I am on early enough to listen to the UFT musak. President Mulgrew breaks in and asks how we are doing with the call in. Rasheed notes that Michael Mulgrew is coming to the podium. Mulgrew notes that it is very weird.
He thanks everyone on the call and those who are there. He asks for brand new chapter leaders. Says free bottle of Tylenol is in the mail. He will give a report and then talk things through.
What happened last Monday and Tuesday. Thanks chapter leaders and members for the opening. You represented and did your things with balloons, red carpets and bands. Last May and June we thought we would be in a whole different place. We are not. Lack of leadership from City Hall. For those around during Michael Bloomberg, we kept our school system safe from someone trying to privatize system. Throughout the pandemic it was us and the parents who got schools closed. We made sure remote got going. Folks in the schools with the children is what it is about. Not press conferences. We will get through all of this. Thanks new chapter leaders for doing this. Who has been followed into the bathroom already? Four hands went up. This shows there is a respect for the position. Best part of being a chapter leader is what you do for the individual members. Mulgrew fought with principals and got along with them. Helping individual members was the best part of the job. Need to be a little crazy for this.
Approximately 6,000 new teachers, most in years. Files sent over by the DOE to the UFT were a little corrupted. 90% of chapter leaders live have new teachers. Go meet them and sign them up for everything so we can help them get through the first year.
In court today over vaccine mandate. We went to impact bargaining on mandate. (I was cut off at this point so we will post more if we get back on.)
(Back on the call.)
Judge has listed Temporary Restraining Order. Mandate goes into effect on Monday. 90% of UFT members vaccinated. Bloomberg tried to divide us. Mayor called for weekly testing. We did that last year and it is the right thing to do. We understand that children 12 and over who are vaccinated don't have to quarantine unless they show symptoms. They should test. Doctors said this is okay. But for those under 12, we have to be contact tracers to see if they were in close contact. Mayor working on his political agenda, not the children. This is wrong what they are doing. We and the CSA President asking for a plan. What is the plan if 4-5,000 are put on involuntary leave. New policy goes into effect on Tuesday. No plan on who is within 3 feet of someone. Worried about a child from our school system ending up in the hospital. Mayor just pulled the rug out by ending quarantine if there is someone with a positive case in a classroom who are under 12. Grievance department called on overcrowding. A small handful said they couldn't do 3-feet. Oversize classes, we expected zero. First report today. We got 1,234 oversize classes from 234 schools. Mayor has no clue as to what is going on inside the school system. We have a lot of kids in the biggest school system in the United States. We are not a rural upstate system. We have to work in reality. Someone is making decisions about our school system who is in la-la land.
Mulgrew introduces Rasheed from town halls.
Each CL represent a school,
- Are students able to maintain 3-feet of distance throughout the day?
He polls room and Rasheed polls remote. Rasheed says 93% vote now. Live there are two schools who can maintain 3 feet.
- Are your students following mask protocol properly all day? Mulgrew asks live and Rasheed asks online. Three say yes in hall. 87% no and 13% yes.
- When the children are eating, are they always 3-feet apart? Mulgrew asks for those live to answer and gets 9 yes votes. Rasheed does not give online totals
- Do you believe the mayor has any clue what is happening inside of our schools? The room has zero yes answers. Rasheed says 98% no and 2% yes.
- Do you believe the mayor and the Department of Ed have a plan to keep our children safe? 1 says yes and the vote online is 97% no and 3% yes.
Challenge to keep schools and school communities safe. New mayor will be coming in in the middle of the school year. We have to make new mayor understnd what needs to be changed. This safety stuff has been thrust upon us at this point in time. We saved tens of thousands of lives in 2020 by closing schools. We got things open last year. We have a new strain. Adults have access to a vaccine. But our youngest are vulnerable. New chapter leaders try to work with administration but at some point it changes. Mayor on his tv shows will say things are fine. They will try to push it off if a child gets sick.
We need to make sure the people of the city really knows what's going on. Mayor making every little decision based on his next press conference. We need to be smart about how we do this. Do we want to close our classrooms? No, but we are people who know you have to listen to doctors, not doctors on the city's payroll. We are going to organize around this.
Next Tuesday will be a horrible week. Positive case policy changes. Most have not been tested since last year. Large number testing positive. We needed to wait two or three weeks. Instead, we started with disruption. We don't know how many teachers will be placed on involuntary leave. There will be a lot of communication with chapter leaders. Can't do the job by yourselves. Mayor's policy says children have to be 3 feet apart at all times with a properly fitted mask. This is a ridiculous policy because we got too many positive cases in the first week. Kids depending on us.
Questions: Is it true that the situation room is closed on weekends? They close on Saturday and at 4:00pm on Friday.
Mulgrew aswer: Did you send that question to the mayor. Yes. They need to extend the hours of the situation room. We have to know who was within 3 feet of that kid. Did he have a mask on that was fitted properly?
Question: 34 kids in ICT classrooms, ventilation not great. What can we do to get the smaller class sizes that kids deserve for their safety?
Answer: Class sizes have to be lowered if they are over the contractual limit. Then, can class be spread out more. DOE has to do what can be done to keep to 3-feet guideline. We can do CO2 monitoring when people are in the classroom. We will send people in. If in an elementary school that can't do 3 feet, policy doesn't apply to you. UFT safety team has had no time off since March 2020.
Question: If the kid is quarantined, how do we do asynchronous instruction and teach classes?
Answer: Two hours of per session for office hours that we negotiated. DR will go over the agreement. Principals need to know this will go into effect on Tuesday.
Question: Non vaccinated member in her third trimester who is not vaccinated. Principal told her she would be terminated.
Answer: Principal is wrong. Call our family leave folks tomorrow. She can use CAR days. Northwell health person on our town hall next week. In terms of pregnancy or lactation, vaccination is important to protect hild and fetus. If a member's doctordisagreed, he agreed to talk to them. It is in the arbitration that they can take an early leave if in the final trimester.
Question: If someone takes the leave if they are unvaccinated, they get healthcare but are not supposed to work.
Mulgrew answer: Aribtrator decided that in return for one year of healthcare, you cannot work. Why in UFT do you have to get vaccinated but in other unions it is to be vaccinated or be tested once a week?
Answer: Five unions that work in the schools are effected. Department of Health only issued the order for the workers who work in the schools. Why is the mayor naming the union that has the highest vaccination rate? This has been challenged and other unions were in court today. Private day care center workers also added. It's not just us. We rightfully went into impact of bargaining. Our arbitration was used in court so city changed its order. We went to arbitration and court. From the beginning, we said this was probably something the city can do but they had to do it legally. We challnged it, we won and now we move forward.
Question: Students not wearing their mask properly?
Answer: It is a safety issue. First time they have to be brought into a room and told by an administrator to put the mask on properly or go home. Parent is contacted and if the student does it again, they are suspended. Do you want me to send the guidance on children not wearing the mask? Answer is yes so that is going to be sent out.
Question: All teachers will receive formal and informal observation. Is that correct?
Answer: Somebody at the DOE sent out something that said that and other people at the DOE knew nothing about it. Our academic people will meet with them on it. We are having those questions and will get that out quickly.
Question: School in NY Post (Forest Hills HS) about being overcrowded, what can be done. We are doing 11 periods on two sessions.
Answer: Original plan was to do 14 periods. There are too many overcrowded schools. School facilities people tried to move to get space at Queens College. It didn't work out. Clearly, something has to change.
Question: Teachers getting tested, are teachers on the list to be tested? K and prek students never get tested?
Answer: Spent August in the South doing work for AFT. Schools opening and closing in three days. Pediatric ICU's filled. We don't want to get there here. uick swab test should be for pre k and 3k. Adults can be tested. City needs to hire more testing teams. We worry about a child getting very sick. We've lost enough members and loved ones. Mayor is forcing us to take unnecessary risks.
Question: Deadline passed for applying for vaccine exemptions, SOLAS is going down?
Answer: Deadine extended a day. If you haven't logged in by Monday at 5:00 pm, you are being placed on involuntary leave.
Question: If Solas is down, what to do?
Answer: Document if there is no answer from DOE or what is said or if system is down. Contact Mike Sill. Mike Sill says anecdotally people were able to apply today.
Question: Student in Kindergarten has to quarantine because grandparent is positive. What are we going to do about partial classroom closure? When will we have remote?
Answer: We negotiated a partial classroom for 12 and up and those kids do better with technology. This is a big problem. We have no remote but we have digital face platform instruction. We can't mandate tessting because we don't have a remote option. We needed to have criteria around remote. Mayor has boxed DOE in. Mayor said to DOE to not write in remote in any agreement. Should we negotiate differently for elementary schools now that policy has changed. Elemntary school kids don't leave you alone. Kids can be home for ten days. You will be teaching in class and at home those kids will get one asynchronous hour and one hour of office hours. That's what the mayor just did.
Question: Administrators saying 3-feet where possible?
Answer: Schools had to say they couldn't do the 3-feet. Ask principal if they went on the list that said they couldn't do 3-feet.
Question 2: What if someone comes in who is placed on unpaid leave?
Answer: We did not agree to it or negotiate it. We are the only union way over 90% vaccinated. Health experts say 70-75% vaccinated gets us out of this. This is a Department of Health order. It is up to the DOH and DOE to implement their order. City hall has no plan. They will be taken off of payroll.
Question: Do teachers punch in to set up digital platform based instruction?
Answer: Payroll secretaries have been trained on how to get the per session money into the system.
Question: Air purifiers in non-instructional settings? Two people now sharing an office with no air purifier and no plan with custodian getting more of these devices?
Answer: School facilities have been phenomenal with air purifiers. Custodian just needs to put in a request.
Question: Non instructional place bathroom and CO2 meter went off because it was so high. How do we get CO2 checks in classrooms and other places. It was 1,350 in the ladies room. What can we do?
Answer: Call the call center and ask for a CO2 check. We will go in and measure it. Mask ventilation, vaccine, spacing. That is what keeps us safe.
Question: Francis Lewis on 14 periods and no lunch. They can grab and go and eat in classroom. Is this a lunch and learn?
Answers: Yes it is a lunch and learn and you get paid a coverage. Teachers and kids are coming in at all kinds of crazy hours. To allievate crowding and not have cafeteria used, we agreed to a lunch and learn but the teacher has to get a coverage.
Question: Happy with weekly testing but why is it only 10%? Why isn't it 20%?
Answer: We want 20%. We have tests. Our independent doctors not on our payroll. Motor and let data guide where you go. 600 classrooms effected the first four day. mayor didn't like that and they changed policy. They should monitor it and check that COVID is under raps and then can change things. We have clear evidence that COVID is in the school system. It's .4% of those tested. That's not enough testing. We can move if we did it properly. We will be in a fight for a couple of months.
Mulgrew tells chapter leaders to get a team. He thanks everyone and the call is ended.