LIVE BLOGGING FROM OCTOBER VIRTUAL DELEGATE ASSEMBLY

http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2020/10/live-blogging-from-october-virtual.html?m=1

Moment of silence for Elizabeth Languilli and Edie Shanker (wife of Al Shanker) who both passed away.

President’s Report

Only school system that had mandatory testing until state designated certain other districts to test. Pushed back the opening of school twice because we weren’t ready. DOE guidance on how to program a school changed a number of times. Plan was in place. First postponement because PPE wasn’t in place in schools. Reports from chapter leaders important, also building response teams. We learned 900 schools not ready. Days of superintendents saying everything is okay are over. We moved DOE and city hall. Thanks everyone who sent in information. Thanks everyone who went to training. We are still short on staff. Still have problems to solve. Too many schools where UFT members doing multiple jobs. We need to resolve problems in the next week or two. The phased opening is a great benefit for us despite some chaos. Now it is about implementation. Supply people at DOE have been extremely responsive to UFT. PPE’s or cleaning problems we can get fixed. 24 hour turnaround on UFT staff members for test results. It wasn’t happening. It was taking four or five days to get those results. Went back to city hall and asked if they had a remedy. City made a central situation room that was a hub for all of the agencies. We have been happy with the results. We get a report every night from the DOE on positive test results for any individual connected to schools. We don’t bother with DOE on testing. We went to city hall to get situation room set up. Our agreement said zipcodes over 3%, have to have immediate testing in that school. Only 25 out of over 100 schools and sites were tested. We were ready to go to court to file to get an injunction to get schools. We were ready to go on Monday but on Sunday we got a phone call from city hall that schools in those zipcodes were going remote on Wednesday. Governor became involved. He met with Mulgrew and the mayor. Governor wanted to use areas and closed schools on Tuesday. Governor came out with red, orange remote, yellow zones 20% have to be tested. We like that plan. Yellow plan goes into effect next week. 2,400 tested yesterday. That will go up. Every school has to have a certain percentage tested. Everyone is on board with massive testing. Country is at the beginning of the second wave that we have all heard about. Challenge is to keep city safe. It’s about data, not politics. Problem with PPE, cleaning or following procedures, you must let UFT know. We have to know about it to fix it.

City, state and federal economies are wrecked. We tried to get cares act passed. It gave us a lifeline but it ended Sept 30. No stimulus since then so there are no massive layoffs. Teachers being laid off in different parts of NYS. It will be a big problem even with the stimulus package. Economy is wrecked. City preparing layoff notices. Notices not sent out. Layoffs still on the table. City would be enticed to do layoffs if we were fully remote. Systems in full remote more prone to layoffs. Economies are wrecked. Even with stimulus package, it will be difficult over the next couple of years. Nobody has faced borrowing $30 billion like the state and would still be in debt. Economy can’t cover basic operating expenses. Hearing better news about the virus. Covid crisis for this entire school year probably. Next school year they should have a vaccine ready. We can worry about who wants it then.

Lump-sum payment: Anticipating bad things. We didn’t talk to the city at all about it. On October 2, city would not give confirmation they were processing the payment. A week later, Mulgrew called the city about members checking on payroll a week before. Information not processed. We had prepared legal papers. Got notice that they would not process lump-sum payment due to fiscal situation with the coronavirus. Papers were ready for arbitration. Mediator for Contract ready that was Martin Scheinman. City not happy that we went to arbitration right away. Premise of city’s argument is that it is a difficult fiscal time so they can’t make a payment. City can then say any time they are in a difficult fiscal situation, they don’t have to make their payments. Arbitrator started mediating the two parties. I would prefer we get it. Half end of the month and half at the end of July. Artibtrator gave the no layoff clause which will be there for another year if we get fiscal stimulus.

Working on early retirement incentive with MLC. We got legislation introduced on Friday. Senator Andrew Gounardes introduced bill. City has given us a letter of support. No early retirement incentive yet but we have taken the first of many steps in the process. 

We don’t want the system to go fully remote because that would mean COVID-19 has come through the city and state again. Still a lot of work to do. Day-to-day working conditions and scheduling problems now. Can’t have a teacher being the in-person and blended teacher unless teacher wants it. Hiring many folks. Principals were saying they are ready to open because they didn’t want to deal with central DOE but they really needed more teachers. Chapter leaders will get phone calls on operational complaints. We need to find out how much staff we need at each school. Willing to take DOE on over the staffing.  Case for each individual operational complaint. SBO UFT staff has to want, not the principal. Your tool, your power.  Afraid some schools would have things jammed through. Don’t want an SBO, don’t do it. Principals being told that they can’t hire. Our agreement is based on short budget. Big push in the next two weeks to resolve this. Attendance doesn’t matter at this point. We got system going. Central level management are the problem. Told the chancellor it’s his fault. Election Day a remote learning day. Needed to meet obligation to State of New York. Some principals think it’s up to them if staff has to come to buildings on remote learning Election Day. First thing we will ask mayoral candidates what their plans are to fix DOE bureaucracy so schools are supported. Unbelievable, why they would want schools to be open for staff on election Day. We figure it out. Keep focused on safety protocols. No 30 day supply of masks, let us know. Instructional side of DOE not working well.  

Nationally, you all watch news, doing a lot on elections. Doing phone banking through NYSUT. Two races we are concerned with. Max Rose on Staten Island and Andrew Andrew Gounardes in Brooklyn. Retired teachers out there trying to protect us. Very active chapter. Thank them. 

Staff Director’s Report

Fill out the census. 2020 census.gov. Hispanic heritage month. Election November 3. Get out the vote. Breast cancer awareness month is October. Consider making a donation to American Cancer Society.

30 Minute Question Period

Question: Thanks you to Michael Mulgrew. Principal not releasing people from working from the building who are working remotely? Principal wants it in writing.

Mulgrew Answer: She received it in writing. Inform district representative. File operational complaint or have a conversation with the superintendent. Resolve in a day or file operational complaint.

Question: D6 CL asks about SBO on evening and afternoon conferences on Friday night. Can we undo SBO?

Answer: Contact Debbie Poulos. We didn’t have a calendar when we did the SBO.

Question: Delegate coerced by CL to work in person and remotely. Out of compliance with gym teacher teaching remote and in person?

Answer: Operational issues. If not getting cooperation, directly contact district rep.

Question: HS CL asks with state in fiscal crisis, are our pensions safe?

Answer: Pensions are fine. Tied to stock market. In very good shape. We pay into pension. Extreme conservatives like Manhattan Institute want to take pensions away. Long term, how do we get through without a layoff. Medical benefits, MLC hasn’t sat down with city.  Assuming massive hikes in medical plans. Okay on pensions.

Question: D27 CL-Staff not doing SBO. Principal asked for SBO. Staff didn’t want it. No vote. Principal says there is a problem. CL said she would file an operational complaint. Principal says it’s a black mark on the school. Principal said she would hire from budget hasn’t done it.

Answer: Some principals are asking CL’s to file operational complaints. Nobody gets proper support from DOE. Good principals solve problems with CL’s. Amy Arundell will follow up.

Question: CL D30 Queens-Students sent home by nurse, return the next day with no medical note or test for coronavirus. Allowed to stay in building. Have you heard of this?

Answer: Tell district rep to file under safety. Issue is keeping each other safe. Can’t play the game of trying to appease parents.

Question: D2 High School delegate-What’s our position on passing legislation to tax the rich?

Answer: State union running campaign to tax the rich, millionaires tax. Stimulus package will get us a little help. State approaching $36 billion in debt. Even with a stimulus, when is our economy going to get going? Wall Street is working. Go through neighborhoods throughout city, stores are boarding up. Tourism stopped. We don’t want people coming to NYC from other states now. Election, one candidate wants to really hurt NYS. We recommend to people who to vote for. 

Question: D6-Question about spring break pay. Why hasn’t this been decided in arbitration like lump-sums?

Answer: Issue with lump sum went quickly to arbitration because of what was in contract. We will get to it when it’s time on spring break.

Question: Manhattan PSMS CL-People who don’t fill out absentee ballot who want to vote in-person?

Answer: Law in NYS changed since we have more than four hours after school, we can vote. Vote in-person with full PPE and hand sanitizer. Will vote early to make sure ballot is counted.

Question: Thank you for good work. Other districts in the state going remote having layoffs. If we go remote, can we have layoffs? Is COVID testing mandated?

Answer: No on layoffs if we go remote. DOE said it was not mandated. This is a health emergency. New guidance is that testing is mandated if you want to work or be a student in a NYC school. Come November, it’s mandatory. Nobody’s DNA is being collected for nefarious purposes.

Question: CL alternate schools-Policy on writing up people redeployed?

Answer: No policy, can be written up if not doing job properly. If you disagree, exercise due process rights.

Question: CL D19-PROSE school. Ballots out the window. Should PROSE schools be doing SBO’s for this year?

Answer: PROSE schools having a problem because of the COVID crisis. Initial response is to do something for this year. Like DA, change rules on covering you for the health emergency.

New Motion Period

Motions sent in

For next month which requires a majority vote: Preface by saying retiree chapter supports in service members. Motion in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a James Madison HS graduate.

Nobody spoke against. 97% yes, 3% no

Motion 2 for this month which requires a 2/3 vote to get on agenda. Hispanic heritage month for UFT to support Hispanic hiring and doing more for Hispanic community. 91% yes and 8% no.

Motion 3-Jeff Andreusen- Mulgrew says he will form a committee on using technology in UFT voting so Jeff doesn’t present his motion.

Special Orders of Business

Move an agenda item up on a special election: 93% yes.

UFT supports Kevin Reilly for District 12. Mary Atkinson spoke in favor. Peter Lamphere wanted to know if Reilly was in favor of taxing the rich. Mulgrew says members from district make the recommendation. Calls question out of order. Two speakers thank Mulgrew for everything and one supports him and the other says something about something else. 90% vote to support Riley.

Black Lives Matter people have three resolutions. Mulgrew wants them to get together to make one. 

Meeting is adjourned based on time but Mulgrew emphasizes operational complaints.

Leroy Barr asks for an extension of the meeting. 80% vote to extend.

Resolution to support United States Postal Service. 91% support.

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