Sunday, January 03, 2021


UFT Solidarity is filling the leadership vacuum at the UFT left by the Michael Mulgrew led Unity Caucus. Solidarity has written a petition to close school buildings in NYC that has gathered over 2,800 signatures in a little over a day. They issued a press release demanding the closing of school buildings and switch to all remote education that resulted in significant press coverage today. Elementary and D75 schools are slated to reopen for in-person learning tomorrow.

We start with a piece at Gothamist from earlier:

Some public school teachers are demanding in-person learning shut down again as the COVID-19 positivity level in NYC has risen above 9% in recent days.

A faction of the United Federation of Teachers called the Solidarity Caucus, which sued the city last fall, wants schools to go entirely remote until the virus levels drop again and vaccinations are more widespread.

"We simply need to focus our attention on remote learning at least through the rest of the winter and through part of the spring," said Lydia Howrilka, a social studies teacher at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn who co-founded the caucus in 2014.

Solidarity is also featured on News 12 tonight in the Bronx. This is a must-see video.

In addition, UFT Solidarity has started an email writing campaign to close NYC school buildings for safety reasons.

Good evening all,

If anyone wants to send out emails to put pressure on the politicians to close D75 and elementary schools for safety. Here are the templates, instructions and emails:

As for the official UFT leadership, UFT President Michael Mulgrew sent members an email with a link to the UFT's ventilation video. Nothing else from our president. 

I wonder how Mulgrew would dismiss these next pieces. As elementary and  D75 teachers return to school, we have further evidence that children just might be super-spreaders of COVID-19 which is spreading at disturbing rates in NYC.

This Guardian article would raise red flags all over if we had a real union:

A key factor in the spread of Covid-19 in schools is symptomless cases. Most scientists believe that between 30% and 40% of adults do not display any Covid symptoms on the day of testing, even if they have been infected. For children, however, this figure is higher.

“It is probably more like 50% for those in secondary school while for boys and girls in primary school, around 70% may not be displaying symptoms even though they have picked up the virus,” says Professor Martin Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

That is a large proportion of symptom-free disease-carriers within a population.

Meanwhile, out in Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union is resisting Chicago Public Schools (CPS) sending staff back to some schools as it isn't safe. This is part of a defiant CTU email to members:

Don’t be bullied by CPS email. We have a right to safe working conditions.

Just as expected, CPS is attempting to scare us out of exercising our rights. CPS bosses have told principals to send the stock letter below to every single member who’s sent their principal our letter giving notification that you’re exercising your right to work safely and remotely.

They’re trying to intimidate us in a desperate bid to keep control over all decision-making power about reopening — and they’re willing to violate our contract and the law in their refusal to give educators and parents of color a voice in planning how to safely reopen.

If you get the form letter below from your principal or manager, remember that you are not alone. CTU members across the city are demanding to work under safe and healthful conditions as our contract and the law require.  We have power in numbers, and thousands of educators are prepared to stand with you if CPS tries to violate those rights.

We have the law, the contract, and Department of Education policy on our side in NYC too. If you feel it isn't safe, do not enter a school building.

You can show some courage like a CTU teacher right here in NYC. All you have to do is just follow DOE policy and fail the health screening if you are not feeling well in the morning. I know I wouldn't be feeling too well if I had to report to a school building on Monday. 

Don't expect Michael Mulgrew to bail you out but you have real support from this blog and UFT Solidarity. Know your rights, please. We've been explaining them on COVID-19 since March.  We can be the union we want.  


Anonymous said...

I know a few nontenured teachers that feel like they can't be protected if they were to fail the screening repeatedly. I muat agree with them. They would be ostracized or worse.

James Eterno said...

There is strength in numbers.

Anonymous said...

Told you all before:Mulgrew shtupping in Caribbean with Chicago leader.silence as he is in a different time zone.

Anonymous said...

Syracuse: "Due to the continued increase in positive C-19 cases both in our community at-large & in our school community the Syracuse City School District will be going to full remote inst. for the next two weeks. All students and staff will be remote 1.4-15."

Anonymous said...

Why are we paying you to do the mayor's bidding? Why are you not listening to members who are in the trenches- experiencing incredible disruptions with 24- 2 weeks closures, only to open for a few days and have to close again!? This is insanity!

Anonymous said...

Milldews response to the virus. Lets watch a video. That will somehow comfort us. Enough of this. We need to be home.

TeachNY said...

Everyone is screaming for two weeks, but honestly? What’s the point of only two weeks. Should be all or nothing. I was very disappointed that middle schools and high schools did not go back this week. Poor kids. Poor teachers.

Anonymous said...

Why in the hell does Solidarity have to send out a survey to teachers? Isn't that Mulgrew's job? He is a complete joke.

Anonymous said...

Teach NY,
It seems that there is a disconnect between events and your repeated bleating about the schools being remote. There is something seriously wrong with your reasoning. Poor teachers and kids if they get the virus and transmit it to somebody vulnerable who dies as a result. You sound like Mildew or Debozo.
Not one shred of compassion exists in you. I’m sure you don’t care about those who died. You certainly don’t care about those who will. I wouldn’t want you teaching children.

Anonymous said...

PS 152 in Bronx
2 of our 3 Admins out today over Covid

Is this a joke???

Anonymous said...

More talk, all talk. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing changed. Nothing ever will.

Anonymous said...

Wow, people on here don’t seem happy with Mulgrew! I can assure you he doesn’t care in the least. Mulgrew will soon start his coffee cup rattling for COPE contributions with the retirees in Florida. I don’t fathom he’ll cancel that. (You can have a similar experience if you get off the Bronx River Parkway at the GunHill Road exit.) Always a cringe worthy spectacle in beautiful Boca. But this year I suspect some won’t come out for him. Not because of anything on here, but because of COVID. Those that do will hear how he closed schools, saved teachers lives, fought deBlasio and Cuomo, fought to have the best safety standards in the country to keep teachers safe, and because of it he was the only union president that was able to work to safely keep schools open for teachers and students. A hero to all! If he doesn’t get money that route, he’ll go to his old standby. ‘With the coming recession, you’re pensions may be in jeopardy. Yes, I know we just had a NYS Constitutional Convention, but an emergency one can be called and you’re pensions taken from you!’ After some fainting spells and water breaks in which he runs to assist, he’ll continue, ‘Now folks, I said, ‘Can happen’ not will happen. And you know why it won’t happen? Because I won’t let it!’ - thunderous applause. ‘ But I can’t do it on my own - I need your help! For a small amount from each of you, WE can protect your hard earned pensions!’ At the end of the meeting someone will stand up and say ‘Thank G-d for Michael Mulgrew!’ to ear ringing applause. Same schtick every year. I plan on being on my balcony getting some sun. You working teachers better start fighting for yourselves or you’ll never make retirement. This is the time to do it.

Anonymous said...

Mayor said he is confident about schools. Feel better? Dues well spent.

Anonymous said...

1025, they wont do anything, proven over and over.

TJL said...

8:24, this is week 43 of "two weeks to slow the spread". Enough is enough.

In Florida there are no government restrictions, not just schools but even masks, and they're not only enjoying lower unemployment and deprivation but their virus hospitalization and death rates are lower too.

Also you mention the prospect of bringing the virus home to someone who's vulnerable. Now that is a very real thing - as much as COVID is about as likely to kill any of us of working age as HIV or a vehicle accident, it's different if you have an elderly parent or in-law to take care of. You can apply on SOLAS for remote if that's your situation. The City and Union came to their senses on that one after we went back in October. And of course if a student lives in that kind of household with a grandparent they can do remote.

I feel bad for all of you who are still in NY and have kids in public school who can't go to school. Hopefully you can handle the tuition at a Catholic school or can move "where the grass is greener". I appreciate that my district and the teachers are committed and are there 5 days a week.

I can't understand why someone would hold it against someone like TeachNY who wants to actually earn his/her money. Someone who takes pride in his/her work. The same goes for restaurateurs, barbers, etc. Who are you to tell them they can't make a living or to tell a customer not to eat a meal or get a haircut? If that makes you uncomfortable that's fine, no one should belittle you for that, but the simple answer to that is don't go. Look at the increasing suicides and overdoses going on - so many people are having trouble with leading what seems like an aimless, purposeless life. Why do people feel the need to take away a person's livelihood and kid's education because of their fear?

Lastly I don't want to "go low" like you did but I'm a sinner, I can't help thinking people like you are the selfish ones, who just want to get away with drawing a paycheck like a welfare queen, sitting at home doing no work. I should not be so quick to judge - but also hope even when exercising what you may not see as selfish but just rational self-interest, that you recognize that even the most cynical and selfish like "golf guy" don't win when droves of people move elsewhere and don't come back. Registers all over the City are down big league. Principals are being "billed" to return budget money that was based on a larger headcount. Less kids on the register means less teachers. Less business creating wealth means less jobs, which drive more people with kids away, and of course our salaries and benefits are paid with the taxes generated by business. Even our pensions are at risk - look at what happened to teachers when Detroit went bankrupt.

TeachNY said...

I find it funny that just because I want to teach in-person that I’m getting shredded for being a horrible teacher. Yet, when people on here brag about sitting in pajamas all day and not teaching “live” on the computer nobody says anything. Or about how they LOVE “teaching” from home. And I still guarantee that people have gone to a store, visited family, or have gone out to eat while teaching from home and wanting to quarantine from work. The only people who have the right to be upset about going in to teach are people who have literally quarantined since March. No stores, food deliveries only, no going outside for walks, and def seeing no one. Also keeping their own children home from schools. If you’ve done anything you’re a hypocrite.

James Eterno said...

1.37 million COVID cases and around 22,000 deaths in Florida is nothing to brag about. Being ahead of NY is being ahead of the worst place around. It means next to nothing.

My wife is teaching from home and working hard and my kids are learning from home. I am working from home too in my part time job. We aren't living it up.

Hard lockdowns or whatever you want to call them work to stop the spread of COVID and keep people as safe as possible. Conservative and left leaning governments in Australia and New Zealand have shown this as have other governments including some we might not like.

Anonymous said...

uft? They dont care.

says schools can stay open in areas above 9% positivity if school testing shows school positivity is below community average.

Anonymous said...

James makes a lot of excuses during a hopeless situation.

James Eterno said...

It is not hopeless.

Anonymous said...

@11:27 the irony is from march-july i did not leave my apartment EVER.
groceries were delivered-wiped down by the door etc.
I still dont eat out.
Yet i want to, and do work in -person
and yes i take the subway(which tbh is my most dreaded part of the day)
go figure?

Anonymous said...

Looks hopeless.

7 day percentage positive for COVID where my school is located is 15.64%

They want us to start teaching 5 days a week, during a spike in the pandemic. De Blasio conveniently forgets to report numbers in our area.

UFT Where are you? We should be remote.

James Eterno said...

The whole point is for us to step up and lead as Solidarity is doing and not wait for Mulgrew.

Anonymous said...

Where is the UFT now that Cuomo just said he doesn't care how high community spread gets, schools stay opened unless the in-person testing percentage is higher than the community percentage?

Anonymous said...

So pay mulgrew and then let him abandon us? Good plan. Begs the question, why pay?

Anonymous said...

I look forward to UFT Unity hacks calling me a scab and explaining to me how wise the governor's policy is.

Anonymous said...

Lots of hope...

Teachers: Close schools, we don’t feel safe.

Over 70% of Families: We won’t be going to school in-person, we don’t feel safe.

Scientists: When community spread is high, schools contribute significantly to COVID spread.

Cuomo/DeBlasio/UFT: We’re keeping schools open.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew has lost his mind, his morals and his credibility.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Mulgrew,
Where did you go???? Should the teachers of NYC put out an Amber Alert for you?? I know elementary school teachers are definitely concerned about your disappearance!!
I am writing to you for a second time with even more frustration and disgust.
I won't even talk about the numbers rising.
I wanted to inform you, around 10pm last night my colleague saw our school closed on DOE website due to covid cases. Nobody knew. Uft rep was texted. He didn't know. He called administrators, they supposedly didn't know. At almost midnight when I got an email from my principal, I couldn't believe the inadequacy and stupidity of the DOE's ineffective system.
Once again the DOE is a shit show. Shame on them for not informing staff and parents properly. For hundreds of schools to be closed and the mayor continues to say day after day schools are safe. The only city that goes by f-ing zipcode in a pandemic that spreads. The only city that has ignored and handled every decision with stupidity and recklessness. I won't be surprised if more parents opt their kids out this week.
Two of my sweetest and most hardworking students walked to school this morning and the door was locked because families weren't notified. Our chancellor, mayor and the DOE is embarrassing and disgraceful.
Why are you not helping us?

Anonymous said...

Not handing over lesson plans right away. I received my letter to file right I was walking out the door for vacation. I didn't want to think about over break so that's why I am sharing now. For those that have been following along. It was a two page letter but the first part was an inaccurate transcript of our conversation from the zoom meeting.

James Eterno said...

Get details.

Anonymous said...

TJL:It is unfair and accusatory to suggest that wanting to protect one's life is selfish.many of us, including myself used to stay at work till 7pm, hard at work.being dedicated doesnt mean risking is open season on us.Az is at 25% and gov not budging on schools.they are overwhelmed.
WE DIDNT ASK FOR THIS VIRUS.NOBODY DID.I JUST CANT STAND THE SELFISH ASSHOLES WHO REFUSE TO FOLLOW THE RULES.this is why the numbers are high.we bent the curve, we started to get back to normal, which felt great.then people relaxed rules...also, many people refused to follow rules and nothing was enforced.that is what happens when you defund the police. Btw.even so, the rules were a joke.people who refuse to follow should have to stay home. Nothing will change until people care enough to follow rules. But going to work now will not save anyone's souls. Our leaders saw this coming and refused to improve remote learning like other areas did.blame the arrogant leaders who work from home and dance while we watch it on tv.don't attack people who gave their all for all these are as cruel as our leaders!All we want is safe return asap.that is not selfish!

Anonymous said...

@1:41, I hear Mulgrew is in the West Indies (seriously). Don’t know which island. He’ll then head to Florida for COPE retiree meetings. I’m not sure if he’ll show his shadow before Ground Hog’s Day. You are on your own, same as always.

Anonymous said...

Florida is #3 and New York is #4.
New York doesn't really have any strict measures in place.
They say we need to wear masks. They say restaurants should close earlier, blah blah blah.
I see many people that don't, walking into grocery stores, restaurants, all maskless. It isn't being enforced.
I see restaurants open til past the curfew.
In actuality, the measures against COVID-19 aren't being taken as serious as they should. And I'm sure if more people did follow the measures, we would enjoy lower cases. But I see a lot of people in NYC not following the measures.
Place of worships with people without masks and really overcrowded.
Weddings and baby showers at restaurants also occurring in NYC.

Florida is seeing a surge in cases as well so the no mask approach and no restriction approach isn't working.

California has strict measures, but I'm sure it is like NYC where there is a large amount of people disregarding them.

Keep in mind that Florida, New York, Texas, and California are states with large populations and many congested cities. We can't take the same approach as Alaska or Ohio or any other states with a sparse population. We can't compare to those states and the methods we take to approach COVID can't be the same either.

At the end of the day, if we want to bring COVID down, it is on us. Government put place the measures, it is on us people to follow them. If we don't, we'll keep seeing surges, as simple as that.

But know that there are young people dying from this, there are teens dying from this, there are kids dying from this. Sure, likelihood of high risk is for older populations. But plenty of cases of younger populations dying of COVID too.

About a quarter of the world's cases are in the USA. Sad thing when the supposed best country in the world with the best resources leads the world in COVID cases. Maybe we're not the best after all which is sad because I'd like to think that we are.

COVID isn't going to knock on your door and say "Hey buddy, I'll spare you because you're young" or "I'll kill you because you're old." It does what it does and only after the fact do we know how bad it affected someone.

Stay safe everyone. And take care of your health. Times are tough now, but if you get sick, hurt, dead - it is going to be so much tougher for your loved ones. But if you make it through healthy and in one piece, the future will be bright because you and your loved ones make it through this health crisis.

Keep hope, do your best, love, respect, and be kind to everyone. We can get through this so much better if we keep a positive attitude and take precautions to be safe.

Anonymous said...

11:25am Seems you have time on your hands during the workday to blog post. How so?

Anonymous said...

Well, feel safe? And pay dues!!! Think Mulgrew will act now?

BREAKING: New York has confirmed the first case of the Covid-19 variant,

A man in his 60s in Saratoga County who had not traveled.

The case was confirmed by Wadsworth Lab in Albany.

Anonymous said...

At this point, it's no longer hyperbole to call you,
Cuomo and uft murderers. There will be soon much needless suffering and death because you want to show how tough you are in keeping schools open during the biggest crisis we've ever seen in our lifetimes.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Tough guy woke up.

I spoke with
President Michael Mulgrew this afternoon who called on
to close schools if the city's positivity hits 9% (as the state measures it).

"We believe the schools in NYC absolutely should be closed when it hits the 9% number according to the state number."
Jillian Jorgensen
This is all the more complicated because we've already hit 9% based on the city's data, but we haven't based on the state data.
"The fact that there's two sets of numbers out there is what drives everybody nuts," Mulgrew said. "It gives nobody any confidence whatsoever."

Anonymous said...

Tweets from Jillian Jorgensen NY1:

I spoke with @UFT President Michael Mulgrew this afternoon who called on @NYCMayor to close schools if the city's positivity hits 9% (as the state measures it). "We believe the schools in NYC absolutely should be closed when it hits the 9% number according to the state number."

This is all the more complicated because we've already hit 9% based on the city's data, but we haven't based on the state data. "The fact that there's two sets of numbers out there is what drives everybody nuts," Mulgrew said. "It gives nobody any confidence whatsoever."

ANYWAY nothing I heard from @NYCMayor this a.m. seemed to indicate any desire to close schools even as the positivity rate is on the rise. I asked Mulgrew what he'd be doing to get the mayor to close if we hit 9% by state's count, he says he'll be pushing very hard. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

has abandoned teachers.

It's time to abandon
Quote Tweet
Sarah Allen
· 19m
@MOREcaucusUFT @UFT @Irishroots115 @teachbk @perdidostschool @safeschoolsny @NYCMayor With no more closing thresholds (not including the bullshit cuomo one) and no union to help, NYC teachers have to have each other’s backs more than ever.

Anonymous said...

1125 TJL has time on his hands during work?
We all do
The DOE is a fraud.

James Eterno said...

All UFTers do not have time on their hands at work. Just not a valid statement.

Anonymous said...

Really? what % of teachers teach live everyday? 5%? 10%?

How many grade honestly? it is close to 0.

James Eterno said...

All the teachers who are on the computers in this house for my wife and two kids are live. School system is huge. Many schools grade fairly honestly. Too many do not but general statements about NYC are hard to back up.

Anonymous said...

Muldoody got on a plane to escape NY, probably using our dues money.i think he abandoned us because he was promised a plum govt job in exchange for his abandoning us.yes, we need to unite, not fight.if people dont follow rules, we will be in this year after year.i wish Solidarity can step in since Muldoody is MIA.if we did not show up for work. We would lose pay and be disciplined.why not him??he seems more bold than all the politicians and evil governments.

Anonymous said...

I don't have time in my hands. Teach remotely, have 1 coverage for my admin daily (a student lunch) and a second period a day where I do rotating coverages. Then I teach my live 3 lessons and post asynchronous assignments.... Live teachers are getting abused while some of you are sitting @. Division, just what the boss man wants.

Anonymous said...

9:49: I agree with you. I'm a ATR with only one class, but I basically do nothing all day. It's you teachers that work so hard that should be complaining about the useless ATR pool. We all should have full assignments, but the doe doesn't want that. Until then all this inequity is going to exist. Don't forget, most ATRs are on the high end of the pay scale too.