Wednesday, October 13, 2021

UFT Delegate Assembly October 13, 2021--UFT Endorses Pro-Charter Adams as Friday the 13th Occurs on Wednesday

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Introduces CL Jennifer Brown.

Brown--Speaks of Carl Plummer, who took her place as CL. Fought for all students and co-workers. Will miss him dearly.

Moment of silence.

Mulgrew--Welcomes newcomers to DA. Will be easy year, says sarcastically. Opening was very hectic. Thanks all who opened their arms to students. Has been much turmoil since. Thanks those who do the work that will get union through challenge. Says it's not easy. 

Wants to recognize all District Reps. Asks them to stand. 

Reflects on last year, and says we were constantly trying to change and adjust. Key to school is stability and we don't have it now. Probably won't have it this year either. Speaks of agreements made through operational complaints last year. 2200 made last year, over 2K resolved. Normally we use grievance process, but many things we're asked to do now aren't covered in CBA. Teaching in a pandemic is new thing. Negotiating often yelling back and forth with DOE. They think it's only about them in central. 

We have to keep focus on work being done at school and instructional process. All of these agreements had compensation tied to them when DOE broke them. We're working under new conditions, and if they break agreements, we need to be compensated. All change, though it's right thing now, is not good for us or children of NYC. It's stress on top of stress.

But we are stuck in a pandemic. We'll have to work this way until we get out of it. We have to continue negotiating because their management is very flimsy. This is uber-stress on everyone right now. Members want to know how to take care of things, but answers constantly change. Not good for instructional practices.

We're beyond flexible. No matter how much we plan, we know things won't work out as we expect. We don't need craziness from outside our schools intruding. We need to recognize we've had a lot of stress and there will be more. Hope things will go back to normal without constant disruption. Not happening this month. 

Our focus for this year is to figure how to relieve as much stress as possible, even though it will be stressful year. I'm waiting for January. We're at end of an administration, never a good time. New admin will have its own challenges. Pre-K through entire city is positive. Haven't solved challenge of DOE knowing it has to help schools rather than hold them accountable. 

How we help each other reduce stress will be this year's challenge. We shouldn't be changing rules and debating how to measure three feet.  All of a sudden, because we had no observations, people don't have two Es in a row, so DOE says they need formal observation.

We need to move membership in better place. That is the job, and that's why you were elected. CLs need to support one another. That's a major piece. We have to help people do their jobs, and make them easier when we can. All of you have gone above and beyond. We need everyone who will take that challenge on. I believe this school year will end it, but I believed that last year too.

We have agreement on partial closings,with compensation attached. We believe it will be tough to close elementary entirely, and we are reinterpreting partial closures for them. When you or members are told to supply instructional support remotely, partial closure agreement goes into effect. 

COVID protocols--City couldn't deny what was put forth in last week's council hearing. DOH can change protocols, and did so around NYC schools. Said principal or school responsible for determining close contact. Some principals say whole class. They may be getting calls saying this is frowned upon. Shouldn't be that way.

Can only close school if you determine COVID happened because people brought it in, but DOH not doing investigations, therefore no evidence available and no closure. Three feet is no longer three feet, now measured from center of desk to center of desk. Last year we had strictest protocols in US. This was probably done via polls that didn't ask whether they wanted to be with others who tested positive. Probably by pols looking to advance.

Numbers have dropped dramatically in last few weeks. Very low percentage. We know everyone is vaccinated, but still, teachers take great pride in keeping students safe. Instinctual to us. Our critics don't understand this. If you put our children and ourselves at risk, you will have to deal with us and hear from us.

DOE is Lord of the Flies. Who's next? Who will keep job? 

We did emergency agreement because of vaccine mandate. We wanted schools to have enough flexibility to stay safe. We can't have multiple classes in auditoriums. Ed. officials stayed at DOE and redeployed everyone who wasn't. They did it wrong, we have to fix, constant challenge. They don't think about schools first.

National--looking at big package, infrastructure. We want our schools to have money to go completely green and new ones built with zero consumption. Met last night w Sen. Schumer. Ventilation was big problem. We fixed, put in air purifiers. Why did it take a pandemic? We filed safety complaints for 15 years but schools not covered by OSHA. Within three months, we fixed. NYC needs major investment in school facilities. We need big infusion of cash. 

Ruled against us on everything in NLRB for past four years. Hope future is better.

State--June is primary for governor. State party will choose candidate in February at state Democratic convention. Have met with Hochul. Good on our issues. But there will be many other candidates. We'll see where we go.

City council--Next hearing about forcing DOE to lower class size. This is our legislation. Over 400 schools could lower class size right now, but up to schools. Won't happen without plan in place, Real estate development, and seats. City has housing crisis. Where housing is built will have relation to school seats. 240 school seats built for Hudson Yards with 6K units of housing. 

General elections NYC--Series of endorsements today. One will be up for debate. AS CL I had three principals. Greeted with open arms when they came it. 'Worked with two, failed with one. Happy we have good plans. Want to move ahead. We need a partner to help us with Tweed. If we want to have a partner, we have to ask if you want one. This delegation will make that decision. We can say we don't want a partner but I don't recommend it.

Medicare Advantage Plus--This year in service plan comes up. We have a health care crisis in this union. Fight is to keep what we have and try to expand. Nothing is free. Will be a struggle for entire MLC. 

I know the name Medicare Advantage is bad thing. Most are horrendous. Not recommending Joe Namath plan, which is terrible. We knew, within three years, we'd be looking at major retiree premiums. We don't like premiums. We don't want to pay for things we've earned, and it's used against us in contract negotiations. 

We tried to work with them, but hospitals ripping us off. We got surprise billing legislation in NYS. I have to argue with people who charge 500$ to take temperature. We found out that a group can form its own Advantage plan. Not like anyone else's in country. Three years from now, will be seen as nothing but a success. People yelling at us about it will take credit for it. 

Keep pushing if you have complaints.

SBO deadline October 15. Many of you used it way past. Do you want it extended again? Surveys room, most wish to extend it. SBOs in our contract, not principals' If you don't like it, don't use it.

Never be afraid of observations. As leaders, push that culture. Have been in schools where observation cycle was used well, have also seen it used badly. We oppose formal/ informal, are in negotiations now, will get info out tomorrow or Friday. 

New teachers--5000 new UFT members. Sending out lists to DRs. Have been many problems with lists, corrupted files. 

Instructional lunch means child is eating lunch in classroom. HS students who grab lunch, eat in class, is instructional lunch. Many codes have not been created for payroll secretaries. Payroll secretaries haven't gotten clear instructions. You as school need to keep track because you've done work for many coverages. Be in close contact with payroll secretary. 

Election Day--Postings going up for people to upload asynchronous work for students. Consultation with DOE--asked for official position whether people were at home remotely--Said now maybe not. Still discussing. Principal must inform you by October 15th. If not, working remotely.

Record for lowest number of oversized classes this year. Only 41 schools, usually 4-600. Not asking as remedy to place more people in classroom, of course.

Screenings--Academic, social-emotional---Screenings should be coordinated with principal and chapter. Academic screenings done next Friday, 22nd. All of that screening will produce a lot of info school needs to act on. There are compensation packages tied to it. If CL not part of discussions, could be problematic. 

Social emotional screening was supposed to be November, now December. 

We supported and helped DOE put forth proposal to US DOE to help students with IEPs. We received a grant. Negotiating with city. All work to be done by UFT members. Academic recovery has compensation attached. You can have up to thirty students, two hours per student.

Started UFT debt clinic two years ago. Student loans big issue. We had people retiring and still paying. National scandal. Hired law firm. Thousands of members went through program. Egregious behavior by loan companies, mostly Naviance. We filed lawsuit against Betsy de Vos and US DOE. Lawsuit settled today. Any teacher whose name was on lawsuit has student debt completely erased. Anyone denied access to programs will have ability to have entire case reevaluated. Many members tried to do right thing and were screwed by loan companies. 

Thanks all who wore pink. Very big issue to us. For years we knew rate of breast cancer among our membership was higher than national average. We now are big supporters of Strides. Servia and team have raised over ten million dollars. We want this eradicated. We will help members in health crisis. Decisions based on protecting and making better, and holding those responsible who don't treat us well. 

We made agreement with MSK so members and families had access. They are best, but nowhere near most expensive. Price doesn't dictate quality. 3D imaging  for mammograms is what we need. Emblem Health has partnered with Lenox Hill and expanded it. They can detect problems three years before other technology, and may prevent cancer. This week we are announcing we have deal in place. Our members can get right into 3D mammograms.

Half our membership, 50 and above, didn't have baseline mammogram. Want number at 100%. Thanks all who are doing Strides.

LeRoy Barr--Making Strides walk this weekend for NYC, Brooklyn was last week. CL training Oct 17 postponed. Now CLs can participate in Stride walk. Tuesday Oct 26 virtual town hall. Election Day--lot of politicial resolutions, but day is November 2nd. Don't forget to vote. Teacher union day, Nov. 7. Usually first Sunday in Nov. to commemorate first strike, this is exact anniversary. UFT Veterans committee Nov 11 parade, 10 AM, next DA Nov. 17.

Mulgrew--CL training may be hybrid. 15 minute question period


Q--MOSL deadline 10/22--DOE put out guidance--Will there be UFT guidance?

A--Will send out Friday.

Q--Global two year scope, last year were waivers.

A--Are conversations at SED. Nice to have commissioner like Betty Rosa, who knows what we do, makes decisions in best interests of children. 

Q--What happened to subs mayor said he had lined up?

A--I don't want to say he's lying, but there weren't 11K--there were 6500. Best thing was court intervened. Would've been bad if we'd gone that Tuesday. Redeployments helped. We now have enough subs. We have about 2K out for being unvaccinated. Subs may not have correct certificates.Hopefully long term solution by next week.

Q--Last year there was position for lead paras...

A--Still available this year. Paras have been phenomenal throughout this. 

Q--NY health act--Delegate Assembly supported it, but UFT ran ad against it. Why are we paying COPE dollars against things we supported.

A--We will not support NYHA. Will take thousands of dollars out of UFT pockets. If we can get our health care at no cost, we would do it. Not what NYHA will do. I know facts on social media are what people go on. But our lawyers say otherwise. 

Q--New teachers in our school haven't been able to get paid. DOE says they mailed checks, and when they used direct deposit that didn't work either.

A. Give us name and Mike Sill will get back to you. We will handle this. Check in mail not appropriate.

Q--Heard your testimony city council hoping to get 20% back for weekly testing. Any update?

A--Things are falling apart at city hall. Not where we were last year. Was model for country. This year it isn't. We will continue to push. We have daily meeting on this issue. At least numbers have gone down in last three weeks. Prepared for all levels of action if things go awry.

Q--School nurses being pulled to other schools, split in uncovered schools, running ads to pay more money than working nurses--What can we do as coalition to get permanent nurses in every building? Don't want to wait for death of a student.

A--School nurses have to have a lot of knowledge about all students and conditions. Thought we passed this hurdle last year. City should've understood they needed a plan in place. We need a nurse in every building. We need a compensation package that will attract working nurses. Eric Adams worked side by side with us to get this. DOE says they can't do it, because nurses are under different contracts. Pay disparity between DC37 and UFT nurses--They have no motivation to make nurse in every building a reality. Now we have many more children but not one in every building. Sometimes we have one for thousands of kids. City admin is crumbling, not dealing with issues. This year we were short 1500 safety agents because of mandate. We will continue to push. 


Carmen Romero--for this month--add resolution in third spot. Wants city council to select a woman for council speaker. We know presence of women's voices is paramount, and women will have majority on council. UFT should seek to empower women seeking city council speaker position, and advocate for women to serve. 

Online 87% yes. Internally passes by more, says Mulgrew, and reso passes.

Point of order--Peter Lamphere--Roberts rules say chair should be impartial, Called two members of UFT caucus--

Mulgrew rules out of order--Says not about caucuses. Says he called on him too.

Rafael Tompkin--for next month--On observing moment of silence for 9/11--Fell on Saturday this year, Sunday next. If it falls on Saturday Sunday or holiday, not covered. Wants it to be observed following Monday in all school divisions, and to use appropriate curriculum for all levels. 

Online 85% yes, Mulgrew says over that in person, placed on agenda.


Peter Lamphere--Asks for extension to motion period, says hundreds of members rallied today.

Mulgrew--Says people have volunteered time, out of order, in resolution period. 

Chants about saving health care heard in background.

Liz Perez-- UFT endorsements of city council officers. Many interviews. Just wants to ask everyone to endorse 48 candidates. 

?--Rises in favor. Proud of SI screening committee. Knows committees throughout city spend many hours doing work. Did professional dedicated job. SI has former UFT member running, supports lowering class size. Looking to help unionize charters, though not a fan. 

Chen Volpi--Speaks in favor. As member of political action committee, says much work was put into this. Spent hours on Zoom with team. If pol chosen by team, is candidate we can rely on.

Vote to call question---Passes. 86% online. Mulgrew says more in person.

Resolution---Passes. 86% online.  

Point of information--Motion to extend in time or agenda?

Mulgrew--Can be either way. 

Rashad Brown--Asks to extend to 2 and new 3. 

Passes--Online 62% Passes in house.

Liz Perez--Endorsement for mayor, city and borough offices. Asks for endorsement of Eric Adams, Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams, Mark Murphy, (someone else I didn't catch).

Seung Lee---Rises to support. Long lengthy process. People who've been CLs know how lengthy process was. Selected people who are eminently qualified and will support schools. Adams not favorite. If only charters endorse him, it would concern me. To rep school, please follow with all members and people you rep and vote for this reso.

Elan-- Opposes. With all due respect, we did not endorse Adams. Has harmful policies. Have received mailers from UFT protesting his policies. There is a better alternative, someone who supports us.

Marvin Rieskin--RTC, Was CL, DR, director of political action. Rises to support Adams. Has worked to support nurses, to support ed. by providing funding. Is a union person. Took civil service exam, was transit cop and captain in NYPD. Was in State Senate, supported all measures NYSUT and UFT asked to support. After Marty Markowitz term limited, he ran. Worked with us in Brooklyn. Has supported public ed. Respects teachers, not DOE.

Ken Achiron--RTC, former CL. Supports Adams. Says opponent too involved in charters.

Question called. 75% yes online. 

Resolution passes 76% online. 

Carmen Romero--Historic moment for women, majority in city council, but not enough. Woman must be placed at helm on city council. We need to lean into leadership, empower women on city council to seek position. We will be better for it.

Mulgrew on floor speaks in favor. Important issue. Disturbed our major leadership positions are held by men. Worked hard to support female candidates. They are majority. This may not be easy lift. ...

Robert Belinski--Wants to know why we are spending so much time when it's limited, addressing political special interests...

Barr rules out of order. 

?--Agrees with maker of resolution. Women huge voting block, community leaders across city, large majority of UFT. Important women have seat at table. Urges support.

Rashad Brown--Calls question.


Resolution passes--87% online. 

We are adjourned 6:26

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