Thursday, January 24, 2008

ICE Initiates Phase One of Plan to Fight Back: Win Back the Right to Grieve Negative Evaluations & File Letters

Since December, ICE has been trying to raise a motion at the Delegate Assembly calling upon the UFT to reopen the Contract so we can win back the right to grieve material in our files. Unfortunately, in December the motion period was taken up by another resolution and in January Randi didn't get to the new motion period.

It is essential now that everyone who reads our blog support our call to win back the right to grieve material in our files and to have the right to challenge supervisory judgment. We would like to bring this up at the February 6 DA. It would need a majority vote of delegates to be placed on the UFT DA agenda in March.

Below is the actual resolution and what follows is our rationale in support of our plan.

Independent Community of Educators (ICE)
February 6, 2008 motion

Letters in the File Grievances: Resolution to Reopen the Contractual Provision
For the March 2008 DA

WHEREAS, in selling the 2005 Contract to the members, UFT President Randi Weingarten answered objections to the removal of the right to grieve letters in the file by claiming the Contractual provision eliminating grievances for unfair and inaccurate letters could be reopened if there is a spike in letters to the file; and

WHEREAS, The Chief Leader reported recently that there was a 36% increase in teachers receiving unsatisfactory ratings in 2006-07 (the first full year under the 2005 Contract), a 39% increase in tenured teachers receiving U ratings, a fourfold increase in the number of teachers forced to extend their probation and a doubling of teachers denied tenure; and

WHEREAS, the UFT reported that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of teachers resigning compared to just a few years earlier; and

WHEREAS, it is reasonable to conclude that the spike in unsatisfactory ratings and resignations would not have been possible without a huge increase in negative letters to the file; be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the UFT reopen the Contract provision on letters in the file so it can be modified to allow members to grieve negative material in a timely manner and include the right to contest supervisory judgment to an impartial party, in addition to demanding that any material removed from a file can never be used in any proceeding of any kind against any UFT member.

NY Teacher stated the following in the October 20, 2005 issue: “City Labor Relations Commissioner James Hanley wrote to the union that the city agreed to negotiate on the issue (reopening the letters in the file provision) ‘if there is a disproportionate increase in the number of letters to the file.’” The evidence is in and for the first year under the new Contract it is not a pretty picture:

1,333 Unsatisfactory ratings in 2006-07 compared with 981 in 2005-06. (U rating increase of 36%; Source: Chief Leader)

918 tenured teachers rated U last year up from 662 the year before. (U rating increase of 39%; Source: Chief Leader)

The number of teachers denied tenure more than doubled last year compared to the year before. (Source: Chief Leader)

The number of teachers forced to extend their probation increased almost fourfold in 2006-07 compared to 2005-06. (Source: Chief Leader)

The UFT’s own figures show that 4,606 teachers resigned last year, up from 2,544 who resigned just a few years earlier; it is sensible to conclude that many of those 4,606 were forced to resign.

Chancellor Klein in 2007 created a “gotcha squad” of lawyers and retired administrators to help build cases against tenured teachers.

There had to be a disproportionate spike in negative file letters to support all that increased discipline. We have to fight back now. The November 26, 2007 candlelight vigil was a good start but it was not enough. Let’s demand a letter in the file grievance process that is better than what we had before so we can challenge supervisory judgment. This Delegate Assembly should take a giant leap toward winning back our rights by putting this resolution on the DA agenda for February. Tell Hanley and Klein we mean business. Klein’s “gotcha squad” makes it “open season” to hunt teachers; we say close the hunt down now!

Please tell Chapter Leaders, Delegates, District Representatives and the Union officers to support the proposal to reopen the Contract so we can fight unfair file letters.

PS We are fully aware that if a letter stays in the file for three years, you can take it out of the file if disciplinary charges haven't been filed. However, the DOE still keeps a copy and can still try to use it. In addition, three years is too long to wait. Material that is over three years old is not normally admissible in 3020A cases against tenured teachers and the DOE doesn't wait three years to go after us. Finally, non-tenured teachers can easily be terminated at any point in their first three years of service and having a grievance procedure for unfair letters was their only hope for fighting back against abusive administrators.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good plan ICE has come up with. The city agreed to reopen this if it's a problem. We have the evidence. We should pressure the UFT to be militant and not just complain on blogs.

Anonymous said...

My school just so happens to be having a Chapter meeting today. I will add informing the staff about this to my long list of things to bring up in front of the members.


Anonymous said...

Opening up the contract??!?!?

Then everything goes up for grabs!!

What's to stop the DOE from going after the raises we earned??

Don't be foolish.

Our contract was negotiated, and ratified by the membership.

Members of ALL the caucuses were present at the negotiating meetings.

If the motion is defeated democratically, you'll just find another thing to complain about.

Just when we thought you guys were coming to your senses...

C omplain
E verytime


Anonymous said...

Can you read Unity person? We had assurances from Hanley that the city would open up this specific provision if there was a spike in file letters. Read the quote from your own newspaper: NY Teacher.

Anonymous said...

For the benefit of the Unity people who have difficulty reading, this is the piece of the article. We would open only this particular provision.

NY Teacher stated the following in the October 20, 2005 issue: “City Labor Relations Commissioner James Hanley wrote to the union that the city agreed to negotiate on the issue (reopening the letters in the file provision) ‘if there is a disproportionate increase in the number of letters to the file.’”

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how Unity mis-represent us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Unity Hack,

Randi visited our school before the '05 contract and stated that she spoke with the mayor about a possible spike in LIFs, and he told her that they would renegotiate that provision.

Did Randi lie to our staff?

Anonymous said...

We'll see if she was telling the truth if this resolution is ever presented.

Anonymous said...

I will support this 100%.

Anonymous said...

One down, 1399 to go. Spread the word folks.

Anonymous said...

Where are NYC Educator, Norm, Chaz, School Gal and the rest of the bloggers to push this along to their readers?

Anonymous said...

I informed my school and chapter leader at a meeting we held last friday. I asked for a vote of support and everyone raised their hands (thank g-d). If ever this motion gets to a vote my chapter leader is suupposedly going to vote yes on our behalf. No real way to know for certain, but she seems trustworthy.


Anonymous said...

That's two down and 1,398 to go. Make your school next.

17 (really 15) more years said...

I'm going to make copies of the resolution and hand it out at our chapter meeting on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Average life expectancy ( in seconds ) of an enemy soldier in a Chuck Norris film : 4

Number of men who have written letters proposing marriage to Vanna White : 3506

Age most people stop believing in Santa Claus : 8

Number of chemical elements in the universe : 104

Average powder base ( in inches ) on Aspen ski Slope : 17

Salary of the average Pro Wrestler : $47,500 /yr.



Number of things that annoy ICE : 2,000
Number of people annoyed by ICE : 200,000

Anonymous said...

You could never get accurate numbers from the DOE and you won't get it from the teachers either because some are too embarassed to complain. We do have accurate numbers on increased discipline and only a blind Unity patronage hire or horrible principal wouldn't think the extra discipline is supported by increased letters in the file.

Come and support this resolution at the February DA.

Anonymous said...

The articles in the Cheif were about U-ratings not Letters in the File. I've seen no increase at my school and my DR has asked at several meetings and there doesn't seem to be an increase. So how can we ask to renogotiate this?

Anonymous said...

One cannot get a U rating w/o letters in file. There has to be a paper trail. So if there are more U ratings, how is that being accomplished?

Anonymous said...

You see Unity people 1 + 1 = 2.
Letters + letters = U ratings.

It's not that hard to figure out that you need more letters to support more U ratings.

Anonymous said...

Unity people don't want to fight for us. That is clear from the response from the Unity guy to this aarticle. My chapter voted unanimously to reopen this provision on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Let's count the ways Randi and Unity will subvert any attempt to bring this up:

1. Randi filibusters until people fall asleep or go home or take a lethal dose of arsenic.

2. Randi cancels the New Motion period until December 2011.

3. Unity members attack Jeff Kaufman for the color of his shirt.

4. Randi says ICE imagined that provision to reopen the contract.

5. Unity schmuck on this blog reveals himself as a District rep from Brooklyn. Or just as a schmuck.

Anonymous said...

Somebody please save us from Randi