Monday, February 08, 2021

UFT Executive Board February 8, 2021 Middle Schools Open, UFT District Rep. Runs for City Council Without UFT Endorsement

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr--Minutes and endorsement resolution pass. 

Cassie Prugh--Our endorsement process continues. We had first mayoral town hall, next Feb. 23. 5:30 PM, may sign up. City council endorsements--We made 20 last month and have moved 15 for this week's Feb. DA. Regarding D18, there are questions. Same rules for each candidate. Each has submitted questionnaire, and each has been interviewed by UFT members in district. We also consider fund raising and potential public matching. Sometimes we sadly can't support one of our own. 

Margaret Borelli--At our interviewing, when we're done with candidate, we also ask how their campaign is doing. Sometimes things change at time of interview. We discuss what happened after candidate leaves. Is candidate viable? Then we give recommendation to central and discuss viablility. 

Eliu Lara--I rise to oppose the endorsement of Amanda Farias, who ran three times. NYC District 18 has been occupied by people who have not supported our union. I have sent numerous letters to people in this position for their anti-union positions. We have all heard Mulgrew and officers encourage UFT members to run for city council. As a loyal UFT member, I heard and responded to the call. I was the first to do so. I never doubted I would receive the support of the UFT that inspired me to run in the first place. I am more than qualified, along with 27 years of teaching, I've been UFT CL, delegate, DR and member of Exec. Board. I've been the face of this union in my district for our members. I've fought many battles for the union, and traveled to other states to promote it. If this is not enough to gain union support, what is? I am hurt and disappointed that union has chosen not to endorse me, but to endorse someone our members do not know? What does rank and file think about this? If decision to support Amanda Farias goes forward, you are hurting me. I will go forward, I am not a quitter. I urge you not to endorse Amanda Farias.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--These are tough things. I appreciate everyone who wants to run and all of our volunteers. We have to try to respect the decisions of the volunteers. Unfortunate when people don't see eye to eye. Asks for moment of silence for former CTU President Karen Lewis.

Chicago--Yesterday they reached an agreement. They got more accommodations and some degree of testing. We will help them as best we can. They have ventilation issues. Biden told reporter yesterday he believes schools should open safely. 

DOE now has the ability to increase testing because of the CARES act and the money. This is all tied together. Without additional support there's no way we could have the testing program. Wish mayor of Chicago realized that.

Middle schools--All 6-8 classes will be open, doesn't matter if it's K-8 or 6-12. All safety precautions will remain in place. Teachers will go in 24th to check safety before buildings open on 25th. 20% will be tested on weekly basis. We will visit sites. Very important that testing be in place. He has right to open schools once he does 20% testing. CARES Act 2 enables this. 

We are fighting for more vaccines for all in school educators. We have a meeting tomorrow to set up a priority vaccination program. We opened up Thomas Jefferson HS as center. 400 members vaccinated today. Wed. US DOE will come out with a complete policy on how to open buildings safely. We need PPE, ventilation, testing tracing and vaccine.

We will have four mayoral forums, first next week. Spring break starts in March this year, so some may be after that. At final panel we will have to make a decision. Plan is joint training for CLs and principals. We are working out details. We believe we have an understanding that conditions we are working under are unique and must be taken into consideration.

We feed NYC goes off this Saturday. We want to raise 250K. We will continue to make sure we do that work.

Teacher evaluation--We are still going back and forth with DOE on small issues. We haven't said yes yet, but issues not too thorny. We want administrators guided by context under which teachers are working.

Questions, answers--

Teacher who has one class 6-8 and others HS--Not sure yet. Will have to get back to you.

Why are we not going back on Monday? We want to give people as much lead time as possible. We want them to have prep time, and be able to check schools, need lead time. 

Are schools safer than indoor dining or Super Bowl parties? Yes.

Does city have reopening plan--Not completely. 

Other questions about issue that came up in beginning of meeting.

In terms of testing, we've come a long way. Original issue was same cohort tested over and over. We got 60 issues a week. We now average 3 a week. As long as we know, we are dealing with issues. We had 250 issues with test results a week. Down to 50. Not acceptable, but we are moving in right direction. By getting real info, we can fix problems. This is the only way we can move this program forward. If we weren't on top of them, the system would regress into real sloppiness. 

City has made changes and uses better lab. With info we were able to make changes. Hopefully this will help middle schools. We will fix issues when you tell us. 

Seems clear Biden will work in a bipartisan way, but won't wait for it. We need to get this CARES bill done right now. American people can't wait. There is 170 billion in this for education. Will help us to do all the things we know we'll need to do. 

We are moving on retirement incentive. Not done, but it's there on the table. Other unions are with us.

There is no talk of opening high schools right now as more of them become vaccination sites. Be safe. 6:34

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