This Week’s Focus
It’s not too late to attend tomorrow’s Spring Education Conference
You can still attend tomorrow’s UFT Spring Education Conference even if you haven’t registered. Walk-in registration is available for the union’s signature education event, which will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. We want to have a large UFT contingent to greet new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who will join UFT President Michael Mulgrew to talk about important issues our schools face today. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson will be the featured guest at the morning town hall. The registration fee is $50 per person for those not seeking CTLE hours. Payment is to be made onsite, at the registration area, with a check or cash. For the full fee breakdown and workshop descriptions, see the UFT Spring Education Conference flier. Remember to take photos during the conference and post them to your social media accounts using the hashtags #UFTSpringand #UnionProud.
Now is the time to conduct chapter elections
The end of May is upon us. Have you conducted your chapter elections yet? Remember, elections for chapter leader, delegate and paraprofessional representative must be conducted by secret ballot under the supervision of an election committee. For information about how to run a school chapter election, chapter election procedures and the responsibilities of the chapter leader, see the chapter elections page on the UFT website.
Peer Intervention Program offers professional support for tenured teachers
Is a tenured teacher in your chapter feeling overwhelmed with classroom issues? That teacher may qualify for support from the Peer Intervention Program (PIP), a voluntary, confidential program that provides assistance for teachers who believe their teaching would benefit from such assistance. PIP has successfully helped thousands of teachers for 30 years and is a proactive step toward professional growth for teachers struggling with their craft. Teachers interested in PIP can find more information, including an online request for assistance, on the Peer Intervention Program page on the UFT website.
Stay connected with the UFT on social media
We expect to get the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case any day now. In the face of the serious threat it poses to your workplace rights and benefits, it’s more important than ever that UFT members stay informed and use social media to get out the word about the dangers we face and the importance of the union. Sign up for UFT text messages. Like the UFT on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram. And if you are on Snapchat, add UFTnyc.
The impact of Janus: How Mark Janus benefits from a strong union
The public face of the federal lawsuit attacking unions — Illinois child support specialist Mark Janus — owes his own job to one. Janus has allowed his name to be the front for a right-wing lawsuit aimed at destroying public sector unions by letting workers receive the benefits of a union without contributing toward the cost. A co-worker of Mark Janus counts the ways that Janus has benefited from union representation. The union prevented Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner from outsourcing and privatizing state employees’ jobs, including his own. Janus has received $17,000 in union-negotiated raises during his time as a state employee. The union blocked the state of Illinois from doubling the cost of Janus’ health benefits and drastically reducing health coverage. And thanks to the union, Janus will retire with a defined-benefit pension. Read the full account (it will make you livid!) on the Labor Notes website
- 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. 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. Use this online form to share your story.
- 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. 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.
- 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. Please make sure your district representative is kept informed at every stage of the process.
- Consult with your principal on your school’s budget: School budgets have been released to principals by the DOE, and we need you to seek an immediate consultation with your principal. Remember that Article 8C of our union contract gives the chapter leader, along with the UFT consultation committee, the right to review as well as provide input into your school’s spending decisions. Chancellor’s Regulation A-655 also grants School Leadership Teams the ability to ensure that the school budget is aligned to the school’s 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.
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
BRAVE section on the UFT website.Students can text BRAVEline: Let your students know they can now text BRAVEline, the UFT’s confidential anti-bullying hotline for students. Braveline is open weekdays from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Students can call 212-709-3222 or text BRAVE to 43961. For more information on the BRAVE initiative, see the
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 chapter leader if you receive an extension of probation. Your chapter leader will contact your district representative. If your principal is insisting that you sign the extension without the proper time for the extension agreement to be reviewed, advise your chapter leader immediately.
Download 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. Tell us which local and national merchants you’d like us to approach for discounts. Use this online form to give us your feedback.
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.
Rights and Grievances
Know your rights on workplace discrimination and harassment : Our contract contains protections against a wide range of discriminatory or harassing behaviors, including sexual harassment. Federal, state and city laws also provide protections. Workplace discrimination or harassment can take many forms, and there are various channels for redress. Each channel has its own timeline for reporting the conduct and filing charges. It can be hard to figure out how to respond and what avenues to pursue, which is why it is so important that you contact the union for help. For detailed information about what to do if you are the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, read the Know Your Rights columnon the UFT website.
Salary and Personnel
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.
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.
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 Friday, Aug. 3 (Aug. 5 is a Sunday.) According to the DOE, employees who resign without providing 30 calendar 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 members who 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
Harry the Dirty Dog, read by Betty White. Middle school students can explore close reading and seven habits of effective readers. English language learners of all grade and proficiency levels can participate in the Perfect 100 — Summer Reading Proficiency Project. You can find thousands of other lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.Lessons on summer reading: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has lessons on summer reading. Elementary teachers can give their students access to an online reading of
North Carolina teachers close schools for a day: North Carolina teachers on May 16 staged a one-day walkout to demand more education funding, reports The Hill. The North Carolina Association of Educators (North Carolina bars teachers’ unions) is calling on lawmakers to invest in the health and well-being of students, address large class sizes and “crumbling schools” and “prioritize classrooms and not corporate boardrooms.” Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper earlier called for a freeze on the state’s tax cuts, which are scheduled to take effect next year. Republican state legislators rejected the governor’s plan, however, opting for smaller raises for teachers. The walkout led to school closings that affected more than 1 million students. North Carolina bars public sector unions.
New Jersey to offer college financial aid to undocumented immigrants: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on May 9 signed legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state college financial aid, reports N.J.com. Immigrants will be eligible for numerous state scholarships that can be used at all in-state private or public institutions. They will not, however, be eligible for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants. Applicants must prove their families are paying taxes and promise to pursue citizenship.
Missouri moves right-to-work referendum to August: Republicans who control the Missouri legislature have succeeded in moving a union-backed referendum on the state’s right-to-work law to August, reports St. Louis Public Radio. The GOP believes fewer voters will turn out for an election in August, making it easier to protect the right-to-work law that passed in 2017. The measure is in limbo until the referendum, known as Proposition A, is held. Union backers had sought to hold the referendum this November, which could have helped Democratic candidates, notably U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Under right to work, unions and employers would be barred from requiring all workers within a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees.
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.
Saturday, May 19: Walk-in registration is still available for the UFT’s Spring Education Conference, which will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. See the item in This Week’s Focus.
Tuesday, May 22: The Social Workers and Psychologists Chapter general membership meetingwill be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 8th floor, room G.
Wednesday, May 23: The Laboratory Specialists Chapter meeting will take place at 4 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway.
Wednesday, May 23: The Administrative Education Officers/Education Analysts and Education Officers/Education Analysts Chapter meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor, rooms 3 and 4.
Thursday, May 24: Staten Island-based members are invited to “Specially Designed Instruction: Putting the Individual In IEP,” a workshop that teaches ways to define specially designed instruction; understand the barriers to learning; identify strategies to address student needs; and specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student. This event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., at R068, 1625 Forest Ave. The cost, which includes two CTLE credits, is $30 for teachers and $15 for paraprofessionals. Register online.
Thursday, May 24: The Paraprofessionals Chapter meeting will be held from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Shanker Hall.
Thursday, May 24: REGISTRATION CLOSED — Queens-based members will attend a retirement seminar presented by the UFT Pension Department and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). This event will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park.
For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.