Monday, June 29, 2015


UFT Secretary Emil Pietromonaco has written a response to the Absent Teacher Reserve AFT election complaint.  If anyone wants to read the entire letter, just click here.

For those who do not wish to read the entire document, the UFT is claiming ATRs are being provided with rights that adhere to federal labor law because we are permitted to vote and run for Chapter Leader and Delegate in schools we were in on May 4, 2015.  As we said in our election complaint, rights on paper are not necessarily rights in reality.

Some of the main points from Emil are below.

On my election as a Delegate at Middle College High School:
While assigned Middle College HS, Mr. Eterno has the same function as any other teacher assigned to the school. Specifically, I am informed that he is currently a member of the social studies department. Accordingly, the same teachers' collective bargaining agreement that applies to all other teachers at Middle College HS (and the rest of the City School District) applies to him as well.
Most importantly, Mr. Eterno ran for the position of delegate from Middle College HS and was elected. Despite his speculation and skepticism in the instant Challenge, the UFT has made clear that if Mr. Eterno does not return to Middle College HS next school year, he will keep this delegate position.

Can I properly represent Middle College High School if I am not returned there in the fall?  According to Emil:
Finally, the hypothetical future issues Mr. Eterno posits may arise should he be moved to another school are speculative at best.

Can anyone stay on as a representative if we are in a different school:
As discussed above, the UFT has made it clear that anyone elected can continue to serve, even if assigned to a different school. This is not to say, of course, that an ATR who accepts a position on the table of organization of another school, who is disciplined, who ceases to be a member, or who is otherwise ineligible to serve may continue to serve as chapter leader or delegate.

So we only stay in office if we continue as rotating ATRs or are returned to the school we were elected from. We are being encouraged to stay as rotating ATRs even though Emil later claims the union is trying to minimize the number of ATRs (see below).

On equitable treatment for ATRs, Emil states:
Moreover, Mr. Etemo does not suggest that some other date or other school would be more appropriate. (I did make other suggestions) Rather, he seems to take issue with school-based chapters either all or with respect to ATRs. In that regard, he does not seek to have ATRs treated the same as others, but rather he seeks to have them treated differently. That, the UFT cannot do. Specifically, 20 U.S.C. S 481 (e) provides that "qualifications" for "eligibility to be a candidate and to hold office" must be "uniformly imposed."

ATRs have to be treated the same until the UFT wants to treat us differently.

On ATRs not being allowed to vote if they were moved on from the school they were assigned to on May 4, 2015:
The report (from Leroy Barr to the UFT Executive Board) further explained that each chapter was required to arrange for a time when staff outside the building could come and vote, thus resolving the concerns regarding absentee ballots. Indeed, the solution to this question can be as simple as allowing voting to occur past the end of school on a particular day to allow teachers not on campus time to travel to the school and vote.

Forget the absurdity of ATRs being forced to vote in schools we were just passing through on May 4, was anyone told about the ability to travel back to a school they were no longer assigned to in order to vote?

On the legality of ATRs having to vote in the school they were assigned to on May 4, 2015:
Similarly, I am advised that, even if it were determined that the LMRDA does apply, there would be no violation of election provisions of Title IV of the LMRDA. In Wirtz v. Hotel Motel & Club Emp. Union, Local 6, 391 U.S. 492, 496 (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court explained that this provision "requires adequate safeguards to insure a fair election; guarantees a reasonable opportunity for the nomination of candidates, the right to vote, and the right of every member in good standing to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed." As discussed above and further explained below, this is precisely what the Bylaws accomplish.

Accordingly, the Bylaws rules are not only in line with the law, but they are reasonable and fair.

Reasonable and fair? That is more than debatable.

Are we at a huge competitive disadvantage in elections as ATRs? Not according to Emil:
Yet, some staff may view an ATR being outside the building and thus not directly subordinate to the principal as a benefit in more zealously representing the interests of staff.

As for the very important issue of the creation of an ATR Functional Chapter:
Indeed, the creation of an ATR functional chapter would serve to undercut the goal of assuring proper treatment for ATRs. It is the UFT's position that, when assigned to a school, an ATR should serve the same function as any other person assigned to the school in that title. To create a functional chapter for ATRs would be contrary to this position as it would suggest that an ATR teacher, for example, does not and should not serve the same "function" as a teacher on the school' s table of organization.

If we had an ATR Chapter, it would undercut the goal of assuring proper treatment of ATRs.  Is he serious? We don't serve the same function as a teacher on the school's Table of Organization. Nor do we have the same rights. He goes on:
Likewise, it is the UFT's goal to minimize the number of members without permanent placements and to make the ATR position a temporary one until a permanent position is obtained. To this end, in the most recent MOA, the UFT pressed for — and obtained — contractual provisions that "to the greatest extent reasonably possible" requires the DOE to arrange for interviews of ATRs. The goal of reducing the number of ATRs and making it a short-term assignment is inconsistent with the notion that members who are ATRs somehow need a functional chapter to advance their interests.

How many ATRs have been temporary for almost a decade? The UFT, which created the ATR problem with the 2005 contract, has done very little, if anything, to help us get placed.

As stated previously, anybody who wants to read the whole letter, just click here.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to read the whole letter. I want to throw up. An ATR chapter would undercut the goal of treating ATRs fairly. Are ATRs being treated fairly now? Does the UFT support the aim of treating the AFTs fairly? I have seen no evidence to date.

Abigail Shure

Anonymous said...

During the first week of May no one in the school knew me and knew no one. No one told me when the voting occurred - I was an outsider. I also knew that your election as Chapter Leader would be used as proof that this absurdity is legitimate. The temporarily displaced has been made permanent, in that only a miniscule number (I know of none) ATRs are getting permanent positions - only provisional. The permanent positions are going to the untenured, inexperienced and inexpensive. That needs to be addressed by the union.

Chaz said...

It all sounds like UFT double talk to me. If the UFT leadership was really interested in helping the ATR they would never had agreed to the contract that makes ATRs a second class citizen and allow the DOE to continue their destructive fair student funding.

Anonymous said...

Any ATR could challenge the chapter election of their May 4 school. Of course they would have had to receive required notice of appeals. Unfortunately the 5 day protest period has expired unless chapter elections were held in last week of school.
None of this really makes much sense because the process is so silly.
ATR's are different according to contract and deserve their own chapter.

Anonymous said...

Why are you guys not getting real legal representation? If this matter is so important to you, than do something more than write letters. The problem seems to be people are afraid to take a bold step and sue.

NYC Educator said...

This is just hilarious. I may blog it, but I can't believe this is their rationale, and that they're actually using your freak election to prop it up.

Gladys Sotomayor said...

I ran for delegate at the school I was provisionally placed and got about 34 % of the vote but I was there since October! I was surprised I got as much. The other candidates for uft chapter leader got hostile. The incumbent lost she was a decent chapter leader. Nonetheless the other delegate candidate was inhospitable at best and said to me "why did you run ? Nobody knows you"! I replied because I can and we'll see! At any rate I was excessed and unfairly rated developing. As of now it 16 years of experienced teaching It was one of the greatest teaching experience with a painfully unhappy ending!

James Eterno said...

Sorry to hear this Gladys. Get in touch off the blog if we can help.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court will be taking up the issue of union dues this coming fall. The plaintiffs are arguing that employees should not be forced to participate in a union and be the victims of extortion via the mandatory payment of union dues. I sure hope they win because I will be the first on line. And I can imagine that there might just may be 1800 ATR's behind me.

James Eterno said...

That is really scary. Even a lousy union is better than none. The UFT needs to be repaired, not done away with.

Anonymous said...

Those who want to be the first in line to stop paying Union dues need a crash course in the history of unions. No matter what we think of the current UFT, we have union borther and sisterhood to thank for any and all benefit that we have now. Those benefits were fought for over decades by people who took a stand, and often risked their lives to make a better workplace.

Do you think that you would have sick days, per session, prep periods, lunch, holidays, no punching in or out, work hours, weekends off, medical coverage, the list is endless? Things that we may not even think of because we TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED. I know that these benefits are dwindling, all the more reason that we need the solidarity of unions.

The goal for us, the members, should be to fix the union, not destroy it.

Anonymous said...

James, what's the 411 on that secret meeting between the UFT and the DOE? I betcha it's about throwing the ATRs under the bus. Some union we got; secret deals, oaths, discrimination and total apathy from its members at large. If there's an option, 90% of the members will not
pay dues. The 10% who will, will,do so because they think the dental and eye care comes from our dues (which it doesn't). It will be a huge mistake for us to stop paying dues. The union can be decertified and rebooted, after giving this bunch of goniffs the boot.