, ask her, “Are they doing this because we’re Chinese?” Maybe my students, from China, Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Dominican Republic feel the same. I don’t blame them.

This is exacerbated by the ongoing construction noise outside, which the DOE promised would take place after school hours.

I’ve spoken with everyone I could. I’m told this isn’t a simple  grievance. What it is, as far as I’m concerned, is institutional racism. If the DOE wants to come into our schools and teach us about racism, they ought to set a better example.

It’s clear to me that since they’re building an annex outside the trailers, they don’t give a golly gosh darn about anyone still in them. We should all just suck it up.

I’m hoping someone from the union might have a word with someone from DOE.

Barr—With respect to construction, there needs to be a protocol meeting. We have lots of options, article 10, many things to bring force to bear. We will make that call tomorrow to make sure central is aware.

We had the passing of one of our chapter leaders, Beth Wolf, from PS 82, District 8. We  rise for moment of silence.

Reports from Districts

Serbia Silva
—Monday was Three Kings Day. Glad EB was switched. We celebrated. CLs collected toys to give out. Tried to bring them to Cayuga Center. Were told that kids could not receive toys in detention centers, but found other places to bring toys. We did bring a lot of joy to many kids.

Eliu Lara—We organized a tenure workshop. Well attended. We will also have a tenure celebration for those granted it.

Doreen Berrios Castillo—Annual school secretary seminar. Great program on parental leave. Amazing workshop by Janella on unionism, empowerment, and organizing.

Sterling Roberson—Last week Jan. 7, hosted Perkins public comment hearing. Opinions voiced on federal and state changes that lost many schools funding. NYSED heard from all constituency groups and folks had passionate remarks. Trying to help get programs approved and proper funding. We need to lobby for more approval. Was in today’s DN. Thanks all who helped with turnout.

Mike Schirtzer—Commends UFT Jewish Heritage Committee for last week’s march. Critical and important to have UFT banner at that march against anti-Semitism. Stepdaughter was focused in DN for teaching about the Holocaust. We all fight hate in our own way, not something we take lightly. Thanks everyone for going.

Karen Alford—United Community Schools got federal grant of 2.3 million dollars. Several Bronx schools will benefit from this. Very happy about what we’ll be able to do. Today I addressed 500 DOE teacher residents. We have 500 teachers who will be interning for city jobs. Great we can get teachers into hard to staff neighborhoods. We always need to be mindful of teacher retention.

Anthony Harmon—Jan. 7th hundreds of people and Nick Cruz highlighted census.

Seung Lee—Karaoke Social, PS 125 census teach in this Wed.

Shelvy Abrams. March 14 para election.

Duane Clark—100 young men of color got training in this building on leadership. Showed we, as an org, can partner with DOE. Next year, we want 200. Guiding one to be an NYC HS teacher. We can be the best we can be, the next doctors and lawyers. Powerful to watch young men engage. Starting with early HS students. You may start a leadership program within your schools.

Tenisha Frank—2020 Women’s March Saturday Jan. 18. Broadway between 61 and 61 we will meet participants.

Legislative Report—Elizabeth Perez—Cuomo relived state of state address. Education minimal part. Wanted to direct funding to neediest students, but provided little detail. Expect budget within two weeks. Will host UFT legislative reception to share our priorities. NYSUT will be doing Lobby Day too. Hearing tomorrow on NYC universal after school program. Want slots available for any who want them. Council wants more transparency and detailed info.

We will discuss special election to fill Queensborough President vacated by Melinda Katz March 24. Will have UFT retreat to plan getting out the vote. Feb 1, 2 weekend, or Feb. 8. CLs should place census at top of January agenda. Mulgrew will deliver powerpoint presentation on Wednesday. CLs should share this.

Barr—NYSUT RA resolution—environmentally responsible schools

Janella Hinds
—When we think about climate change, we can stand up for environmentally sound schools and retrofitting. We want sustainable school projects to enable conservation and recycling.


—Resolution against hate attacks.

Dave Kazansky—Attacks are well-documented in December and further beyond that. Jews walking down the street celebrating holidays are being attacked. Piece of larger puzzle in this time period, with this leadership, and people are emboldened to express hate. Symptomatic of immigrant and LGBTQ treatment. Hope this is approved and we can show UFT doesn’t tolerate this.
Ezike Devaus—Could we include immigration status in this? Once in whereas and once in resolved. UFT opposes bigotry on these grounds and others.


Resolution as amended passes

Anthony Harmon
—Endorsement for Queensborough President of Donovan Richards. Knows him personally. Was out helping to rebuild Rockaway after Sandy. Queens UFT supports him.


6:40—We are adjourned.
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