Chapter Leader Update May 11th, 2018

This Week’s Focus

Member-to-member conversations about the union and Janus

Please alert your members that membership team ambassadors will look to have one-on-one conversations with every UFT member in your school chapter to ensure they are aware of the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME case before the Supreme Court and understand what is at stake. In a ruling that could come any day now, we expect the high court to ban public employee unions from collecting fair-share fees from nonmembers to cover their share of the expenses of collective bargaining and union services. The commitment of each and every union member will be put to the test — with enormous consequences for the rest of us. The right-wing forces funding this lawsuit think they’ve devised a way to destroy unions in this country, but we know if we don’t stand together, we will endanger our pension and health benefits, our earnings and the quality of the education we give our students because all these things depend on the bargaining power of a strong union. Let your members know the conversation with an ambassador is an opportunity for them to ask any questions or share any concerns they have. Our union is here to listen and support them today and every day.

Share how the union has made a difference in your life

As a chapter leader, you know the importance of being part of a strong union. Let’s share our personal stories with fellow members so they can see the value of union membership in its many facets. Dawn DePalma needed the UFT the most when she had to take medical leave because of unexpected surgery. For Elisa Balsamo, union membership meant getting immediate help to remove mold from her school’s trailers. For Carol Marzano, the union was a lifeline in her first year as a school secretary at a busy school. And for Jason Bresowsky, it meant security and peace of mind when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Read these UFT members’ stories on our Union Proud website. When you subscribe to stories (the blue button), you’ll get an email notification each time a new story or video is posted on the Union Proud site. Do you have a story of your own to tell? Use this online form to share your story.Thank you!

SBO votes should take place by late May

By now, the process for considering any school-based options (SBOs) in your school should be well underway. After consulting with your principal about any possible SBOs, you must hold a union meeting to present all SBOs for consideration. Then you conduct a survey to gauge whether the chapter wants to ratify any proposed SBOs. You should only conduct an SBO vote if your survey indicates that an overwhelming portion of your voting membership wants to ratify the SBO. As chapter leader, you have the right not to put to a vote any SBO that your chapter does not like. A principal or administrator cannot conduct an SBO vote; that is the duty of the chapter leader or the chapter election committee. An SBO cannot be adopted unless 55 percent of the UFT members who actually vote — not 55 percent of all members at the school — vote to support it. The vote should take place by late May. For more information on the full SBO timeline and process, please review the guidance for chapter leaders on the UFT website and consult the SBO Manual. Once your ratification vote is held, contact your district representative to obtain the hyperlink for the union’s online SBO form. For the district rep and union leadership to properly review each SBO, the online SBO form should be submitted to the union by early June. Please make sure your district representative is kept informed at every stage of the process.

Thanks for participating in the 5K Walk/Run

Thanks to all who laced up their running sneakers and hit the Coney Island boardwalk on Saturday, May 5, for the 5th annual UFT 5K run/walk, which raised money for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. Because of your efforts and donations, we can help people suffering in the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster.You can see photos from the 5K Walk/Run on the UFT website.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New Consult with your principal on your school’s budget: School budgets have been released to principals by the DOE, and we need you, as chapter leaders, to seek an immediate consultation with your principals. Remember that Article 8C of our union contract gives the chapter leader, along with the chapter consultation committee, the right to review as well as provide input into spending decisions. Chancellor’s Regulation A-655 also grants School Leadership Teams the ability to ensure that the school budget is aligned to the Comprehensive Educational Plan. The union has a Guide for School Budget Consultation to explain how the budget consultation process works and to provide you and your chapter with tools to understand the various components that make up the school budget.
  • Check out the new UFT app: Remember to download the new UFT-Mobile app to access special member-only discounts for apparel, gifts, travel and more. UFT-Mobile offers a simple, fast way to connect with your union, from registering for classes to calling a specific UFT program or service to getting involved in the latest campaigns. If you haven’t done so already, please download the app for Apple phones or the app for Android phones. You log in to the app using the same username and password you use for the UFT website. Let us know your suggestions for local and national merchants you want us to approach for discounts. Use this online form to give us your feedback.
  • Conduct chapter leader elections this month: Elections for chapter leader, delegate and paraprofessional representative must be conducted by secret ballot under the supervision of an election committee. The election committee may be designated by you (the chapter leader) with the approval of the chapter or can be elected by the chapter. The candidates for these positions cannot serve on the committee. The first and most important part of the election process is to choose an election committee chairperson. For more information about how to run a school chapter election, chapter election procedures and the responsibilities of the chapter leader, see the chapter elections pageon the UFT website.
  • Nominate a school counselor for a UFT recognition award: Chapter leaders are encouraged to nominate a school counselor in their school to receive an award at the first annual UFT School Counselor Recognition Awards Ceremony. Nominees must have at least five years’ experience as a school counselor with positive observation ratings, be active in their school or functional chapter and be a UFT member and COPE contributor. Winners will be honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, June 12, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office. Chapter leaders should write a brief description of why their nominee should receive the award. Nominated school counselors should write a brief bio outlining their union involvement and what they do as counselors to support their schools. Nominations and supporting documents must be submitted by email to School Counselors Chapter Leader Rosemarie Thompson at by Friday, May 18. For more information, see the UFT School Counselor Recognition Awards Ceremony flier.

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Share With Your Members

May is Labor History Month flier

Campaign fact sheet on UFT’s current parental leave benefits

10 reasons to be #PublicSchoolProud flier

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You Should Know

Functional Chapters

New UFT advocacy to protect member nurses gets results: Following an attack on a UFT nurse in a Staten Island hospital, the UFT fought to pass a new law that makes it a felony to physically attack a nurse in New York State. A contingent of UFT Staten Island nurses and other members led by UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Vice President Anne Goldman attended the sentencing to support the nurse who was attacked and to see justice done. “Every employee deserves the right to feel safe at work, especially those who deal in life and death issues,” said Mulgrew. For more information, watch the video clip of Goldman’s appearance on NY1 and read the full article in the Staten Island Advance.UFT School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon: School secretaries are invited to the 32nd annual UFT School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 2, from noon to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Online registration is available.

Health and Safety

New Guidelines for the use of EpiPens: The DOE has developed a new comprehensive plan to identify and treat students who have food allergy emergencies. All school nurses must be trained to use an EpiPen to administer epinephrine to any student having an anaphylactic reaction. In a school where a student has a medical order on file for the use of an EpiPen, the principal is responsible for ensuring that at least two non-nursing school staff are trained to use it. A student may also carry an EpiPen if he or she has been determined able to self-administer medication. For more information, see the Chancellor’s Regulation regarding use of EpiPens. For details on EpiPen safety, see the OSHA FAQ, the DOE pamphlet and the DOE injury report.

New Teachers

New Extensions of probation don’t need to be immediately signed: Probationers whose principals want to extend their probations do not have to immediately sign the extension of probation. Probationers have a right to have a union lawyer review it first. In fact, every extension of probation should be submitted to the UFT for a NYSUT attorney to review before the member makes the decision to sign. You should contact your district rep each time a member receives an extension of probation. If your principal is insisting that the member sign the extension without the proper time for the extension agreement to be reviewed, advise the member not to sign and contact your district rep or borough office immediately.


Winetasting with the UFT in October: Members are invited to bring friends and family to the UFT Baiting Hollow Vineyard excursion from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. This trip includes round-trip transportation from UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, by private air-conditioned coach to the North Shore of Long Island for a wine tasting at the Baiting Hollow Vineyard and Horse Rescue Farm. Lunch at Jerry & the Mermaid is included. You’ll have an opportunity to shop at Briermere Farms for fresh produce, jams and pies. The cost is $93, plus a $1 handling fee. This price includes all activities, lunch and the driver’s tip. To register, see the Baiting Hollow Vineyard flier. The payment deadline is June 30, but we recommend early registration.

Political Action

Take Action Sign the AFT petition to save public schools in Puerto Rico: Following the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, the public school system on the island now faces potential man-made devastation: the closure of almost 350 public schools. This wrecking-ball approach would disrupt the education of thousands of students and the livelihoods of more than 7,000 educators while dismantling workers’ rights. Check out the conversation online by following the Twitter hashtag #BastaYa. Then, sign the American Federation of Teachers petition.

Salary and Personnel

New Members can earn CAR time for per session work: Members who coach or do other per session activities can earn Cumulative Absence Reserve (CAR) time for this work. If you work in the same per session activity between September and June, you can accrue per session sick-leave hours after every 20 consecutive sessions. For per session athletic coaches with verified schedules, the hours at the end of 20 consecutive sessions, regardless of the number of hours in each session, add up to the total hours worked in the 20-session period. The total is then divided by 20 to arrive at the average length of a session for sick leave to be transferred. All other teachers earn one session of sick leave for each 20 sessions worked after 20 consecutive sessions. At the end of the activity, the payroll secretary fills out the Per Session Unused Sick Time Transfer Form documenting the accrued per session sick time to be transferred to your regular CAR bank. This form is signed by the payroll secretary, the head of the activity and you to certify the time is accurate. You should receive a copy. More detailed information on per session rights and CAR time is found on the UFT website.

New Members on leave must tell the DOE of plans for next year by Tuesday, May 15:Members currently on leave must notify the Department of Education of their intentions for next school year by May 15 at the latest. If a member does not notify the DOE about plans to return or apply for a leave extension by the May 15 deadline, that member will be deemed voluntarily resigned. Members on leave have received an email from the DOE that explains how to log into SOLAS to state their intentions. Members who have questions should contact their UFT borough office.

New The distribution of preference sheets for next year’s assignments: By now, all teachers should have received their preference sheets for next year, according to the contract. The contract also spells out what options members have in choosing positions. Probationary teachers should ask for assignments in their license area when they fill out their preference sheets for next year because teaching out of license might result in an extension of probation, delaying their tenure. Read the know your rights column on program preferences and professional activities. Special education teacher programs may look different in some schools based on the DOE Flexible Program Guide and the special education reform. Please note that the contractual language covering teacher programs has not changed. For a review of the contractual language as it pertains to preference sheets and a link to the DOE Flexible Program Guide, read about program preference and special education in the students with disabilities section of the UFT website.

New Members should give notice before they resign: According to Chancellor’s Regulations, employees who are resigning must give 30 calendar days’ notice. Therefore, if a teacher wants to resign (not retire) effective Sept. 5, the first day of school in the 2018-19 school year, the teacher must submit a letter of resignation by Aug. 5. According to the DOE, employees who resign without providing 30 calendars days’ notice will be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. While there is no requirement to give notice for retirement, members who are interested in taking terminal leave prior to retirement must also give 30 days’ notice. Giving plenty of notice also helps ATRs find positions. Although it is not mandatory and there are no penalties if you do not do so, the UFT encourages all staff that plan to retire or resign before the beginning of the next school year to inform their school administration as soon as possible.

Teaching and Learning

New Free access code for environmental film: To honor World Oceans Day, a coalition of organizations is offering all educators a free access code to view the award-winning documentary, “A Plastic Ocean,” with their students. This 22-minute film, which includes an educational supplement, explores the health of our oceans and what we can all do to save this precious resource. To receive the access code, complete the short survey on the World Oceans Day 2018 Campaign website.

New Lessons on mental health: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has lessons on mental health. Teachers can learn about napping pods to help stressed students.Elementary students can learn calming strategies to deal with frustration. Middle school students can learn about the importance of sleep for good health. High school teachers can access various activities to teach their students about diet and exercise. You can find thousands of other lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.

Spring Education Conference registration still open: You can still register for the UFT Spring Education Conference, the union’s signature education event. This year, we are using a new online registration and credit card payment system instead of coupons and checks. Read some helpful instructions on how to register. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will join UFT President Michael Mulgrew to talk about important issues our schools face today. This year’s conference will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. The registration fee is $50 per person with an additional $30 charge for teachers taking the 2.5-hour workshop for CTLE hours for a total of $80. Paraprofessionals and other UFT members who take the workshop for CTLE hours, pay an additional $15 charge, for a $65 total. Read a description of the choice of workshops.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

North Carolina teachers next to walk out: The nationwide fight for more school funding has now swept North Carolina, where teachers are planning to skip school and confront lawmakers, reports CNN. On May 16 — when the state Legislature comes back in session — hundreds of schools will be closed to students while teachers join a march and a rally in Raleigh. Unlike similar protests in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, teachers are planning to use a personal day and rally for just one day at the state Capitol. North Carolina ranks 39th in average teacher pay as well as per-student spending, according to the National Education Association.

University of California service workers stage strike: 25,000 custodians, security guards and other service workers at University of California campuses started a three-day strike on May 7 to address pay inequalities and demand higher wages, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The strike was called by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) after contract negotiations with the university broke down. AFSCME spokesman John de los Angeles said the union wants the university to stop its outsourcing practices and address what it describes as widening income, racial and gender gaps for service workers.

Distance learning programs increase in high schools: A growing number of school districts across the country are turning to online distance learning to fill gaps in staffing, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Faced with a shortage of qualified teachers, schools are bringing far-off experts to teach material online that students otherwise might never learn. Unlike independent online programs, distance learning provides real-time instructors that interact with students online.

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Events Calendar


Saturday, May 19: Online registration is available for the UFT’s Spring Education Conference, which supports and inspires our work as public school educators. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will speak. This year’s conference runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. See the item in Teaching and Learning.

This Week

Tuesday, May 15: The social workers and psychologists general membership meetingtakes place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St., room A/B.

Thursday, May 17: LearnUFT is offering two workshops in Brooklyn: High Impact Literacy Strategies and The Learning is in the Struggle: A Mindset for Mathematical Success. Each workshop takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St. The fee is $30 per course for teachers and $15 per course for paraprofessionals. Participants receive two CTLE hours per course. For more information and to register, see the online form.

Thursday, May 17: Bronx-based members are invited to a maternity and child care workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Register online. For more information, see the Baby on the Way flier.

Thursday, May 17: REGISTRATION IS FULL. Manhattan-based members will attend a maternity leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Manhattan borough office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, conference rooms A and B.

Thursday, May 17: Members are invited to the 2018 UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series lecture, Benefits of Exercise and Tips to Get Moving, presented by Nina Brojan, an exercise physiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. This event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, rooms B/C. Light refreshments will be served. To register, call Christine Jittan at 212-539-0667. For more information, see the UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series 2018 flier.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 2: The 32nd annual UFT School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Online registration is available.

For more events, go to

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New on

Union Proud testimonial: Sharon Henderson on enjoying a retirement with a pension and health benefits

Manhattan Parent Newsletter – May 2018

Brooklyn Parent Newsletter – May 2018

Pathways to Graduation Newsletter – May 2018

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Professional Committees

UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Manhattan. Check in the lobby for exact locations. For further information, contact us at 212-598-7772 or visit us online.

Association of Teachers of Social Studies

  • Saturday, June 16, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., cultural tour — Queens Quartet: A Multicultural Quest in a Corner of Queens. For more information, see the 2018 Corner Queens Quartet flier.

Capably Disabled

  • Thursday, May 24, 4:15 to 6 p.m., general membership meeting. This month’s speaker is Patricia Hazell, host of Patreesha’s Potpourri, a YouTube channel. For more information, see the Capably Disabled flier.

Irish American Heritage


  • Friday, June 1, 4:30 to 8 p.m., 20th anniversary. For more information, see the Players Gala flier.

Pride Committee

  • CANCELED —Thursday, May 24, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., LGBT City Council Legislative Caucus meet-and-greet.
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