I'm on the call on time today so will attempt to give a full report.
President Michael Mulgrew began the meeting with his President's Report:
President welcomes Delegates to June DA. Can't believe we made it to the last DA of the COVID school year. Yesterday, NYS announced we reached herd immunity. Pandemic is in a much better place than it was. Thanks the Delegates. Testament to all of the hard work. We have finally reached the 70% vaccinated number. Review of this year. Training Building Response Team folks who then went in. When we had to make a change, you were there to handle it. BRTs out front. We were anxious, but okay. Then, it became, test and trace and positivity rate. The positivity rate went up. State and city had two numbers. Schools closed and then opened up again. Thousands of operational complaints which led to so many UFT members getting compensated. Finally, we watched positivity rate come down and come down more. Our doctors told us we should look at opening schools again. Remote learning messed up and then what was done with the craziness of everything. We did everything in our power to keep our school system open. We were attacked from both sides: parents wanted it completely open and parents who wanted schools completely closed. At times, there was nothing we could do. Parents passionate. Had our first full in-person event since the pandemic, 5K run and walk. Zooms so we could teach kids or going back and forth to school each day with the PPE's. We need to celebrate what we have done. Hopefully, virus will be done by the end of the summer. Have to wait for what CDC says. We have reached herd immunity. Thanks all for what union leaders have done.
It's all about the infrastructure bill. Trying to be bipartisan but some Democrats willing to do it on their own. Infrastructure bill helps our economy. Economists saying economy will crash if stimulus money doesn't work. For us, ventilation has to be retrofitted or we have to build new green schools. Martin Luther King campus needed work done to open. We saw that existing ventilation can be upgraded to MIRV 13 system. We can take out ultra-violet lighting to put in wellness lighting. They changed lighting fixtures and flooring. We will push really hard with the federal government to make school building upgrades part of the infrastructure bill. NYC has a model building (Katherine Grim School) that produces more energy than it uses. Working with construction unions on infrastructure.
Albany was going to do the "big ugly" where Assembly, Senate and Governor put what they want into several bills. It didn't happen. Instead, individual bills passed. Automatic enrollment of paras in pension system passed both houses and goes now to the governor. City wanted to drop 7% assumption rate. City gets money back if they get over 7% return but makes it up if they get less than 7%. Chickens have come home to roost on special ed.
APPR. School districts do not have to do APPR but can do it. City plugging in MOSLs. People were not working under conditions they were hired under. Breathe deep and relax. If the city tries to use it, we will deal with it. SED guidance is out.
We believe Assembly is done for this session. We think the Senate will come back but bills won't deal with us.
New York City
Ticker tape parade for essential workers including us. Happy it is being done and we are part of it. No details yet. We will have float, bands and have a great time.
City budget not even close to being done but will get moving after primary day.
We are involved in over 50 races in NYC primaries. Candidates thanking us. Nobody knows what to make of ranked-choice voting. We will learn when we get results. We'll make sure we have a structure in place with our friends who get elected to move forward. News not good for our candidate in the mayor's race. All candidates have a plan to move money from bureaucracy to the schools. We will deal with any issues with whoever is elected.
DOE projecting 6,000 new hires. The city rejected Early Retirement Incentive because they wanted to hire people and not get rid of any. Focus on class size. We have a big challenge in September. Many schools are overcrowded. Many others are not. If children need more time one-on-one with teachers, the only way to do it is to lower class sizes. Parents are with us on this and dismantling the bureaucracy. CFE is fully funded. We are going to create the leverage to lower class sizes. Teacher's Choice should be back. Last year, mayor had a temper tantrum because we fought and won to close the schools and he didn't like it. Dial a teacher and other programs should be in city budget too.
Summer school has a large uptick in numbers of how many will be enrolled. Safety stuff is still in place. If you applied, you should get a job. Not sure about Big Apple Games. SBO season is open. We are going to try to extend it. 30-minute block at the beginning of the day is a big one. Four days of regular time and the kids leaving early one day is also popular for meeting. Teachers gravitating toward meeting. Contract runs out in November and we need to talk about this. Not a lot of 6 hour and 50-minute straight instruction SBOs. Programming follows. We want it done now. Get the initial rough programming together before you leave in June. It might change but we want less worry over the summer.
DOE is under a corrective action plan from the state because the federal government ordered this. The amount of time we spend over special education compliance is insane. This goes back to Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg who gave schools a pile of money and told principals to spend it as they like. Same issue every year. We confirm violations. Principals say there's no violation. We show documentation and DOE finally admits violation and principals say they have no money to supply the services for the kids. IEPs changed. DOE says it's not our fault that the principal spent the money. We fight back that this is improper. In Albany, there are a bunch of bills to give independent powers to do certain things. US Department of Justice is involved. NYC worse under corrective action plan. UFT fears that the DOE will blame principals. Principals will say it isn't their fault. Hopefully, CSA will be with us. Bloomberg and Klein didn't care about lawsuits. Big deal coming on special ed. Your advocacy from the schools got us to the point where this will finally be addressed. Children need proper services and proper placements.
Healthcare report: Retiree health plan being done through the MLC. Medicare Advantage Group plan proposed. Mediator involved has not made a decision on what the better plan is. Still up to the MLC to decide. We have a very large group. We have a retiree healthcare committee. All of our healthcare negotiations go through the MLC (Municipal Labor Committee). If ever the UFT was forced to say we could not go through the MLC on healthcare, we would be out on our own and that would probably cost our members a lot of money immediately. We get a better deal by going through the MLC. We use savings back in the healthcare stabilization fund. We did two rounds of bargaining with changes. Significant increase in senior-care program. Costs accelerating greatly. We need intervention from the federal government. If we didn't go through the MLC, we wouldn't get the rates we have. We abide by what the MLC votes. There would be a significant cost increase if the UFT went at it alone on healthcare.
The temporary agreement is sunsetting on June 30. There is a side agreement for the summer. Regular Contract is open July 1 with full arbitration. The first arbitration Grievance Department will file is for appropriate compensation for working last year's spring break. We filed for impact bargaining on people being forced to set up digital classrooms. Sunsetting temporary resolution on how we run Delegate Assemblies. Many people worked on this. We are trying to take what worked with this and try to improve it. We tinker, we move to try to make it better. It's just like tinkering with lessons. What the group came up with will be the first resolution we do. It will set up the first DA in October. We are at a place where we can do in-person and remote. People have been showing up in record numbers for these remote DAs. We want people to have a remote option but we need the camaraderie of people being in-person. Remote has to be secure. We have many enemies. There are people who can't come in because of far-off travel, illness or other things. There has to be a secure system. We think we have that worked out. Working on second-floor wi-fi upgrade. We will follow the traditional rules of DA for people in-person. People can listen, ask questions, and speak in debates remotely. Middle of November our Contract expires (it expires in September 2022). We need a negotiating committee. Every chapter has to have representation. We will go through training and we will discuss things and make demands for every chapter (title). We need a resolution. Staff folks will work with each chapter. Love the way the last contract worked out as we got many things done for different chapters (titles). We need a digital committee.
We wish we didn't lose so many members in the pandemic but we did. We need to take next year to celebrate our work, those who support us and our loved ones.
Staff Director's Report
Clean and green coalition. Go to UFT.org to sign petition to get this done. Panel discussion on Juneteenth. Vote in primary on June 22 or before. Have a great summer.
Question: Google classroom for next year?
Mulgrew Answer: That is why we filed for impact bargaining. DOE says they have the right to do it. We had an agreement on remote learning. We have an agreement on an asynchronous day on election day. We are hoping to get compensation for this.
Question: Parent-teacher conferences, how many conferences if you have 6 hour-50 minute SBO?
Answer from Debbie Poulos: If you go to 6-50, it is only two conferences. Stay default, it is still four. Mulgrew adds all are remote.
Question: Untenured teachers who were excessed and now have been extended, what can be done?
Answer: We will talk to this chancellor about it. We will hopefully get to a common-sense approach on this. We could try to work with the next mayor. We can rectify some but not all. Superintendents grant tenure.
Question: Will the ratings be used?
Answer: If ratings were done before we reached an agreement, no. If after we reached an agreement, yes. If principals tried to use observations from before we reached an agreement, we said no.
Question: When will we have SBO votes?
Answer: Chapter Leader can do this now through Election Buddy now. Debbie Poulos can assist you. D75 should be able to do certain SBOs.
Question: What will instruction look like next year?
Answer: Mayor telling DOE it's business as usual. Majority coming back for the first time in a long time. It won't be business as usual. We have to analyze where children are at and then differentiating instruction. We will push DOE to put out plans as opposed to letting schools figure it out on their own individually. This is why we are advocating for the dismantling of the DOE. It won't be business as usual and we know that.
Question: Early Retirement Incentive, what happened?
Answer: ERI had to be done by May 31. City wants to increase, not decrease, headcount. They think they will need more people for next year. No ERI.
Question: Thanks Mulgrew, grievance process open July1, but is it fully open? Will we be waiting until September?
Answer: Grievance Department will be putting out guidance on this. Summer school placements and reorganizations will be done through operational issues. David Campbell will have more and we will get it out on Chapter Leader Update. Traditional grievances probably in September.
Question: Gatekeepers for retiree medical procedures?
Answer: Advantage care in individual and groups. You are talking about individual programs. Need gatekeepers for individual programs. Group programs not like that. All the things the questioner is talking about don't exist. Group of over 200,000 people can manage what they can do. People are using this as an internal political issue. We are using our buying power to have the second or third largest group in the country which will work with a provider but we will be part of the managing of this. I hope this clarifies more. Waiting to see what the mediator decides. There is a long way to go in this process. We are trying to keep our Senior Care program to stay free.
Question: Thanks Mulgrew, questions on Chapter 683 Chapter 683,
Those who choose not to work and have retention rights would not lose retention rights if they didn't work this summer. If they were not in person on the first day, would there be a problem working the rest of the program?
Another person accepted the program, but something came up, what happens to their retention rights?
Answer: Both of those people need to contact Michael Sill tomorrow and we will deal with it. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: Thanks Mulgrew, when will we know if we are getting additional guidance counselors and lower class sizes in the fall?
Answer: Pay attention to city budget. We need social workers and guidance counselors. There is a proposal in front of the City Council. We have another proposal on class sizes. We might get some real satisfaction on this but this will be a real fight. Courts have ruled against us but we only got lower class sizes by taking less of a raise in the past.
Question: Please don't apologize for speaking for a long time. Thank you, how can we get ready because of all of those needs for the fall? We don't even know about social distancing.
Answer: We will try to meet with DOE throughout the summer. DOE wants to test for learning loss but need a baseline. Not a lot of faith. We will meet with first deputy mayor. We want materials tools and a program. We have to be flexible for situations nobody thought of. Get the school system responsive to the needs of the school. We don't know about the social distancing yet. Some summer schools are really overcrowded. Trying to get answers.
Question: Hybrid DA by phone or Zoom?
Answer: Telephone right now.
Question: Green roofs as well as solar panels?
Answer: Green roofs are on the agenda. My generation has screwed the environment. The kids are going to fix it.
First resolution to move up another one is moot because there is nothing to move up.
Motion 2: Peter Lamphere a little upset. He appreciates Mulgrew making sure things are done in the order that they are sent in by email. Withdrawing resolution number 2 because something on hybrid DAs is on the agenda.
Motion 3: Move resolution condemning hate crimes against Asians to the top of the agenda. This is for this month so requires a 2/3 vote.
79% Vote Yes to move it up and 21% vote No
(Daniel Alicea cut off before the next motion that he was supposed to speak on.)
Motion 4: Resolution for this month from Clara Barton CL: Retirees Medicare Advantage is for-profit companies. Over time benefits erode. For example, many doctors don't take GHI any longer. Want transparency in the process.
Mulgrew: Last resolved might be a problem with the MLC. UFT does not have the right to stop the process with MLC. We have no right to stop it. The motion is therefore out of order. This last resolved would bind us where it is not possible. Process is basically stalled at this point. We will do side-by-side comparisons. We are working with for profit groups for in-service members.
CL says for profit healthcare is a problem.
Mulgrew: It might not be a traditional Medicare Advantage provider.
The last resolved clause Mulgrew objected to:
RESOLVED, that the UFT leadership requests that a moratorium be placed on the final decision regarding this proposed change to Medicare Part B until such time that the membership is informed of all the details involved with this change, a full discussion has occurred and the membership has been able to give input into the decision.
(Daniel Alicea informs us he was on the call at all times and was dropped by the screener. He is quite livid right now for not being able to present this resolution as it was stated by the screener that he was off the call.)
Special Orders of Business
Motion 1 on stopping hate crimes against Asian Americans.
93% vote Yes and 7% NO on ending debate. ?The motion is not voted on but I gather the motion to end debate will be it.)
Leroy Barr asks for motion to extend to do the resolution on how to run the DA for next school year.
85% vote YES and 15% vote NO.
Leroy Barr presents resolution on hybrid DA. We are working on glitches and we have fixed them. The process is 100 times better than when we started. Doubled Delegate participation during the pandemic. For 60 years, people had to be live to participate. Remote people will have ability to vote. Many worked on this hybrid model for next year.
D2 person supports hybrid DA.
Another CL speaks strongly in favor of the resolution because she likes having the choice to get important information and can vote. Hard to get from Staten Island to DA.
Speaker against says standing together in person has been lost. We have to stand together in solidarity.
CL says hybrid is a good way to start as we move out of pandemic. People who want to speak can show up in person.
Mulgrew calls the question himself and the vote takes place:
While awaiting results, Mulgrew tells all to relax over the summer.
92% YES 8% NO
Mulgrew says to enjoy summer and thank you for helping Mulgrew get through pandemic.