Wednesday, May 12, 2021

UFT Delegate Assembly, May 12, 2021--Politics, Progress on ERI, Many Endorsements

UFT President Michael Mulgrew-- Welcomes us. Will try to change DA to a hybrid form for October. Now missing functionality.

Federal--Nurse and teacher appreciation, day care provider appreciation this week. Nurses had an insane year, toll taken, but they got through it.

Infrastructure packaged very contentious. We want to make sure it's done now, and that it includes schools. We pushed schools into CARES act. 

Voting rights playing out in each state. Whatever your political affiliation, vote is a precious thing. Shameful people act otherwise.

State--Legislation called Big Ugly coming up, which may include diverse things to get people to support it. Single payer is on this, we are against it, supporting all around health care. This removes out collective bargaining on this and we don't know how it will affect our health care. There's nothing out there dealing with homelessness. No matter how de Blasio counts them, we know the number of homeless children has gone up and continues to grow. We need this included. 

We did well at state level. City level most things we call priorities are there. But there is a complete abdication of responsibility by city officials on homelessness. We understand what this does to a child. The city blames Albany, and Albany blames the city. We've had enough. We need to get kids in permanent housing.

Summer school--City continues to say there will be massive increase. Can we find enough members who wish to work it? Will be mostly in person. Will be few exceptions, including 683. 683 postings up, over 10K applications. No other postings and no outreach. Better than it was at this time last year, but everything seems to stop before hitting City Hall. 

All medical accommodations sunset June 30. Regular accommodations will continue. Vaccination status is not a medical condition, but a personal choice. It will not be part of process. If we don't have enough teachers, we will have to go to the city and work out a package to incentivize people.

PD days--2 PD days at year's end. Unless they can prove there's a need for people to come in, they will remain remote. Waiting on central decision. We don't want people showing up to school and zooming to meeting. People working remotely without accommodation can be asked to come in, but we have agreement about when they can do it. Is there a need on PD day?

Next school year--If we continue on current path, it's very possible school system will be fully open in September. There's a template to remain at three feet, but it's possible it won't stay that way. If vaccination hits 70%, we could hit herd immunity. Then it will be a good assumption CDC will change regulations. That means we would revert to CBA. That's why it's important we get agreements on SBOs, preference sheets, etc. 

Calendar says we have exactly 180 days. That's why we're going in on a Monday. That's the only way we make 180. We will soon open up some SBOs. For reconfiguration of day, we'd like to come up with a menu of pre-approved SBOs. 

We recommend to city that school system is told now to program as though all children are coming in. We can adjust afterward if necessary. We hope mayor will push this forward, and are pushing for this. 

We want to start a campaign based on what our children need. DOE already far behind on summer school. They talk a lot. 

Debbie Poulos--Preparing to do SBOs via election buddy. Will be assisting CLs, and will have support in next two weeks. No votes just yet. 

Mulgrew--We want an aggressive summer school to get a lot of kids back. A lot of our classes advising teachers on social emotional issues are sold out. Thousands of members trained. Will continue. Training college and career counselors. Want to make sure students get good advice. CUNY and SUNY are partners.

We also have an intervention team and an aggressive push to reduce class sizes. Tough school year at the end of an administration, DOE not working well right now. We have to push. A friendly public education administration coming in will help a lot. There's a real possibility that won't be the case. 

Health care--MCU was able to work with with NY Presbyterian to work out appropriate price for 1.3 million people. Want to get best bang for buck. RFP on senior care is stalled. We want something no one has. We want every Medicare eligible doctor covered, and an increase in benefits. Believe we should do similar in in-service chapter. 20% of retiree health care covered by city. Important we have standing health care committee reporting.  Want committee up and running for next school year. 

3% raise May 14th. Will see it no next check. Last raise from this round of bargaining. We need a new negotiation team. Would be negotiated next year and summer, hopefully finalized September 22. We want same large team with reps from every chapter. We want DOE to hear from people doing day to day work. Was highly successful last time. Want it up and ready by October. If there's an opportunity, we will have to move quickly. 

Final retro check mid July. Asked retirement people to check on TDA questions so they can advise members. 

We will do Spring Conference Saturday. Will be digital with small group at union. CTLE available, still open.

Politics--At this moment, subject to change, three front candidates, Yang, Stringer, and Adams. Now polling includes second choices. Results can take a long time. Remember Bloomberg's anti-public school agenda, closed schools, kept all challenging students in those open so they would struggle. Accused teachers of failing kids. Their accountability system was a setup, a shell game, a disaster. Also pushed charters. Made sure they had better provisions, more money every year, colocations. No transparency about students with IEPs. 

Person leading this charge was Bradley Tusk, now running Andrew Yang's campaign. Worked hand in hand with Jenny Sedalis and Students First, closely associated with Moskowitz and now close to Eric Adams. We have two viable candidates who will be anti public ed. They won't admit it, but that's what it looks like. UFT people who vetted them examined their associations. 

We look at relationships and donations. We look at past and where they seem to be going. Stringer has a sexual harassment complaint. We support individuals who wish to make allegations, but we also support a fair process that examines what happened. We have not yet seen that process. There is a group of unions who have funded an independent expenditure for Singer. We see three viable candidates, but that can change. 

We have a lot of engaged volunteers. We are not guessing these people are our enemies. We have experience. They want to make money, not help children. Last of endorsements will be today. Bundle is now split. 

Hope our optimism about regular school year is not dashed. Would like to get past pandemic, and keep all safe. 

LeRoy Barr--Last week was teacher, nurse and provider appreciation. Especially appreciate last 15 months. CL elections underway. Spring conference this Sat. 5K family walk June 13 at Flushing Meadows Park. Tax the rich resolution last month, motion maker agreed it was done and is removed. Next DA June 16. Happy Mother's Day, Eid. 


Q--Faculty and staff conferences--Wondering if we will go back to extended days and four PT conferences--

A--We are working from agreed upon CDA. Whatever your school category is, that's what we expect. DOE expects digital classrooms, but that's additional work. For now, we're under CBA, and planning for that. 

Q--Google classroom, clerical PD days...

A--Primary day schools are open. Moved many ballot locations out of public schools. Digital classrooms--people have been using them for years. That's okay if teacher wants it. DOE thinks we agree everyone has to do it and we cannot. That has to be part of collective bargaining process. We told DOE over a month ago. We see money went to schools to set up asynchronous learning for election day. We will keep you updated. There may be a temporary agreement, but must eventually be in CBA. Not hiring requirement. 

Q--ERI--Anything you can share?

A--Yesterday was not in good mood about it. We now have had dialogue with city. Will continue tomorrow and Friday. We are having a dialogue, but were not before. There was movement in the right direction from yesterday to today, but will be tough. 

Q--Do we have two fewer days because there are no snow days to teach remotely?

A--No agreement yet on remote, but because of holidays there are fewer days. Next school year, without creativity, will be 179 days. More holidays than any system in country. 

Q--In September, will there be testing? Only tested 8 in my school today.

A--Depends on school. Doing 70K a day. Assuming there will be some, but if we continue as now it could be lower. Below .3 last and this week. PPE, testing, ventilation was very important. We have more testing than any system in country. Every morning I check testing report. More confident we are headed in right direction. 

Q--Confused about 683. Admin telling parents different things. Will we have to be in building on different computers? Concerned about maintaining distance, unvaccinated students. 

A--Problem with your building being overcrowded. Will put on Mary Vaccaro's agenda with DOE. Happy you got new building but not ready yet. Problematic for our most challenging students. 

Q--Privatizing retiree med. plan--Why aren't we supporting NY Health Act to provide single payer for all.

A--Disaster for union. Right now, our senior care plan is managed by private provider. Our union plans managed by private providers. Not for profit, in both cases. No 5 million dollar bonuses. Bill current in Albany does not work for us, and will not supply equitable health care for all. We want to help those who are uninsured. We will sit with anyone to work out a program to achieve universal health care. There is something absolutely wrong in our country's health care system. We will not give away tens of millions of dollars we've negotiated for a plan that doesn't work for our members. We are all in a private system, in service and retirees. This bill will cause our members heartache and difficulty in getting health care you already pay for.

Q--Guidelines for graduation?

A--Looking for answer. Last year were no graduations, but many happened anyway. If they offered school spaces to do it safely, would have helped, but they didn't. We should get city council involved. 

Q--CBA--Google classroom--Our MOA will be up June 30. Will there be another?

A--When we're out of our health emergency, it sunsets. Don't know if there will be another temporary one. There may be one, especially for snow days. 

Q--Vaccines--If person has been exposed, are they mandated to quarantine if fully vaccinated.

A--That is personal choice. Principals have no right to ask vaccination status. Medical info is no one's business, except for person with issues. You may share if you wish. Up to you.


Tammy Miller--Asks resolution to celebrate provider appreciation day be added to this month's agenda. 

Mulgrew--You may present. Need 2/3 vote. 

Miller--Reads reso. Stresses work during pandemic.

Mulgrew--Know how important that is. Day care providers did great job. 

94% yes--passes

Cynthia Bennett-- School nurse CL--this month--In support of school nurse appreciation day. Reads reso. Also stresses work during pandemic. 

94% yes--passes 

David Pecoraro--for next month--UFT demands qualified candidates. Supports David Weprin for Comptroller as most qualified. Stands up for members. 

Karen Alford--Rises against. Opposes this endorsement. Weprin not most qualified, and certainly one more qualified. Fiscal management and fiduciary experience suggests Corey Johnson, oversees 82 billion budget. Corey has been our friend. Has worked with Dromm and Traeger, former teachers. I think about our friends. Corey made sure all members retained jobs when facing layoffs. Has been supportive of all UFT-initiated programs. Asks body to oppose this reso, as Weprin not best candidate.

75% no--fails

LeRoy Barr--Asks for motion to extend for first four resolutions. 

Mulgrew--Resolutions are timely. Asks for 2/3 vote to allow endorsements so union can do work for these candidates.

77% yes--passes

NYC Comptroller Endorsement--Karen Alford--As you heard, when I previously opposed, I stand for Corey Johnson. We had UFT virtual Town Hall, Candidates were grilled, and membership wanted Corey Johnson. Responsible for us to look at what members said. Has proven track record. Has been friend, partner, supporter of UFT teacher center, has negotiated budgets. As we return and think about trauma, social emotional and trauma support he's enabled will help. 

Tom Brown--Supports. Johnson understand it's important to protect our pension, especially in anti-pension climate. Johnson understands, and understands how important our TDA is. Understands good relationship with UFT members. Friend of UFT, and understands what we need. Will keep pensions safe and well funded.

Mavis--Supports. Most viable. Proven friend of educators. Leader and fighter. Has vision. Remembers his humble beginnings. 

Ariela--Opposes. Credible sexual assault allegations. Punitive funding. Hopes membership supports survivors, defunds police. 

Camille Eady--Supports resolution to support. Need to keep friends close. Can't afford to lose ground we've gained.  Vetted thoroughly by union. Championed public schools. Has needed experience. 

82% yes, passes

Liz Perez--Brooklyn Borough President--Interviewed forty candidates. JoAnne Simon, assembly, fighter, advocate for gun control, supported full funding of foundation aid. Voted for our state budget to increase taxes for wealthy. Voted to limit charter expansion, for better health care, for woment's rights. Always consulted with us. Cannot as for better.

Also supports Dweynie Esther Paul-Dorsainvil for Surrogate Judge--Understands issues. 

?--in support of JoAnne Simon---(I missed this due to dogs barking loudly) as well as Dewynie Paul. 

Dermot Myrie--Urges UFT to put CV on website. 

Jay Reprobnik--In favor of both. Reasons already stated. Deweynie would be great addition to team. Supports education young people need. 

87% yes--passes

Mulgrew--processes open to all members. Was on website, sent emails.  

Dwayne Clark--Supports Alvin Bryant Manhattan DA, supports civil and human rights, social justice. Would be our strongest and best ally for unknown future. Asks for support.

Carmen--Was member of committee. Bryant received overwhelming support. Will make unjust practices exception rather than norm. Believes in investing in our children. 

Peter--Opposes. Against rules adopted last May to extend DA. Was extended in February and today. In March delegate was ruled out of order when asked to extend. 

Mulgrew--Body makes decisions.

Seung Lee--Were 8 candidates, 7 vetted. Urgent that we endorse Bryant. Don't want someone who supports charters as Manhattan DA. Please support and vote. 

85% yes--passes

Rich Mantel--NYC Council--Tight mayoral primary--we need allies. Carmen de la Rosa, NY Senate, our friend, lead sponsor of millionaire tax, wants to expand community schools. Julia Foreman, Bill Perkins, Selvina Brooks Powers deserve support.

Allie Fisher--Supports. Uncertain political times, need as many friends as possible, who support public schools and believe in our initiatives. 

Matt Driscoll--Opposes. Manhattan resident. Other very strong candidates. One is Joanna Garcia. Strong supporter of public ed. Carmen de la Rosa has been largely absent. Haven't seen her anywhere. 

George Geist--Supports resolution. 

87% yes--passes

Mulgrew thanks us for staying on and that business needs to get done. Wishes us great day off, good Eid to those who are celebrating, and says stay safe. 6:31

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