Wednesday, November 17, 2021

UFT Delegate Assembly November 17, 2021--Class Size Resolution Passed, and Amended to Include Contract Negotiations.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Welcomes us. We're through 25% of school year. Will try to keep report short to get through resolutions. Applauds SRPs. Schools fall apart without you. Thanks those who brought in coats for kids. 

Class size--6 weeks left of admin, including city council, which will be key now or in next year. We need to change health code. Have been trying to reduce class size for 30 years. Last time we did, people took them in lieu of raise. We don't think people should pay out of pockets. We've been stopped when we dd ballot initiatives, but because of pandemic we need to amend health code. Argument about classroom occupancy.

Will not cost city 30 billion in new construction, as city claims. We literally have room by room analysis of every school in the city. Blue book does not match our information about instructional space. 84% of schools can already meet the new standard. New 38,000 seats. Tough fight. Thanks everyone who helped with this. Big lift for us. We have a team working on this. Will send out something today. Please sign petition. This is a different but valid approach, Number of kids made it tough for us to open. 

Why don't city students have same class sizes as rest of state? When we get back from break we want day of action, Dec. 1 or 2. Then says you choose, but let us know. We want photos for social media. Next week is Thanksgiving break--will send reminder on Sunday night.

National--Infrastructure passed, NYC getting a lot of money. Gives economy uptick. Good thing for unions in need of contracts. If other bill passes, feds pay for 3K and pre-K, will free up 1.5 billion.

State--Gov. Phil Murphy thanks RTC for his win. Heading into our state budget cycle. Second year we are fully funded for CFE. Cathy Hochul will give first state of the state, interested in her vision. Have spoken to her. Governor huge fan of CTE, thinks that's the way of the future. State Democratic Party Convention in February. Primary was supposed to be in June, but they have to finish redistricting, and then local boards need to set up systems. May be pushed back. July may have less participation.

Digital classrooms--Everyone should have gotten a check. If you have an issue, let us know. Only 9 with extenuating circumstances haven't gotten paid. All of the screenings social emotional, etc., are messed up. Shouldn't have happened in weeks, never multiple screenings at same time. Mayor control sunsets this session. Someone wanted it done quickly for bragging rights. There is time or compensation tied to this. If this is a problem, make it a paperwork complaint. Big concern with special ed. recovery, and many will ask for unnecessary things.

Paraprofessionals--All paras now automatically enrolled in pension system.  We always have issues with paras retiring, or passing away, and suddenly finding they were not enrolled. We have 1800-3000 current unenrolled paras. They will be enrolled, and pension dept. will reach out to help them buy back time. We had a huge shortage, 1800 coming in, and lost 900 to mandate. We finally got list of people who wanted job, and hired 4000 paras. 

Next month we have to start--We have a new contract, new mayor, and I want a bigger negotiating committee, members from each chapter negotiating provisions. We have to form a team early, train and educate people. Last time I saw DOE didn't know what to do. Couldn't argue with people who knew what really went on at worksites. That's why we got so many changes for so many chapters.

Health care for all city workers--done through MLC, gives us a lot of leverage. Except for feds, we are the only union with premium free health care. Retiree chapter has committee, and they will have all they had but add more. We now have to look at all in-service city workers. As we continue down this road, we need to educate ourselves and members. Otherwise this won't make sense to them. When papers say we have free health care, not true. We pay a lot for it, but get better deal than probably anyone else. I now see bills and know which hospitals rip us off. Important people understand this.

We can't have the same people on both committees. 

Stands to wish LeRoy Barr happy birthday. Sings. 

Barr--Class size campaign. Share petition in school. Need everyone we can to sign. Will be informational picketing. Once in a generation opportunity. Thanks middle school coat drive and Thanksgiving meal Nov. 20. Virtual World AIDS day dec. 1 4-6. Elementary toy drive, bring unwrapped for newborn to 16 to UFT office. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Next DA Dec. 15.


Q--SEL--should be priority--Where are the counselors and people mayor promised would help?

A--Was supposed to be rolled out over six months. This is why mayoral control is failing. We know things aren't being done properly.  They threaten to outsource work if we don't provide service so we go to impact bargaining. Union's job is to protect our work. Not good how it's happened. If we had done first literacy, then numeracy and then SEL, and then screening, it would have been more manageable. Shortage of social workers but money is there.

Q--Literacy, numberacy, SEL--if it's done at same time, can I use operational?

A--Mayor announced deadline for SEL, but moved it two weeks. Use operational if necessary.

Q--Can you, rather than do paperwork complaint, do a survey?

A--We already know. Screening is horrendous. Do operational complaint We have some places where principals stick to original schedules and don't care if they get in trouble. 

Q--Non-negotiables with lesson plan--Can principal say standards and objectives must be in plan?

A--No. Move it to DR. Bring it to consultation at district level.

Q--Occupational Therapist chapter--Can't visit chapter leader at UFT. What is visitation policy?

A--It can be done by appointment. I will take care of it.

Q--D75 students are not keeping faces covered. Every day we hear about more COVID. School cleaner last year than this. Ticking up in SI. What can we do?

A--Let me or LeRoy Barr know. Cleanliness issues will be taken care of. D75 has many challenges. We will work with admin to get people to wear masks. Many had to wear gowns, masks, shields. Some D75 students cannot wear masks. We had to fight last week to close 2 Queens schools. NYC, for first time in months, had slight uptick. We work with city to try and get children vaccinated. Adams said there should be mandate. Says we already mandate 7. 

Q--Health care--Doesn't work in US, doctors paid by what services they provide. Market broken. There is New York Health Act that will reduce costs. Last month someone said UFT passed resolution to support it. Are we going to let this bargaining process happen in small meetings or collective decision?

A--We bargain all health care with MLC. That is why we're forming a committee. I want people to understand this. NYHA needs to be passed at federal level. Would cost state 4.5 billion annually. Where is pot of money at state level? Education. No willingness to tax rich, so ed. money will be reduced. Personally, I believe our health care should have been designed nationally for all. We have to protect member interests now. People have their own agendas, but if there is negative consequence for our livelihood everyone needs to know. I understand what you're saying, and I'm very frustrated. We need to tell insurance companies and hospitals we will only take so much or go elsewhere. Knee replacement in one facility cost 76K and another 36K. Cheaper one rated best. 

We need to protect our rights and livelihood. There are ramifications to these decisions and they can be very severe. 


?--Moves reso, for this month, in recognition of SRPs. play integral role, have worked harder than ever, most vulnerable students depend on them, SRP recognition day this week. 

94% yes online. 100 in building.

Nick Bacon--next month--Health care plan changes--Because UFT has high weighted vote in MLC, would like more democracy in decision making. Before decisions about retirees and new members, would like debate in DA, and rank and file vote before reps on MLC make votes. 

Janella Hinds--Opposes--Creation for health care committee will allow us to do in depth discussion and debate. Will allow us to engage in convo so we can do work with informed membership. We have never had votes on this, have never engaged in that kind of debate in past, asks for no vote. 

Point of information--Anything proposed that would stop committee being formed?


49% yes. more than that, motion goes down.

Point of order--Asks for numbers. Mulgrew asks for cards raised. Will produce in minutes.  

Hands off health care chant begins.


Karen Alford--Supports reso to strengthen commitment to lower class size and hold DOE responsible. Can't wait. Thinks about days in overcrowded schools and classrooms, and how impossible it was to teach. We need to recognize public health challenge and look through this lens. We will make children safer. 84% could do this now. We know there are infrastructure and covid relief dollars. We don't want to trade pay for class size and we must seize this opportunity. 


Ryan Bockenthal--Very much in favor, Moves to amend. Adds resolved--We wll follow up with actions, support related state legislation, prioritize in collective bargaining, go to court if necessary. We have power and showed it by mobilizing toward strike. 

Loretta Tamborello--Rises in opposition. As we said, negotiation for contract not right place. Trying to make difference using health code. We are forming committee. Will drive us. Class size action now as we're doing. Should not be contract negotiaton.

Farah Alexander--Teachers overworked, overextended, at capacity. We want this now, before contract, don't want it mandatory item. 

Ali ?--In favor of amendment. Empowers CLs to enforce this. Can make it school issue. Policies meaningless until enforced. 

Shane McAndrew--Opposes. We have health crisis, must lower class sizes, social-emotional crisis too. Smaller class sizes will help teachers support students better. Legislative process removes pressure at bargaining table. We have our voice if it's immortalized in law. Pols will have to raise them.

Matt Driscoll--In favor of amendment. Not in conflict with reso. Just adds to it. 

Jennifer Brown--Important to fight for reduction at all levels, contractually and beforehand.

Bill Woodruff--Calls question.

Point of order--Important issue. Is delegate that just asked that on union payroll?

Mulgrew--He is elected delegate.  

Woodruff?--Audibly angry, argues you'd deny members their right to be represented.

Mulgrew--We are teacher union in largest district with greatest challenges. Please bear that in mind and be respectful toward one another. Question called. Seconded.

Vote to end debate. 

82% yes online. Debate closed.


61% yes online. Amendment passes, but.... 

Mulgrew calls people to stand who are for amendment. They are counted. Audible debate as sections are measured. Has no votes stand, section by section.  Mulgrew says we try to avoid this because we get through fewer resolutions. 

Amendment passes.

Point of information--You are looking at raw votes, Rashid %. Can we have that each time.

Mulgrew--When it is required. If clear and unambiguous, we move agenda. Online holds more weight. We report number of participants, Room always below 300.

We now vote on amended resolution. 

82% yes. Passes as amended.

...Daniel Alicea--Mayoral control not a single issue, affects all we do, and controls our schools. Some say we need to approach it as single issue. We've learned last 20 years not just another sickening dish, but rather segregated and undemocratic restaurant. Lists bad effects, including racism. Always mayor saying this will be different. Overwhelming majority wants this undemocratic system be limited or abolished. We aren't just speaking about one or two elected officials, but system that has stripped engagement from stakeholders, system telling residents they can't be trusted. 

Mulgrew stops, says someone is broadcasting DA. This must stop or DA will stop. People who hate this union will do anything to divide and weaken us. Must confirm this is stopped. People who found feed will do so. 

We have one of the best health care programs in the city. Many people want to figure how we got it. Goal is workers, benefits. 

Feed has stopped, Mulgrew asks for continued monitoring. 

Alicea--During primary were told Yang and Adams existential threats to union. We kind of play ball and comply. Not grappling with mayoral control brings sense of dire emergency. Many in this room believe resolution is moot because it places condition of endorsement in 2021 mayoral race. Asks we get together and start pushing against mayoral control.  Asks we withdraw resolution to do so. 

Resolution withdrawn. 

Alexandra ?--Amendment to resolution. (I don't know what resolution she's discussing.) Resolved, UFT urges not transfer authority, something about SSAs, hiring more teachers, holistic recovery from criminal practices, support arts...

Rich Mantel--Confused--Entire bill speaks to removing SSAs from NYPD, changing duties, if you do that incident reporting will go down, but incidents will not. Opposes. 

Travis Malacor--In favor of amendment.  We shouldn't be part of money discussions for SSAs.

Margaret Joyce--Moves to extend.

Mulgrew--Will not be popular, and must finish debate on this first.

Rory Rosewood--Point of information. What language did amendment change?

Mulgrew--We vote no to transferring agents to DOE authority, hire more teachers, counselors librarians and other titles. Thinks this was already voted on. In that case it will come back next month. We are against SSAs being under DOE. When they had control, there were no incidents.

Janet Zissburg--Opposes. Education policies belong to DOE. Police are experts on safety, should be in charge of safety agents. Principals have more than enough control.  

Alona ?--Speaks in favor of amendment. DOE should not be overlooking school safety. Amendment says we still need reform. Role of SSA needs to be reformed. 

Shashana Brown-- Speaking in favor of amendment. As social worker, understand what many students have to deal with during random scanning. An SSA tackled one of my students for doing nothing. SSAs aren't well-trained or experts. We need to pass this. Mental health on the line. 

Motion to extend debate--

45% yes. 55% no. Debate closed. Question called. 

83% yes. 


68% yes. Passes after extended canvassing by Mulgrew.


75% yes. Passes.

Mulgrew wishes everyone a great Thanksgiving. Through first 25%, God bless you all. 6:16

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