President Michael Mulgrew began the meeting by wishing everyone a happy holiday. Says we have a lot of things going on. Transition, federal, state, healthcare.
Incoming city administration says it's broke but they're not. Money comes through the state. Hoping to get the social safety net package through. Working with both US Senators and House members. Housing is an issue. Many homeless students.
Things are quite interesting. Governor's race changed dramatically last week. Meeting with Governor and her staff. Mulgrew and NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. We are in a recruitment and retention crisis that is upstate and coming to NYC. Many causes such as pandemic and vaccine mandate. Teaching shortage across the USA but now it is in NYC. State challenge is where to put all the money. Money must be spent wisely in things that are sustainable. More by January DA. We will have heard Governor's State of the State speech by then. State in the middle of redistricting process that happens every ten years. State Senate hasn't been in Democratic control for a redistricting in a long time. They redistrict federal and state districts. Primary in June. Can't set up voting sites until they know districts and precincts. This will be important as we move forward.
We keep moving. City Council met yesterday. We are meeting with the incoming Council. Bill at state level. Many parents here. We are in a good place with that. Mayoral control sunsets June 2022. We've all had it. Facts and evidence matter. We all agree mayoral control needs to go away. It does not mean we are going back to school boards. We have to get educated to go to Albany to push that. Mayoral control gets done outside of the budget. That is part of our Albany strategy. We don't know how we will be lobbying. People want to sponsor in new Council. They are arguing over who will be the Speaker.
New Comptroller cannot tell us what to do with our money. Trustees should be able to handle that.
Increase in COVID is following same pattern as last year but not as high a level. Pattern up and down a little but with Christmas and New Year, we are concerned. Test and trace and situation room are becoming shaky. They changed directors. Conversations with incoming and outgoing administrations. Test and trace need to go into schools and test. Last year it was happening after a few weeks. This year it is not working. Having much better conversations with the outgoing administration. 3-k and pre-k no access to vaccine nor testing. Want pre-k and 3-k teachers tested.
Chancellor to be
David Banks has been in our school system for a long time. We have a working relationship. He wants schools to be public schools but he is making comments that were sounding like they are from nine years ago. Dan Weisberg hired from past. As a chapter leader, had 3 different principals. Job as chapter leader was to try to make it work to improve the school. Approach this the same way. With two principals, it worked but with another it didn't. We approach new administrations that way. At PS 143 at a celebration when chancellor to be said he wants Saturday school, longer day and summer school. Teachers said we all do it that way. He can do it but he can't mandate it. We have those things but they can't be mandated. Parents said they love their teachers but challenges are beyond what we've seen before. It's going to take a couple of years but we have to get through the pandemic. We fight for each other. We fight for our profession. If anyone threatens those, we fight. If new mayor and chancellor want to work with us, we will work with them. Screens for middle schools and high schools: Mulgrew position is some are appropriate. Other screens if they are used to deny opportunities should have never been in place. That is the DOE's job. Other part of the transition, we know the new deputy chancellor. Kaz Holloway is coming back. He put out an RFP that would have put 20% health premiums on all NYC workers. We took him to court and we won. We hope not to have those fights but we have to be prepared. We are getting through this year. We have to be ready to say that we are not having any of this.
The judge in the Medicare Advantage made his decision. We are happy with the decision. Retiree health plan while it was going through, many were talking. Every benefit in old plan had to be in the new plan. We got involved and we wanted it in writing. We went through every part to put it in writing. There are all sorts of agendas around this. We knew that retiree health benefits would be a problem with the new administration. We got heavily involved but because so much misinformation was out there it ended in court. We said this could not be implemented properly because the timelines are too squished. We put together a plan that does everything we want that preserves and enhances benefits. A week and a half ago we did not support the plan and we were ready to write to the judge. We wanted to make sure no retiree would have extra costs. City said that in one voice. The judge said the plan is scheduled to begin on April 1. He set up a series of benchmarks that the city has to meet. The judge put in the decision that each retiree can't be harmed. We had to figure out how to get the retiree health plan out of harm's way of the next administration. We had to be smarter. Medicare has gone up 13%. The person who tried to destroy the program from the previous administration is back and we want to make sure we preserve what people have worked for. Mulgrew himself will be in that plan when retired.
Joe Usatch comes up to explain new health plan. Jeff Sorkin is sick. He stresses the importance of premium-free healthcare. It is unheard of. He gave a healthcare presentation. Medicare Advantage Plus is free. It is a PPO. Drug benefit costs $125 a month. Welfare fund sends $65 a month to offset that.
Prior authorizations, copayments and privatization are criticisms.
Prior authorizations are in in-service plan. It is a slight hurdle.
Copayments were slated to go into effect before the pandemic on Jan1, 2021 but MLC fought and delayed this. This was not because of the new plan.
Privatization: Emblem Health providing benefits for decades. We want to continue for them to proide healthcare for in-service and retirees.
$1470 out of pocket maximum
Less for drugs.
Worldwide travel coverage
24 hour nurse line
Members can stay in plan they currently have but there will be an ancillary charge. Retirees could lose that anxiety and could go in and out. Opt out and opt in will go through June 30. Welfare fund benefits not changing.
No cap on out-of-pocket expenses currently. Savings don't go back to city. It goes into the Healthcare Stablization Fund. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Crazy season but we need a clear, transparent process. We need a process NLRB certifies. We are the union with the biggest target on its back. Please try to think through things. Election Committee has formed and voted. Some have gotten requests for contact information. We get challenges to elections. We do them correctly. Have to change the process early. Some want electronic voting. Whatever we do, we make fight internally. Don't burn the house down. We will abide by Election Committee decisions.
Healthcare committee: Things different for people 25 years old and 55 years old. We are the buyer. CEO gets $8 million and that doesn't make Mulgrrw happy.
General demands but multiple bargaining units make different demands. Goal is to say we have largest negotiating committee ever. Proportional representation on committee. Decisions made by Committee. Some bargaining units are small. Divisional (school safety supervisors, administrative law judges) 23 functional chapters. Want representation from all of them. Most effective bargaining done with people who do the work at the table. Multiple training sessions. Do not negotiate in public. It's gotta be confidential. Big training and training for individual bargaining units. We set the pattern the last two rounds. Mulgrew does not believe we will be setting a pattern this time. Assuming another union will set the pattern. Precedent on pattern bargaining in NYC and NYS. Survey the entire membership.
Someone asked that there are members on call, can we get power-point information to them? Debra Penny says to go to retiree healthcare page. Mulgrew asks for a power-point to go out to entire membership.
Spring break arbitration
It is ugly. We worked 7 days we were supposed to be on vacation. CAR day is not equivalent to a day that we worked. City is doing their routine. Can't go into the details. We want the full value of the 7 days we worked. City made us work during our vacation, it was not the Governor. Governor said he would remove funding from districts that didn't stay open. Governor didn't issue an executive order. City owes us the full value for 7 days we worked.
Guidance is out. We know what a closed classroom is and a partially closed classroom.
Chapter Leader Stipends being sent. People do job because they are passionate, not for stipends. Contract up for NYU nurses and they are no longer heroes to the hospital like they said during height of pandemic but now they are a bottom-line cost. that's how $8 million bonus are paid to CEO.
December feels like April now. Chill during the break.
Staff Directors Report
Toy drive on. Petitions for UFT electionwill be out January 19. People need to update contact information. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.
Mulgrew comes back and says PayPal for toy drive.
Mulgrew introduces electronic voting for in-person DA. For yes press A- C press no and no need to clear it. He asks a question to test system.
Question: Memo came out from DA: Do they have to update with new variant?
Mulgrew Answer: 2,400 affected by closure. We have closed a school every week. Test and Trace and situation room not where they should be. We bring it up constantly with transition team. Testing is early warning system. 2,400 sounds like a lot but it has to be put in context. Vaccines work but even with a breakthrough, probably won't get ill unless immunocompromised. We are used to being in a pandemic but this is not a way to live.
Question: Last meeting very chaotic, members asking what happened in call? What can we do to have an orderly discussion to give every voice a chance?
Answer: During debate, will hold people to time and will say what we are voting on twice. On the Danielson rubric, Mulgrew got ineffective in last DA. We owe it to delegation to do it orderly. A large number of delegates contacted him. Sorry for last month.
Question: Payroll coding: School doesn't have coding for partial classroom closure or reimbursements for getting vaccines. How can I find out about that?
Answer: We now have the codes. We brought this to DOE. We will send codes out to the delegation.
Question: When do you anticipate contract negotiations to take place? Is negotiating committee paid?
Answer: We do voluntary negotiations but negotiation committee address this. Another union is in arbitration for last round but could extend two years. The city has money. They are claiming poverty. We have to be ready.
Question: Question of Privilege: In the event a Delegate makes a personal insult, will it be stricken from the record?
Answer: Hoping that issue doesn't happen. There is a process where we could look to strike someone from participating but I think we are better than that. Mulgrew has been in unions where that took place where people were fighting with each other.
Question: Substitutes: Do we have available substitutes because people are being pulled daily for coverages?
Answer: DOE says there are 11,000 substitutes. Subs are getting an extra $50 bucks a day. Paras never processed in the past. UFT got paras hired. DOE HR needs to recruit. Why don't we have a teach NY program with CUNY? We are talking with transition team. Bloomberg contracted this out. They went to the midwest. They went to the Caribbean and Austria. They didn't understand that teachers could curse at them. DOE says there are 11,000 subs. There are not.
For this month on member engagement in contract fight-survey and more such as informational campaign.
659 vote yes, 123 no online (I could not hear live votes) but it had well over 2/3 yes votes so it was added to the agenda.
For this month:
Motion says that the UFT must push for regular COVID testing for staff in NYC pre k centers and sites.
762 yes and 58 no online. It carries.
Time ran out before more could be done.
Wishes all a Happy Holiday.