Tuesday, May 06, 2014

ATRS GO ON ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST IN NEW CONTRACT

I am going to print the entire portion of the MOA that concerns Absent Teacher Reserves.  It is worse than we thought; anybody in the ATR pool is at risk. ATRs could go the way of the dinosaur because of the Mulgrew-Farina agreement.

Here are the key two paragraphs:

If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, an ATR has been removed from a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area by two different principals because of asserted problematic behavior, a neutral arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators jointly selected for this purpose (the panel presently consisting of Martin F. Scheinman, Howard Edelman and Mark Grossman) shall convene a §3020-a hearing as soon as possible.

Based on the written documentation described above and such other documentary and/or witness evidence as the employer or the respondent may submit, the hearing officer shall determine whether the ATR has demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior. For purposes of this program, problematic behavior means behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in schools and a pattern of problematic behavior means two or more instances in a vacancy in the ATR’s license area of problematic behavior within a school year or consecutively across school years. Hearings under this provision shall not exceed one full day absent a showing of good cause and the hearing officer shall issue a written decision within 15 days of the hearing date.

A one day hearing that can lead to dismissal after two incidents of "unprofessional behavior" that can occur over two consecutive school years. We are all at risk.  Don't think it can't happen to you.  Even if schools aren't closed, many will be downsized by the many charter co-locations coming.

This might just be the worst provision I have ever seen.  How could any union ever agree to this?

For an alternative idea, please read what we proposed a while back on this blog

The entire provision of the MOA is printed below in italics.  My commentary is in bold.

16. ABSENT TEACHER RESERVE      
For purposes of this agreement, ATRs shall be defined as all UFT-represented school based titles in excess after the first day of school, except paraprofessionals and occupational and physical therapists.
Severance Program
The employer shall offer a voluntary severance benefit (the “Severance Program”) to ATRs who volunteer to resign/retire and who execute an appropriate release in a form prescribed by the Board (DOE) and subject to legal requirements. 

  
The period during which ATRs may volunteer to separate from the DOE in accordance with the terms of the Severance Program shall commence on the 30th day and shall terminate at 5 p.m. on the 60th day following the Union’s ratification of this Agreement.   


Other than employees who have agreed in writing to resign from the DOE, employees who are ATRs as of June 1, 2014 who volunteer for the Severance Program shall receive a severance payment according to the following schedule:


One (1) week of pay for ATRs with three (3) years of service or more, but less than four (4) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Two (2) weeks of pay for ATRs with four (4) years of service or more, but less than six (6) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Three (3) weeks of pay for ATRs with six (6) years of service or more, but less than eight (8) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Four (4) weeks of pay for ATRs with eight (8) years of service or more, but less than ten (10) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Five (5) weeks of pay for ATRs with ten (10) years of service or more, but less than twelve (12) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement. 
Six (6) weeks of pay for ATRs with twelve (12) years of service or more, but less than fourteen (14) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Seven (7) weeks of pay for ATRs with fourteen (14) years of service or more, but less than sixteen (16) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Eight (8) weeks of pay for ATRs with sixteen (16) years of service or more, but less than eighteen (18) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Nine (9) weeks of pay for ATRs with eighteen (18) years of service or more, but less than twenty (20) years of service, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement.
Ten (10) weeks of pay for ATRs with twenty (20) years of service or more, as of the date of ratification of this Agreement. For purposes of this Severance Program, one week of pay shall be defined as 1/52nd of an ATR’s annual salary.


In the event that any ATR who volunteers to participate in the Severance Program returns to service with the DOE, the ATR shall repay the severance payment received pursuant to the above within six (6) months of the ATR’s hiring to such position, through payroll deductions in equal amounts. This repayment provision shall not apply to ATRs who return to work as day-to-day substitute teachers. 
Translation: This is a lousy severance package. Up to 20% of one year's pay to quit.  Not exactly enticing.

Interviews 
During the period September 15, 2014 through October 15, 2014 (and during the same period in each subsequent year to the extent this ATR Program is continued as set forth below), the employer will arrange, to the greatest extent reasonably possible, for interviews between ATRs and schools with applicable license-area vacancies within the district or borough to which the ATR is assigned. After October 15, ATRs may continue, at the DOE’s discretion, to be sent to interviews within the district or borough for applicable license-area vacancies. An ATR that declines or fails to report to an interview, upon written notice of it, two or more times without good cause shall be treated as having voluntarily resigned his/her employment. 


If you miss two interviews, you're done.  Who documents whether someone showed up or not? 
When an ATR is selected by a principal for a permanent placement in either the district or borough, the ATR shall be assigned to fill the vacancy in his/her license area, be placed on the school’s table of organization and take his/her rightful place in seniority order. Schools may continue to hire ATRs on a provisional basis consistent with existing agreements between the parties. An ATR that fails to accept and appear for an assignment within two (2) work days of receiving written notice of the assignment without good cause shall be treated as having voluntarily resigned his/her employment.


Two work days to show up for an assignment or you have resigned.  I guess email notice is written notice.  Good luck if a computer breaks down.  There are so many botched communications with the DOE and now we are responsible. For example, sometimes a principal wants to keep someone and tells them to stay put but the officials placing people have a different idea.  Who are we supposed to listen to? 

Any school that selects an ATR for a permanent placement will not have that ATR’s salary included for the purpose of average teacher salary calculation. 

For how long?
 
ATRs in Districts 75 and 79 shall be sent for interviews only in the same borough, within their respective district, as the school to which they were previously assigned.
  
ATRs in BASIS shall be sent for interviews only in the same borough as the school to which they were previously assigned.


Assignments of ATRs
After October 15, 2014, ATRs, except those who have been penalized (as a result of a finding of guilt or by stipulation) in conjunction with §3020-a charges with a suspension of 30 days or more or a fine of $2,000 or more, will be given a temporary provisional assignment to a school with a vacancy in their license area where available. The DOE, at its sole discretion, may choose to assign ATRs to a temporary provisional assignment who have been penalized (as a result of a finding of guilt or by stipulation) in conjunction with §3020-a charges with a suspension of 30 days or more or a fine of $2,000 or more. 


DOE discretion on whether or not to assign someone who was not dismissed in a 3020A hearing. Some ATRs won't be assigned.  For everyone else, whatever happened to the so called mutual consent doctrine that never existed but is touted?

The DOE shall not be required to send more than one ATR at a time to a school per vacancy for a temporary provisional assignment. These assignments will first be made within district and then within borough.  For purposes of the ATR Program, ATRs shall also be given temporary provisional assignments to cover leaves and long term absences within their license area within district and then within borough.  ATRs in Districts 75 and 79 shall be given temporary provisional assignments only in the same borough, within their respective district, as the school to which they were previously assigned.  
 
All temporary provisional assignments for an ATR in BASIS will be within the same borough as the school to which they were previously assigned.


It is understood that at any time after a temporary provisional assignment is made, a principal can remove the ATR from this assignment and the ATR will be returned to the ATR pool and be subject to the terms and conditions of employment then applicable to ATRs pursuant to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement(s).

We can be removed from a school at the whim of the principal.

If a principal removes an ATR from an assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area because of problematic behavior as described below and the ATR is provided with a signed writing by a supervisor describing the problematic behavior, this writing can be introduced at an expedited §3020-a hearing for ATRs who have completed their probationary periods, as set forth below.

Problematic behavior is a very vague term even when it is described below.

If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, two different principals remove an ATR who is on a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area for problematic behavior and provide the ATR with a signed writing describing the problematic behavior, the ATR shall be subject to discipline up to and including discharge as provided below. The ATR will be returned to the ATR pool pending completion of the expedited ATR §3020-a procedure set forth below.

Two letters documenting problematic behavior from two principals within two years and we are up before an expedited termination hearing.

An ATR who has been placed back in the ATR pool will be in the rotation to schools unless he/she is again offered a temporary provisional assignment at another school.  Rotational assignments or assignments to a school (as opposed to a vacancy in his/her license area) shall not form the basis of an incident of problematic behavior as described herein.

What?

To the extent that the provisions of this section conflict with the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement dated June 27, 2011, the provisions of this section shall govern.

ATR §3020-a Procedure
If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, an ATR has been removed from a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area by two different principals because of asserted problematic behavior, a neutral arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators jointly selected for this purpose (the panel presently consisting of Martin F. Scheinman, Howard Edelman and Mark Grossman) shall convene a §3020-a hearing as soon as possible.


They already have the hanging judges ready to execute us.

Based on the written documentation described above and such other documentary and/or witness evidence as the employer or the respondent may submit, the hearing officer shall determine whether the ATR has demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior. For purposes of this program, problematic behavior means behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in schools and a pattern of problematic behavior means two or more instances in a vacancy in the ATR’s license area of problematic behavior within a school year or consecutively across school years. Hearings under this provision shall not exceed one full day absent a showing of good cause and the hearing officer shall issue a written decision within 15 days of the hearing date.
The parties agree that in order to accomplish the purpose of establishing an expedited §3020-a process, the following shall serve as the exclusive process for §3020-a hearings for ATRs that have been charged based on a pattern of problematic behavior in accordance with this agreement. 
- The ATR shall have ten (10) school days to request a hearing upon receipt of the §3020-a charges;

-  At the same time as the ATR is charged, the Board (DOE) will notify the UFT as to where the ATR is assigned at the time charges are served; - The employer shall provide the Respondent all evidence to be used in the hearing no more than five (5) school days after the employer receives the Respondent’s request for a hearing; - Within five (5) school days of receipt of the employer’s evidence, the Respondent shall provide the employer with any evidence the Respondent knows at that time will be used in the hearing; - The hearing shall be scheduled within five to ten (5-10) school days after the exchange of evidence is complete; - The hearing time shall be allocated evenly between the parties, with time used for opening statements, closing statements and cross- examination allocated to party doing the opening statement, closing statement or cross-examination and with time for breaks allocated to the party requesting the break; - The hearing officer shall issue a decision within 15 days of the hearing date. 

 
For the purposes of charges based upon a pattern of problematic behavior under this section only, if the DOE proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the ATR has demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior the hearing officer shall impose a penalty under the just cause standard up to and including discharge. 


All hearing officer fees in excess of the SED rate shall be shared equally by the parties. 
It is understood that allegations of conduct which would fall within the definition of sexual misconduct or serious misconduct as defined in the applicable collective bargaining agreements shall be addressed through the existing process in Article 21(G) of the Teachers CBA and corresponding articles of other UFT-BOE CBAs.   

 
Term 
This agreement with respect to the absent teacher reserve (referred to above as the “ATR Program”) shall run through the end of the 2015-16 school year.  At the end of that term, the parties must agree to extend the ATR Program and absent agreement, the parties shall return to the terms and conditions for ATR assignment as they exist in the 2007-2009 collective bargaining agreement(s) and memoranda of agreement entered into prior to ratification of this Agreement.  
The parties agree and understand that the due process protections provided in this provision shall modify the provisions of Education Law § 3020-a and any other agreements between the parties.
  

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

With this contract, I do not see how anyone can make it to 22 L and see 119,000. These numbers are all smoke and mirrors for the DOE will find a way to let you go by the third year. VOTE NO.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day.

John Elfrank-Dana said...

Possibly this "due process lite" the ATRs are getting will serve as the model of dismissal for all teachers in the next contract. Wham bam thank you mam hearings, based on the vague "unprofessional" behavior.

Why should Unity care. The stiff coming in to replace the fired teacher will pay the same dues.

Anonymous said...

ChalkbeatNEW YORK

Letter from Mulgrew to ATRs suggests teachers less likely to face expedited hearings than city signaled

by Sarah Darville and Geoff Decker on May 6, 2014

UFT President Michael Mulgrew told excessed teachers on Tuesday that they would be offered a severance package as a part of the proposed contract between the teachers union and the city—a provision thatChalkbeat reported Monday night and was not disclosed for days after both sides’ celebratory announcement.

New details from a memo sent from Mulgrew to absent teacher reserve members, and information provided by union officials, reveal that the excessed teachers would also have stronger job protections than were originally reported or acknowledged by officials.

At last week’s announcement, officials implied that the ATR pool—which includes 1,200 teachers without full-time positions but who are on the city payroll—would be reduced partially by relying on an expedited termination hearing process. The excessed teachers deemed ready for the classroom would be sent to schools with vacancies, but principals who felt the teacher was not a good fit would be able to send the teacher back.

City officials initially said that two rejections would trigger an expedited termination hearing and schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña suggested that principals would be able to move quickly to reject a teacher they didn’t want.

“If they go visit a school and the principal says, ‘OK, I’ll try her out,’ but after a day, ‘I don’t want her,’ it’s gone,” Fariña said.

It’s true that a principal will be able to remove teachers who aren’t the right fit in schools they’re assigned to, a union spokeswoman said today. Those teachers will return to the ATR pool, but there is not limit to the number of times they could be given additional temporary placements, she said.

And today’s memo to ATRs explains that a teacher would only be eligible to be brought up on termination charges under that expedited hearing if misconduct two “successive” principals document them for misconduct. That means that if two out of three principals document misconduct—as opposed to two in a row—the teacher would still be permitted to fill vacancies at another school, making  it much less likely that the new hearing process on its own will significantly reduce the number of teachers in the pool.

In the five days since de Blasio and Mulgrew congratulated one another for agreeing on a framework for public school teachers’ first contract since 2005, both sides have been slow to provide details of the deal. They praised the agreement last week for including raises, allowing for innovative school scheduling, and putting the city school system on a path toward “true reform.”

In today’s memo, Mulgrew blamed the press for propagating “some myths” about a new arrangement to place them back into city schools. Just 12 hours earlier, the union declined to discuss details about the ATR arrangement, including the severance package for excessed teachers.

Critics pounced on the new details as evidence that Mayor Bill de Blasio was purposefully withholding less-flattering information about the contract.

“It’s outrageous that the de Blasio administration covered up the details of a deal that will put 1,200 teachers back into the classrooms of this city’s most vulnerable children, ” StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis said. “Until we see actual contract language, this calls into question every aspect of Thursday’s announcement.”

Requests for comments from the city were not immediately returned, but we will update the story with a response.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew’s full note to ATRs is below:

Dear Colleagues,

When the previous administration let it be known that it intended to summarily fire all members in the Absent Teacher Reserve, we as a union made a commitment to stand by our members. We held true to that commitment throughout our negotiations, and the results are in this new contract.

The contract preserves your rights and improves your chances of permanent placement. And, of course, you will participate in the contractual raises and working-condition changes that we won for all members. The press coverage, however, has included some myths about how ATRs are treated under the new contract and misconceptions abound. We want to be sure you have the facts and know your rights.

Myth #1 (the biggest one!):
The city is going to fire the ATRs.
Reality:
No UFT member, whether an ATR or otherwise, will ever be automatically fired. Any ATR may accept, at his or her sole discretion, a voluntary severance package based on years of service.

Myth #2:
Schools still won’t hire ATRs because they are too expensive.
Reality:
Under the new contract, schools that select ATRs for permanent placement will not have that ATR’s salary included in the school’s average teacher salary calculation, which means that principals no longer have a reason to pass over more senior educators in favor of newer hires with lower salaries.

Myth #3:
The contract includes a new way to get rid of ATRs.
Reality:
Not true. ATRs actually get improved access to job placements. Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, 2014, the DOE must send ATRs on interviews for vacancies in their districts and boroughs, and ATRs must attend all of those interviews. After Oct. 15, ATRs are required to accept provisional assignments to schools with a vacancy in their license area within their district or borough. If there is no school with a vacancy in their district or borough, they will continue to be rotated within their district.

Myth #4:
ATRs are going to lose their due process rights.
Reality:
No ATR can be disciplined or fired unless a hearing officer decides that is appropriate in a 3020-a hearing. An ATR who has been placed in a vacancy and is removed by two successive principals for documented misconduct — not pedagogy — may be subject to discipline. The DOE must prove the charge of misconduct through an expedited 3020-a process.

The new contract agreement between the UFT and the DOE, which will go out for your ratification soon, is a strong contract for all our members, including all our ATRs.

Anonymous said...



Subject: Facebook Post


Dear Members,

As you are well aware the UFT has negotiated a contract that will hopefully be accepted by the Delegate Assembly on May 7th.

There are comments being made on the UFT Facebook page that are negative. We would like you to go the the UFT Facebook page and like the comments made by James Schlacter. The following link will take you to that page. Scroll down on the comments and look for James' post.

Here's the link to the Diane Ravitch post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/60777062712/posts/10152207183887713



Please like the James Schlachter comment and add your own comment if you’d like.

Thank you for your support.

In Unity,

Dolores Lozupone

Anonymous said...

The UFT can spin this all they want, but it still doesn't address why this provision only applies to ATRs???

They really need to file a class action suit against both the Union and DoE because this clause sets them up to be fired.

James Eterno said...

If the due process provision is so good as Mulgrew is saying, why not extend it to everyone? Two administrators document unprofessional conduct, and you are gone within two months. No way.

Anonymous said...

ATR supervisor notices you on cell phone calls for a meeting. While at same meeting principal says she notices you on cell phone. Supervisor implies that principal should write an additional letter. Two letters one day. You are out. Think it can not happen think again.
It could also happen in buildings with multiple co-locations.

Anonymous said...

All mischaracterization of ATR deal. Expedited process is only for ATR who fills a vacancy in license! It is NOT for pedagogy..it is for misconduct.

Anonymous said...

Contract says "Problematic"

Anonymous said...

Are you going to believe Mulgrew's letter or the actual language of the MOA 10:46?

David Hedges said...

All teachers, not just ATRs are at a greater risk of fast track termination with this contract.

The creation of the ATR should have provided the DOE with a disincentive for creating more and ATRs through excessing and school closures. The opposite is the case. The DOE is planning to end "career" teachers and replace them with outsourced, entry level temps. By 2019, teachers will be like camp counselors or temps.

The solution to the problem of troubled students isn't to destabilize the learning environment, it's to find step-by-step practical remedies. The DOE sees the issue as financial: how to rid the system of retirement liabilities. Solution: outsourcing and pay teachers hourly, rather than as salaried professionals.

If I read this contract and the commentary correctly, the UFT should be in no rush to ratify. What's the rush? It should be regarded as a rough draft by a student who imagine that sloppy work done fast is acceptable. This rush job is being shoved down our throats, sadly, by a large number of UFT members who have never worked under a Chancellor with a background in Education and for administrators who never taught. Send it back, boys and girls, it can't be wrong to take the time to create a fair deal.

Tony Da fighter said...

The preliminary contract is an insult to the intelligence of teachers citywide. It's even more insulting when Mulgrew dismissed every criticism of the provisions of his deal as myths at today's DA. The UFT leadership has crowned itself as enabler of the Democratic/Republican bi-partisan sponsors of corporate, market-oriented neo-liberal policies in the Public Education System. Merit pay, 200 public schools given to a deregulated pool without DOE or contractual parameters are some examples of the privatization schemes of the corporate agenda of the so-called reformers. What we need to bring up before the members is not just a no vote against the sell-out contract but also a fight to transform the union from below and shed the current UFT leadership.

David Hedges said...

Problematic Behavior:
- Filing grievances,
- Filing referrals when students violate the Chancellor's Regs/Uniform Discipline Code
- Slow pace when ascending or descending stairs
- Any disability, whether ADA/OEO approved or not
- Failure to bring a back up lesson plan (whether in licensed area or not) when the teacher you're covering doesn't leave one.
- Not moving the card, either before or after the official "teacher time" schedule, or during the day.
- Leaving the building for lunch
- Not carrying a cell phone, or carrying a cell phone in school
- Not bringing your own soap, for the staff restrooms don't generally have any
- Asking for relief to use the restroom (raise your hand, ATRs if you know what that's like!)
- Asking if you can bring your bicycle in from the rain, more than once.
- Missing faculty two meetings
- Taking up a parking spot
- Taking up a job spot when the principal's son-in-law needs a job

Anonymous said...

Seems to be a good deal for the panel who has written in continued work for themselves. How much did they get paid to come up with this deal? And how much will they continue to get paid by expressly dictating one of them must be used? Who can fire them? Is this a teacher's contract or one for them?

David Hedges said...

The Contract can be seen in the light of timing: the UFT did not endorse de Blasio. He will be running for his second term for 2018-2222. The duration of the contract is until October 31, 2018. Both the UFT and the Mayor will have another go at negotiations.