Monday, September 17, 2018

The Mysterious Case of the Missing District Reps-- UFT Exec Board Sept. 17, 2018

We are late because there was a contract negotiation meeting. Howard Schoor welcomes us at 6:13.

Minutes— approved

Staff director—LeRoy Barr
—-Welcomes us back, thanks negotiating committee. Thanks for good turnout Labor Day Parade. After parade event was successful. CL meeting Thursday 20th. Announcement of vacancies, for EB, today. CL training 10/13-14. Making Strides walk 10/14, Central Park. Next EB Sept. 24. DA 10/17.

Howard Schoor thanks Norm Scott for coming to Labor Day parade. Norm says he came for barbecue.

Jeff Sorkin, Welfare Fund,
on paid parental leave. 776 people have applied as of Friday, 446 approved. Wants to process checks as of Wednesday.

Q—Why weren’t some accepted?
A—not rejected yet. Just waiting on process.

Arthur Goldstein—There was a story in the Post the other day about a failed administrator accused of grade-fixing here. She moved to Baldwin, where she harassed young women about their clothes and posted names and allegations against suspended students, in violation of federal regulations. She was just hired back by the city as an assistant principal.

I’ve seen teachers have a-fib attacks after meeting with supervisors. I saw one teacher have a heart attack outside an administrative office. A friend of mine complained his supervisor promised him a bad rating, and died ten days later.

Sometimes people really want to “get out of the classroom.” One way to do that is to go into supervision. Sometimes people who don’t like classrooms tend not to respect teachers that much. This is a huge issue, and people write me about it all the time.

Perhaps the mayor is okay with hiring failed administrators who change grades, humiliate students, and violate federal regulations that managed to survive Betsy DeVos. Maybe the chancellor’s on board with that too. We should ask them.

Meanwhile, what can we do to cast a spotlight on abusive administrators? How can we make it as inconvenient as possible for them to behave like this? Maybe you'd like to think about this for a while. I don't need an answer right now.

Schoor—We have reached out to schools who came here. Would they speak to reporters? They did not want to. We’re always available, but aggrieved members have to come forward. We met with teachers who went public with a lawsuit but wouldn’t take other actions. We are always available and looking for best way forward.

Jonathan Halabi—How many discontinuances over summer? Which schools have highest turnover rates?

—Mike Sill not here. Will get info.

KJ Ahluwalia—Summers are getting warmer. Kids were fainting while taking Regents exams in summer school. What are we doing? We hear excuses.

Schoor—President will speak to that.

President’s Report—Mike Mulgrew
—Hot schools—don’t think they’ll be done by 2020. We have to incentivize. Principal and custodian always have AC. SCA has process where they can move electrical jobs up earlier. We need to turn up pressure on them.

Negotiating committee proceeding. Proud of work done over summer.

Not sure number of agency fee payers, from 2000 down to around 400. Next challenge is process for new members, who are no longer members until we speak with them. We did new member engagement over summer. We had names and phone numbers. By first week we signed 2500 of 4000 members. Will probably be another 900 new teachers in next few weeks.

Chancellor having bus issues. Some change in DOE central. Trying to inform them job is to help school system, not just grant employment.

Two UFT officers are retiring. Stayed through Janus. Thanks for the guidance, courage, and diligence—Carmen Alvarez and Mel Aaronson going to work with retiree chapter. We will need names of people who wish to run by Monday.

Alvarez—loves union, thanks for opportunity to support members and young people they serve. UFT allowed me to make a difference. Believes new contract will be game changer. Opportunity for you to create magic in schools. Thanks us.

—Thanks us.

—Knows officers for a long time. Thanks Mel and Carmen for years of service. We know a lot about the school system, we will have continuity and institutional memory they don’t at DOE.

Reports from Districts

Karen Alford—Labor Day Parade—first time we did BBQ. Great attendance. Was great to have members socializing, was great to see all those connections, people having such a good time. Nice contrast to Janus. Good to start on a high note.

D. Brown—June 24th, pride march, over 300 members, Thanks LeRoy Barr and others.

Pat Crispino—20 year old student passed away in school. Thanks those who stayed at school to help members. Mark Divet was teacher of class where it happened. Tried to revive student but could not. Mom was very thankful to those who tried to save him. Schools are family and community. Will be GoFundMe page for family.

Michael Friedman—Lost a member, Maria Romano, payroll secretary who was very helpful. Worked through cancer, came in daily until she couldn’t, passed on June 16th. Moment of silence.

Retiree chapter news—forming new section in Mid-Hudson. Has 1000 members in area. Recruiting in NJ, PA, and FL.

Shelvy Abrams—organized para chapter in 68. Needs support in 50th year as member of UFT. Reach out to paras that we are reaching a milestone. Proud to organize and represent 29,000 members.

Schoor—We ran against DC37 for bargaining rights, and won.

Serbia Silva—Annual welcome back to district, over 50 reps. Chancellor came, students played amazing song and chancellor sang with them. CLs wore Labor Day Parade shirts. Chancellor thanked union, was great event. Thanks UFT.

District 20, welcoming new members. Had meet and greet. Had over 50 people, newest hires. Had pension people, certification, and will do maternity and parental leave workshops.

Legislative Report—Paul Egan—Giants and Jets lost, Eagles at top of division. Chelsea 5 and 0.

Elections last week. Tish James won, will likely win election. IDC got annihilated. We didn’t endorse any by Marisol A., who was good on Janus. Robert Jackson has always been friend of union and he will win. Changes nothing unless GOP loses control. Simka Felder will likely win. We may overturn Marty Golden. Will be our main focus. Only other is Andrew Lanza, and he will likely win. We will ask Brooklyn to help us get vote out. There are enough UFT members to win all these races if we get out to vote, but we don’t. Primary turned out only 25%. If we get good turnout, we will win. Let’s make it happen.

Retirees don’t have to be union members or COPE contributors, but retirees will have contributed over 1 million this year. If they can do that, we can get another million.

Schoor—Marty Golden voted to do away with layoff clause, and we assembled 400 people in front of his office. Says he’s a charter school guy.

Jonathan Halabi I have a question as to process. This summer the HS representatives urged that NYSUT endorse the challengers to the IDC in the NY State Senate. We know that the UFT does not make statewide endorsements, but makes suggestions in Albany. So we asked to speak to the UFT RECOMMENDATIONS, and since we did not get a response until the Friday before the conference, we asked to at least know what the UFT recommendations would be – but the response was: “the starting point for the races you mention is open, meaning the discussion will not start with the incumbent but will result in a neutral start to the conversation.”

And then I heard from Albany, and I could have been misinformed, but this is what I heard: that the UFTers in Albany worked lock-step to block an endorsement of Alessandra Biaggi. Who, by the way, I saw plenty of UFTers working for, and, who also by the way, won, and we are now thankfully free of Jeff Klein.

But my question is not to argue who was right and who was wrong. I want to ask about process. The UFT makes recommendations to NYSUT, and at least sometimes those recommendations carry the day. Shouldn’t these recommendations be subject to membership, DA, or Exec Board approval?

Schoor—We don’t carry the day. We have about one third of NYSUT. Locals and area also discuss every single candidate. We make a recommendation that goes to NYSUT board that makes final recommendation.

Paul Egan—84 Board of Directors and we have about 20. These are state ones. Congressional go through AFT and NEA. We’ve interviewed all candidates. Starts at borough level. If people want to be part of process they can contact PAC.

It isn’t always black and white. We have to be careful as to what other things are in play. Politics is not simply one thing. If Klein got in and we were with Biaggi all things he was good with us on could blow up. Statewide feeling that we were going to not endorse IDC. Some people have great relationships with local senators. We have many others in NYC we can go to. Everyone in state has a vote. Not just us.

Schoor—NYSUT endorsed no GOP senators, and only one in IDC.

Egan—She had hopped back and forth but was lead sponsor in helping us with Janus.

Schoor—Special order of business—

Vanessa Preston—Selection process on selection of UFT District Reps—urges flexibility that DRs may be interviewed or appointed from out of district if they’ve been CLs, DRs, on Exec Board, or UFT officers.

In response to requests from CLs. Would allow committee to consider CLs from other districts. Not enough qualified candidates have stepped up over last few years.

Marie Callo—Supports. What better way to have more choice? Says CLs have requested this.

?—Also in support because we didn’t have a lot of qualified candidates. We need more people to step up. Committee can hear them out.

Jonathan HalabiI rise in opposition to this resolution. 
District Reps should be responsible to the Chapter Leaders they serve. In the past Chapter Leaders elected their District Reps – now that’s real accountability. 
Not only does this resolution not restore this basic piece of control to the chapter leaders – it allows DRs from outside the district, it allows a retiree to become DR.

DRs should be accountable to all the CLs in their district, not just those on the committee. That’s fundamental, you should be accountable to those you serve. 

If we wanted to increase the pool, why require chapter leaders to come from the school they serve? If we wanted to increase the pool, why require executive board members to come from the UFT?

Motion passes.

We are adjourned.
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