We received the ruling tonight from the arbitrator on exemptions to the city's vaccine mandate. There is no surprise that the award is mostly in favor of the Department of Education. It was decided by arbitrator Martin Scheinman. He ruled on very narrow medical and religious grounds to obtain an exemption to the vaccine mandate. Those who get an exemption as well as those who are immunocompromised will be assigned to do God only knows what in offices or somewhere else unspecified. Unvaccinated can take an unpaid leave and stay on the medical plan until Srptember 2022.
I don't understand why the UFT keeps going back to Sheinman. This is the same Martin Scheinman who extended the interminable nine year 2014 Contract because the city didn't put enough money aside to pay the full retro for the many UFTers who retired in 2014. He is also the arbitrator who helped the UFT agree to allow the city to stiff us for half the final payment of our interest free loan to the city for almost another year.
If this is the best arbitrator out there, no wonder we usually don't do very well. If I was ever in charge of the Union, he would no longer be an arbitrator in UFT cases.
Usually I am furious when these arbitration decisions come out mostly in favor of management but here as a pro-vaccine mandate person, I am not really angry about the narrow exceptions. However, I am fuming about the immunocompromised and those with vaccine exemptions being sent to offices (rubber rooms) and not being guaranteed they will be assigned teaching duties. The immunocompromised should be able to teach from home. We need a remote option.
I also read the DOE will be paying exclusively for appeals to Sheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services that UFTers file. Who are you likely to side with: the party paying your hefty fee or the working man filing an appeal?
Finally, there is more than a little sad irony in that those who appeal not getting an exemption will have their appeals heard on Zoom. In addition, the UFT Executive Board meeting this Monday is remote. It is okay for UFTers and students to work live all day in crowded classrooms but for Martin Scheinman's arbitrators and the UFT leaders, it is remote only.
Mulgrew’s email tonight: