Saturday, February 03, 2018


I am having a very difficult time understanding why the city and the UFT can't just implement at the very least the exact same Paid Family Leave policy that is called for in state law for the private sector. This seems like it should be an easy negotiation. Paid Family Leave is for more than just parents of newborns.

Workers in NYS in the private sector are entitled to six weeks paid leave to take care of a newborn and in addition they can take the Paid Family Leave to care for a sick family member and for military families. That will expand to twelve weeks in the coming years. The cost is a maximum of $85.56 per year for employees in 2018. That comes to $1.56 a week.

This is from the State website, "Most private employers with one or more employees are required to obtain Paid Family Leave insurance." That means businesses big and small must provide the benefits.

Unions are included. They are compelled to provide this Paid Family Leave for their employees since unions are private entities.

This is from the NYSUT Leader weekly newsletter.
February 02, 2018

New York State Paid Family Leave

Source: NYSUT Accounting

Starting January 1, 2018, New York State's Paid Family Leave provides New Yorkers with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad.
If your association pays your local leaders as independent contractors issuing IRS Form 1099 MISC in January of each year to these individual you are exempt from NYS Paid Family Leave.
If your association pays your local leaders as employees via a payroll system (issuing IRS Form W-2, deducting federal and state income taxes, workers compensation, disability insurance etc.) you must provide NYS Paid Family Leave.  This coverage is typically funded by the employee utilizing payroll deduction unless the employer (local association) chooses to pay for it.
For additional questions, please consult with your local’s tax preparer or payroll administrator.
Please visit the New York State Paid Family Leave FAQ for further information.
My reading of this means that NYSUT locals that have paid employees must provide Paid Family Leave. This would include for sure the UFT. Not only the regular office staff at the UFT but the Special Representatives on leave from the Department of Education who work for the Union are entitled to the Paid Family Leave but city teachers and other UFT members are not. This should be rectified now. 

The state law gives the UFT some actual leverage. While the law says public employers and employees need to hammer out an agreement, it specifies that any agreement must be "at least as favorable as the statutorily mandated Paid Family Leave benefits."

Keeping that in mind, this seems like it should be a very simple negotiation.
Michael Mulgrew: We want a better leave Paid Family Leave policy than the private sector. NYC can afford more.
City Labor Relations Commissioner Robert Linn: No we cannot!
Mulgrew: This is what the state law says: "A labor union may collectively bargain with a public employer to offer Paid Family Leave benefits. The agreed-upon plan must then be submitted to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board for approval. The plan must be 'at least as favorable' as the statutorily mandated Paid Family Leave benefits."
Linn: Mike you know we can't afford that generous a benefit. 
Mulgrew: That is unacceptable. We are prepared to run a public campaign everywhere saying Walmart, McDonalds and the local pizza shop all have better Paid Family Leave policy in NYS than NYC has for its teachers.
Linn: Mike, Donald Trump could cut aid to the city. Be reasonable. You know times are difficult. We have always worked well together. Let's negotiate something we can all live with. Maybe we can start with Paid Parental Leave that all teachers pay for. We can talk about paid time off for caring for sick family members later. You know the city is nearly broke. If we let teachers take time off with pay to care for sick relatives, it could drive us to bankruptcy.
Mulgrew: The law says you must do as least as well as the private sector on Paid Family Leave, not just Paid Parental Leave. If you don't do better than the private sector, we will run ads saying that the Mayor is cheaper than Walmart on Paid Family Leave. We'll yell and scream how he is not really a progressive.We'll publicize how Seattle manages to provide Paid Family Leave for its city employees at no cost to the workers. Nobody will take Mayor de Blasio seriously on the left after we get through with him.
Linn: I'll get back to you.


Anonymous said...

3 reasons why the City does not want to provide a paid leave plan for NYC teachers: 1) The city simply despises teachers and the teaching profession. 2) The city knows that if there is a paid leave that TONS of teachers will use it. This will cause even more chaos in the crazy schools throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn. 3) Paid leave for teachers WILL cost more than paid leave in the private sector. If Joe Schmo office worker takes a leave, the office will more than likely not get a temp to take their place. However, for every teacher who is out on leave, a substitute teacher needs to be hired and paid for. This fact is being overlooked in a big way.

Mike said...

I appreciate this article and all your points are true. i will bring this up at the next executive board meeting and amongst our brothers and sisters in unity. Why is the state law Family leave and yet Bill DB will only negotiate parental leave?
I can report that Mulgrew has pushed for family leave and the city has flat-out told him/us they would only negotiate parental leave at this time. Not that Im defending unity, but it isnt for a lack of trying. At this point Mulgrew feels we need at least parental leave at a fair/no cost to UFT members so he's starting from there. I believe Mulgrew actually has a sense of urgency on this. We are in the 11th hour. Every day a woman in the UFT is having a baby and having to use her banked (CAR) days, everyday a husband or partner that is a UFT member can only take 3 days and then must go back to work. This is a crime. It's also a crime that moms and dads cant take care of their sick teenager or sick parents because we dont have paid family leave. I would really like to see a sense of urgency from the bloggers like James, Norm, and Arthur and from MORE/NA. You are the only ones that speak for rank and file. We need this yesterday. Every indication I get is that Mulgrew is pressing and pressing hard, but the city is balking. Mulgrew needs to organize and apply pressure, that is where unity is not doing enough. We know they won't gove us any details, they are dead set against transparency. We disagree, but lets accept that a premise for now we cant change. But unity has for vote no, janus, cuomo, organized actions at schools and beyond that has had a positive impact. You have acknowledged such in your past blogs. We need that same energy for parental/family leave. I will offer at ex bd to work with them, all the caucuses, all the rank and file, to take to the streets, a day of action,things we can do at our schools, a press and social media campaign, and so forth.
All the best,
Mike-UFT Executive Board -MORE

Anonymous said...

"We are in the 11th hour?" Call my a cynic but there are way bigger fish to fry than paid paternity leave right now. For the past 5 years we have been facing Danielson hit squads. Combine that with 4 observations per year and the stress level that goes along with this is unbearable. News flash: Not every teacher in NYC wants to have a kid. Tons of teachers already had kids and will not have another one. Thousands of other teachers are child free by choice and will never have kids. Then there are plenty of teachers who are infertile and do not want to adopt a child. In other words, the UFT needs to fix the real problems that exist right now.

Ms. Tsouris said...

When you put age-discriminatory policies in place for a decade or more, are there going to be many senior teachers around? No, just many newbies and youngsters who are 20-30 somethings of child-bearing age. For years, the UFT did its best to be an arm of the DOE. Now, with Janus looming, Mulgrew suddenly discovered he's a labor leader and that he should attempt to behave like one. I'm positive the city has money to cover teachers' leaves. Of course the city is balking, it would rather spend money on building new police academies and so on. The profession is 75% female, and is treated with discriminatory policies by the city and the union itself as such. Act like a labor leader and keep up,the pressure for paid leave that does not involve the CAR

Anonymous said...

Do you need any more proof that the UFT is dead? They can’t get for us what fast workers will have shortly.

Anonymous said...

What is the UFT doing for the ATR pool that is discriminatory, and the harassment and abuses of Field Supervisors not acting in good faith? Nothing?

Anonymous said...

Nothing and it’s always been nothing. Arundel and Sill knew about it and didn’t fight against Field Supervisors observing us. They had an ATR advisory committee for the sole purpose to get us to agree on it. Then they could say ATRs agreed to it. When no one would, it was disbanded and never met again.

Anonymous said...

And, as always, the UFT will make a deal on this in SECRET and then unleash it on the masses.

Anonymous said...

Best answer:
Because DiBLAHsio and Mulgrew are both on the same page.

Both of them answer to their masters, the 1% oligarchy that REALLY control everything. And the oligarchy doesn't like to spend money on labor.

So the phony mayor, who pretends to be an ally from the left and the phonier UFT president, who claims to be representing NYC teachers, firmly believe you are stoooopid, because you voted these assholes the privilege of continuing to fuck you over.

And I guess they are justified in thinking that.

Anonymous said...

Fast food workers already have the benefit 10:09. It's the law in NYS.

Pete Zucker said...

Mike, I got a question. My son is 17 months from graduating high school and turning 18. If, we just get parental leave, how does this affect me and others without children (specifically past their childbearing years) and those who have adult children and/or empty nesters?

Anonymous said...

We’re treated like fast food workers but we’re not given the same same benefits.

James Eterno said...

Parental leave does not affect most of us Bronx Teacher. That is why getting the full Paid Family Leave benefit is so crucial. Almost all of us could have a sick relative who needs one of us.

James Eterno said...

I keep writing this blog to prove the cynics are wrong and that we are not stupid, just too busy to be fully informed.

Anonymous said...

One thing not be considered is how some of us Teachers get left holding the bag. If it weren’t for my past experience, then I would totally support your campaign. But, when a T goes on family leave, admins ask others to teach an extra class. “Ask” being a relative term because when you tell them no, they ask again and threaten you with program changes for the next year and imply adverse ratings. This has happened to me and many others. Teachers with no children are especially targeted because it is thought that our respobsibilities couldn’t possibly match those of the Mommy Daddy crowd. Never mind that the Mommy and Daddy crowd *choose* to have children, while we others don’t always *choose* our obligations (caring for ailing parents and the like)

You guys are highly organized for the interests of a narrow slice of childbearing oriented folks. I don’t think you’ve surveyed members to see if this is something we want to negotiate for, or if we’d prefer negotiating for something that is more equitable. Again, I would like to support you, but, you don’t seem at all realistic about how what you want for yourself is going to effect your coworkers. Be honest, and put something in your proposal that garauntees that your brothers and sisters don’t have to pay in bloodwork for your life choices.

Mike said...

Fair question: two answers -as a union we bargain for advances for our brothers and sisters. Just because you didn't get paid parental leave, doesn't mean the young women and men starting out today. That's like when my private sector friends say it's not fair you have a pension and I don't. The idea of a union is to work together and bargain what's best for all of us. If class size gets reduced to 30 tomorrow, I shouldn't stomp my feet and yell "but I always taught 34" I would be happy we progressed. It's clear, unlike PD and FD or even sanitation, we as uft members lack solidarity. The other answer is family leave would cover "elder care"- that's what james has proposed here, state law already covers for private sector workers and what Mulgrew did ask for. So yes we should all have family leave, but if we get parental leave let's not berate our younger sisters (mostly) and brothers with " I'm done having children why should I care" that's apathy and as educators and union members apathy isn't what we're about
Im not sure this qualifies as a "narrow slice of childbearing oriented folks"- i Guess as a native New Yorker, it's common for me to have female family, friends, and classmates i grew up withgo into teaching elementary then have children. Thats kind of been the norm in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, and Staten Island for years. I dont have stats, but you do realize we're 75% women.
Last but not least, not that im trying to hold emily james up on a pedestal, but she had her two kids, shes done having children, she works in brooklyn and has a long commute home everyday. Yet she launched this entire campaign, with no organized support, has gone to countless union meetings , press outlets, and phone calls over this. She has is not an activist, unionist, member of a caucus, nor a commenter or writer of blogs like us, She gave up time with her kids, husband, grading papers (for a high school ELA teacher thats real valuable time) and making lessons to fight for something she too wont directly benefit from. As far I can tell thats what teaching and unions are about. A lot of us organize and fight for causes that directly benefit us. Its why Im active in the UFT. Maybe we all can take a lesson from Emily, she is not running for president of UFT or executive board or even chapter leader, she is not just griping oh woe me I lost CAR days and didnt get paid retro when every one else (every guy) did, instead she went out and did something about with no aspirations for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

You’re mischaracterizing my objection, Mike. You’re either doing so on purpose, or you don’t understand it. You’re using the same trope that I saw Mulgrew bring up at the DA: some fictitious email from an old grump who complained that he didn’t get the benefit, so why should anyone. That is not at all what I’m saying. It’s what you want to hear, because that’s the argument that you want to deal with. But, it’s an argument that I’ve never heard anyone make. So, knock it off, and listen.

When someone goes on leave, paid or unpaid, *other* *teachers* *take* *their* *programs*and are usually forced into it. Last year, I was pressured to go on extended day in a devils bargain scenario that I described me my earlier post. Mind you, I look after my parents. During that semester, my Mom died and my Dad got very sick and went trough a period of homelessness. I had to take care of them. All while working on extended day. The extended day was really against my will.

What I’m saying to you is, your campaign does not recognize what happens to people who don’t have kids. And, I think it’s because you don’t actually care. It sounds like you’re more interested in a win than in crafting a policy that doesn’t hurt people who aren’t living the lifestyle that you want. It is completely fair for me to say that I would like my union to fight to make sure that I don’t get overworked every time someone goes on leave. I want to support your proposal, and I would if it realistically addressed what happened to me, and happens in every school I know.

This is my union is for all of us. When you make up straw men to respond to people’s voiced reservations about your cause, it makes it appear that you think this union is only about what you want. Please respond I think you’re a good person. But, also, please listen. And, also, please don’t go running to the “this is for women” angle, because some of us guys are caretakers, as I’ve described.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry for the heat in my response. But, that was the worst year of my life, and I feel like your desired policy is going to make it happen again. Fight for a clause that ensure that all leaves must be covered by substitute teachers, and I would vote for it.

ATR 25/55 said...

How oblivious are teachers? Let me clue you in to the biggest obstacle for support for teachers getting family leave - the amount of time teachers already get paid to have off! July, August, a week for Christmas, February break, Easter/Passover break, plus Federal and certain religious holidays. Oh yeah, the public has so much sympathy for us now, I'm sure they'll support us on this.

Bill said...

Ok, well i quit in June, maybe by then you will all realize that it will just keep getting worse.

Anonymous said...

I am 100% sure we’ll get some form of parental leave this year...I just don’t know how much we’ll give up for it. It is hard to envision such a generous system that I could have 100+ days in my CAR and paid leave and earn 10 additional days a year.

While I do plan to find a way to use to my advantage whatever leave type is put into place, and I really enjoy the chaos, I do wonder what the inside of schools will look like with swaths of teachers missing. My school’s staff already had an average absence rate of 15 days in 2016-2017 school year(as my principal points out). We’ve had 3 teachers quite since September too and my principal can’t get subs-I do hear this from my wife’s school and friends schools too-no one wants to teach anymore!

Now I am NOT complaining, I love the chaos and “shit show” in the halls and building. It’s like a school version of the walking, more exciting, like a daily revolution and certainly not a bloodless one. I really do enjoy the excitement, much better than any TV show and since the kids sit quietly in my room and do some form of scratching out ink marks on the paper in my room I am left alone. The administration is currently so busy with coverups, fights, suspensions, teachers being hurt, police, ambulances, violent parents, etc. they aren’t able to abuse us too much. But another 6-12 weeks for many teachers a year will certainly take things to a new level.

I’m excited to see a couple more circles of Hell!

Anonymous said...

I don't have children and I am choosing to never have kids. Can I use the leave policy to adopt another dog? I'm not kidding.

Anonymous said...

To 6:09 One of the reasons why your school can not get subs. This year, it seems that some draconian law has been but in place that says that all subs must be in the building 6 hours and 50 minutes and if they are not, for whatever reason, they must be docked. Now the sub gets a job, sees the time schedule, and assumes that the schedule shown follows the policy. The sub follows their work schedule and punches out at the end of the day. Four weeks later, the sub is docked 30 minutes at 43 cents a minute for not being in compliance. Now, I have been docked 9 minutes from school, 30 minutes from another school and 50 minutes from another school. The sub makes 176.21 a day. Now subs are getting docked four weeks after the fact which means that now the sub must keep every assignment sheet, take screenshots of subcentral job tickets, and take pictures of each timecard at each school. The sub now must assume that every school is not willing to pay a full day's rate for a full program. Additionally, the school may have the teacher working a schedule that is different from six hours and 50 minutes because of PROSE so how is this the sub's fault when no one explains anything to the sub. Subs do not attend teacher meetings so they wind up sitting around waiting to punch out even when the kids are already dismissed. This certainly makes people think twice about subbing. This is how day laborers feel. We trust the boss will do the right thing but we are finding that more often than not the boss will not. I have been subbing a long time and this year is the first time I have seen this and I now certainly do not have time to do all this additional work and argue with each individual school over $12.90, $3.87, and $21.89 respectively. This just creates more bad feeling between subs and schools. This is only one of the hundreds of reasons your school can not find subs. Additionally, the union will not do anything about this because as subs, we pay dues and basically have no one who listens.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Brooklyn, the last thing I would ever want to be accused of or do is create a straw-man argument. I hate when Unity does that to me and all of us in opposition.
I re-read the comments and my response I dont see where youre coming form.
Our pre-ex bd meetings are open to anyone, so feel free to meet us 5pm next monday at 52 Broadway.
Let me just reiterate as bluntly as possible.
1. We need parental leave, it is a crime that in the wealthiest country in the world, that women and men cant take care of their babies because they have to choose between staying home and working. Paid leave is the norm in every other country that is in our wealth ration throughout the world. it is bizarre and insane that it is not law here for everyone.
If we can get this at no cost or minimal cost we need to take it.
2. We need family leave, it is a crime that in the wealthiest country in the world, people can't stay home to take care of sick children, family members, or help a son/daughter on military leave. This is the law for every NYS worker except union members. We need to fight for this and get it.
3. This is a primarily a woman's issue and our union is primarily women. thats not to disparage men who are adapting, fathers, or anyone , it is to state the facts. Thousands of women have to pay (through banked days) to have a baby each year in the DOE. Women who were out having a baby did not get their retro. The union was originally formed because women were fired for being pregnant. We get paid less than the uniformed officers, why -because we've always been viewed as a womens profession and a secondary salary. In this time of #metoo, lets not hide from the facts, after all we're not Trump. Unity, MORE, and the bloggers very rarely touch in this-why. lets say it loudly we get tretated as second class citizens compared to sanitation and other unions, we're 75 percent women-there is a correlation.
4. When the union gains a new benefit, even if it doesnt directly benefit us-we all win. Im not an ATR, i dont have an abusive principal, nor do I administer 3rd grade tests. Using the logic of the people commenting here, I should not fight for any of these issues on ex bd. Thats ridiculous. So if your co-worker can go out and have a baby and get paid, she/he will be happier, their babies will be happier, their students will not get a tired, overworked educator that had to choose between staying home to feed their newborn or their class

So in a nut shell- apathy is destroying our union, when my co-workers win we win
My last comment- want to argue this Ill be at the DA this wednesday and every other monday ex bd 5pm.

Anonymous said...

Let's accept your argument as true Mike. You still have not addressed how people are being coerced into taking 6th classes to cover for leaves. Some of us don't want that extra class. We have enough on our plates. The basic problem of abusive administrators needs to be answered when paid leave expands. The tired overworked teacher is also me taking the extra class so a mother bond with her baby. OK, but I still can't get time off to care for my sick parent. Please respond to that argument and not the I choose not to have kids so I don't care. That is not my view.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I am Anon 6:09, and I want to apologize for getting so heated. I know I’ve met you at a MORE function, and my impression is that you’re a great person. I will try and find a way to send you a DM and tell you my name and apologize personally so I’m not some creep ranting at you anonymously. I feel bad about it. My feelings about the family leave issue and what happened to me last year bothered me. But, you certainly are not responsible for the pressure I felt to take extended day, so, it’s not right for me to be so snarky with you. I sincerely apologize. You are a dedicated person who has put a tremendous amount of good into our schools and our union.

James Eterno said...

Anon 6:09, Email us We will forward to Mike. You are right he is a good man who has done a great job for the rank and file.

ed notes online said...

Anon 6:09 - I understand the pressure issue but doesn't that also apply to people who get sick and use sick days? Let's say you are someone who never gets sick - you don't even need sick days. Why should you pay for those who take sick days? If you had no sick days you could get paid a full 10 days a year instead of getting half the pay when you retire -- I had 142 days and got paid for 71 - and when people were sick or took religious days off we all had to cover.

Anonymous said...

I hear you on the sick days, but, in my experience, they don’t play out the same way. In my school, (and my previous one), they usually give coverages to the people who ask for them in the beginning of the year. But, taking an extra class is way different, and is *not* something people ask for. It entails a 20% increase in one’s daily workload. Even in large schools, when they ask for volunteers to take an extra class they get none. So, they have to go after individual teachers with pressure tactics. In smaller schools, they just tell the whole department they are teaching a sixth class - they don’t ask. Everyone knows if you complain, you will be targeted.

When you get stuck teaching an extra course, *all* of your students suffer because you are overworked. Mulgrew mocked the bean counters at tweed when he said they were afraid of a “march of the onsies” if they did parental leave. But, that seems like a logical fear. That’s what I, as a rank and file teacher am afraid of.

If you guys can find a way to compel the DoE to make hiring leave replacements mandatory instead of what they do now, then I’d march with you in support of your campaign. But, it doesn’t sound like you’re fighting for that. So, I kind of dread what happens if you get what you’re asking for.

Anonymous said...

That is really sick. I’m sorry about that. The UFT is pathetic. There are many organizations that fight hard against wage theft. If you went to them and they slam the city and get the subs some relief, that would really stick it in their eye. Not only would you be calling the fake-“Progressive” de Blasio admin on the carpet, but, you’d be showing how complicit the union is for allowing this to go unchallenged on such a large scale.