Monday, November 08, 2021

UFT Executive Board November 8, 2021--Legislative Victory for Paraprofessionals, Class Size Possibilities

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr
--Welcomes us. 

Minutes approved.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Thanks everyone for Teacher Union Day. Good to recognize work through pandemic. Finally have a piece of legislation--paras will now be automatically enrolled in pension system. Will no longer have retirees who have not enrolled. Went into effect in October. We will be in contact with all paras newly enrolled. 

We run a student debt program. Many of our teachers were part of lawsuit against Betsy DeVos. Our program will reach out to all members who qualify for relief. Some members have had debt completely wiped out.

Monitoring school board elections. People who hate us put a lot of money into this. Privatizers will do nationwide campaign. 

Working very closely with City Council. Want to work on class size. Courts ruled against us in past. What we have, and what council can do, is change health code. We had a hearing a few weeks ago. DOE said it was impossible at hearing, though they admitted it could be done in 50-60% of schools. Mark Trayger put in bill. It is time to push very hard for this. Real possibility this could be done by November 23. For the amount of money spent in NYC, I'd rather have lower class sizes than DOE bureaucracy. Why can't we even get close to class sizes of surrounding school districts? Not a priority for city. They understand this will cause less money for bureaucracy. Biggest reopening challenge was number of students. Other systems had lower class sizes. Ventilation was issue because we have bad bureaucracy and more students than anyone else. If it takes a pandemic to do this, that's fine. Let's see who comes out publicly against lowering class sizes. If city needs to do this, they can get it done. We will do it based on student need, not political desire. 

Meeting a lot with mayor-elect. Haven't discussed contract, but in service health contract is up. We do not have free health care. We pay for it. We need to use same strategies we use. Need to have members understand. We want our people to have what they need, but we do not want to be taken advantage of. 

?--Thanks Mulgrew for the para bill. Paras have respect. They are equal with their colleagues. For the first time, I feel that we have done what we've always wanted to do. Our lobbying has paid off. Thank you all. 

Legislative Report--Angel Vasquez-- Two UFT members who ran for City Council won general election November 2. Important to have UFT voices in council, especially with others term limited. There were 43 UFT-endorsed candidates who won. 60% will be women. This is historic, with women making majority. Last month we pushed for speaker to be woman. At SOMOS conference we put together an event with many female council members. 3 UFT citywide, and 3 boroughwide won, and two of our endorsed DAs won. Two special elections endorsed via NYSUT won. 

Motion to adjourn--6:21

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