Saturday, May 14, 2022


If you are anywhere near a radio, smart phone, or computer today at 1:00 PM, please tune in or log on to WBAI for Talk out of School. Middle school teacher Daniel Alicea will be hosting. It should be compelling radio. 

Update: You can listen to the archive version here.

Our seven winning High School Executive Board candidates will be on. Daniel will also feature our Academic High School VP candidate Jonathan Halabi, who got the most high school teacher votes, but didn't win because Unity tilts the playing field in their favor for the election.

Norm Scott goes into some detail on our Magnificent 7 Executive Board reps who will be taking office soon.

Friday, May 13, 2022


From the NYSUT Weekly Update:

Union wins APPR reprieve

Gov. Kathy Hochul Friday signed a bill suspending, for an additional year, the Annual Professional Performance Review process. Advanced through grassroots advocacy from NYSUT members and lobbying by union legislative staff, the bill recently passed both the state Senate and the Assembly.

“As we come to the end of another school year that has been anything but normal, we welcome the governor’s decision to suspend the APPR process for another year,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “We will continue working with the legislature and the governor to address the APPR process.”

Will NYC opt out of this state law with the UFT's approval? President Michael Mulgrew claims he signed a waiver request so why did this victory statement come from NYSUT but there's nothing from the UFT? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 12, 2022


This magnificent group of 7 is going to the UFT Executive Board. These reps were elected by the high school teachers. Congrats to all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


This is from United for Change and Jonathan Halabi. It isn't official yet but we can pretty much figure these results won't change. Mulgrew wins but the opposition to my knowledge has never broken a third of the vote in what is a tilted playing field in UFT elections. United for Change will have representation on the UFT Executive Board as we won the high schools. 

Totals: Remember retiree votes are capped at 23,500 so since 27,000 voted (more than half of the electorate), they are listed as a fraction.

United For Change - 15,094.15 (33.65%)                                                                                                        

Unity - 29,761.64 (66.35%)


United for Change - 6837.15 (29.20%)

Unity - 16,580.64 (70.8%)

High Schools:

United for Change - 2508 (55.87%)                                                                                                               

Unity - 1981 - (44.13%)   

There were 293 who split their ballot and voted for individual candidates.

Middle Schools:

United for Change - 938 (43.83%)                                                                                                                  

Unity - 1202-(56.17%)

There were 157 split ballots

Elementary Schools:

United for Change- 2321 (32.1%)                                                                                                                  

Unity - 4728 (67.9%) 

449 split their ballot.


United for Change - 2490 (32.1)                                                                                                                      

Unity - 5270 (67.9%)

1109 split their ballots


Tuesday, May 10, 2022


Our reports from inside the UFT election count say that the turnout was light. There are a little less than 200,000 UFT ballots that were mailed out to UFTers. Here are some preliminary numbers on turnout which will probably end up a little higher:

Functionals: 8,457 

Retirees: 26,888

Elementary Schools: 7,198

Middle Schools: 2,203

High Schools: 4,543

Updated Wednesday


Elementary Division -  7,498

Middle School Division - 2,287

High School Division - 4,782

Functional Division -  8,869

Retiree Division - 27,451

Total Ballots Received - 50,900

We will update the numbers when we have them.  We have also heard that scanners are breaking down often and that the Retirees are being counted first. 

If you would like to compare turnout to prior elections go to JD2718. To compare high school results back since 2001, go here. For elementary and middle school history, go here.

Friday, May 06, 2022


This is from NYSUT:

APPR bill moving forward

Thanks to your advocacy, the Assembly this week passed the bill to suspend, for an additional year, the Annual Professional Performance Review process. The bill previously passed in the state Senate and will move to the governor’s desk where Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature would enact it. Just last week, NYSUT members ran a successful advocacy campaign through the Member Action Center to encourage members of the Assembly to act on this crucial legislation.

If Governor Hochul signs the bill, then is the UFT going to say the NYC Department of Education is exempt so UFTers can be the only teachers subject to the evaluation system this year?

Monday, May 02, 2022


The deadline to receive ballots is May 9 at the American ArbitrationAssociation. The time to make sure every UFTer you know voted is now. Please send your ballot in and make sure your colleagues voted too.

Yvonne Reason is a United for Change Middle School Executive Board candidate.

Sunday, May 01, 2022


I am making yet another pitch for UFTers to vote in the UFT election. Now is the time to complete and send in the ballot. If you want to democratize the UFT, vote for the United for Change slate. It will be the same old Michael Mulgrew-Unity concessions unless you and your colleagues vote for a better Union by casting ballots for United for Change. Mulgrew has already tipped his hand that healthcare concessions are coming. We collectively have the power to stop him but you must act now.

If you have a ballot sitting at home, it must be received by May 9 at the American Arbitration Association. Please fill it out and mail it back today. An X in the United for Change box is all you have to write. Then put the ballot in the secret ballot envelope. Next, place it in the postage paid envelope, and put it in a mailbox. 

Watch our how to vote video that our daughter Kara directed if you need a lighthearted how to vote message. You can also see our experienced presidential candidate, Camille Eterno, featured back in 2005 on channel 7 opposing that terrible contract.

Please ask your colleagues if they have voted and encourage them to vote and send the ballot in.

This is from UFT Solidarity, one of the United for Change groups:

Thursday, April 28, 2022


This is from the NY Post on the Executive Budget Mayor Eric Adams released on Tuesday. The spending plan is just short of $100 billion. However, the Department of Education stands to get a budget cut.

The massive Department of Education would see its allocation trimmed back from $31.6 billion to $31 billion, primarily due to enrollment declines and leaving hundreds of unfilled positions open.

As far as raises for city employees and reserves, the Post reports:

City Hall pointed to its plans to dedicate $1.7 billion over five years to the city’s savings account for future labor deals as well as contributions to the Big Apple’s reserves, which Adams would grow by $1.2 billion to $6.3 billion.

According to the Citizens Budget Commission official we cited the other day, "Raises totaling 3% annually for city employees would cost about $1.5 billion in the first year, increasing to $4.3 billion in the third year."

The Post says the city is reserving $1.7 billion for raises over five years. If we follow the Citizens Budget Commission person's numbers, there isn't nearly enough in reserve to provide anything near raises that keep up with inflation or are even 3% annually. We'll look further into the numbers if we have time. Just understand this is going to be a tough negotiation coming up. 


Arbitrator Martin Scheinman's latest decision on Spring Break 2020 compensation for UFTers with negative CAR balances was decided on April 26(see below) but the UFT put out nothing until tonight. 

This from the UFT:

The independent arbitrator who awarded vacation days to UFT members who worked during the 2020 spring break has issued a subsequent ruling to settle a dispute between the Department of Education and the UFT over how to treat members with negative CAR balances. The DOE gave members with negative CAR balances only four CAR days and three vacation days when they worked seven days over the spring break. The UFT strongly disagreed with that policy and asked the arbitrator to intervene. The arbitrator ruled on April 26 that members with negative CAR balances on May 1, 2020, are entitled to two CAR days for every CAR day that the DOE originally gave them since the new vacation day the arbitrator created is worth more than a CAR day. Under the new ruling, members who had a negative CAR balance on May 1, 2020, will receive three vacation days and then have their CAR deficit reduced on a two-for-one basis. If the negative balance is eliminated before the member has been fully compensated for time worked over the spring break, the remainder will be given as additional vacation days. This decision has no impact on those members who already received their seven vacation days.

The decision:


Lydia Howrilka is on the Professional Development podcast discussing transfers, her personal DOE journey, the ongoing UFT election, fighting back if under attack from administration, and more. 

Lydia talks about the Seniority and Integration transfers that existed before the giveback filled 2005 contract.

My understanding is there are no vacancies on the Open Market currently.

If United for Change was to win the UFT election, we would make a right to transfer (Seniority, SBO where hiring committee made up if a majority of teachers hires UFT personnel) a major contract demand. It won't cost the city money to give teachers the right to transfer again.

Monday, April 25, 2022


The Unity dominated UFT Election Committee rejected electronic voting or in-school balloting early in the election process for this year's UFT election. This is despite the fact that the Union uses electronic voting for SBO and Chapter Leader and Delegate elections. In addition, the UFT uses in-school balloting for contract votes. They know electronic or in-school voting would more than likely lead to a higher turnout. Michael Mulgrew's caucus knows they control a steady Unity vote and Unity's greatest fear is that the portion of the membership that Unity has encouraged to be apathetic might wake up because if they did, they would be much more inclined to vote for United for Change, rather than continue Unity's one-party misrule of the UFT. Hence, suppress the vote.

In the latest round of UFT voter suppression, Unity again acts like the Republican Party which tries to make it more difficult to vote in state and national elections and as Norm Scott points out, NY Democrats are suppressing the vote too.*

NY State is worse than Georgia in many ways. I've been guilty or actually lazy in pointing this out more often. Look at how few vote in primaries and the rules for changing parties. the mail in ballots, the slow counts, etc. We are among the worst. And have you ever seen the UFT call for democracy in voting reform?

For Unity, it wants to make it harder to vote in this UFT election. To add to the cumbersome mail-in ballot process, Unity today rejected a request from one of its candidates to delay the date when members can get a ballot if they had not yet received one by April 25. This came up tonight at the Executive Board when Mike Schirtzer asked about an extension to request a ballot. Ballots are not due back in the mail at the American Arbitration Association until May 9, 2022. Today is April 25 so that leaves two weeks to get a piece of mail from the AAA to a member's home and back if they have not received a ballot yet or if they were given an incorrect ballot or threw it out by accident. Is that enough time?

Let's go to the numbers provided by the United States Postal Service:

The United States Postal Service reported new delivery performance metrics showing the average time to deliver a mailpiece across the postal network continues is 2.7 days.

Here is more evidence from the Washington Post via WTHR 13 on how it does not take two weeks to get a piece of mail back and forth from Manhattan:

  • First class mail delivery under 140 miles will take up to two days
  • First class mail delivery between 140 and 930 miles will take up to three days
  • First class mail delivery traveling between 930 and 1,907 miles will take up to four days.

That seems reasonable. So if we take that number and even if a few are slow, that means a ballot could be mailed out this week at any point, get to a UFT member who could still have a couple of days to vote, and then send it back with plenty of time to get to the American Arbitration Association to be tabulated on May 10.

How did the UFT do in the past on this issue? In 2016 a member could call for a ballot up to one week before the ballots were going to be counted. This is what we wrote in 2016 at election time on May 17 when ballots were due on May 25 to be counted May 26:

Tomorrow is the last day to call AAA at 1 800 529-5218 to get a duplicate ballot.

The UFT gave you up until one week before the election deadline in 2016 to request a ballot if you didn't get one but this year they need two weeks. That makes no sense as we have already shown the Postal service numbers.

There is only one possible explanation for the UFT making the deadline two weeks before ballots are counted to call for a ballot: Voter Suppression. 

In my view, the UFT feels a low turnout helps Unity Caucus, which is their major (really only) concern.

For those who want to read the Unity party line, here is Mike Schirtzer's question about the deadline from Executive Board tonight. This is from a report from Nick Bacon of New Action who sat in and took minutes:

On election: UFT election. Mulgrew refuses to answer, says any questions on election must be sent to Carl Cambria (Unity Election Committee Chair).

Carl comes up. Mike asks: why is it 2 weeks before deadline this year to get a ballot delivered if it wasn’t sent to your house this year? It was 1 week before the deadline last election. Not to mention there wasn’t the spring break issue last time. Members who just got back from vacation and were told they have to go in person to AAA to get ballots in person. Is there anything we can do to extend that deadline?

Carl Cambria: AAA can’t guarantee extending deadline will allow ballots to get back in time. What we have done is allow teachers to go to AAA in person this Thursday Friday between 9 and 5 and submit ballots in person. Post office isn’t working at the same pace as last year, which is why we landed where we landed.

Only the most committed of voters would go down to lower Manhattan (unless they work in that area) to get a ballot. Imagine if you live way out of town as a retiree. Forget about it. Blaming AAA or the Post Office for this is rather lame and statistically wrong as the USPS reports a close to 90% on-time record. Unity is engaging in flat-out voter suppression. 

If anyone does not yet have a ballot and wants to vote or any of your colleagues need one, I suggest calling the American Arbitration election desk at 800 529-5218. If they say no, email us at We will fight for you not to be disenfranchised. 

This voter suppression is probably not going to impact the outcome of this election as only a few are probably being encouraged to get ballots at this time. However, it goes to show the lengths Unity will go to control the UFT. If the opposition was to come close to winning, in my view Trump's "stop the steal" will be the model Unity will use to retain power.

*This post was edited to show Democratic Party voter suppression.


The UFT election is ongoing. It is a mail-in ballot due Monday, May 9, 2022. Since so many people were away last week, it would seem that a deadline date of April 22, 2022, to request a ballot for the UFT Election is too early. However, April 22 is the date on some UFT election forms as the last day to call for a ballot if you didn't get one. 

On the other hand, the UFT website says the deadline date to request a ballot is today, April 25. Since people were on vacation last week, we believe you can request a ballot today. This is the exact wording on the UFT Website.

Didn't get a ballot?

Any member who has not received a ballot by April 18, or has received an incorrect ballot, should notify the AAA via phone: (800) 218-5524 (Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. only) or e-mail: Request for ballots must be made promptly – no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Here is the screenshot:

The deadline day is today, April 25 according to this UFT document. It is way too early in my view as it does not take two weeks to get a piece of mail from Manhattan to the surrounding area and back. The ballots are counted May 10. If the Amercan Arbitration Association says no to you today if you call 800 528-5524 before 5:00 p.m. or email, please get in touch with us at at once. We will do everything we can to make sure you get a ballot.

Sunday, April 24, 2022


Labor contracts are up for most city workers this year. Based on history, that means the city will soon cry poverty and claim there are troubled city fiscal times ahead. 

A Citizens Budget Commission official, Ana Champeny, is projecting a $9 billion shortfall by 2026 if nothing is done. While it is encouraging that Champeny admits that the city is currently in good financial shape with federal COVID relief money still coming in, she is hoping that the city will use some of this extra funding to replenish the depleted labor reserve. 

Here is what she says about the next round of collective bargaining for city employees:

[T]he city should use this next round of collective bargaining contracts to further increase productivity, which would generate savings to fund raises and stabilize the budget. Almost all city employees will be working under expired contracts by the end of the year. The tight job market and high inflation may increase municipal unions’ demands. Raises totaling 3% annually would cost about $1.5 billion in the first year, increasing to $4.3 billion in the third year.

Three 3% raises are considered generous by the Citizens Budget Commission official. I don't think those kinds of increases, which don't come close to keeping up with inflation currently running at 8.5% nationally and 5.1% locally, would please too many folks who read this blog. Just understand this is what we are up against. Adams may offer much less.

  • Are UFTers willing to accept a lower increase if we get some of our rights back which won't cost the city any extra money? 
  • What are members willing to do collectively to achieve higher increases in pay?
These are the conversations that should be taking place in the schools but will not be encouraged as long as Michael Mulgrew and Unity remain in charge of the Union.

Don't forget to vote for United for Change and just as importantly, tell every UFT member you know to vote UfC so we can take a very different approach to the fight for a decent contract. 

Call 800 218-5524 on Monday between 9AM and 5PM if you still have not received a ballot or if someone you know hasn't gotten one or may have thrown it out. There is still time to vote and get out the vote. I will be continuing to get in touch with the UFTers I know to try to convince them to vote UFC. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022


Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus members continue to attack the opposition for being disruptive at UFT Delegate Assembly meetings. There was something yesterday on a Facebook group.

Is it being disruptive to demand that federally guaranteed free speech rights at union meetings are enforced by President Mulgrew? Unity has sent their attack dogs out to say the opposition is disrupting the business of the UFT. This is ridiculous. The United for Change opposition is demanding President Mulgrew follow the law. 

This is taken directly from the  Landrum Griffin Act, which in part gives union members a Bill of Rights. One of those rights:

(2) FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY.-- Every member of any labor organization shall have the right to meet and assemble freely with other members; and to express any views, arguments, or opinions; and to express at meetings of the labor organization his views, upon candidates in an election of the labor organization or upon any business properly before the meeting, subject to the organization's established and reasonable rules pertaining to the conduct of meetings:

Presidential candidate Camille Eterno responded to the latest charge that UfC disrupts union meetings:

Hello All, 

To address something that has come to my attention. 

I ask you to consider--How can members of the UFC Caucus be considered Disruptive if our Landrum-Griffin (Federal Labor Law) rights to free speech at union meetings are being denied? 

Unity's Delegate Assembly chair is President Michael Mulgrew. He has not allowed any opposition resolutions to be presented at the DA after his Unity Caucus lost two votes at the November Delegate Assembly. That is five straight months of not being able to present any resolutions. When opposition members cite Robert's Rules to show how the opposition's rights are being violated, Mulgrew tells us we are out of order and his Unity followers criticize the opposition for disrupting. When two of us appealed in February, we were entitled to an actual debate on the appeal. 

In the debate, Mulgrew called on the UFT Secretary who is the head of Unity Caucus, then he called on the Assistant UFT Secretary from Unity Caucus, then he recognized another Unity Executive Board member, and finally, another Unity Executive Board member was called on in order to call for the debate to end. Note how all of the speakers were from the Unity Caucus. That is not a debate; that is an autocratic system. The opposition never had a chance to defend our right to speak. 

When the minutes from February, didn't accurately reflect what the point of order was, the opposition was then denied the opportunity to even correct the February DA  minutes in March. 

Michael Mulgrew is not an impartial chair. I know what it means to be fair to everyone, not just my own political party. We have a right to be heard. We are happy to have fair debates. I will let all sides speak or introduce their resolutions at the DA if I am elected president. At the DA, nobody will be silenced.

Collectively with UFC, we will work together to have a strong voice that listens to and represents everyone.

Mulgrew doesn't call on the opposition to present any of their resolutions in the five months leading up to and during the UFT election period, and then his surrogates campaign for Mulgrew-Unity's reelection saying the opposition is disruptive because they have the nerve to actually want time to speak. I see Unity's tactic as dirty politics and it violates labor law as well. 

Whether United for Change wins or loses the election, how the Delegate Assembly is run must be changed. The simplest and best way to accomplish this is to elect United for Change to run the DA. Short of that, there are other options available.

Sunday, April 17, 2022


One of the dumbest Unity lines of attack against United for Change Presidential Candidate Camille Eterno is that she doesn't have union experience. We found this video of Camille Johnson (we got married two months later and she became Camille Eterno), Jeff Kaufman, and me opposing the 2005 contract on Channel 7 Eyewitness News. Camille has been fighting the good union fight for decades.

Reporter Art McFarland focuses on the return to potty patrol and longer days in his report. Clearly, we can see here that Camille knows her stuff. 

Enjoy this piece of UFT history. The opposition did get a 40% no vote against that despicable Contract. This report shows then-Chancellor Joel Klein kissing Randi. Oh, what UFT memories.

At the time, Michael Mulgrew was a rising star in the Unity hierarchy. He didn't have to teach much under this dreadful Contract as he was promoted to VP for Career and Technical High Schools in 2006.

The experienced Mulgrew who has been UFT President since 2009 has never once tried to undo the 2005 givebacks such as a longer day, potty, hall, cafeteria patrol, loss of the right to grieve material in the file, loss of seniority transfers, loss of SBO transfers, loss of preferred placement rights if a school was closed or reorganized that led to the explosion of the Absent Teacher Reserve pool and more. The UFT agreeing to weaken our rights had the impact of leaving more and more UFTers in fear for their jobs. This led directly to situations such as the Maspeth High School grade fraud scandal where the Principal passed just about everyone whether they showed up or not and the Principal is going to get away with it.

From Sue Edelman in the NY Post:

A Queens principal accused of using fraudulent schemes to boost his school’s graduation rate can never again work with city students — but will get a $1.8 million desk job, The Post has learned.

Further down Sue gives details:

Instead of trying to terminate Abdul-Mutakabbir, as city investigators recommended, the DOE settled the charges on Jan. 25 by fining him $12,000  – and barring him from working as a principal.

But under the sweetheart deal – which DOE officials kept hidden for months – the disgraced educator, now age 47, will sit in an office until he “irrevocably” retires on Nov. 30, 2029.

He will pocket his current $187,043 annual salary, and get all union-negotiated pay raises for principals. He will also enjoy paid vacations and holidays, plus full health and retirement benefits, which will cost at least $78,558 a year in addition. The total cost will come to more than $1.8 million.

City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens), who first called attention to Maspeth HS malfeasance after meeting with a group of whistleblower teachers three years ago, was outraged.

Before Joel Klein decimated our rights in 2005, UFTers were much better able to stand up to terrible principals. Michael Mulgrew never fought to restore our rights and dignity. Camille and United for Change will.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


 Our daughter Kara directed this video of the Eterno family voting for United for Change. Please get out the vote.

If you don't receive a ballot by Monday, April 18 or yours is incorrect, call the American Arbitration Association at 800 218-5524 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) to get a new one. You can also email April 25, the day after vacation ends, at 5 pm is the deadline day to request a ballot. They must be received by AAA by May 9.

Those dates are tight as UFTers are on vacation next week. That's more evidence the UFT wants a low turnout. It is why they rejected electronic or in-school voting.


 I got in a little late. This is not edited so sorry if it is a little off.

President's Report

Michael Mulgrew talked about the shooting yesterday in Brooklyn. and our rapid response and need for psychologists. Thanked Chapter Leader for high school for meeting the kids this morning getting off the train. 44 school days after the vacation

Federal: There is a new Supreme Court Justice. Randi helped Ukraine's situation by being in Poland. Schools being used for helping people coming from Ukraine. They are teaching still.

State: State budget is good. That is helpful in a contract negotiating year. Foundation aid fully funded, got extra $400 million. Nurses got money. We are still trying to get a nurse in every school. For chapter leaders: If your school doesn't have a nurse on Safety Committee, you should have them on the committee. They should be part of health and safety decisions, particularly with COVID.

Tier VI: For those who were Tier IV, the original Tier IV wasn't so good. AFL-CIO thinks it is the right time to fix TIER VI. We need to fix it before anyone is going to retire on Tier VI. Tier VI should not have happened. Then-Governor and a bunch of rich people ran a campaign across the state said state and municipalities would go bankrupt because of pensions. You cannot recruit workers at 21 and tell them they have to work until 63.

Debra Penney comes up and explains that there were 94 reforms to Tier IV. First reform was in 1998, 15 years after start of Tier IV. Tier IV was 17 years old before we got ten years only of contributions. It was 24 years old before we got 55-25.

Two reforms to Tier VI: 5 years until vesting. From April 1, 2022 until 2024, rate will be based on base pay only. Two year lag on contributions starts at 3% and goes up. Bill said that for people who did extra work, they would be held harmless for the contribution rate. We will continue to keep chipping away.

Mulgrew returns- NYC: A lot of uncertainty. Department of Education not working for children of NYC. That was brought out during the pandemic when the DOE didn't show up for work for an entire year. We have to wait and see where it goes. City Hall has to know that school has to open up in September. The problem is a bunch of us start planning for September a month ago but it's not happening. It will be a strange end of the school year. David Banks bringing in a majority of people who are not from inside the DOE. They want to solidify early childhood program. They need to do something with the curriculum. Having every school on their own isn't working. There will be a big push on career and technical planning. Civics is important to Banks and Mayor Adams. We train 50 people on a civics program. They are talking about civics in terms of doing right by each other and the world. Special Education will be a big issue. Mandated-based system. That's not the right way to do it. We need teams of psychologists and social workers to identify children at an early page. We refer students and they get IEPs and then they don't get the services. We told them they have to go faster. We asked not to do social-emotional screening for spring. $18 million contract. They gave the 48-question screening. Many schools did the screening but outside help never came. We tried to figure it out on our own. They wasted taxpayer money by signing contract in the first place. Calendar: we are asking that virtual parent-teacher conferences be permanent. We are seeing four times as many parents this way. For middle schools and elementary schools, most do it on one day. School Based Options, we are trying to get it out. Calendar is tight. They have to pay us if we don't have snow days. Electronic voting for SBO's. Summer school like last year. We will do the posting. Class size, we are working at the state level and then we will get loud with the City Council about getting this done. We lost 120,000 over an 8 year period. We have room. Lower class sizes if you want to make an attractive school system. Polling shows parents want lower class sizes and safe schools. We have to start digging into the discipline code. We are down over 200 Safety Agents. We need Safety Agents. Bronx can't set up a safe corridor because we don't have the Safety Agents. We needed NYPD to help set up safe corridor in Brooklyn yesterday. You can't have hundreds of students and one safety agent in a school

Chapter Leader Hub: 50% have logged on. Everybody who's gone on it, this was designed by chapter leaders. Feedback: there has been praise from chapter leaders. Place to upload Consultation Notes. Member, non-member, COPE all sitting there for you. Some of that work is for stipend. We need a push on COPE. We want to push on Tier VI issue. 

Negotiating Committee: We are getting feedback from questions from last survey. We are working with an independent company. 

Go back to beginning of the school year, we didn't know what it would be like with everyone back in the building. We then had a transition to a new administration. January 3 was the most tense day of the entire year. COVID numbers going up in the city but schools are the safest place. New variants becoming weaker. 23 in hospitals now. Over 100 on February 1. Most were unvaccinated and/or had underlying conditions. His wife has had him have three physicals in the last year. We keep children safe in spite of challenges. You have kept this school system going. We have been on our own for almost 2.5 years as a school system. Be safe, particularly in states that don't test people for COVID. Places where they say there is no COVID but instead 95 kids have strep at the same time. We have weathered this crap so we will come back strong in September. Wishes all a Happy Easter, Happy Passover. r4 days after vacation. (5:00 Report ends)

Staff Director's Report:

Leroy Barr notes ballots for UFT Election went out on April 8. They must be returned on May 9. They will be counted on May 10. Disaster relief for Ukraine, Spring Conference and next DA in late May.

Question Period:

Question about continuing Special Ed Recovery.

Mulgrew Answer: Special Ed Recovery not supposed to be about paperwork and compliance. Some principals just worrying about compliance. DOE is supposed to manage the system. They are managment, we are employees. Schools are taking care of the kids, but it would be nice if we had help and not hindrance. They sit in meetings where DOE says it's about the children when they fight so children don't get services. 

Question: Tier VI, 5 proposals put up so what are the 3 other reforms?

Answer: Some had to do with cutting down the percentage people would pay as contributions. Legislative session not over. We are working with AFL-CIO. 

Question: Exciting stuff on Amazon and Starbucks. Have there been conversations on the UFT supporting Amazon and Starbucks?

Answer: They had their plan and they went forward with it. We will approach them in a hands-off manner. We do not like telling other unions what to do. We believe in the sanctity of the union. We were impressed with them. 

Question: Negotiation on last day. Can teachers do it remotely?

Answer: DOE knows this. On a normal calendar, that day wouldn't be scheduled. We are trying to figure out if they are willing to do that. 

Question: Are we allowed to use a vacation day for 683 in summer?

Answer: As far as UFT is concerned, you can use any day you want. Arbitration is clear.

Question: When are Chapter 683 dates going to be confirmed.

Answer: Hopefully the week we return. Waiting for DOE to make a decision.

Question: Principal says it will be her way or the highway on SBO. Can we fight that?

Answer: Make sure she can only have what is in the contract. Dean up to 1,000 and a programmer. If you don't want to entertain any SBO's, we won't entertain anything either. That is not in the collaborative spirit of the day. 

Question: Mayor talking about dyslexia. Are teachers going to be required to do screenings?

Answer: Teachers not trained to do this screening. Mulgrew lucky to learn with phonics; second-grade teacher picked it up and gave mother flash cards. Mulgrew can't do dyslexia screening. Mulgrew taught in the basement and went to SBST to find out about certain students. We are happy Mayor Adams wants to do this but it has to be done right. 

Question: Thanks her District Rep

Answer: Question period is over. 

Motion Period:

Place an item on this month's agenda (requires 2/3 vote without debate.

Resolved that loss from pandemic won't be solved with more DOE bureaucracy, need expectations for Chancellor and Mayor to more accurately reflect what has gone on in the last two years, lobby for lower class sizes, rely on teacher skills to ensure dividends for student futures. 

629 yes- 108 no on phone  (I couldn't hear results live). It carried and was placed on agenda.

Resolution on Mosaic curriculum that does not have Asian Pacific Islander history included. Wants curriculum on putting Asian Pacific Islander curriculum.

Nobody spoke against the resolution.

It carried to get on next month's agenda easily 708 to 47 on phone. It carried unanimously live. 

Resolution to improve Tier VI for next month's agenda. UFT with AFL-CIO will work to improve Tier VI

Peter Lamphere moves to extend motion period ten minutes. 

Someone makes a point of inquiry. Can there be a motion placed when a motion is already is already on the floor. Yes, it was done correctly.

391 Yes-435 No on phone but I couldn't hear results live but it couldn't get 2/3.

Resolution to improve Tier VI benefits carries on phone 668 yes to 63 noon phone. 186 yes to 7 no live. 

(Someone else asks that we can't hear the live results. Mulgrew repeats them so that is how we get the 186-7 results.)

Motion period is over.

Rita Joseph a teacher until December 23 who is chair of the City Council Education Committee will be leading a meeting tomorrow at UFTHQ. Members of Board of Regents and State Ed Department leaders will be ther. Over 500 UFTers volunteered. This is an event where will make a tape out of it. 

Special Orders of Business:

Janella Hinds speaks for eliminating distributive scoring for High School Regents Exams. NYC different from all other schools around the state including charters and Catholic Schools who do it in their own schools. Janella and Michael Schirtzer wrote this. Nobody wanted to speak against. 

Mulgrew still had a vote on ending debate where748 to 55 was the vote to end debate.

606 yes to 53 no on phone. Live it is 182 Yes to 1 No. Total is 93% yes. It passes.

Resolution to have an observance of a moment of silence to commemorate anniversaries of 9-11 attacks. Someone argues we need an appropriate curriculum on 9-11. A former auxiliary cop from 9-11 says that it is a new generation that needs to learn about that day. 

Question is called, Mulgrew asks if there is a speaker against. Nobody wants to Vote on ending debate. 97% vote to end debate. 95% vote yes and the resolution carries.

Motion to suspend the rules to extend so the third item can be dealt with.

Mulgrew says it will be finished.

Recognize School Related Personnel now for what has happened the last two years. Someone recognizes paras, nurses and guidance counselors. 

Dermot Myrie speaks against because he says we need a pay raise for SRPs and not just accolades.  He wants to amend but can't on the phone.

 94% vote to close debate.

94% vote for the resolution.

Mulgrew thanks everyone for participating. He wishes everyone well and says we will see everyone at the end of May.


Jonathan Halabi is a high school teacher and longtime Chapter Leader at the High School for American Studies at Lehman College who is running for Vice President for Academic High Schools in the current UFT Election on the United for Change slate. He also writes the JD2718 blog. His latest post on why you should vote United for Change is very persuasive. If United for Change wins, you will have actual classroom teachers running the UFT.  

According to the UFT Constitution in Article V, Section 6: "The Executive Board shall direct the affairs of this organization." The Executive Board is made up of 90 members plus the 12 officers of the Union.

29 positions on the UFT Executive Board are reserved for high school, middle school and elementary school teachers. The rest of the Executive Board is the officers, and non-teachers (functional chapters), and there are 48 at-large positions open basically to any UFT member.

How are the two caucuses, Mulgrew's Unity and the opposition United for Change, filling out their at large candidates? 

Of Unity's 48 at-large candidates, only six are currently full-time educators. The other 42 are either full-time UFT staff, District Reps who work one period per day in a school, or retirees. For United for Change, it is just the opposite with 42 who currently work full-time in schools and 6 who are retirees including me. 

Don't get us wrong, the officers in such a big union need to be out of the classrooms full-time to represent the members. In addition, a large union needs full-time people to handle the work of the Union such as representing members in grievances but should they be the same people who make the decisions on UFT policy? Shouldn't the people who currently work full-time in the schools have a big say in running the affairs of this organization?

Unity's selection of its at-large Executive Board explains perfectly why the UFT is so detached from its members. Those full-time or one period a day in the schools people are not going to be rated by the cookie-cutter unfair Danielson rubric. They don't have to sit in endless professional development meetings. They haven't a clue. The only way to change this is to vote for United for Change and tell every UFT member you know to do the same. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022


I have been doing just about everything I can to promote Camille Eterno leading the United for Change-For A Better Union slate in the UFT election.

The election is upon us. Please help now! A low turnout is Michael Mulgrew's best hope for keeping his job. All of you can stop that by voting and just as importantly by getting out the vote.

From UFC-Solidarity’s Lydia Howrilka, a candidate for the High School Executive Board:

Thursday, April 07, 2022


 The latest video from Camille taken outside UFT Headquarters is up on Youtube

Start looking for the ballots for the UFT election in the mail. They are being mailed out Friday. I will be going to schools again tomorrow to help distribute United for Change literature as are many other UfC supporters. Thanks to everyone who has helped out with the campaign. We have to get out the vote now.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022


Carl Cambria runs the UFT Election Committee that is stacked with Unity Caucus members. Carl gave a succinct answer to Camille's email challenging Michael Mulgrew to a debate. The request was originally made via email to Mulgrew on March 1. Mulgrew didn't respond so Cambria was notified.


There is no debate scheduled.


Carl Cambria

Manhattan Borough Representative

United Federation of Teachers

Does anyone want to help get the word out how Mulgrew won't allow Camille to talk at the Delegate Assembly and now his caucus is officially refusing a presidential candidate debate?

Monday, April 04, 2022


The Amazon workers winning a union recognition vote on Staten Island is one big victory for labor. 

From Jacobin:

In an upset for which there are few parallels in the US labor movement’s post-Reagan history, Amazon warehouse workers in the United States have won recognition of a union for the first time ever. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)–supervised vote at JFK8, a fulfillment center in Staten Island, was 2,654 in favor of unionizing with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and 2,131 against, at a facility with 8,325 eligible voters. The sixty-seven challenged and eleven voided ballots will not be determinative, given the union’s margin of victory.

It is worth noting too that the Amazon workers are forming an independent union rather than hitch their wagon to an established union.

We salute the brave Amazon workers who are forming the first-ever Amazon union.

Looking forward, it would be just as stunning an upset if UFT voters would wake up and oust our incompetent, out-of-touch Unity-UFT leaders in the next few weeks.

I know, I know it is a longshot but last week's Amazon union vote shows miracles do happen. 

Saturday, April 02, 2022


 91% of UFTers now want open bargaining according to a Facebook group poll. You won't get it unless you vote out Unity-Mulgrew.

Friday, April 01, 2022


Another poll was conducted on a DOE private Facebook group. The person who put out the poll emailed the results to us. It is not scientific but 392-43 were for open bargaining for the UFT. That is 90% who want to bargain openly so all UFTers know what is going on.

What do you think?

The huge majority is similar to an earlier poll that showed 98% want presidential candidates Michael Mulgrew and Camille Eterno to debate. 

Open bargaining is now a trend in labor negotiations. Here is something from activist Leonie Haimson on the topic:

As usual, the UFT is behind the times. Mulgrew-Unity wants to keep bargaining under the Cone of Silence.

For the younger readers:

Vote United for Change for open bargaining for the next UFT Contract. You will be kept informed every step of the way.

Camille will open it up.

Thursday, March 31, 2022


 A major story on the UFT election was in this week's Civil Service newspaper, The Chief. Lots of quotes from Camille leading the United for Change slate. Mulgrew couldn't be bothered with the Chief. 

Teacher hopeful of turning the tide at the UFT

Queens teacher Camille Eterno, far right, part of the United For Change slate, is challenging the longtime president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, in balloting that begins the second week of April.
Queens teacher Camille Eterno, far right, part of the United For Change slate, is challenging the longtime president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, in balloting that begins the second week of April.


For veteran teacher Camille Eterno, safety concerns for her fellow educators during the coronavirus pandemic were what prompted her to run to become the United Federation of Teachers’s next leader.

“We’ve lost over 100 UFT members to the Covid virus,” said Eterno, who is challenging the UFT’s longtime president, Michael Mulgrew, in balloting next month. 

A six-decade streak

Eterno is running as part of the United For Change slate, a coalition of six dissident caucuses that formed last fall to pose a greater challenge to the Unity caucus, which has led the UFT since the early 1960s. The upstart slate faces an uphill battle: Mulgrew has served as UFT president since 2009, and easily won re-election to a fourth term in 2019 with 86 percent of the vote.

But during a recent phone interview, Eterno argued that this was the perfect chance to transform the UFT, which she believes is a “top-down” organization, into a member-run union. United For Change aims to reduce class sizes, improve pay and empower rank-and-file members. 

“The feedback we’ve gotten has been very positive. People are hungry for a change,” said Eterno, who started teaching in city public schools in 1996 and has served as a chapter leader and delegate for 18 years.

Mulgrew was said to be unavailable for comment, but Karen Alford, who has served as the UFT’s vice president for elementary schools since 2008 and is also running for re-election, said the union’s goal is to “make sure that our folks are treated as a union of professionals—that there is a fair wage so that when we walk into the classroom we can do the best job possible.”

'We Do The Work'

Unity’s campaign slogan centered on “doing the work.” Alford pointed to a number of achievements by the UFT, including an arbitration ruling earlier this year that provided members who were forced to work during the canceled spring break in 2020 with vacation days as compensation. 

She also highlighted safety standards negotiated between the city and the union to protect students and staff from Covid, including testing, contact tracing and protective equipment in every school building.

“We are a model for this country for what health and safety looks like for educators. Schools that had broken ventilation for 20 years now have working ventilation,” Alford said.

But those achievements are not enough, Eterno argued.

“I don’t think Mulgrew fought hard enough for health care for retirees, for raises that keep up with inflation, or to reduce class sizes. He’s too busy making concessions,” she said.

Against retiree health-care changes

She believed the end of the seniority transfer list in the union’s 2005 contract was one such concession, which then led to the creation of the controversial Absent Teacher Reserve. United For Change also sought to reverse the city’s plan to move municipal retirees’ health coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan. 

In early March, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that the city must provide retirees with the option of keeping their current health insurance free of charge. Some retirees have expressed concerns that Medicare Advantage offered lesser benefits than traditional Medicare, or that it would be more costly.

UFT leadership supported the new program, but believed that it suffered from serious implementation problems. “We are still working to make sure that this is a plan that works for our members,” Alford said. “We want to make sure it is a plan that is cost-effective and takes care of their health needs. We don’t want a plan that feels like it’s being done to you.”

The slates also differ on the issue of mayoral control of schools. 

Eterno argued that mayoral control was responsible for many school closures, which then led to ballooning class sizes. Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, nearly 200 low-performing schools were closed between 2002 and 2013.

'Mayoral Control A Disservice'

“Mayoral control has done a disservice to public school children. I don’t think Mulgrew will fight hard enough against mayoral control, he wants tweaks,” she said.

But Alford argued that instead of reverting oversight of schools back to local school boards, there could be other ways to improve mayoral control, such as giving more power to parents through the Panel for Educational Policy.

“As opposed to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, is there a way to put in some checks and balances?” she asked.

One issue they agree on, though, was encouraging more members to participate in the election. 

“Only 23 percent responded to mail-in ballots in 2019—so the vast majority of the UFT members are not participating,” Eterno explained. Although the UFC candidate called for electronic ballots in order to encourage members to vote, Alford said “a multi-partisan election committee” decided to retain mail ballots.

“We want everyone to fill out their ballots so they can be counted,” she said. 

Ballots will be mailed April 8

Alford has been challenged by UFC’s Tameka Solomon, while Annie Tan is seeking to defeat incumbent LeRoy Barr for secretary. UFC's Luli Rodriguez and treasurer Debra Penny are among the other candidates facing off.

Ballots will be sent out April 8, and will be counted on May 10 by the American Arbitration Association.

Eterno said that if she wins, she wants to empower members so they know what their rights are, especially those facing harassment and retaliation. 

“To people who aren’t sure which way to vote, I would say, ‘Look around you,’” she said. “I would ask them ‘Are you better off now than you were two or three years ago?’”


I  saw this earlier. Comptroller Lander is not registering Mulgrewcare and returning the contract to the mayor. He uses the words "at this time," in his statement so this is not over but for now, this is positive news. 

Statement from Comptroller Brad Lander on Medicare Advantage Plan Contract

“Due to the legal and budgetary uncertainties that remain while litigation over the City’s contract with Anthem Insurance Companies continues, the Comptroller’s office does not have sufficient information to register the proposed Medicare Advantage Plan contract at this time.

“Over the last 30 days, our Bureau of Contract Administration has posed detailed questions to the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) regarding various questions about the documentation and budgetary impacts of this proposed contact, and we appreciate their cooperation. However, given that planned cost savings are currently unknown, as OLR acknowledged, due to delays in the implementation of the new Medicare Advantage Plan and the court decision to invalidate the requirement for retirees to pay additional premiums to keep their old health plans, our office cannot currently assess the total cost to the City and fulfil our mandate to confirm that the contract is fully funded.

“We are asking for the Law Department to confirm that their prior approval as to legal authority is still valid, given the court’s decision, and for the Administration to provide a new cost estimate for the program, which may not be possible until issues raised in the litigation are resolved.

“As a result of these outstanding questions, following a rigorous review of the City’s proposed contract with Anthem Insurance Companies to provide health care services to City retirees, my office is returning the contract to the Administration.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


There is some hopeful news right now from Albany on mayoral control of our schools as the April 1 deadline for a state budget is almost here.

This is from City & State earlier today:

While bail reform highlights divides between Democratic legislators, they appear united against gubernatorial priorities like a four-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools. 

I very much doubt the New York State Legislature will do right by the children of NYC by ending mayoral control but at least they aren't giving into Governor Kathy Hochul's request for a four-year extension. Here is the full piece on education in the state budget:


The governor and state lawmakers are not fighting over Foundation Aid like they used to, but they remain apart on other issues. This includes extending mayoral control over New York City schools for four years, as Hochul has proposed, or a “New Deal” for CUNY and SUNY that both chambers backed in their one-house budget resolutions. Hochul might not back the plan’s call for tuition-free college, but she might warm up to other aspects like a push to help deteriorating campuses fund repairs. One area of agreement is expanding the Tuition Assistance Program to cover incarcerated people, but mayoral control and other contentious issues might have to wait until the second half of the legislative session.

In addition to being a member of the UFT, I am also in the CUNY teachers union called the Professional Staff Congress. The PSC is urging full member involvement in this fight for a New Deal for CUNY. I was asked to lobby my state representatives and given their phone numbers earlier today. The PSC has had many actions in this fight.

When was the last time the UFT asked us to get involved in anything as a collective? A long-long time ago. For example, the unions say they want Tier VI pension reform. Why aren't the union leaders telling hundreds of thousands of government workers in New York to be on the phone daily to pressure the legislators to make Tier VI equal to Tier IV?

Saturday, March 26, 2022


 I'll be hosting our officer candidates tonight at 7:00 on Zoom. Please join us.

Thursday, March 24, 2022


For the Unity people who read this blog, we want to give you a little primer on some of Robert's Rules. This is especially for the guy who asked about a higher authority at yesterday's Delegate Assembly. Unity's new line of attack is that we in the United for Change opposition to Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus want to disrupt meetings while Unity wants to get on with the work of the Union. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want the rules of democracy followed while the chair acts like a bully.

President Michael Mulgrew filibustered for about an hour and twenty-five minutes yesterday and Secretary Leroy Barr took a few minutes more in an hour and forty-five-minute meeting. There was little deliberation in a body that according to the UFT Constitution in Article VII, Section 6:  "The Delegate Assembly shall have the power to legislate all matters except those pertaining to the admission, suspension or expulsion of members of this organization." The DA is a legislative body that does not legislate because the President is incapable of yielding the floor to anyone who doesn't agree with him. The Unity faithful blame the opposition who made a few procedural motions (that is the only way to get the floor because the chair never calls on the opposition) that took up less than five minutes. Worse still, he cut off the two women who rose in a very rude way.

One of the ways to get the floor without being recognized by the chair is called a Parliamentary Inquiry. Can a Parliamentary Inquiry interrupt a speaker? This kind of inquiry according to Robert's Rules on page 293 is "in order when another has the floor if they require immediate attention." For those who don't know what a Parliamentary Inquiry is, here it is right from page 293 of Robert's Rules Newly Revised: "A Parliamentary Inquiry is a question directed to the presiding officer to obtain information on a matter of parliamentary law or the rules of the organization bearing on the business at hand. It is the chair's duty to answer such questions when it may assist a member to make an appropriate motion, raise a proper point of order, or understand the parliamentary situation or the effect of a motion."

Camille Eterno tried to make a Parliamentary Inquiry yesterday at the DA but as soon as she rose and said, "Parliamentary Inquiry!"  Mulgrew responded that he was giving a report so he doesn't have to listen to her. (What?) What was the Parliamentary Inquiry Camille wanted to make but was not permitted to?

"Since this body does not approve the minutes at the start of our meetings which is what is called for in Robert’s Rules of Order, shouldn’t the start of the meeting be the proper time to note an error in the minutes of the February DA? It must be noted that the Minutes from February’s DA reflect that the point of order I made was - “The president’s report is too long.” That is mostly inaccurate. The point of order was that Robert’s Rules says, on page 476, “Strictly speaking in a purely deliberative assembly, the officers make no reports.” Furthermore, on Page 22 it states that the chair is to maintain a “necessary position of impartiality.” The chair is not neutral in his reports or assigning the floor. The record needs to reflect accurately what the point of order actually was. What is the process to correct minutes?"

This next question is for Unity readers: When was the right time to make this Parliamentary Inquiry to correct the minutes?

Mulgrew wouldn't hear the Parliamentary Inquiry and arrogantly stated to Camille that he is giving a report and doesn't have to listen. He then rudely cut off Ibeth Mejia's Point of Order that followed. Ibeth correctly pointed out that Camille was entitled to the floor. The President loudly shouted, "You're out of order!" to her. The chair according to Robert's Rules page 253 should state that the point "is not well taken," not scream at the member, "You're out of order!" Mulgrew didn't listen at all to these two women but later recognized male members who made parliamentary Inquiries and another procedural motion. That has to be noted. Only the two women were cut off mid-sentence.

Let's be real. Mulgrew is still upset that he lost two votes in November at the DA and wants the opposition silenced until after his reelection. The DA is truly the legislative body that doesn't legislate.

This is the Parliamentary Inquiry I would ask:

Parliamentary Inquiry: Since the November DA when opposition Delegates won two votes at this Delegate Assembly, we have not been called on to speak by the chair for three straight months. We’ve only gotten the floor by raising appropriate procedural questions. What do we have to do to be recognized by the chair to raise a motion or speak in debate if we are not friends of your Unity Caucus but instead are members of United for Change? We are a legislative body; there are disagreements and factions. That's how it's supposed to be.

The answer of course is the opposition will never be called on until after the election. The UFT President runs the DA like a dictator. Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin couldn't do it better. (Norm has more details at Ed Notes.) Robert's Rules are based on adapting procedures of the United States House of Representatives for other legislative bodies. Could you imagine if Speaker Nancy Pelosi never recognized a Republican? Would you call that a fair Congress? The UFT is virtually a one-party state. The only way to stop it is by voting out Mulgrew. If we don't, it will only get worse.