When I got on the call, President Michael Mulgrew began was talking about the coat drive for kids in temporary housing. He thanked Rich Mantell, VP Middle Schools.
UFT over 30 years ago traded money for lower class size but after we decided that it is the city's responsibility. Negotiating committees have decided not to make it a contract demand for lower class sizes. We tried going through the courts and to have a referendum but the mayor threw it off the ballot so we are going through the health code. It is an occupancy issue. City says it will cost $30 billion to build the new schools needed but we have done the research as 84% of the schools have the space available if the City Council bill passes to lower occupancy levels. We will do more to push this bill along with the current City Council or the new one in January.
Billions of dollars are coming to the city from the federal infrastructure bill. It is good to be negotiating a contract when the economy is growing. Department of Ed couldn't argue with members of chapters in 2018 who were talking to them about what goes on at their worksite. Committee has to be large but manageable.
Governor Murphy thanked UFT retirees for helping get to his reelection in New Jersey. State Democratic party meets in February. State has to finish redistricting before the primary which is scheduled for June. Governor Cathy Hochul from Western New York is a supporter of career and technical education. We have a new VP for Career and Technical schools who is Leo Gordon.Healthcare for city workers negotiated through the Municipal Labor Committee. City workers and federal workers are basically the only ones who have premium-free healthcare. Retirees have healthcare committee. We kept everything we had and added more. In service city workers have to be educated on this. Politicians say we have free healthcare. We pay a lot for that. Contracts for healthcare are up next year. I see the bill at the table at the MLC so I now don't go to certain places. We need committees.
Only nine people didn't get the pay for setting up digital classrooms. Too many tests being given in too short a time. City Hall wanted it done before they leave in January for political reasons. Note that mayoral control of the schools sunsets in Albany next year. We don't want more paperwork. File paperwork-operational complaints. We will probably have special ed complaints. Paras under new law will automatically be enrolled in the pension system. Some died and never enrolled in pension system. 1,800 to 3,000 paras not enrolled. They will automatically be enrolled. We were short 2,700 paras after the mandate and shortages. We have got the list of who wants to be para and we have helped to hire over 4,000 paras.
New mayor coming in. We had 330-350 last year on negotiating committee. We want a bigger one this year. We want members of each chapter itself to be figuring out what they want. We have to train them. There are rules. We have to decide what priorities will be. Chapters should represent the needs of their chapter.
Happy birthday to Leroy Barr. They sign happy birthday.
Staff Director's Report
Leroy Barr talks about class size campaign to get everyone to sign petition, including parents. Show the collective force we have to show class size is a health issue. We will have informational picketing on this citywide effort to get this once in a generation opportunity to get this done. Middle school division still collecting coats. Helping to fight HIV which we can hopefully conquer. Toy drive for elementary school division. Thanks everyone for birthday wishes.
Question on getting support for instance social workers getting hired and testing
Mulgrew Answer: It was not timed right. Money is still there but the social workers have not all been hired and the tests haven't been done right.
Question: Thanks Mulgrew, chapter leader in district 13 asks about literacy numeracy and SEL tests at the same time.
Answer: Use the operational complaint procedure. DOE keeps moving the deadline back quietly. Mayor announced the date that nobody thought should be announced. Tell administration to slow down and do an operational complaint if you have to.
Question: Can we send a survey to the membership rather than do operationa complaint as members have had it?
Mulgrew: File operational complaints right now.
Follow up: How can we teach if we are doing these assessments all day?
Answer: File operational complaints and then don't do it if it is extra work.
Question: Can a principal say standards and objectives must be in your lesson plan?
Answer: NO. Move it to the District Rep. Our consultations are going a little weird with people who don't know if they will have a job in a month. Bring it to the DA.
Question: Occupational/physical therapist told they can't visit chapter leader even while she is on the chapter's executive board while other people can go right in.
Answer: People have appointments and Mulgrew will take care of it.
Question: Kids in D75 not wearing masks and COVID cases are ticking up, what can we do? School isn't clean.
Answer: Tell Leroy Barr if school isn't clean. As far as masks, we will work with D75 administration as we want kids wearing masks. Some of our people had to wear gowns, shields, masks and gloves. We had a big fight to close those two schools in Queens last week. One of the schools it was absolutely spread throughout the building. Outside community had no spread. It was all kids. Slight uptick the last week. We want more children vaccinated. Mayor elect Adams at this point believes in a mandate. Adams said we already mandate 7 vaccines so make it 8. Send Leroy Barr information about your school site.
Question Bronx Science Delegate says doctors provide fees for services. Insurance companies are okay with it as long as they get their cut. Market is broken. New York Health Act is in the legislature. UFT has a resolution supporting single payer. Are we going to do this in public?
Answer: We are forming a committee. New York Health Act needs to be passed at a federal level. New York Health Act would cost $4.5 billion. We tax the rich more than anyone else. Money for education would be reduced. Healthcare system should have been designed nationally so everyone can have free healthcare. People have their own agendas and beliefs. We support that but people have to know the ramifications of what happens. We are frustrated with what we have to deal with. That's why we are forming a committee. We will tell hospitals. Knee replacement could cost 476,000 and one could cost $36,000. The $36,000 is a better hospital. If people want to use a union to push their political agenda, there are ramifications. We have a committee.
New Motion Period
Motion to support School Related Professionals. This is for this month so it needs 2/3 vote in favor to go on agenda. 94% Yes, 6% No. Mulgrew says it was 100% live in favor.
Nick Bacon has motion for next month for healthcare plan changes. UFT has a large weighted vote on MLC. Changes to retiree healthcare and putting new members on HIP. This should come to the DA and we should vote here at the DA before we vote at the MLC.
Janella Hinds, VP Academic High Schools says having a healthcare committee will allow us to discuss healthcare so when the MLC has to make decisions, we can make informed decisions. We have never had healthcare votes as a right so we should vote against this motion.
Point of Information: Is there anything in the resolution that stops the committee from being formed?
On the phone, 49% yes and 51% No. More than that inside.
Someone raises a point of order that there should be a count. Mulgrew does not recognize the point of order but asks people to stand but doesn't count votes.(James here: Robert's Rules gives Delegates the right to ask for a count. Just call for a division of the house.)
Many chant hands off healthcare.
Special Orders of Business.
Karen Alford (VP elementary schools) motivates a resolution on lower class sizes. Now is the right time. If we put it in negotiations in the contract, it would cost us money from somewhere else.
A Delegate asks for an amendment to add more including putting it in negotiations for the contract in law and for legal actions. He talks about future actions.
A Delegate argues that the contract is not the right place for lower class sizes. We have a committee to negotiate. Class size should not be there in contract negotiations.
A Delegate on the phone says teachers are overworked and overextended just like our class size. We don't want this to be a mandatory item. We want it now.
A chapter leader speaks in favor of the amendment because it allows chapter leaders to enforce class sizes through the grievance process.
A Delegate on the phone opposes the amendment. Says we have a health crisis to lower class sizes. We also have a social emotional crisis. We need lower class sizes. By putting it into the legislative process. it removes pressure at the bargaining table. Members have a voice in the legislative process.
A Delegate supports the amendment. The amendment is not in conflict with the rest of the resolution. We can get lower class size through legislation or through contract negotiations
A Delegate on the phone says lower class sizes are important contractually or through other means.
A Delegate calls the question on all matters before the house.
Point of Order: This is an important issue asking if the person who spoke previously was on the union payroll. Delegate responds that he is elected and insulted that someone asked this.
82% vote to close debate.
Vote on the amendment to make lower class size into contract negotiations 1was 61% Yes and 39% No.
Mulgrew then does a standup count for those who are live. First the yes vote is counted. Then the no vote by standing up.
The amendment passes!
Vote on the resolution as amended:
Someone asks for a point of information on what the numbers are in the vote. Answer is it will be in minutes (James here: Delegates can ask for a count at the meeting according to Robert's Rules.)
82% vote for the class size resolution as amended.
Next motion is on mayoral control. Daniel Alicea talks about mayoral control as a crucial issue. He says we have learned that mayoral control is not just another meal but it is mayoral control that has led to major corruption. Anti-democratic system has to be limited with checks and balances or eliminated outright. Mayoral control has stripped authentic engagement from stakeholders.
Mulgrew interrupts to accuse someone of broadcasting the DA to people outside. Says shame on that person. (James again: Anyone on the phone call can broadcast it.) Mulgrew goes on a tirade about how we can't be divided. He says broadcasting has been stopped. Meeting can continue.
Daniel Alicea continues that Yang and Adams were funded by Wall Street and probably Bloomberg. Man who said 300 in a class now is ok is now mayor. We have to push against mayoral control. We need a new resolution as this one talks about the mayor's race so he withdraws the motion and asks for a new one. Mulgrew accepts the withdrawal.
Next motion on School Safety Agents. The Delegate who made the motion amends it Rich Mantell VP Middle Schools says he is confused and opposes resolution as is. A Delegate from Cardozo says we shouldn't have safety budget given to the DOE.
A point of information on what the amendment is. First part is to vote no on transferring control of safety agents to DOE. Second part is for more social workers and guidance counselors to be hired. Mulgrew points out that the UFT is against moving school safety from NYPD to DOE. Maker of the motion says the bill should be amended to not transfer safety agents from NYPD to DOE but wants changes in how SSA's operate and are trained.
A Delegate says principals don't need more control. Keep SSA's with NYPD.
Another Delegate says DOE should not control school safety but even under NYPD, SSA roles need to be reformed.
A social worker speaks in favor of the amendement. Says we need to reform the SSA role but Union should be on right side of justice.
Mulgrew asks the body if it is okay to continue debate. Mulgrew says we are past automatic adjournment time. If we want to finish the resolution, we have to move on. Someone makes a motion to extend the debate.
45% yes to extend the debate and 55% No. Debate is closed.
Mulgrew then asks to call the question on ending debate again. 83% vote to end the debate.
68% vote for the amendment while 32% vote No on the phone. Mulgrew asks for numbers in the building. He calls for another count. Amendment passes.
75% vote for the resolution as amended.
Mulgrew wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.