Thanks to my wife, I was in on time. Michael Mulgrew thanked people for taking the time to be on the call. For this school year:
We have an agreement on evaluation. Trying to get a waiver with NYSUT on MOSL. We were not able to get that done. We will come out with a recommendation for all the schools. We highly recommend that everyone pick a citywide MOSL. That is a very loud recommendation. We are still waiting for a ruling on tenure. We think it will be like last year. The budget gives us the most money ever from Albany but everything else up there is politics and not working that well.
The city is meeting with us on planning for next year on a weekly basis. Things are getting jammed up in City Hall. National level, we are hearing there will be another change in CDC guidelines before August 15 when many schools around the country open. 58% have a COVID shot, we have another 12% to go to get to 70%. 3 foot rule works for many out of the city. 3 foot rule works for us for many schools. We think people should be able to apply for remote. We have to be strong as we can for our profession to get as many people as we can back into the schools. Teachers unions being blamed for schools not reopening. That is garbage but one mayoral candidate is saying that. DOE wants in-person summer school. That is not totally possible with 683 programs where many students have medical issues. Postings are out; the calendar is out with only 180 days. We got the two prep days at the beginning of the year. Election day will continue to be a PD day. Teachers are getting per session to set up an asynchronous instructional day. We are making 180 days.
May raise goes into effect on May 14. For those who qualify, the last retro will be coming from two rounds of bargaining ago. We were able to get through pandemic without furloughs. No layoff clause to delay retro was smart because the economy was in bad shape. it is in better shape now. School debts are wiped off the books. Every school is getting a good budget allotment.
City not interested in negotiating an Early Retirement Incentive. Nastiest budget fight might be in NYC. Mayor leaving office. We sent them a letter. We may have a fight and we will deal with it.
We should program now as if all of the kids are coming back in September. We have to try to push the city. This is the last year this administration will start the school year. We will do more to put pressure on City Hall if we have to. It gets really weird at the end of mayoral administrations. Mayor should thank Union and people on Building Response Teams but that's not happening. We want clear guidance by the end of May with some flexibility needed if virus changes circumstances.
We have never run this many races at one time. Thinks its 53 races. Union thanks volunteers. We owe a great deal of gratitude to those who volunteered. Mayor, comptroller, etc. The candidate we endorsed had an allegation against him. We take it seriously but we believe in due process. The people who did the work reconvened and said we want to move forward with the endorsement. It is coming down to a three-person race. Looking at polling, money spent and how much they have left. The other two viable candidates are troubling to us. During Bloomberg years, constant attacks on our Union. Closing schools and pushing students with greater needs kids into schools they wanted to close. That was some of the nastiest fights we have ever had. The accountability system was designed to say someone is a loser. If a teacher takes a child who was 3 grades behind and moved him up a level, that is a phenomenal success but schools that had kids at grade level were looking better. Rubber rooms, assaults against us. Person who ran Bloomberg's things was Andrew Tusk. He is running Andrew Yang's campaign. The group that he worked with was Students First. That is a pro-charter school organization. Student's First is running independent expenditure for Eric Adams. They are probably working together (Yang and Adams and Students First). Not trying to promote conspiracy theories but this is a fact. We closed and opened in September after having a greater loss than any other system. We figured everything out with safety, livelihood and profession. Now we have another challenge. Students First want us to go away. They will go to large lengths to make us go away. Many in-person students getting requests for services. Students have faced social-emotional damage as have all of us. We have been affected to the core of our souls. We have training that is sold out to train people. Member Assistance Program, we know how important this is. Call 212 331-6322 MAP Care program. Come to us. Entry anxiety is a term you will hear. This is real. Thank MAP people. Have to have a plan for it to work for our students. Thank College and career advisors for giving students an hour. We started training them yesterday. They need access to good information as they leave the school system.
Nobody knows the population of our school system. Reports range from 85,000 down to 300,000 down. Let's put a class size reduction program in 100 schools. Two candidates being supported by people who want to destroy us and this union. Elder statesmen from the city urged us to make a deal back in 2010. We didn't. Contract negotiations start next spring. We would rather negotiate with people who understand what we do. One more town hall at the end of June probably. The goal is to get our buildings programmed before we leave this school year. We will work with CDC and State. We dealt with issues going to 3 feet. We have had over 2,000 operational complaints. Most resolved. Many got extra compensation. If someone has more work, we got them compensation. City wants to maximize instructional time. 6 hours and 50 minutes in some schools. Contract goes back in place in September.
Last year, if we would have said we are where we are now, we would have all taken it. We did what we had to do when we closed on March 15. The accommodation process will be opened but I don't think we will get blanket accommodations. Vaccination status is a personal choice. We will protect people. We will see what the city says. We need a mayor we can work with who has a chance of winning. We were the reason schools did open.
Question: District 20 chapter leader, from the five-point plan, how can we ensure social workers, psychologists can be in our school?
Mulgrew Answer: We need to move quickly. We have the budget. We may need a petition that every school needs an intervention team. We must make this loud. Parents are on our side. Happy questioner brought this up. Frustrating dealing with this administration. Lack of focus. Mayor focusing on daily press conferences. Money is there; we should be able to have this.
Question: Thanks Mulgrew; postings for summer school, will job description be the same?
Answer: Is Michael Sill there?
Michael Sill: 683 is up. Traditional summer school (summer rising) should be up Friday. Vast majority will be an in-person program. Small remote. Concerns of those who don't want to work in person. If you had retention rights and had an accommodation for this year, you will keep retention rights if you don't work this summer. Librarians, lab specialists will be up too.
Mulgrew: DOE looking to get 200,000 students which would double and triple summer school. Don't know how many people want to do summer school. We have plans if we have more students than teachers needed. We will look at a compensation package if we do get the students. Pandemic going in a good way in the tri-state area, many may want to take a break. Thanks Mike Sill and his department.
Question: CL from Manhattan, SBO's for next year, if schedules can be SBOed?
Answer: We were supposed to have an answer on this last Friday. Not looking to keep pandemic agreement in place unless we go back into pandemic. We talked about this with DOE last week. they have not gotten back to us yet. Can SBO open school days but still waiting on other SBOs
Question: QHS CL on cameras in the classroom. Expecting a three-foot rule to maybe still have AB cohorts, our position on cameras?
Answer: Can't teach to kids live and remote students on camera. Some CTE schools might need an exception but if less than 5% are remote, it is very inefficient. We can create academies for remote students districtwide or boroughwide. Tell administrators to hold off on programming.
Question: Can parent-teacher conferences remain remote?
Answer: That is on the table for a possible SBO for schools that want to do it. Schools said it worked so much better that way. Try for a pre-agreed upon SBO or to make it a policy. May get pushback from City Hall.
Question: MLC and health insurance, is there an update?
Answer: Municipal Labor Committee negotiates healthcare as a group which is why we are the only workers left with premium free healthcare. We want to form a standing committee on healthcare and will talk about it at the DA tomorrow. We can't keep absorbing healthcare increases from insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. Ridiculous increases. Two or three years ago, we started getting aggressive by not taking increases. In-service did healthcare savings and city started negotiating with hospitals and insurance companies. Bloomberg wanted us to have premiums. MLC had low-hanging fruit to save to put back in the health fund when de Blasio came in. What we save goes back to the healthcare fund. We fought with NY Presbyterian because they would not let us analyze the bills they were charging us. We told them there is no way they can charge us $1,500 an x-ray. CEOs making $9 million. We want senior care for Medicare retirees to continue. We have not gotten answers. Representatives from unions vote at MLC. We have questions and we are not moving forward right now. Insurance companies came back with good bids but this is a nasty business. Patient has no idea what is going on. If we don't get what we want from our retirees to at least keep the minimum of what we have now, we are not moving forward
Question: PD Day and Clerical Day, are they remote?
Answer: Principal can bring people in if rules are followed and kids aren't there. We said if people are just going to go to their rooms, it makes no sense. We presented this to Chancellor and we have not heard back. Clerical day, we don't know what records you will need access to. We are not going to dump it on the in-person teachers only.
Question: Planning for next year, Will there be reopening committees this summer?
Answer: Yes, we hope to be in a position where virus is almost eradicated. Working with a group of doctors since last year in February. They have stuck with us. Locals around the country in AFT want Building Response Teams like we have. We gave them the information. We would like to continue the same process. Cleaning has to continue. We can't slide back now.
Question: Are we getting teachers choice this year?
Answer: Mayor pulled teachers choice out of the budget to get even with us for closing the schools. We can fight with him tooth and nail until he leaves like we did with Bloomberg. Hopefully, we don't have that scenario with de Blasio. We will figure out something one way or the other.
Question: School psychologist for 30 years, hiring 300 new social workers, what about school psychologist?
Answer: Intervention teams include social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors responsible for 200 students. Intervention team could be a game-changer looking at the work we will be facing.
Question: Early Retirement Incentive, is it for all titles?
Answer: City wants to set a precedent that they can pick teachers by certification area. We can't let them do that. This may be a big ugly fight. We don't want to pit people against each other. We can't agree to subjects rather than title (teacher). Paras would be included if we do ERI.
Question: D 14 teacher, 100CTLE hours approaching in June, is UFT talking to state or DOE to postpone this deadline? Paperwork more challenging than taking courses. Nobody picks up the phone. We feel slightly offended by what we have been through.
Answer: We have been talking with the State Education Department. Unprecedented 100,000 hours through UFT. Is Mary Vacarro on?
Mary: We haven't gotten anywhere on the extension with the state yet but there are plenty of courses. We can assist with people having difficulty on TEACH.
Mulgrew: Can work with State on people having an issue on TEACH. We didn't want to be the number one CTLE provider in the State of NY. We would prefer to have the waiver.
Question: 12.5% retro last October and 12.5% in July. Will TRS give us a window to up TDA contributions in July?
Answer: We are working on this right now and will get it out as soon as possible. Not sure in NYC system can do a one-time upping of the percentage and can it be changed back before September.
Question: What are the plans for technology going to be for next year? Are kids going to have to apply for i-pads for next year?
Answer: This is a big issue. We are working on some solutions. We were hired to work in person. We were not hired to work remotely or in a digital setting. A majority of the contract does not apply to our current working conditions. DOE assuming we can do our job or in a digital environment. That is a serious collective bargaining issue. That is why we are getting per session for asynchronous work on Election Day. We have told the DOE that this is not under the working conditions of our collective bargaining agreement. If they are threatening days off, we will have to decide. To do this additional work without collective bargaining is irresponsible. There is a lot of collective bargaining between contracts. This administration is leaving. If city puts a package before de Blasio leaves, we would have to talk about it. Next negotiating committee, this is a big issue. Where is tech support? Where are the devices? We need something definitive and there must be true equity. This is a collective bargaining issue.
Question: Is grievance process the same if we don't get grade we want to teach from preference sheet?
Answer: Format agreed on and preference sheets have gone out. Yes, it will be under the normal reorganization grievance process.
Question: Back pay for 2020 spring break?
Answer: Once the grievance process is fully reopened, that will be the first new arbitration. Para terminations and salary matters. City gave us 3 CAR days, we have in writing that city agreed that the 3 days doesn't matter to us asking for compensation and we could bring this forward. It might be end of June beginning of July. It will be a straightforward arbitration.
Question: Programmer wants a hard date for what is going on in September,
Answer: Program as if everyone's coming in. Holding things up is politics. If it is 3 feet distance, we need an application process. It should be smoother than last year.
Mulgrew thanks Rasheed for being a good host. COVID numbers are so low. 70,000 tests a day and averaging below .3% positive. We will go hard on the ERI. Fighting for the right things is fun. School year not easy but members made it work. We kept going in-person and remote. Thanks everyone. Spring Conference is Saturday. Complete thanks and gratitude to each one.