Wednesday, October 14, 2020

UFT Delegate Assembly October 14, 2020--We Will Survive (at least until June)

UFT President Michael Mulgrew.-- began listening at 4:32--talking about what happened with testing in September. Governor came out with a color coded plan which begins next week. We have already begun testing and get results daily. Our monitoring program tests a certain percentage monthly. Happening same day now, but will be spread out in future. Will hopefully keep virus at bay.

Country now at beginning of second wave and our challenge is to keep city safe. If there's a problem with PPE, cleaning, procedures, let us know. Only way we can fix is if we know. 

Profession and livelihood during bad economy--Fought to get CARES act passed. UFT coordinated different education unions. Gave us a lifeline, helped small businesses and family, but ended September 30th. Hundreds of thousands of layoffs now happening across country. Teachers, teacher aides, paraprofessionals being laid off around state. 

City prepared notices in July for 9,000 UFT members, but were not sent out. City actually needed more teachers. Some with remote settings have been hit harder. Budget cuts are going to get worse. 

We're in mid-election, looking at SCOTUS, and even with stimulus package next few years will be tough. Between city and state no one has seen this sort of number. If state could borrow 30 billion right now, it would still be in red. Every day we go further and further. Our economy doesn't cover expenses on day to day basis. This is longterm challenge.

We are hearing better news on virus. We'll probably go through this entire school year dealing with this, but hopefully next year we can have a vaccine in sufficient quantity. If we can get to that, then it's only the economy.

Lump sum payment--Many of you have written me about it. We always anticipate bad things. We plan for bad days as teachers. Didn't talk to city about it at all, and then on October 2 I asked for confirmation they were processing payment. Asked again. I then called, knowing members would check paychecks. City Hall didn't realize payroll system gave us info a week before. Wasn't processed. We had prepped legal papers, and on Thursday they said they would not process payment. We immediately filed papers.

We signed an agreement in 2014 for deferred wages. Said any issue would go straight to arbitration with mediator for that contract. We went immediately. I was quite angry city just took our money. Knew they owed us. 

Whole premise of city's argument is they're in a difficult fiscal time so they can't make payment. That would mean anytime they claimed a difficult fiscal time they wouldn't have to make a payment. We could not let that stand. We went to arbitration. Was very simple. If they denied us then, they'd deny raise in May and they could keep making this argument. Arbitrator started mediating. I'd prefer just lump sum, but other half was moved into next fiscal year. While that was good for city, we were made whole, and there was a no layoff clause. Possibility of second no layoff year if federal stimulus gets done. Very possible. Could be Title One allotment. 

Even with that package, city and state are in bad shape. Working with MLC on early retirement, got legislation introduced on Friday. City has given us letter of support. First big step in getting to incentive. We've taken steps, but there are many others that have to be taken before we get there. 

We have to look at safety and stay focused on it at all times, If city goes all remote will mean city is overrun with COVID. Meanwhile some geographic areas will be going temporarily remote. 

While we have raise and no layoff clause we're good this year at least.

We have to settle on working conditions. We can't have principal saying you are both remote and in person teacher. We have a system in place. When we needed money for PPE, staffing, we got that done. Issue is DOE says some schools can't get teachers. Some principals say that just so DOE will leave them alone. They don't help. They're only problems. They may have said they were ready before, but now they need staff for all these positions.

That is our fight right now. Every single CL with operational complaint will be getting phone call this week or early next. Many elementary schools have in person teachers also blended remote. We need to know how many teachers we need and go after it. If we have to fight DOE, we will do it. We are gettng it done. All safety work was us. We made sure mandated testing was in place. 

Entire time we were in remote, we talked to only half a dozen people at DOE. Now everyone wants to put their hand in things and we aren't having it. We gave the city time to hire people and get things done but the city isn't doing that. 

SBOs are great but they are not for principals. It's your tool, your power. Not in CSA contract. Principals cannot jam them through. If you don't want SBO you aren't getting one. Principals are being told they can't hire, and that's not what our agreement is based upon. We will put big push on this for two weeks to get this resolved.

What you're doing is amazing. We are moving kids around the city, getting tested, and fighting for our livelihood and profession at the same time. All the central level management are inept and I'm just talking to chancellor. Election Day is a remote learning day, and was made so because we needed to meet our state obligation. We worked with DOE to get this through SED. We're being told now it's up to principal whether teachers have to come in. They say they aren't sure. Why do we have all these people at DOE if all they do is create more problems?

First think we will ask mayoral candidates is how they will dismantle DOE and start system to support schools. November 3rd is remote learning day, and you work remotely. It's a presidential election year. Why would we want you in schools when they are major polling places? At every level we have this frustration. But you get it done. Teachers figure it out. If you're waiting for DOE support, you will wait a long time.

We will stay focused on safety protocols. If there's a problem, let us know. If you have supply issues we can help you quickly. Instructional side can't get it done. 

We wish we could've got whole lump sum, but we'll get half later, no layoffs, and guaranteed raise. 

We're doing a lot of elections, phone banking with NYSUT. We're concerned with SI Max Rose race and Andrew Benardis. We push not for party, but for whether they help teachers. So hard now to ask any of our members to do anything extra because of amount of stress we're under. Thanks those doing the work, and retirees in five different states right now working on national, Senate and Congressional races. Most unions don't have an active retiree chapter. They know what you're going through. 

LeRoy Barr--Make sure you fill out census. Directs billions to schools, public services. Deadline Oct. 16 6 AM. Most of us have done it, but remind friends, neighbors. Hispanic Heritage Month, and we are celebrating around the world. Most important election Nov. 3. Encourage people to vote. Breast cancer awareness month. Consider making donation to American Cancer Society.


Q--Our principal not releasing people working remotely. Says even though she got guidance, wants it in writing what people do when they work remotely.

A--She's received it. Just playing games. Speak to DR. File operational complaint or DR will work it out. If not resolved in one day, file complaint. Ridiculous.

Q--SBO last spring for parent conferences same day--Staff doesn't want it anymore. Wasn't calendared. Principal in agreement.

A--Contact Debbie Poulos. We will support your reservation, given calendar came out so late. 

Q--CL tried to coerce me and other teachers into teaching in person and remotely so other person could do less work. 

A--You don't have to do that. Say no thank you. Sounds like there are operational issues. Contact DR.

Q--With NYS in fiscal crisis, how are our pensions?

A--Pensions are fine. Stability tied more to stock market, which has rebounded. 

Q--School not doing SBO. Principal asked for it. Problem now back in her lap. She said now I have a problem. Principal says operational complaint is black mark against school and she will be livid. I can't do it. She says she will take money and hire staff, but it hasn't happened.

A--For me it has to be operational complaint. Many principals ask CLs to file. For principal to say it's black mark is ignorant. You don't get proper support from DOE. Borough rep will follow up.

Q--We have students sent home by nurse, returning next day with no note, no test. Allowed to stay in building, not required to go home. 

A--You need to go to DR and get this done under safety. We can't worry about upsetting parents now. 

Q--What's our position on taxing wealthy in NYS to support communities?

A--We support it. State union campaigning for millionaire's tax. We need a stimulus, or massive borrowing. Can't borrow enough to get out. Will have to be revenue, stimulus, borrowing, or some combination. We don't know when economy will start again. State approaching 36 billion dollar hole. No one knows when economy will come back. Stores boarding up everywhere. Will be rough road. In election, one candidate really wants to hurt NY State.  

We supported last version too.

Q--Spring break pay--Why can't we go to arbitration now, like in lump sum?

A--We had special jurisdiction for lump sum. It's on the radar, and when it's time we'll get to it. Not forgotten.

Q--With remote election day, can we make sure that people are able to vote?

A--Law changed--if you don't have four consecutive hours outside work day, they will give you time. We have time. Wear PPE. You can also do early voting. Hopefully we won't have to stand on line. I want my vote counted on election day. Make sure you stay safe.

Q--Other districts have used remote to make layoffs. If we go fully remote, will it impact no layoffs?


Q--Will kids who aren't allowed testing be allowed in buildings?

A--We were upset when they said it wasn't mandated. Caused problems everywhere. This is a health emergency. We owe it to each other that we test if we need to. New guidance says testing is mandated if you want to work or be in a NYC school. We gave some time the first month. Come November, that's it. If safety is first, people have to be tested. Will be done at random. Policy not changed, just confused. Part of state plan.

Q--What's DOE policy on writing up redeployed teachers?

A--No special policy. Some are redeployed, some management, and some are us. If you aren't doing your job correctly you can be written up. If you're written up for no reason, we will utilize due process.

Q--We're a PROSE school, and with everything that's happened, scheduling has gone out window. Should we then just do SBOs under circumstances, just to cover this year?

A--That is a real problem. Whatever you did originally probably doesn't work during crisis. Initially I'd say yes, but I will get back to you. You can perhaps vote to change rules temporarily, as we did here at DA. Will follow up.


Next month's agenda--Vince Gaglione--In honor of RBG--child of Brooklyn, daughter of Jewish immigrants, NYC public school grad. Part of folklore of community. Represented values of her block--modesty, people living with one another. We need to honor her. 

97% yes. 3% no passes

Hector Ruiz--this month--Hispanic Heritage Month--UFT should continue advocacy for Latino community, especially for teaching staff.

91% yes  8% no passes


Motion to move #10 to #1 for special election at request of political action committee.

 93% yes, passes

Mary Atkinson--Speaks in support of endorsing Kevin Riley for City Council. Supporter of public ed, public school parent, wants inclusive curriculum at all levels, wants health services in schools, knows public ed. requires funding, supports fully funding foundation aid. UFT members in Bronx think he will be strong ally.

Peter Lamphere--Neutral, but given fiscal crisis, is Riley in favor of raising taxes on rich to create revenue?

Mulgrew--Technically this is out of order. Interviews were done by district members, who make recommendation to exec. board or DA. Debate is for or against. 

Mark Walters--Lifelong resident of district 12, interviewed Riley, believe he's committed to NYC, district 12 and our children. Will support and implement policy to help our children and schools.

Nancy Wigo--For resolution. 

90% yes, passes.

Mulgrew--Asking that three BLM resolutions try to come together into one. We are out of time. Need you to make sure if something is going wrong on safety you let us know. We will push complaints rapidly. 

LeRoy Barr--Asks for extension as resolution relevant to election.

80% yes. Passes.

Mavis Yan--Back in May we asked to support postal service, lifeline for Americans in remote and rural areas. Many false statements from 45. Rushing to put Barret on court. He wants to send election to SCOTUS, and manipulate postal service and use it as scapegoat. Mail in voting important. Any change that negatively impacts postal service puts lives at risk. We are still in middle of pandemic. Lives are at risk and so is right to vote. Trump pefectly willing to sacrifice right to vote and postal service. Please support. 

Cynthia Smith--Supports Mavis and all she said. 

Joanne Genelda--No.

91% yes. Passes.

Mulgrew thanks us. Says keep watching each other's backs. We will take care of these fights. Be well and God bless.

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