Yesterday I had a pleasant conversation with a UFT full time representative who reported to me that the Absent Teacher Reserve portion of the 2014 UFT contract has been allowed to sunset and we should revert to the 2011 agreement as of this month. That is good news.
Although the 2011 agreement includes weekly rotation of ATRs and is nothing to brag about from the standpoint of a union, the 2014 ATR section of the contract is worse. The 2014 part is Article 17B Rule 11A (see contract here). It includes provisions such as not having to send certain ATRs on interviews, automatic resignation if an ATR misses two interviews, and weakened due process with one day dismissal hearings if an ATR covering a temporary provisional vacancy in license is charged for "problematic behavior" even if the ATR is tenured.
The UFT to their credit did not agree to extend this awful provision. The fact that they didn't tell us at the Delegate Assembly or send ATRs and provisional teachers an email announcing that the 2014 agreement will expire or asking us for our opinion on it is telling. They want this mistake to quietly go away.
As for the members who are already being wrongfully subjected to one day hearings because they were not filling temporary vacancies in their license areas, I was informed that the UFT does not agree that the process is legitimate. NYSUT lawyers will fight against the one day expedited termination hearings as not being proper for rotating ATRs who were not in temporary provisional vacancies. This is positive news as the Department of Education is clearly misapplying this provision. The UFT agrees with the ATRs on this issue. We are pleased that the UFT is backing the ATRs wrongfully subjected to this process.
My disagreement with the UFT is over why they are not objecting very loudly over this. The DOE claiming that someone is in a temporary vacancy when they are not is bad faith at its worst. I am not certain that the actual hearings are the only place to battle here. Chancellor Carmen Farina should be exposed over it. None of these hearings should go forward. Going through arbitrators who must please both union and employer to remain on the panel is a gamble when the employer is acting so outrageously as to make up temporary vacancy assignments out of thin air.
In addition, I still have to wonder why our NYSUT lawyers sent form letters to members who clearly were not in temporary vacancies about the expedited process that our union believes is not proper for their dismissal hearings as if the process was legitimate,
UPDATE I tried the link to the teacher's contract and it is not working. Other contracts still come up. I wanted to print the new ATR rules here and will as soon as they are up again.