Since we are in the middle of campaign season for Chapter Leader and Delegate elections, some teachers who are running for office are looking to get their views to the voters. A question has been raised about whether candidates can use teacher mailboxes to distribute campaign literature. The answer is yes.
If a current chapter leader or principal gives someone trouble about using the mailboxes, just quote the Harriet Baizerman Step 3 grievance decision from back in 1974 as precedent.
"The evidence presented at Step 3 also indicates that representatives of the U.F.T. had access to teachers' letter boxes to distribute material without obtaining prior approval of the principal. The principal's policy of prohibiting the grievant from placing the aforementioned communication from a critical group within the U.F.T. in teachers' letter boxes without his prior approval constitutes discrimination against her for participating in...the activities of any employee organization in violation of Article II of the Agreement (contract), and had the effect of favoring one faction within the U.F.T. over another. By requiring such prior approval the principal is not allowing grievant to exercise the same right to participate in the activities of her union as are the supporters of the Union and its leadership.
This conclusion is in accord with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in N.L.R.B v. Magnavox Co. which affirmed the right of employees to distribute literature during non-working time and in non-working areas on matters affecting the nature of their union representation on options open to employees concerning such representation whether or not their views coincide with those of the recognized bargaining agent. As a representative of a critical group within the U.F.T., the grievant should be accorded the same right of access to teachers' letter boxes as that enjoyed by supporters or representatives of the U.F.T.
We have a Chancellors' decision and a US Supreme Court decision on our side. There is also a memo from the Chancellor's Office from 2001 that affirms this right during campaigns for union offices.
In other news if someone is on a leave, tell them today (May 15) is the deadline to notify the DOE's Chief Executive Officer of the Division of Human Resources of either their intention to return to work in the fall or to apply to extend the leave. Don't let anyone on an Article 16E leave let this go or like ATRs who miss two interviews, they will have voluntarily resigned.