Around 40 ATRS took time out from their holiday on Tuesday to meet in Queens. All agreed we have had enough of the mistreatment that comes with working for the Department of Education. We also came out against UFT acquiescence to the DOE when it comes to ATRs. At this citywide Absent Teacher Reserve meeting, the group came together and decided to form an official association. We will be known as the Absent Teacher Reserve Alliance (ATRA).
Our mission is to do what our union is supposed to be doing: representing ATRs with people of our own choosing who have walked in our shoes. ATRs have been denied democratic representation at the school level by the officers who run the UFT. This is not acceptable. This point was made clear during the discussions that took place at the Tuesday meeting.
Five borough wide representatives were nominated and elected to represent each borough and then the entire body elected me to be the president. I would rather think of it as being the Chapter Leader because ATRS should have our own Functional chapter.
Functional Chapters are citywide UFT Chapters created for UFT members who are not part of the regular teaching staff. The UFT has around 40 such Functional Chapters. They each elect a citywide Chapter Leader and Delegates to the UFT Delegate Assembly based on their size. There is no rational reason why ATRS should not be a Functional chapter.
If the UFT leadership refuses to do right by us by continuing to not allow us to elect official UFT chapter representatives, then we need to find a way to move them toward our completely democratic and fair point of view.
ATRA is not affiliated with any UFT Caucus including ICE. It is an independent group. If you know any ATRs, you might want to direct them to ATRA.
Stay tuned for further information as this develops.