Friday, November 11, 2005

New Contract Raises Puzzling Questions

Bob Reich writes in the current CSA News, the monthly newspaper for DOE supervisors, how the new contract will affect his members. He acknowledges that the UFT contract gives more power to the LIS and Superintendent and outlines how a letter to the file should be written since they can no longer be grieved.

Reich notes that administrators may now assign staff to a myriad of non-educational duties including cafeteria duty and bus duty. He cautions that supervisors should give careful consideration to the assignments and the number of staff assigned. “Your supervisor, the LIS the CSD Superintendent or the Regional Superintendent [will] hold you accountable for the decisions you make. A claim that insufficient staff assigned to a particular area (i.e. the lunchroom) resulted in a student injury could result in [an] action against you.”

Reich claims that the new contract gives supervisors the authority to place tardy employees on the time clock. He cautions, however, that letters to the file must be supported by timecards and the Cumulative Absence Reserve card.

The new letters to the file provision has created many unanswered questions. One of the first questions, which should have been dealt with in the contract, is the provision’s retroactivity. Reading the plain language of the provision gives no clue as to how letters which are now in our files more than three years should be handled. Randi, at the last DA, proudly proclaimed that they will all be removed but that is not clear.

What about currently pending Step II’s? Are they automatically converted to Step III’s?

The Union is sponsoring a Chapter Leader’s training on the new contract over the next couple of weeks. How many of our questions will be accurately answered?


Anonymous said...

What really needs clarification is whether you can still file a grievance against an assistant principal who is harrassing you and continuously giving U ratings.

jameseterno said...

To Anon-

You can still file a grievance against any AP, however you will not be able to grieve material that is in your file in the new contract so even if you resolve a harassment case, your employer will still be able to use what they put in your file against you for three years unless there is a specific directive telling them not to.

Anonymous said...

This is very dangerous given that there are a number of psycho APs running around the schools. Isn't there some clause in the AP contract or rules of conduct that says an AP can only go so far in harrassing a teacher? Is there a limit?

This should be the first issue to address before and when this contract expires. This issue of filing grievances should receive top priority.

Perhaps this useless contract has a silver lining in that it has raised awareness of so many teachers and created a support network. I would like a forum to discuss some of the irrational behavior these APs have exhibited. You would think many of them are suffering from serious personality disorders!

jameseterno said...

To Anon Above-

Check out Article 23 of the teachers' Contract; it deals with harassment.

Anonymous said...

A new teacher was recently told that APs had a quota of a certain number of U ratings they had to give each semester. No one ever heard of this. Is there any truth to it?

He was also told that under this new contract, he could leave at any time, even in the middle of the semester. If so, what about the teacher's classses?

To whom can you go to for objective, accurate advice?

Anonymous said...

I was, in fact, told by an AP that there was a "U" quota (although that was a year and a half ago).

James: Isn't an article 23 almost impossible to prove. Even w/ tons of documentation, don't you have to show purposeful, premeditated harassment?
I've seen UFT officials tell teaches to keep an anecdotal, etc., for an article 23, just because they didn't really want to fight the letters as they came in....

Anonymous said...

Is this an unwritten quota? Where do the APs learn about this sort of thing? Why would they even need a U rating quota? Why not an S quota?

Anonymous said...

I thought the "U" rating quota was common knowledge. I first heard about it perhaps 3 years ago. There was also a quota as to how many prinicpals would be reassigned.

I knew a veteran teacher, who was going to retire, who asked the AP and the principal to give him several letters to help fill their quota so as to spare everyone else.

I still have several questions as to the new contract, the extra period--is this part of 4 in a row? Are we still going to have staff and grade conferences? After school programs? Which children will attend the extra period? What if I want my child to attend the extra session but it is only open to children scoring poorly, is my child excluded?

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand -- what is the purpose of the quota for U ratings? It makes no sense.

But now I am also thinking -- if parents try to get their kids into the 6th period -- if this is in demand by parents -- it will only give more impetus to impement a future 45 minute 6th period.

Anonymous said...

check out http://teacherstrike2007.blogspot.

Norm said...

On U quotas:
In the world of Jack Welch whose philosophy (get rid of the bottom 10-15% of your employees) is part of the Principal's Leadership Academy, a U quota system makes sense. 1. There always has to be a bottom. 2. There must be some people who are incompetent. 3. If you as a supervisor are not rooting out these people you yourself are not doing a good job.

So the inquisition is on. Unless Principals and AP's find people to give U's to they are not able to prove themselves.

Check out the ICE web site for an article written by Mary Hoffman on Welch and the Principal's Academy

jameseterno said...

To Anon Asking About Article 23-

When an employer puts material in writing against an employee, harassment is easier to prove.

I think the UFT will be much more proactive in using the harassment provision of the contract since we will not longer be able to fight letters to our file through the regular grievance process and independent arbitration. The problem with Article 23 is that the arbitrator only makes recommendations; the Board (our employer) still has the final say.