Let's see if ATRs get any justice at the AFT since we are only able to vote and run for elected office for the highest policy-making body of the UFT, the Delegate Assembly, in the schools we happen to be passing through on May 4, 2015 and might know very little about or have moved on from when chapter elections actually take place.
We'll see how President Randi Weingarten responds. A copy of the appeal is below.
ATR's please join us in fighting for union rights.
May 12, 2015
Dear President Weingarten,
As per procedures set forth in Article VI, Section 14.(b) of the Constitution of the American Federation of Teachers, we are asking for you to present to the the Executive Council an appeal of the Spring 2015 Chapter Elections for the United Federation of Teachers. Our pre-election complaint concerning these elections (please see attached) was denied on Monday, May 4, 2015 by a majority of the UFT Executive Board.
The UFT is denying a certain class of teachers called Absent Teacher Reserves-Leave Replacement Teachers-Temporary Provisional Teachers equal rights to have representatives of our own choosing at the highest policy making body in the UFT: the Delegate Assembly.
Article VI, Section 14.(b) of the AFT Constitution states:
“The executive council may, by a two-thirds vote, authorize the president to appoint a committee to investigate a local or state federation where an election appears to have been conducted in violation of the local or state federation constitution, the AFT Constitution or applicable federal law.”
The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) in Title I. Bill of rights of union members in Sec. 101 (a)(1) Equal rights states:
"Every member of a labor organization shall have equal rights and privileges within such organization to nominate candidates, to vote in elections or referendums of the labor organization," rights we are being deprived of because we belong to no UFT Chapter.
We are being denied equal voting rights because we hold no regular position in a school since Absent Teacher Reserves (ATRs) rotate from school to school on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, term-to-term or yearly basis. Some ATRs will not be working at the same school when Chapter Elections take place as the school they were assigned to on May 4, 2015. The UFT arbitrarily decided that the school ATRs were assigned to on May 4 would be their voting school. Since Chapter Elections can take place at any point in May or June and ATRs can be rotated from school to school on a weekly basis and there is no provision for absentee balloting, some ATRS will be disenfranchised.
Federal Office of Labor Management Standards regulations also state:
“Every member in good standing is eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable qualifications in the union’s constitution and bylaws that are uniformly imposed.”
It is not a reasonable qualification for an Absent Teacher Reserve, Leave Replacement Teacher or Temporary Provisional Teacher to have to run for office in schools they have no right to a position in when the term of office would begin this summer. UFT policy has traditionally been to remove people from elected office when they are no longer a member of a particular chapter. In addition, while it is possible, it is highly impractical to have members represent schools they are no longer working at. The procedures put into effect by the UFT in 2015 put ATRs Leave Replacement and Temporary Provisional teachers at a huge competitive disadvantage in seeking union office for the Delegate Assembly, the highest policy-making body in the UFT.
In essence ATRs have de jure rights on paper that in reality are inferior to the rights our brothers and sisters who are permanently assigned to schools have.
A pre-election complaint (see attached) was filed with the United Federation of Teachers on April 13, 2015 alleging several violations of the Labor-Management-Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).
The UFT responded by appointing Leroy Barr, the UFT Staff Director-Assistant Secretary to make a report on the matter. Mr. Barr had previously spoken on the record at the Delegate Assembly against Absent Teacher Reserves having equal rights to vote and serve in union office. Mr. Barr had also met with one of us on this issue in November and clearly was not sympathetic to the cause of ATR voting rights.
Mr. Barr had a conflict of interest. His lack of objectivity precluded us from having a fair hearing at the UFT Executive Board. Instead, a biased hearing was held on May 4, 2015, where those of us who filed the election complaint were not permitted to respond to Mr. Barr’s report.
We are now appealing to the AFT, looking for full election rights for Absent Teacher Reserves-Leave Replacement-Temporary Provisional teachers. We believe that we are entitled to our own UFT chapter to represent our unique interests. We trust we will be hearing from you expeditiously within the next few days, as elections are now underway.
Absent Teacher Reserves-Leave Replacement Teachers
C: Monica Mohan