Thursday, June 30, 2016


Teachers and our unions have tremendous power that we often don't use. One of the weapons we could utilize is to withhold our labor but in New York that isn't even considered because of the two days pay fine for each day out on strike penalties of the Taylor Law.

Another weapon of labor is to use our money properly. Public school teacher pension funds are worth plenty of money and we have a say in where our money is invested. We should not put our money with anyone who wants to obliterate public education and/or unions. I don't see why this concept is so difficult to grasp or support.

The Wall Street Journal has a piece that Diane Ravitch copied on this issue. Here are the first three paragraphs:

Daniel Loeb, Paul Singer and dozens of other hedge-fund managers have poured millions of dollars into promoting charter schools in New York City and into groups that want to revamp pension plans for government workers, including teachers.

The leader of the American Federation of Teacher;s, Randi Weingarten, sees some of the proposals, in particular the pension issue, as an attack on teachers. She also has influence over more than $1 trillion in public-teacher pension plans, many of which traditionally invest in hedge fund

It is a recipe for a battle for the ages.

Further down, Randi is quoted:

"Why would you put your money with someone who wants to destroy you?"

Battle for the ages might be too strong a phrase for this but I enjoyed reading an article where I was pretty much in agreement with the AFT President.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


New York State Allies for Public Education have written an open letter to UFT President Michael Mulgrew (see below). NYSAPE is a group of influential parent and educator activists. Their letter to Mulgrew is very critical of the bizarre Unity Caucus June Delegate Assembly leaflet that attacked MORE for its support for the opt out from testing movement. . They accuse Mulgrew of "standing and working against us at every turn."

It is rare for a group of pro-public education advocates to slam UFT leadership but that is what is happening here. Please read the letter for yourselves. It's powerful stuff.

June 28, 2016

Mr. Michael Mulgrew, President
United Federation of Teachers
52 Broadway
New York, New York 10004

Dear Mr. Mulgrew,

Over the past few years, members of the opt out movement have become adept at distinguishing our allies from those who work against us, often behind the scenes. In light of your recent newsletter (see below) for the UFT’s Unity Caucus, it has become apparent which of these two camps you are truly affiliated with.

It is no secret, Mr. Mulgrew, that as president of the NYC teacher’s union, the UFT (the largest local teacher’s union in the state), you wield a tremendous amount of power within NYSUT. With approximately 800 voting delegates and the resources needed to send all of its delegates to statewide elections, the UFT often holds the voting majority in NYSUT. Therefore, you have the power to sway NYSUT’s powerful lobbying dollars and efforts towards policy and law that will either benefit or harm our children. For that reason, the opt out movement has shifted its attention to you.

In the outrageous document referenced above, you claim that districts have "lost" grant money due to opt out, when in fact that money was not theirs to begin with. You cannot "lose" something you do not already have and are not guaranteed to be awarded. While failing to test 95% of all students may exclude a district from APPLYING for a small monetary grant (25,000-75,000 dollars), no money is TAKEN from a district. To date, no school in NYS has lost money as a result of opt out numbers. On the other hand, high stakes testing has cost school districts MILLIONS of dollars over the past four years while the State continues to shirk its obligation to fully fund our schools. In addition, under the new ESSA guidelines, this reward status and grant application process comes to an end and will no longer be a factor.

In addition to providing your members with false information, you have demonized the brave and outspoken NYC educators who have encouraged opt out. You have inexplicably labeled these educators as “reckless and feckless”. This begs the question, why would an experienced educator and union leader dismiss and insult a historic act of civil disobedience? Surely, you are aware that the opt out movement has yielded the only successful means of resisting harmful “test and punish” policies that hurt not only your members, but all educators and students around the state.

It is no secret that you have failed to support efforts to reject the increased focus on test scores in the new teacher evaluation plan (3012-d), or that you have publicly vowed to defend the common core standards (standards that even the Governor’s skewed CC task force found to be flawed) with violence, if necessary. In addition to your disparaging comments aimed at those who support the opt out movement, your actions as president of the UFT would appear to reveal whose side you are really on.

When teachers, students, and unions were being abused, demonized, and demoralized, a call to action rang out from grassroots parent and educator organizations. Many teachers and local unions heeded the call. Progressive caucuses within the UFT such as MORE and the statewide caucus Stronger Together immediately stepped up and worked alongside parents to fight for the best interests of our children. Where were you?

Sadly, it seems apparent, Mr. Mulgrew, that you have been standing and working against us at every turn. Deals have been made, hands have been shaken, and forces have aligned to quell the increasing discontent of this growing tide of parents and educators fighting for the very survival of our schools and the well-being of our children. Opposition to our cause within NYSED, NYCDOE, USDOE as well as those who support illogical and damaging education policies have found an unlikely partner in you.

While your actions speak volumes, we urge you to prove us wrong and demonstrate that you are in fact, an ally of the opt out movement. Take a stand against a corrupt and harmful test-based accountability system, advocate for research and evidence-based education policies, and respect teachers, parents, and students who advocate the use of test refusal as a means of impacting policy and regulatory change.

We think it only fair to inform you that should the educators of New York City and New York State seek new leadership in their elected union officials, the parents of New York will stand in solidarity with those who seek to safeguard public education from harmful policies, regulations, and corrupt leadership.


New York State Allies for Public Education

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This evening I have been examining the Supreme Court decision  in the case of McDonnell vs.United States. The case concerns government corruption. Basically it looks like the Court is saying pay to play politics are fine as long as there is no direct quid pro quo of money being turned over in exchange for a vote for a bill. Here is the story from WJRZ TV.

A key U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday could aid former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos as they appeal their federal corruption convictions.

The court unanimously ruled Monday morning in favor of former Virginia Gov. Bob MdDonnell, vacating his 2015 corruption conviction and sending his case back to a lower court. McDonnell had been convicted of extortion and fraud for accepting more than $175,000 in loans and gifts from a Virginia business executive.

The case centered on the meaning of "official act," with the Supreme Court ruling it's not enough to convict a government official if they only set up a meeting or organize an event for a gift giver and nothing more.

McDonnell's case was being watched closely by attorneys for Silver and Skelos, who were separately convicted of various bribery and fraud charges last year and automatically ejected from office. The case could have implications for both former New York politicians, whose bail-pending-appeal hearings were postponed until after the McDonnell decision came down.

"To qualify as an 'official act,' the public official must make a decision or take an action on that question or matter, or agree to do so," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court's unanimous opinion. "Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event-without more-does not fit that definition of 'official act.'"

While U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is confident the Silver and Skelos convictions will hold up under this ruling, I'm not so sure.

Susan Lerner, executive director of good-government group Common Cause/NY is not enthusiastic about the decision either.

She said the Court "lives in a fantasy land that defies the common sense understanding of two New York juries."

"By confirming that a pay-to-play culture is an inherent part of day-to-day politics, the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates for special interest groups to influence politicians, at the expense of American democracy," Lerner said in a statement that I am taking from the WJRZ piece.

Politico chimed in also:

As it unanimously overturned former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption convictions Monday, the Supreme Court may have given a green light to politicians and their allies to trade access for money, according to legal experts and disappointed advocates for government ethics laws.

The ruling, which struck down the conviction of the former Virginia governor on the grounds that ordinary political favors such as arranging meetings aren’t sufficient to justify a bribery conviction, was pored over Monday by lawyers for a series of embattled politicians ranging from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.)

"This dramatically narrows the ability of the Justice Department to prosecute corruption cases," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21. "There are all kinds of things public officials can do short of casting a vote or making a policy decision that are of enormous benefit to an individual and, in essence, become legalized bribery under this decision."

Maybe we are all reading too much into the decision and it won't be as bad as these critics are saying. Then again maybe the Supreme Court just made our system even worse than it already is.

Monday, June 27, 2016


I received my new identification card from EmblemHealth with the higher co-pays listed right at the bottom. Thank you UFT 2014 contract and Municipal Labor Committee.   We still owe the city an additional $1.3 billion in health savings next year so hold on tight to your wallets.

Meanwhile, we will be waiting until the middle of October in 2017 to get a little more of the money owed to us from what is basically an interest free loan we gave to the city for all of the work we did between 2009 and 2011. The majority of the loan will not be paid back until October 2018, October 2019 and October 2020.

The actual contract ends in 2018. The only thing we can be certain of is that when it expires the city will cry poverty and the UFT leadership will not have an adequate response.

Everyone should once again take a look back at some of the terms of the 2014 contract that aren't improving as they age.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


As my end of the term assignment, I have chosen to examine the new PDF version of the 2014 Contract. Two years after it was ratified, this agreement is finally printed on line. A hard copy has still not been mailed to each member as was always done in the past, even in the internet age. I guess that having a contract sent to every member is asking too much from our union as part of our $100+ that we give them in dues each month.

One of the worst sections of the 2014 UFT Contract was the part concerning Absent Teacher Reserves. This section has been added as Article 17B Rule 11A. This provision sets up two classes of ATRs: one that was excessed and the other that survived termination (3020a) hearings. Those in the second class who were fined $2,000 or more or was suspended for at least a month are not even guaranteed job interviews. Any ATR in either class who misses two interviews for whatever reason can be automatically terminated (deemed to have resigned) without any kind of tenure hearing even if they are tenured. In addition, there is a clause that allows management to fire ATRs placed in temporary provisional assignments in expedited one day 3020a hearings. Our last two posts have involved the misuse of this process.

The one positive aspect to this disastrous contractual provision is that it sunsets at the end of this school term. Here is the actual contractual language:

This Rule 11(A) with respect to the absent teacher reserve (referred to above as the “ATR Program”) shall run through the end of the 2015-16 school year. At the end of that term, the parties must agree to extend the ATR Program and absent agreement, the parties shall return to the terms and conditions for ATR assignment as set forth in Rule 11(B).

That means if the UFT does nothing, Rule 11A will no longer exist. It's gone forever. ATRs would revert to the 2011 agreement which is marginally better. Although it includes weekly rotation of ATRS from school-to-school, it does not include the rapid fire disciplinary process. It is embedded in the 2014 Contract as Rule 11B.

Are we reverting to 11B or will 11A be continued? I have no idea as there was nothing at the June Delegate Assembly about ATRs and there is not a word about ATRs in the final Chapter Leader Newsletter of the school year.

Shouldn't the union ask the ATRs how they feel about the 2014 agreement continuing?

Many people are impacted but why bother to ask ATRs whether they want to maintain the current rules or revert to the 2011 agreement? UFT leadership leaves members in the dark.

Typical arrogance from the top.

UPDATED July 3, 2016: A UFT representative has reported that the 2014 agreement has been allowed to sunset.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


For anyone thinking what we wrote in our last posting concerning a rotating Absent Teacher Reserve being forced to go through a rapid fire 3020a hearing was based on just something I heard, here is a part of the NYSUT letter to the ATR concerning the 3020a process for ATR's

This proceeding is being scheduled pursuant to Article 17(B), Rule 11(A)(3) ("Rule l l(A)(3)") of the collective bargaining agreement between the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Department regarding Education Law § 3020-a procedures for the Absent Teacher Reserve ("ATR") program.

Under Rule ll(A)(3), your § 3020-a proceeding will be extremely expedited, and the Department must prove to the Arbitrator that you have demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior." Therefore, your hearing is likely to begin as soon as the next several weeks, and time is of the essence. For your convenience, I have enclosed a copy of Rule 11 and Article 21 of the collective bargaining agreement effective from 2009 to 2018. I specifically refer you to Rule 11 (A)(3) and Article 21G.

As stated above, this letter came from NYSUT, not the New York City Department of Education.

Let us again review UFT Contract Article 17B Rule 11A which states in part:

If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, an ATR has been removed from a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area by two (2) different principals because of asserted problematic behavior, a neutral arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators jointly selected for this purpose (the panel presently consisting of Martin F. Scheinman, Howard Edelman and Mark Grossman) shall convene a §3020-a hearing as soon as possible. 

Based on the written documentation described above and such other documentary and/or witness evidence as the employer or the respondent may submit, the hearing officer shall determine whether the ATR has demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior. For purposes of this program, problematic behavior means behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in schools and a pattern of problematic behavior means two (2) or more instances in a vacancy in the ATR’s license area of problematic behavior within a school year or consecutively across school years. 

The teacher who received the letter from NYSUT is an Absent Teacher Reserve who was rotating from school to school. It went well the only time that this teacher was in a long term leave replacement position after being excessed. This teacher was not provisionally assigned to any kind of vacancy as ATRs are supposed to be before being subjected to an expedited 3020a process.

The contract in Article 18A says specifically what a vacancy is: "Vacancies are defined as positions to which no teacher has been appointed, except where a non-appointed teacher is filling in for an appointed teacher on leave." I don't think covering for a teacher who is absent constitutes a vacancy.

It seems the DOE is sending out emails to ATRs saying their next assignment is to cover a provisional vacancy even if it is just a rotation to cover classes in another school.

Have any other ATRs received this kind of email? This looks like bad faith to me at its worst.

If the Union is going along, then there is a lawsuit waiting to happen in my humble opinion.

I really am not sure who to be angry at here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Now that the UFT Contract has been placed on line, the section on Absent Teacher Reserves has been added to Article 17 B Rule 11 in a new Section A.

It seems the Department of Education and possibly the Union are interpreting the clause on ATR discipline to mean that an ATR in rotation can be subject to a rapid fire one day dismissal hearing based on problematic behavior even if the ATR was never assigned to a temporary provisional vacancy in their license area. Here is the language right from the contract:

 If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, an ATR has been removed from a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area by two (2) different principals because of asserted problematic behavior, a neutral arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators jointly selected for this purpose (the panel presently consisting of Martin F. Scheinman, Howard Edelman and Mark Grossman) shall convene a §3020-a hearing as soon as possible. 

Based on the written documentation described above and such other documentary and/or witness evidence as the employer or the respondent may submit, the hearing officer shall determine whether the ATR has demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior. For purposes of this program, problematic behavior means behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in schools and a pattern of problematic behavior means two (2) or more instances in a vacancy in the ATR’s license area of problematic behavior within a school year or consecutively across school years. Hearings under this provision shall not exceed one full day absent a showing of good cause and the hearing officer shall issue a written decision within fifteen (15) days of the hearing date.

Since when is being on rotation being "in a vacancy in the ATR's license area...?"

If the DOE and NYSUT lawyers are rewriting the rules to go after ATRs, we must do what we can to stop it. This is an outrage. ATRs who are on rotation should get a full 3020a hearing. This provision is supposed to be for someone filling a temporary provisional vacancy within their license area.


Dear James,
During the past few days, extreme violence has been used against teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico who were protesting governmental education "reforms." This has resulted in the deaths of at least eight people. The Network for Public Education joins with those condemning this violence and calls for a dialogue to resolve the underlying issues. We support the statement issued by the Civil Society of Oaxaca demanding that the government do the following:
  • End the wrongful and disproportionate use of force and repression against the teachers who make use of their legitimate right to free expression and free protest.
  • Establish a round table for dialogue with the teachers of Oaxaca.
  • Provide medical attention for all persons injured as a result of the violent acts of the State.
  • Stop the criminalization of the teachers by cancelling arrest warrants against members of the teachers' union of Oaxaca. Immediately release all teachers who have been arrested in an arbitrary and illegal way.
  • Punish all persons responsible for arbitrary detentions, torture and other violations of Human Rights against members of the teachers' union of Oaxaca.
Please personalize the statement above and send it to:
US Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta S. Jacobson
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuauhtemoc
06500 Mexico, D.F.

Or call or fax Ms. Jacobsen at:
Phone: ( 01-55 ) 5080-2000
Fax: ( 01-55 ) 5080-2005

In addition to the above, contact the Mexican Consulate at:
1250 23rd St. NW - Washington DC, 20037
Tel: (202) 736-1000 * Fax: (202) 234-4498
Thanks for all that you do. Share this link:
Carol Burris
Executive Director
The Network for Public Education


For those interested in the effects of pattern bargaining on unions in this city, take a look at the settlement the Professional Staff Congress just negotiated with the City University of New York. It is basically the Michael Mulgrew 10% over 7 years raises that the UFT set the precedent for back in 2014. The PSC represents the CUNY teachers and although not a municipal union, they are still government employees.

PSC members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike before a tentative contract was agreed to but I don't think too many people took the threat seriously. To be fair, they did get a three year job security clause for adjuncts as a gain.

There is dissent at PSC. This piece is from CUNY Struggle.

So yes, I am calling for something more radical than what the union leadership is offering. I reject the idea that it’s crazy or unrealistic. What to me is unrealistic is the idea that by accepting a brutally concessionary contract such as this one we are opposing austerity in any meaningful way, which is what the PSC leadership rightfully exhorts us to do but, for reasons I do not understand, will not summon the imagination to address.

As this blog stated last week, the workers we should be studying that we can learn from are the Verizon unions who staged a successful strike this spring. Labor can still win when we are united and not afraid to take real action.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Since the Democrats in the state Assembly once again gave in on the issue of mayoral control of New York City schools by agreeing to a one year extension that also appears to leave charter schools free from many state rules, one has to ask why are Assembly Democrats so enamored with mayoral control? What has it done for this city?

If the Democrats would have shown some spine and called the Republican bluff on school governance, the system would have reverted to the 1996 law which took hiring out of the hands of local school boards to ease the corruption associated with the old system. That governance system gave the borough presidents a check on the mayor's power with a representative from each on the Board of Education while the mayor only had two BOE members. Mayors had to work with people. It was far from ideal but better than what we have now. 

Mayoral control started in 2002. The mayor has a majority of the votes on the Board of Education now called Panel for Educational Policy which is a rubber stamp body. The major justification for what is essentially mayoral dictatorship is that high school graduation rates have gone up since the mayor took over. This cannot be disputed however the method for increasing graduation rates has been to basically scare teachers in many schools into passing kids who don't deserve to pass while also creating easy credit recovery programs for students who fail classes. There is no evidence that I have seen to show that pupils are getting to college more prepared than they were back in 2002.

Is a suspect graduation rate worth all of the negatives that have come with mayoral control? What I see is higher class sizes, depleted school budgets, overemphasis on testing, the destruction of so many neighborhood schools, Absent Teacher Reserves shuffled throughout their boroughs, out of control patronage hiring, no bid contracts, a constantly reshuffled bureaucracy, lawyers, lawyers and more lawyers, scripted curriculum, one crazy teacher evaluation system after another and more.

Maybe I am just a jaded teacher. 

Has anyone seen any improvement in the schools under mayoral control?

Saturday, June 18, 2016


It is not at all surprising that the State Legislature on its final day agreed to continue mayoral control of New York City schools for another year or that the Senate Republicans and Independent Democrats tossed in a couple of "poison pills" to attack the mayor and public schools.

The Assembly should have said no deal and let mayoral control expire.

One new provision calls for each city school to report more extensively on its budget sources to the state. My guess is this is a divide and conquer rule to show that certain schools are favored when it comes to funding.

The second new provision allows many charter schools to set their own standards. From Perdido Street School via the NY Times:

Charter schools can be authorized by three agencies - the State Education Department, the city's Education Department and SUNY - but all operate according to the same state law. Although the announcement of the agreement did not offer details, the Senate’s proposal would exempt SUNY schools from the usual state standards and free to set their own rules, two officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations said.

Most charter schools in the city are under SUNY and more could switch under this agreement.

Charter schools free to set their own rules and exempt from the usual state standards? I wonder what the details are here. 

For those wondering what the UFT position is on mayoral control, we have the usual double talk in the minutes of the latest Executive Board meeting. It says in President Michael Mulgrew's report: "We support mayoral control, however, not the current version. We would like the PEP panel not to be controlled by one individual." Then that would not be mayoral control.

Chalkbeat is reporting that the last minute deal also includes an extension from September 1 to the end of the year for districts to negotiate yet another new teacher evaluation plan.

No victory dance from the UFT or NYSUT leadership as far as we know yet.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


In the year when Donald Trump is rewriting election rules, the Unity Caucus, fresh from their disappointing election results where non Unity endorsed candidates won a majority in the high schools (one of four divisions) for the first time since 2004, is changing post election protocols. The rules of politics say that candidates can attack the opponent during a campaign but that after it is over it is the responsibility of the winner to try to unite the people. In a true moment that Trump would be proud of, Unity came to the post UFT election Delegate Assembly with a strange leaflet attacking MORE/New Action.

Talk about sore winners.

This blog said right after the vote count that elections are about expectations and Unity expected to sweep all four divisions (elementary, middle school, high school, non teaching [functional]). I guess they are in panic mode now that the opposition for the first time since 2001 got well over 10,000 votes while winning one of the four divisions outright. The Unity reaction, which should have been to congratulate us at the DA for running a solid campaign and winning the high schools, is to attack MORE.

What is even more outlandish is the issue Unity is choosing to attack the opposition on is the opt out from testing movement that MORE and New Action endorse. Unity in their leaflet makes the case that by encouraging students to opt out of state exams, we are costing certain schools grant money. In response all I can say is the main reason we have any leverage at all with the state is because of the 225,000 who opted out of taking the state exams last year. That scared the daylights out of the politicians much more than Michael Mulgrew going up to Albany to lobby.

Unity in their leaflet shows yet again where they stand and that is right with the people who want to have test and punish education. The high school teachers have awakened and voted for the opposition. We know what's going on. Now we are working so that everyone else will follow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LIVE BLOGGING FROM JUNE DA (Totally unabridged)

Today is the final Delegate Assembly meeting for 2015-16. Since I am doing this from my not so smart phone, I apologize in advance for any errors.

President's Report
President Mulgrew started by asking for a moment of silence for Orlando victims. He said there will be a ceremony Thursday afternoon for Orlando at building next door.

Woke up to see Trump is sinking in polls. Hillary called Mulgrew to thank us for primary win.

California has runoff where final two candidates face each other. Teacher Union backed candidates losing in California local races. Ed reformers winning out there with outside money.

Detroit fought off turning schools over to charter schools.

AFT convention this summer. Must tell colleagues from around the country about NYC community outreach UFT does. We help community with their concerns.

Presidential race looking good but we have plenty of work to do.

NY State
Being attacked at state level. Tough 24 hours in Albany. Senate has charter school strings attached to mayoral control. Assembly won't go with it.

New bill introduced to stop unions from competing in state elections that would stop independent expenditures.

Another bill about pension forfeiture. Public employee  convicted of felony would lose pension. They also want to be able to lower pensions without constitutional amendment. Legislature wants all public employees subject to new government ethics. Putting nasty things in bills.

Education in Albany
Regents met. Child with IEP needs a 55 grade on ELA and Math Regents. If they sit for 3 other Regents but do not pass, a teacher, principal and superintendent
can all agree to give a local diploma based on course work.

Waiver for independent observation. Only those rated ineffective the prior year must be observed by an outside observer. We need to agree with DOE on the waiver.

City Budget
Teachers Choice up to close to $150. Community learning schools funded and there will be more diversity in specialized high schools.

Relations better than under Bloomberg. We have more collaborative schools than 4 years ago but not all of them. For next year we will move school system forward by getting better management. Want respect for teachers. and full funding. UFT worked for big funding increase for next year. Principals getting more money per child.

Superintendents ignoring teacher turnover rate. We don't want high and constant turnover. When principals and staff work together, people want to work in schools. Churn rate survey will be given to UFT leaders. We will do survey on this. We could publicize results. We want well managed, supportive schools where employees are respected and each school is fully funded.

UFT Election and other Goals for Year
Wanted 10,000 more to participate in UFT election and we were successful. Thanked Delegates who are leaving.
Members look at union as an insurance policy.
New teacher program successful. We won on Friedrichs.  For next year it is Hillary time. Mulgrew thanked Delegates for work we do. UFT is beacon for what public education should be.

Staff Director's Report
Leroy Barr said it is two school days to file a reorganization grievance even if it is a tentative program.

Tomorrow is pride event at 50 Broadway. We will march in pride parade on 6/26.

UFT gave out $1 million in Albert Shanker Scholarships.

Thanked Delegates again.

Question Period
Question: Lisa North asked about Save our Schools March July 8. How do we get on UFT bus?
Answer: Contact Brooklyn UFT to get on UFT bus.

Q Our position on sexual abuse legislation?
A from Mulgrew: We support it.

Q New PD rules and registration?
A Working with SED on what counts for professional development.  On registering with state, a specialist came up to say people need to register on their birth month. UFT sending document with instructions and answers to questions.

Q Pension forfeiture bill. I thought constitutional convention was needed to diminish pensions?
A We will be in court if they try doing this through the legislature. Public debate was on ethics of elected officials and not civil servants. Including us in these bills is wrong.

Q New Paraprofessional line. Paras want to know criteria and student teaching requirement?
A Amy Arundell answered that details of position are in Principal's Weekly. All paras can apply for student teaching leave.
Mulgrew came back to mic to say this is part of career ladder for paras. 2/3 paras have BAs. DOE will pay for 12 graduate credits at CUNY rate. Paras now must take leaves to student teach. Under agreement 100 paras will be paid to student teach.

Motion Period
Rona Freiser wanted to add a Solidarity with Orlando resolution including support for an assault weapons ban.
It carried and was put on agenda.

Motion for October on four components for evaluations. Principal had 3 African American teacher fired. This principal had preconceived notions before observing teacher.

Emil Pietramonaco spoke against saying this was not the right forum. Resolution failed but Mulgrew spoke saying new system with matrix will take a lot of power out of principal's hands. We won't try to change it.

Resolution on longer rotation for guidance counselors and social workers in ATR pool was next. Nobody was able to speak against. Someone said they were opposed but they didn't speak against.  It carried. (I voted no because teachers were not included. I tried to speak out but was not called on. I guess I could have called for a point of order but I was not fast enough.)

Rona Freiser gave a passionate speech on behalf of showing Solidarity with people of Orlando.

A Delegate asked for a lengthy amendment basically calling for UFT to use this to work for LGBTQI rights.

Anthony Harmon opposed the amendment saying the resolution was about Orlando and this was too broad.

Someone else spoke in favor of the amendment saying now was the time for this. No new DA until October.

Pat Crispino from Unity spoke against.
(It was surprising that the Unity folks opposed the amendment.)

Resolution carried but amendment failed.

Mulgrew then called for new AFT convention Delegates to stay behind. (Unity leaders I guess have to tell them which way to vote on resolutions.)

Mulgrew wished everyone a good summer and the meeting ended

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


As teachers and other educators wait until 2020 to receive the full raises and back pay most other city workers took home between 2008 and 2010, the city is projected to end the 2016 fiscal year with plenty of money to spare. This year's projected surplus is $3.4 billion.

According to State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli, "The projected 2016 surplus stems largely from unanticipated growth in tax revenues, debt service and agency savings, and a drawdown of reserves not needed in the current year."

Di Napoli might want to add to this a big thank you from the city to UFT President Michael Mulgrew for settling for 10% over 7 years as a pattern raise for municipal unions and deferring teacher raises of 4% and 4% from the last round of bargaining until 2018. As of today only half of the raises from the last round have been added to our pay. The retroactive money from those years that is essentially an interest free loan we made to the city won't be fully paid back to us until 2020.

As the city ends another year with billions of dollars of surplus cash, teachers will be getting repaid a big fat 0% of the money in 2016 for the work we did from 2009-2011. The next payment date isn't until October 1, 2017. Throw in higher health care costs, no relief from administrator abuse or anything on class sizes or any other improvement in our working conditions and this adds up to a truly lousy contract that is not getting better as it ages.

At least the majority of high school teachers who voted held Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus accountable by voting for opposition groups in the recent UFT election. Now everyone needs to know what's going on.

Di Napoli notes a slowing economy and sees some storm clouds on the horizon. I think we can reasonably forecast that the city will be crying poverty again around the time our contract is up in 2018. Unity will more than likely be telling us the city is broke too.

Monday, June 13, 2016


On Saturday Camille and I attended the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) meeting. It was generally a positive experience with most of the time spent looking back at the election and ahead to next year when there will be non-Unity endorsed members on the UFT Executive Board for the first time since 2007. The co-chairs of MORE's coalition partners New Action were also in attendance.

I had a thought after the meeting when a few of us went out to eat. MORE will be having study groups on a few books this summer. One of them will analyze yet again the 1968 UFT strike. I would argue that it is time to stop spending so much time looking back 48 years to an era when the UFT clearly had some courage even if you think the cause in 68 might have been misguided in opposing community control of schools.

If we take the union at its word, the teachers shut the schools down for months because a small group of members were forced to transfer out of a district. In 2016 the UFT allows a significant number of its members called Absent Teacher Reserves to be transferred as often as every week and they do virtually nothing to stop it. The 1968 strike has been dissected to death. We can do it again but what will it prove?

Instead of yet again breaking down the 1968 UFT strike or even the 2012 Chicago Teachers strike or the Seattle Teachers strike of 2015, the strike we should be reviewing in great detail is the Verizon strike of 2016. When we speak about Verizon, we are talking about on balance a clear cut win for labor. 10.9% raises over 4 years with a $1,000 bonus thrown in is clearly better than Michael Mulgrew's pattern for city employees of 10% over 7 years with a $1,000 bonus. Yes I am fully aware that Verizon is a private sector corporation and public school teachers are government workers so it is a little bit of an apples and oranges type of comparison but it is still union verses management and there are important lessons to be learned.

Beyond the salary increases, Verizon workers beat back management's attempts to basically destroy them. For example on outsourcing call center jobs, Salon said this:

They (Communication Workers of America) secured a commitment to add 1,300 call center jobs over the next four years to accommodate demand. Since over the previous four years, 5,000 customer service jobs got outsourced from the United States, this is an even bigger win than it sounds like. Under the new contract, a certain percentage of customer service calls must be answered by a unionized worker inside the Verizon footprint. The company can more efficiently route calls because the footprint gets spread across the whole network rather than state-by-state, but the jobs are more protected.

Verizon also gave up a demand to transfer workers for weeks at a time away from their families. In addition, some Verizon wireless employees will actually be unionized because of this settlement.

How about disciplining employees? Workers made gains. Here is how Lee Sustar and Alan Maass put it in Socialist Worker:

Another big win for tech workers in New York City in particular was the abandonment of the hated Quality Assurance Review (QAR), a productivity program that in reality was a disciplinary tool that led to unpaid suspensions, often 30 days long. This is a rare gain for blue-collar union employees across the U.S., who have had their jobs made increasingly miserable by similar management schemes.

Management also dropped a number of other aggressive demands, such as a cap on pension credits at 30 years and measures intended to strengthen management's hand and harass high-seniority workers into early retirement.

The not so pro labor NY Times called the settlement a victory for labor.

Why did the Verizon workers do so well? Could the key be that there was a reform slate elected in 2011 called Rebuild 1,101 in the CWA that really did rebuild the union from the ground up. (The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were also involved in the strike.)

Could it be that a union can still win a strike?

Here is what a union shop steward told Socialist Worker:

[A] lot of the important things that happened because of the strike won't appear in the contract language, because they happened to the strikers themselves. For a section of the membership, it was 
a transformative experience where we really felt our power. And it was obvious that this came from our personal participation and the widespread popular support for the strike.

Verizon managemment put all of its corporate muscle behind hiring scabs and a publicity campaign to discredit the workers. It failed.

While the final settlements were not perfect as there were concessions on healthcare (agreed to before the strike started) and there is a second tier wage scale for newer employees, the setbacks here appear to be minimal.

I will leave it to Sustar and Maass to draw the final conclusion:

What won the Verizon strike wasn't just good public relations, community allies or the intervention of the politicians and the federal government, but more centrally the activism and determination of workers during more than six weeks on the picket line.

Getting the public on board certainly helps but there is nothing that compares to activist working people willing to stay out on strike for as long as it takes to gain real victories at the workplace. What a novel thought.

We can all argue internally about social justice verses contract unionism but CWA and IBEW just taught us a valuable lesson on how effective a strike can still be in 2016. Let's learn from it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


For the second straight year, I had the honor of riding on one of the full buses going from Long Island City to Bethpage State Park for field day on Friday. Middle College High School at La Guardia Community College does this to try to bring the adults and students closer and to give us all a fun day out in a suburban park. What a wonderful experience it was.

Great day in the park for MCHS

The majority of our students and staff spent the day playing softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and many other games. Some just laid out on the grass or walked around. There was plenty of food and soft drinks. Getting to know our kids in this natural setting was very enjoyable.

Even though I am still on the disabled list and could not play softball this year, I sat on the sidelines and thoroughly enjoyed the student vs faculty game. By the way, for the fourth straight time the faculty won although it was a very close 7-6 game.

It has been two years since I left Jamaica High School when it closed. I had worked at Jamaica for twenty-eight years. If anyone would have told me in June of 2014 that two years later I would be working in a school with a supportive administration that really cares about young people as well as the adults who work there for a living, I would have said no way but it has happened. So to Principal Linda Siegmund and everyone in the Middle College family I say thank you

Friday, June 10, 2016


There has been a great deal of analysis done already about the 2016 UFT election. Norm Scott is doing an epic series over at Ed Notes while Kit Wainer chimed in at MORE and Jonathan Halabi contributed some words on behalf of New Action over at his blog.

I will try to keep this fairly simple and avoid one of those lengthy ramblings I am sometimes accused of writing.

MORE-NEW ACTION won the high schools because we ran together. NAC had been decimated at the high school level since the 2003 deal with Unity not to oppose Randi Weingarten dropped their vote totals from over 3,000 high school votes in 2001 to a little over 700 in 2004. They have never recovered but since they weren't running with Unity this time, they received some enthusiastic support from many people including me. I enjoyed working with my old NAC friends again.

MORE grew a high school network for sure and it helped as did having a regular high school newsletter but if MORE runs without NAC, the opposition does not take the high schools. A unified opposition makes for a stronger one. It's that simple.

A third group called Solidarity did make a splash but just could not find enough candidates to get 100 signatures on nominating petitions to run as a slate. Had they been a slate, we have no idea what would have happened.

As to whether it is better to run as a coalition like we did in 2016 or whether everyone should run under the MORE umbrella in 2019, I'll have more on that at a later date.

The opposition won't always agree and that is ok. Discussion and debate are essential in a democratic system. Let's work together on what we have in common.

Thursday, June 09, 2016


John Samuelson is the leader of Transit Workers Local 100. He is quoted in an article in Labor Press talking about the mayor's support among labor unions.

The well-documented rift between Mayor Bill de Blasio and TWU Local 100, meanwhile, remains. On this week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz,” Samuelsen challenges the notion that organized labor will automatically rally around hizzoner for a second term. 

“I don’t see it,” the TWU Local 100 President says. “[The mayor] is not a trade union supporter.”

Of course the mayor does have some union support. His biggest cheerleader has been UFT President Michael Mulgrew. 

Not that Mulgrew cares, but how does the UFT rank and file feel about Mayor Bill de Blasio? In my school, I don't hear too much that is positive. How about you? I know some of the alternatives are not that appealing but is anyone enthusiastic about the mayor?

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


Recent retirees are contacting me asking about the email they received from President Michael Mulgrew about pension recalculations.

All I can say is that the pension having to be recalculated based on the bonuses was not what we were told how it would be calculated when the UFT was selling us the contract in 2014. UFT leadership told us our pensions would be based on a calculation that would include what we would have made had we received the two 4% raises in 2009 and 2010. That appears not to be how the pensions are being calculated.

If anyone can explain Mulgrew's email, we would really appreciate it.

Dear _______,

I am writing with good news about your pension benefit: You will not have to wait until 2020 to get your full pension and you will not have to deal with multiple recalculations. The UFT and the city reached an agreement that allows for a one-time recalculation of your pension. This agreement affects thousands of UFT members who like you retired on or after July 1, 2014.

In October 2015, you received the first of five lump-sum payments with the remaining payments to be distributed through 2020. Instead of the Teachers’ Retirement System recalculating your pension each time you receive one of these payments, TRS will recalculate your pension only once and include the full increase that you are entitled to. Those revisions should be underway before the end of 2016.

This one-time recalculation has no effect on the size of the lump-sum payments you will be receiving from the Department of Education or the schedule of those payments.

TRS will be providing you with a letter explaining this one-time recalculation. This document will be your acknowledgement that you are aware of the one-time recalculation and understand that there will be no future recalculations related to the current UFT contract. You must sign and return this letter to TRS.

Your first revised pension check will include both your new monthly retirement benefit as well as the retroactive monies associated with not receiving your full pension benefit from your retirement date. On your check stub or EFT statement, the retroactive amount will appear as a separate line item. Your subsequent monthly check will be the first one reflecting just your new retirement benefit.

TRS will send you a new benefits letter about a week before your first revised pension payment.

If you have questions about your pension recalculation, please wait until after you have received this benefits letter from TRS. Once you have received your benefits letter, feel free to call TRS at 1-888-869-2877 or the UFT Retiree Pension Department at 1-212-598-9536.

I am happy that the UFT has been able to negotiate this advantageous process. It will help you enjoy your full, well-deserved pension sooner rather than later.
Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew


This morning I saw this message on Facebook

John Elfrank-Dana
6 hrs


I am retired from teaching for the NYC BOARD of Education (I won't call it Department of Education). After 25 years including 10 years as UFT Chapter Leader, I put in my papers today. I am retired effective tomorrow.

I will have the summer to detox before starting a new position at Fordham University. C U on the Facebooks.

Congratulations John! The Board of Ed's loss is Fordham's gain. All the best in your future endeavors and wishing you many, many decades of healthy and happy retirement.

Camille and I consider John as one of our true friends in the union activist world. We hope he stays active as a UFT retiree.

Monday, June 06, 2016


The following information comes directly from the weekly NYSUT Leader Briefing. It concerns an absurd and totally useless part of last year's Education Transformation Act of 2015 where teachers have to register with the state.

NYSUT achieves waiver of registration late fees

In response to NYSUT's concerns, the State Education Department will NOT charge any late fees for those who miss the deadline for a new online certification registration. Starting July 1, a new state law requires all permanently or professionally certified teachers and Level III teaching assistants to register online by the end of your birth month.
SED this week issued a memo to superintendents on the new registration process, including an FAQ section that says late fees will not be charged during the first five-year registration period. Originally, educators were subject to a $10/month fee until you registered or notified SED you do not wish to register.
NYSUT continues to press SED to recognize previously completed professional development hours for new continuing education requirements. NYSUT has posted a printable "10 things you need to know" flier as well as a question form and more information on the new regulation at


Sunday, June 05, 2016


The state Senate Republicans have upped the stakes in their battle with Mayor Bill de Blasio by calling for a one year extension to the Mayor's control of the city schools but only with oversight from the governor.

This is from the Daily News:

In a shot directly at Mayor de Blasio, the state Senate Republicans on Friday quietly introduced a bill that would extend New York city mayoral control over the schools for just a year while at the same time giving the governor a role in how the city system is run.

The bill by the Senate GOP, which has been warring with de Blasio, would create a new position of New York City education inspector that would be appointed not by the mayor, but the governor, with consent from the Senate.

According to the bill, which is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Education Committee Chairman Carl Marcellino, the education inspector would provide "oversight, guidance, and technical assistance related to the educational and fiscal policies, practices, programs, and decisions of the city district, city board, chancellor and mayor."

If the UFT and NYSUT leadership were smart (they are not except when it comes to preserving their own power), they would call their friends in the state Assembly, who have already passed a three year extension of mayoral control, to tell them to just do nothing and let the law expire at the end of the month and go back to the old Board of Education.

There would then be two mayoral appointees on the Board and one from each of the borough presidents. School boards hiring superintendents was taken away in the 1996 law which cut down on corruption so don't let anyone tell you that we would be going back to a more corrupt system. The current governance structure with its almost complete lack of accountability is very dirty. Having Governor Cuomo involved would not improve anything.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


I received the agenda for Monday's UFT Executive Board meeting and in it there is a resolution calling for the Department of Education to stop monthly rotation for Absent Counselor Reserves and Absent Social Worker Reserves but not Absent Teacher Reserves. This resolution was approved by the Administrative Committee (12 officers).

In the Whereas clauses the Union states that monthly rotation to different schools is not appropriate for counselors and social workers because of the nature of their work. The implication here is that monthly rotation is educationally sound for teachers because we are not included in this resolution. Are they kidding?

I know some of you like the rotation when compared with forced placement in a full time job (I favor preferred placement) but to not even ask teachers how they feel about this is the kind of top-down "we know what's best for you" management style that characterizes UFT leadership.

The line on the resolution that most irked me is the one where the union leaders say they "value the dignity of all of our members." Judging from the communication I have with so many UFT members, this statement is just not at all accurate. UFT leadership is satisfied to leave so many of us hung out to dry according to what I hear.

The ATR agreement that allows weaker due process for ATR's sunsets this month and must be renegotiated. Has a new deal been reached? I have heard nothing.

At least the high school teachers know better as a majority of those who participated in the recent UFT election voted for MORE-NEW ACTION. I hope the New Action people on Monday evening will question this resolution and vote against it or amend it to include teachers.

The entire resolution on counselors and social workers is below.

WHEREAS, there are UFT Guidance Counselors and Social Workers in the ATR pool; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education rotates those Guidance Counselors and Social Workers each month; and
WHEREAS, schools have counseling and social work needs, but these require professionals who are assigned for a longer period of time; and
WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers values the dignity of all our members; therefore
WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers have consistently argued to the Department of Education that the current rotation system is not appropriate for Guidance Counselors and Social Workers due to the nature of their work  and have advocated for assignments to schools for longer periods of time such that they can be a tremendous benefit to the schools and students of New York City; be it
RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers will work with the Department of Education to change the rotation system so that Guidance Counselors and Social Workers in the ATR pool will be assigned to schools for a sufficient period so that they can continue to serve the children of NYC.

Thursday, June 02, 2016


Alex de Tocqueville in his classic Democracy in America warned about democracy deteriorating into a "tyranny of the majority." The governing structure of the United Federation of Teachers is a textbook example of a tyranny of the majority.* The ruling Unity Caucus (Michael Mulgrew and Randi Weingarten's political party) shuts out dissenting voices and basically rigs the election process in a sophisticated way to make challenging them basically impossible.

An opposition party cannot possibly get to retirees scattered all over the country and beyond so they could get to know us. Therefore,UFT elections are over before they start. The union has offices in several states, a newspaper and vast email network to spread the UFT message which is the Unity caucus message. Add to this the Unity loyalty oath which compels Unity members to support all caucus positions no matter how detrimental they are to the rank and file or they risk losing free trips to conventions and/or union jobs and the result is many schools with Unity chapter leaders hear only the Unity party line.

Unity keeps tight grip on information. When was the last time there was an opposing viewpoint presented in an op-ed in the NY Teacher? Opposition is allowed one advertisement at election time every three years.  That is it. Anyone who has passed Political Science 101 knows this is not sufficient exposure for a fair electoral process. In spite of these huge obstacles, opposition groups to Unity, currently MORE-NEW ACTION, have won a majority of the voters in the high schools in many UFT elections including in 2016.

The high schools are one of four divisions in the UFT. The others are middle schools, elementary schools and functionals (non teachers). We concede that we are nowhere near Unity in the three other divisions. However, in the high schools the UFT is now a "tyranny of the minority" as Unity Caucus, the clear runners up in the recent UFT election, control all of the high school positions except for seven high school representatives on the 102 member UFT Executive Board. That's better than nothing but clearly the high school teachers deserve more.

When high school teachers agreed to join the UFT in 1960, Academic High School members voted exclusively for their Vice President and Career and Technical High School (called Vocational High Schools back then) members did the same. However, when New Action's Michael Shulman had the audacity to actually win the Vice Pesident for Academic High Schools position in 1985, Unity challenged their own election and forced a second one where Shulman won by an even greater margin. To make sure this never happened again, Unity changed the rules several years later so that all UFT members, including the retirees that we could never possibly get to, vote for the two high school vice presidents.

We know MORE-NEW ACTION won the high schools even though we still do not have a breakdown of the slate vote by divisions in the 2016 election for the first time in the nineteen years I have been following UFT vote counts. We can look at the Executive Board tallies by division to figure out how high school teachers voted. We know who won the vice presidents by division since the overwhelming majority of voters choose a slate to vote for all of the candidates of that caucus. We can easily conclude that a clear majority of high school teachers voted for the MORE-NEW ACTION slate because all of our Executive Board candidates won by around 200 votes over their Unity opponents. Remember, only high school teachers voted for these positions.

It is obvious that a majority of the high school teachers who cast a ballot want Christine Gross and yours truly to be their vice presidents for the Career and Technical and Academic High Schools respectively. So, who will be in those jobs? The answer of course is Unity's Sterling Roberson and Janella Hinds. Nothing against Sterling or Janella who are decent people but they do not represent the majority of the high school teachers who voted. MORE-NEW ACTION does. Throw in Solidarity's 2.4-3% and it is a strong majority of those who vote in the high schools who don't want Unity representing them. We truly have a tyranny of the minority.

Let's take this lack of democracy a step further and look closely at those Executive Board results. The four top vote recipients are Arthur Goldstein, Chapter Leader of Francis Lewis High School (2292 votes), Jonathan Halabi, Chapter Leader High School of American Studies at Lehman College (2290), Ashyra Gupta, Delegate from Harvest Collegiate High School (2289) and then Mike Schirtzer, Delegate from Leon Goldstein High School (2286). Arthur, Jonathan, Ashraya and Mike beat Unity's Anthony Klugg and James Vasquez handily. Nothing against James or Anthony but who deserves to be the Assistant to the Vice President, Queens, Manhattan or Bronx High School District Representatives? In Unity's world it is the ones with the fewer high school votes!

Yes these positions were not on the ballot this spring. Please note, however, that chapter leaders used to vote for district representatives and Manhattan High Schools voted for independent Bruce Markens. Bruce was DR for a decade. When Bruce retired, Manhattan High Schools had the nerve to vote in another non-Unity representative Tom Dromgoole. Unity's response was to change the rules to make district representatives a position appointed by the UFT President.

High school teachers who have seen our schools closed all over the place and working conditions deteriorate are being almost completely disenfranchised by the UFT. Unity will let seven of us speak and vote at the Executive Board but that's it.

The UFT is a tyranny of the minority in the high schools because of the overall UFT tyranny of the majority. That needs to change but will not until the sleeping giant that is the UFT membership at large is awakened.

*I fully understand that the UFT tyranny is not exactly of the majority because 3/4 of the teachers don't vote. If we had voting in schools, I think I know politics well enough to conclude that the turnout would be substantially higher but results would not change that drastically because of Michael Mulgrew's name recognition. Therefore,  tyranny of the majority fits for this piece.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


I just looked at the numbers for the Verizon workers. A link is here.

There are health care increases but the raises and job security clauses look pretty strong. Judge for yourself what a strong union can do by using the strike weapon. I know they don't have the Taylor Law penalties to deal with but a union needs to have a real strike threat at its disposal to have true leverage in bargaining. This is excerpted directly from the Communications Workers of America.

What follows is a detailed bargaining report. As you read it, you should be proud of what you and your fellow members accomplished for yourselves, and for the entire labor movement, over the last seven weeks. You proved that when working people stand together and fight back, they can win.  
Summary of Tentative Agreement   
Duration of Contract: The terms of the contract will become effective upon ratification and will remain in effect until 11:59 pm on August 3, 2019.    

1. Wages and Other Compensation The combined 4-year wage increase will result in a compounded 10.9% base wage increase by the end of the contract.   Within 30-days of ratification, a bonus of $1,000 will add to wage gains.  An HRA of $250 and the corporate profit sharing plan will also bolster income. 
a.  General Wage Increase.  The increases listed below are applied to all steps in the basic wage schedules on the date indicated: 

 2016, First Sunday after Ratification – 3.0% 

 Subsequent increases will occur on the first Sunday following the anniversary of ratification:

o 2017, 2.5% 

o 2018, 2.5% 

o 2019, 2.5% 

o Compounded increase: 10.9%  

b. Ratification Bonus.  $1,000 will be paid within 30 days of ratification.  

3. Preserving Job Security and Growing Jobs  
CWA members went on strike for 48 days to protest management’s demands to strip our contract of job security protections.  Management wanted to get rid of limits on contracting, gain “flexibility” to transfer workers to different states for months at a time, and to shift additional work to outside and offshore contractors.  During the course of the strike, workers in the Philippines reached out to CWA to report on the poor wages and working conditions in call centers there.   The agreement preserves job protections won in past contracts and even provides for more jobs, despite management’s original intent to strip all protections from the contract.  

 All existing job security provisions, including no involuntary layoff, forced transfer, and downgrade, were maintained.