I recently received the following email from the excessed pupil accounting secretary at Jamaica High School, Juliana Cody. Over a year ago, the UFT won an arbitration saying school aides should not be doing secretarial work. We provided numerous documents showing that aides were doing secretarial duties at Jamaica High School and nothing has changed since then except more of our members are being placed in excess. What follows is the email secretary Cody sent to the UFT grievance department and their reply. As the DOE just continues to laugh at the grievance process and our Contract, our members suffer.
How would an ICE/TJC union run differently? If the DOE did not comply with an arbitration award, we would have every school that was not abiding by the decision publicly exposed repeatedly in any way we could. We would not tell people to just wait.
From: Cody Julianna
To: Michelle Daniels
As of this date, myself and two other secretaries at Jamaica High School have been in excess at our jobs and illegally replaced with school aides. For more than a year now we and our union representative have been emailing, telephoning, and faxing pages and pages of required and requested documentation to the UFT to uphold the legal decision that prohibits school aides from doing secretarial work. After all of this, the only answer now given is that the decision is in court waiting to be upheld - a second time.
While I prepare for a new job in a new school, I can't help thinking how ridiculously unsatisfactory this answer is. For the life of me I don't know how you can stand by and let jobs be given away because a school administrator lied about being in compliance with a legal decision. I am being forced out of my job, but not before I say how disgusted I am in how this is being handled.
I have no faith in you as UFT representatives. You all talk the talk but you can't walk the walk, as the saying goes. You should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this to get so out of hand. I know my UFT representative, James Eterno, has worked tirelessly to get this decision applied to Jamaica High School. We have complied with every request yet your only response is that we must wait it out in court. We won the arbitration over a year ago! Administration is lying about being in compliance and no one cares to follow through on what has already been determined to be illegal.
So, thanks for nothing and for wasting my time and that of many others as well. I now know how much I can not count on your support in the future.
Juliann Cody no longer Pupil Accounting Secretary at Jamaica High School
To: Julianna Cody Pupil Accounting Secretary Jamaica High School
From: Michelle Daniels
Cc: Howard Solomon
Subject: RE: Secretaries Arbitration
I understand your frustration, and in fact, share it. However, the matter IS in the courts, specifically because the Union sought to have the Arbitration Award confirmed by the courts so that the DoE is ordered into compliance in the matter. As such, I do not believe that the Union is just standing by and doing nothing.
My colleagues and I have worked very hard in order to effectively argue this case and be successful at winning this case at arbitration. I do not believe we have any reason to be ashamed of ourselves.
I will notify you as soon as a court decision is rendered. Hopefully it will positively affect your current reassignment.
Michelle Daniels Michelle Daniels
UFT Special Representative Grievance/Arbitration Department