From Monday's executive board:
During Mulgrew's report he said that the teachers are being singled out for worst prospects by the mayor, compared to other city workers. He said that the contract talks are officially going into fact-finding, and that Bloomberg is giving his official fact-finding testimony on June 12, a Wednesday.
Additionally, Mulgrew has secured official support from the Municipal Labor Council for a rally, 4 pm, the same day, outside City Hall, with the theme, Fair Contracts for All. He says that it will be one that he'll push for a big turnout. Mulgrew said that teachers have been working under terrible working conditions.
From another observer:
There was a very interesting exchange between Michael Mendel and an Absent Teacher Reserve who spoke during the Open Mike period. In the course of the ATR's presentation, the question of unsatisfactory ratings for ATRs who are observed in subjects unfamiliar to them was raised. Mendel then gave, and repeated several times, what appears to be the UFT's official position on the frequent Unsatisfactory observation reports being given to ATRs who are purposefully being observed while teaching in subjects they know nothing about. (The ATR at the mike gave the clear example of a science teacher who was observed while teaching a music teacher's program.) Mendel's response was that the union anticipates that there will be very few ATR U-Ratings at the end of the year. The evidence he cites for this is that there were very few ATR U-Ratings last year, and no one expects that to change this June. This, however, in no way speaks to the question of the frequent U observation reports that are being given out. This appears to be a scam that principals are operating. It allows them to continue to refuse steady employment to ATRs assigned to their schools. As long as they continue to justify their refusal to accept the ATRs sent to their buildings as permanent employees, they can keep receiving a steady stream of "free" labor -- paid for by the central Board -- for as long as this insane system continues. The moment they agree to "hire" an ATR permanently, the salary is charged to the school. This is more than enough motivation for many, many principals to want to keep the ATR merry-go-round in constant motion.
HOWEVER, if anyone remembers, the original spin that the UFT put on its acceptance of the crazy ATR system now in effect was that constantly moving ATR's from school to school on a weekly basis would give the ATRs more opportunity to be seen by lots of principals, so that they would have better opportunities to be hired permanently. Of course, this has never materialized. Indeed, the clever little principals have turned the situation around, and have found a way of demonstrating to the Board that all these people who are passing through their doors are indeed unsatisfactory. No need to hire them. But our union's response seems to be: "It's all right. Don't worry. There won't be many ATR U-ratings at the end of the year."