Monday, January 31, 2022


We have been asked numerous times in comments here for UFT presidential candidate Camille Eterno's position on vaccine mandates. Camille was quite clear on CNN last summer that she was in favor of the mandate for school staff.

Camille talked about public safety. She said she was afraid many more people will die. That has happened, unfortunately.

Camille was on CNN before the Omicron wave. The difference in deaths between vaccinated and boosted people as opposed to unvaccinated is huge. We saw this in the email summary of the NY Times sent this morning:

That is not a trivial difference. The Times does some analysis:

The average weekly chance that a boosted person died of Covid was about one in a million during October and November (the most recent available C.D.C. data). Since then, the chances have no doubt been higher, because of the Omicron surge. But they will probably be even lower in coming weeks, because the surge is receding and Omicron is milder than earlier versions of the virus. For now, one in a million per week seems like a reasonable estimate.

That risk is not zero, but it is not far from it. The chance that an average American will die in a car crash this week is significantly higher — about 2.4 per million. So is the average weekly death rate from influenza and pneumonia — about three per million.

Vaccine mandates save people's lives. The vaccines are no longer experimental either as Moderna now has full FDA approval just like Pfizer. While I don't fully agree with the Times that Omcron is milder because it is so much more contagious and US deaths are unacceptably high, mandates will keep more people alive.

Do you really think Camille should change her position based on the accepted sceintific and statistical record?

That said, both of us feel there should be reasonable exemptions and we have helped UFT members who should have been given exemptions but were denied.


Saturday, January 29, 2022


Remember last year when the UFT said they had the most open process for the mayor's endorsement. We knew it was not real then but at least they asked some members to weigh in.

When it comes to the governor's race in 2022, the UFT is not even pretending to consult with the rank and file. It is Kathy Hochul all the way. Forget that she is for mayoral control of our schools (a complete disaster since 2002 that has to be renewed this June by the State Legislature and governor) and she hasn't opposed charter schools getting more funding.

Were the Executive Board and Delegate Assembly even asked? Mulgrew takes us for granted. There is not even any pretense of democratic decision making. 

You get one chance to fix this mess. Vote United for Change in the UFT election this April. We need your help to spread the word.


 United for Change is doing its best to get out there on social media. Here is the latest Twitter ad.

South Bronx School (Peter Zucker) says fear is emanating from Unity on this election.

 We need all of you to get involved too. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022


 I was a little surprised as I haven't heard much discussion at all that NYSUT has endorsed Kathy Hochul for governor.

Hochul called for a renewal of mayoral control. She doesn't deserve our endorsement.

UFT's Michael Mulgrew and others from the UFT hierarchy are on the NYSUT Board of Directors. 

Did they bring this up with any of you in the schools?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


If you want to see on display the differences between the two candidates for UFT President, read some of Michael Mulgrew's testimony in Albany concerning mayoral control of the NYC schools. The law giving the mayor a majority of the Board of Education in NYC sunsets in June and must be renewed by the State Legislature and Governor to continue.

This is from Mulgrew's testimony:

If this is the UFT's opening offer that would leave the mayor appointing a majority of the members of the Board of Education (Panel for Educational Policy), the UFT essentially wants to keep mayoral control.

Camille Eterno opposes it.

Last night she appeared with Abby and Matt on Grading the Drama, DOE Unplugged. Camille's part starts at the 22-minute mark but I recommend the entire show.

Camille clearly states that it's time to let mayoral control sunset. How about an elected school board like they just passed in Illinois for Chicago Public Schools?

Camille also strongly favors lobbying in Albany as a major priority for the repeal of what a UN labor agency has ruled is a human rights violating loss of two days' pay for every day on strike provision of the Taylor Law. You won't hear a sound from Mulgrew on this issue.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022



The UFT election season is here so Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus is out there with a hashtag saying, "#wedothework."

Here is a response from a United for Change supporter saying what Unity really does.

We do the work of...
  • pretending we're doing the work.
  • handing out givebacks.
  • rolling over and playing dead while John King & NYSED demoralize us with Danielson APPR ratings.
  • selling off retiree healthcare to for-profit insurance companies.
  • lobbying against universal healthcare.
  • letting new teachers be tortured with four years of probation.
  • negotiating wage increases that don't keep pace with inflation.
  • ignoring our membership.
  • letting teachers work in unsafe, Covid-filled buildings
  • getting rid of seniority school transfers.
  • providing patronage jobs to Mulgrew's sycophants.
  • firing UFT phone staffers and replacing them with Salesforce™ call-center-script-readers.
  • quashing debate at Delegate Assemblies.
  • supporting mayoral control (and saying that we don't).
  • hiring lawyers and consultants who have never stepped foot in a public school classroom.
  • doing whatever (arbitrator) Marty Scheinman tells us.
  • bending over and getting f***ed by every politician who says they'll give us "a seat at the table."
  • telling you that everything Mulgrew does (including bending over and...) is the greatest victory ever.

Monday, January 24, 2022


 The UFT election is by mail-in ballot in April. 

You want a better Union? Get involved in our campaign.

United for

Saturday, January 22, 2022


 This is from a piece at NY1.

Quietly tucked away in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget is a four-year extension of mayoral control of city schools, which is set to expire in June. 

We reported on this on Tuesday

Just what is the UFT's position on mayoral control?

On Wednesday in his President's Report, Michael Mulgrew said according to our minutes:

Mayoral control: we have not supported it for NYC. We do not want to go back to school boards.

So what does the UFT want? Quietly tucked away in the NY1 piece is this:

The teachers union here in the city supports mayoral control as a concept, just not its current iteration. They think it needs to be amended to include more checks and balances.

When does Mr. Mulgrew intend to tell us what those checks and balances are?  We fought for checks and balances on mayoral control in 2009 and got some insignificant cosmetic changes to the law.

You do have a say on this. There is very little doubt about what United for Change Presidential candidate Camille Eterno would do if elected.

This is what she said in a January 2 speech:

Let’s not forget that mayoral control of the schools is up this year in Albany. If we don’t fight it, Michael Mulgrew will agree to a watered-down version of the same old garbage. It’s up to us to put the public back in public education.

How about we fight for an elected school board like they recently won in Chicago?

Friday, January 21, 2022


The leaders of the UFT from Unity Caucus proved in 2020 that they care more about member dues than member lives when they put out a memo, leaked to the Daily News, advising against a sickout at the height of the pandemic. At the time, there was no vaccine and COVID was spreading everywhere with NYC at the epicenter.

This is from the Daily News piece on a sickout planned for March 16, 2020:

But UFT officials are privately warning members against that move, arguing it could be interpreted as a violation of state labor law, according to a message reviewed by the Daily News.

UFT officials told union representatives Saturday to "advise against" a planned call out on Monday.

“A coordinated sick-out will be interpreted by the DOE as an organized effort in violation of the Taylor Law and the Triborough Law,” union officials wrote its leaders.

“They will perceive it as a labor action and strike. Each participant is subject to a fine of two days’ pay for every missed day and arrest. However, even worse, the UFT will suffer greatly with fines and penalties. Please advise against.”

The UFT told the truth when they declared that their dues were more important than member lives.

The Union has managed to send out their "safety last" message again in January of 2022. This time it involves UFT election petitioning. 

The UFT Constitution calls for 100 signatures from UFT members to be nominated for the Executive Board or Convention Delegate positions and 900 for an Officer. It does not say that the signatures cannot be electronic. The United for Change members of the Election Committee asked for electronic signatures at the height of the Omicron stage of the pandemic. Unity's representatives (the Mulgrew majority) said NO.

The results: This is a comment from Solidarity's Quinn Zannoni who is a Chapter Leader who was at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly:

Quinn Zannoni said...
6:17 -- Where was United For Change? Down on the 1st floor in the UFT Welcome Center organizing their petition drive to run for office. Unity is forcing the opposition caucus to amass hundreds of paper petitions in-person during a pandemic -- refusing the option of remote signatures -- just to be obstructionist. They know we'll get them signed regardless, they would just prefer to get us sick in the process.

The UFT is well aware that retirees, many in their 70s and 80s, lead the petition drives. Sending them out to collect hand written signatures in a pandemic shows again the Unity leaders do not care about the health of their members. Mulgrew-Unity are not fit to represent anyone.

Thursday, January 20, 2022


 From the weekly UFT COVID-19 update. Thanks to a longtime friend for getting this to us.

Clarification around providing remote work for students
Despite recent communications from the DOE that suggest the contrary, there is no new DOE-UFT agreement on providing remote work for students who are at home for reasons other than testing positive for COVID-19. The DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on Remote Instruction signed in September 2021 is still in effect. Under that agreement, teachers and related service providers are eligible for payment for the office hours and other instructional support they provide for students who tested positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine at home.

If a UFT member puts in extra instruction/office hours during the workday on a prep or during their lunch period for these students, the member should be paid for that time at the coverage rate. If this work is done after school, the member should receive per-session pay up to two hours for elementary school and up to three hours for middle and high school if teaching more than one course.

Absences not related to a COVID quarantine

Teachers cannot be required to provide asynchronous instruction and office hours as set forth in the agreement on remote instruction in these situations:
  • A student fails the health screening and there is no COVID-19 test
  • A student is absent for reasons not related to COVID
  • A family is keeping a student home for safety reasons and is requesting all assignments
Staff are expected to engage in normal pre-pandemic practices with respect to these student absences.

The DOE has said that if staff are willing and their supervisor approves, they may provide office hours and asynchronous instruction for these students but they must be compensated accordingly. No principal should be pressuring teachers to provide remote work online for students who are absent for reasons other than to quarantine or isolate.

The UFT’s position is that a posting should be created to pay per session for instructional planning and office hours for children who are absent for reasons other than to quarantine. Staff who are interested could apply.

The school chapter leader should report any violations of the DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on Remote Instruction in an operational issues complaint on behalf of all affected staff.
See our Instructional Issues FAQ

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


President's Report:

Michael Mulgrew started by asking for a moment of silence for the Bronx fire victims.

Federal Level

Everything is stuck. NYS putting in a waiver for accountability for schools determined to be in trouble. State submitted waiver on December 22 and was denied on December 29. State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa was supportive. We don't want schools to be treated unfairly because students were taking standardized tests during a pandemic. We are appealing. Nothing moving in DC. Voting rights and Build Back Better are stuck.


First budget proposal yesterday from the governor. It is then negotiated with State Senate and State Assembly. It is no longer three men in a room; it is now two ladies and a male. We lobby off of the first process. Money is the best Mulgrew has seen since he has been president. 7% increase in funding. Foundation aid is all there for NYC. Charter schools received an increase in funding also. Change in funding formula in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany. Facilities money increased. We have to give space for charter schools in NYC. It is also in their basic formula. Mayoral control: we have not supported it for NYC. We do not want to go back to school boards. This form of mayoral control has not done best for the students of NYC. We will see where this goes. During the end of Bloomberg's first term. Bloomberg thought it was being given out to make parents happy. They decided to give a standardized test in kindergarten. With complete mayoral control, they moved it that way and NYC had the most segregated gifted and talented program. De Blasio tried to get rid of it to fit his politics. Sixteen years later gifted and talented has been a political football for two mayors. Children have suffered. Mayoral control in the budget now. We had scheduled in-person lobbying but the senate and assembly are doing it now remotely. Teacher centers funded for the first time since George Pataki. Our team is taking it apart with our friends at NYSUT. The process is starting. We prioritize education money getting to the classroom.


That was some first two weeks of this year. Two roughest weeks to be a chapter leader or delegate. COVID rates were very high when we got back. We closed a school this week. Mayor feels strongly schools should be opened. our doctor said we will go up rapidly. Hospitalizations needed to be watched. We plateaued and now we are going down. Scary stuff to see such high numbers. Then there was snow. We told Mayor Adams to go remote. Mayor figured out there aren't 24,000 substitutes. Student attendance on the snow day was very low. No snow days; we don't want to work during breaks. We didn't get a remote day. Last week, a significant drop in COVID numbers, this week a further drop. Safety issues: contact us, it gets fixed. That is what keeps the Union tight. Pre k and 3-k sites have rapid tests. 

Hiccups: Official attendance policy was if you see a child, you can mark him present. Right now the new administration is putting out misinformation about things that were never done. No MOA from last Friday. At Tweed, they are blaming each other for misinformation. We are trying to iron things out. Communication was not great with the old administration. They must take down old guidance when there is new guidance. If a child has tested positive for COVID or is put in isolation, they go to pivot to remote learning. If a child fails the health screening, they are treated as if they are absent. We have to have a posting for per session for students who have failed the health screening. If a child is absent and goes into an asynchronous classroom, they can't be marked present. That violates state education law. Remote education: new chancellor says he always wanted remote and the UFT is holding it up. Parent leaders who meet with Mulgrew every 2 months say we need a remote option, not for 60% of the students, but for parents who are not sending their children into schools until the COVID pandemic is over. We are having conversations on this. We had high attendance in elementary and middle schools (over 90%) before December 1. High schools have had low attendance. We don't want to reprogram now and major shifting but we do want a remote option for the rest of this school year. Moving on the high schools as the term changes February 1. Middle schools next because so many students take Regents exams. There will be a parent survey. Going remote will not guarantee you keep your teacher. High schools will not be able to offer all of the courses high schools offer. We will not just drop a camera in a room as that is bad instruction. Chancellor spoke to elected officials about the survey. We need our children back in school. We need to increase enrollment and attendance. Skedula went down at a terrible time. Three teachers from Telecommunications High School started the system. When it was mandated, people didn't like it. 

David Campbell, Director of Grievance Department, called up on Spring Break 2020 arbitration.

David Campbell: City ordered us to work and we lost spring break in 2020. We negotiated for 4 CAR days for religious observance which was in the middle there and we agreed we could file for full compensation. July 1, 2021 we filed grievance. DOE said we gave 4 CAR days and that should be enough. We argued for cash. We had two precedents to show we get paid if we work. The arbitrator made it clear that 5 unions involved (4 after us), was not going to make city write a check. We argued CAR does not equal a regular day. Cash them in at 1 days pay for 2 CAR days when you retire. We worked it out that it was 1 vacation day for each day worked during the spring break of 2020. Vacation days can be used for anything you want. Should ask for days well in advance of the minimum 10 days. If more than a reasonable number ask for a certain day, it will be decided by seniority. They must deny within 48 hours. We can take it to arbitration if denied. The vacation days last for your whole career. They can be cashed out 1 for 1 when you leave the Board. Come February, use the days as you like. Retirees get cash.

Mulgrew back: Anyone interested in negotiating committee got notice. We want the biggest negotiating committee ever. We want functionals across the negotiating table with the DOE. We have to figure something out if enrollments don't recover. Our contract expires in September. Arbitrations now dealing with the last round. A union could settle and go further on. A financial pattern may be set before we go into full-blown negotiations. Inflation is high now. Negotiations are private. Chapters help other chapters. So many chapters and they come in at different times. Negotiations is a real time allotment. Mulgrew thinks this negotiation is going to be a little more complicated.

Staff Director's Report:

Election petitions are out for the UFT election. They are due back on February 18. Albert Shanker Scholarship deadline extended. High school people need to spread the word. High School town hall on Thursday, February 3. African Heritage Committee Award going to Sterling Roberson. Dinner at Antons. Black history month film series: films and conversations afterwards. Chapter leader training on February 12. Early childhood conference on March 9. Para chapter luncheon March 5. 

Point of clarification: Peter Lamphere asks about staff working in the room but delegates are excluded. Staff working in DA but cap means people can't get in so delegates are outside who can't get in. How can people be registered and not get in since there are empty chairs?

Mulgrew: Staff working here are crucial to the meeting. If people want to get in, please register. We want to increase the cap if it is safe. If COVID numbers go down, we could have a hybrid chapter leader training.

Question Period:

Question: Most parents honest and working with us but some parents not doing the take-home test. How do we keep students safe?

Mulgrew Answer: Health screening is a legal attestation. If it is found that someone lied on that, DOE can discipline employees. Parents have sanctions too. We don't want to take a position that people are gaming the system. We don't want to have a lot of people challenged that they are lying on a health screening. 

Question: New attendance policy, if student not present in class but is engaging so that we can mark them present. Is that correct?

Answer: It is not correct. That student is absent. We have talked to SED. We are waiting for clarification from DOE. Team not built out from new team at DOE. 

Question: Will we have live streaming?

Answer: This is not something we want to do. Mulgrew would say no. Some members are okay with it. Teaching online when you are teaching to camera can be alright. Teaching to a class and to the camera won't work. Do I teach to the camera or the class? Is that good remote instruction? No. They just want to check a box saying they have a remote option.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew for work during the surge. Members tired and confused. Emailed Mulgrew chapter survey. Rapid tests should be done in the school. Test to get in and test in school. Is there a reason why we can't do it in nurse's office?

Answer: We should have testing in the school. There is never enough testing. DOH does not believe the school system should be giving tests to children. Some want mandated testing of students and some don't. Department of Health is not there for testing children inside of schools.

Question: Per session, with pivot to remote and 2 hours of per session, it is a win. Principals getting pushback as if it is their money, but is there a limit to how much per session we can do? 

Answer: It is not coming out of the principal's pocket; we are doing extra work. It should be a COVID expense that comes out of federal dollars. Principals got money. Did they spend it properly? Union's position is more work can't be mandated. It has to be done per session or pro-rata but nothing mandated. The principal's budgets are rich. Principals who don't have money, we would be interested in seeing how they spent the money. Principal apologized for people doing 7 periods. We don't have to worry about that principal. Others, we have to worry about.

New motion period:

Mulgrew explains voting procedure.

Motion for this month to move resolution on member engagement during contract negotiations from 5 to 1 on this month's agenda. 769 yes-128 no online. In building, no numbers are given but Mulgrew says it passes and so it moves to number 1.

Motion for next month: Resolved that delegates regardless of political affiliation respect civil debate and respect each other. It's very contentious this year. Dedicate to working together. 

Melissa Williams speaks against quoting MLK tweet. Civility counts but it isn't justice. Sometimes civility not an appropriate response in the face of injustice.

The vote is 716 Yes-148 No. Internally, it passes and will be put on the February agenda.

Move to suspend the rules to extend the motion period by 10 minutes and extend the meeting by half an hour. Online 312 yes-556 No. It does not pass.

Special Orders of Business:

Expand member engagement resolution. Someone from FDR Hs says he is dedicated to hearing as many voices as possible as we go into contract negotiations. Another person speaks in favor. Amendment to add a resolved clause that says that the results of member surveys will be released to the members of each bargaining unit. Last contract, members never saw the results of the contract survey. We don't know the priorities if we don't know results of survey.

Brooklyn Borough rep says we are publicly negotiating. These are private conversations. We are the strongest union in this country. We didn't get there by negotiating in public. A delegate speaks in favor of the amendment by saying how not transparent the DOE is so the UFT should work to increase transparency and fairness. Negotiating committee must be open, fair, and transparent.

Mike Sill argues against the amendment as we can't let enemies see what we want. The resolution already makes clear that we have a representative committee speak on behalf of the membership. Someone says we have a right to know and it could be after. Question is then called. 

Vote to close debate is 674 yes- 152 no online. Debate is closed. Mulgrew does not announce a live vote.

Vote on amendment: 314 Yes- 529 No. Amendment fails.

Resolution on more member engagement vote online is 534 yes-199 no. No announcement of the live vote but resolution passes.

Resolution on NY Senate bill 728. Occupational therapist wants pharmacists to dispense medication that helps prevent HIV. Preemptive medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Some in Black and Latina communities are reluctant to get medical help. 

Beacon HS delegate moves to suspend rules to vote on all resolutions on agenda as one. Mulgrew clarifies that it would be without motivation or debate.

349 Yes-359 No. It doesn't get 2/3 vote.

Resolution on Senate bill 728  gets 614 Yes-85 No. It passes. 

Meeting is adjourned. Mulgrew thanks members for work they have done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


I probably wasn't going to vote for Kathy Hochul as she is a typical corporate Democrat but after seeing her Executive Budget includes extending the mayor's control of the New York City schools for four more long years, that sealed the deal: Hochul's gotta go. 

From the Budget Briefing Book:

NYSUT looks happy that the state aid will keep pouring into local districts. I have no problem with state money coming to NYC however we have seen that extra state aid coming to NYC seldom finds its way directly to the classroom. See our higher class sizes in NYC for evidence.



 Lydia is arguing before a judge that the Department of Education's safety policy is arbitrary and capricious. She is claiming the masks are inadequate. KN 95 masks last only 25 hours. She also says the ventilation is deficient. She goes on to say the class sizes are too high. She then adds that the courts have ruled on many occasions to override school policy. She says switching to remote will cause learning loss but that is much less harmful than keeping buildings open because switching to temporary remote would keep many more people healthy. She adds that she caught COVID in school in January. She asks that the schools be remote through February  1. She cites numerous statistics to back up her argument.

Judge asks who she represents. Lydia argues that she represents all people who signed her petition, which is thousands of people. Judge asks her to show her citations and Lydia does.

City attorney argues that their plan is rational. Parents will have issues if schools are remote. DOE has mitigation strategies. Lydia can't bring a class action pro se. New York City DOE has an obligation to provide for children and is doing it. The issue is moot because she asked for schools to go remote until January 18 and that makes it moot. 

Lydia gets a rebuttal saying 75 DOE have died since pandemic started. She goes over masks again. 

City says there is a rational basis for what they have done. 

Judge says he will make a decision. It's over at 10:16 a.m.


I went to the UFT Solidarity member support meeting on Zoom last Friday. It was very informative and I think Lydia Howrilka for giving me a chance to speak for a couple of minutes.

Here is the presentation, written by Nick Bacon from New Action with some help from Lydia and Solidarity's Quinn Zannoni, on knowing your rights. It is well worth looking over.

She also provided advice on dealing with abusive administrators.

In addition, we heard from Lydia updating us on the lawsuit she filed pro se (without a lawyer) looking for temporary remote learning during the height of the Omicron spike.

 Oral Arguments for the pro se lawsuit are at 10am on Tuesday. I will have to take a personal day (which sucks because I will miss my students!).

Given the latest news about the Chancellor suddenly being open to a remote option, I'm wondering what the City's argument is going to be when I face them over Microsoft Teams on Tuesday.

Solidarity also wants to know what you are thinking on school safety unlike the current UFT leadership that rarely looks to hear from the membership. 

Please take the UFT Solidarity School Safety Survey.

Solidarity is fighting for all of us. As soon as we have more information, we will post it. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022


This was reported by Sue Edelman in the NY Post today.

A remote option is coming back to city schools in response to plunging attendance amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Under a new Department of Education policy, students who don’t show up even though they are not sick or under quarantine won’t be marked absent if they meet with teachers on Zoom office hours and get class materials online.

Students can still be marked present, for instance, if they log onto Google Classroom to view PowerPoint presentations, subject notes and assignments. They can also communicate with teachers via email.

“We’re giving students permission to stay home as long as they are showing some level of participation online,” a Queens teacher told The Post.

“The city is making attendance rates go up.”

The change, quietly posted online Friday and first reported by Gothamist, came a day after Mayor Eric Adams revealed he was willing to negotiate a “temporary remote option” with the teachers’ union. Schools Chancellor David Banks, speaking to a parents’ council the day before, cited “political pressure” among concerns.

After the holiday break on Jan. 3, attendance in DOE schools sunk to 67 percent. On Friday, the attendance was 75 percent. With an enrollment of 938,000 students, that means 234,500 kids missed classes. 


Friday, January 14, 2022

Thursday, January 13, 2022


I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Chancellor David Banks responding to parents about why there is no remote option.

This is from Twitter:

Watch the video for yourself. This does not sound much like what Michael Mulgrew stated at the town hall yesterday. I didn't hear anything about the Chancellor trying to give a remote option and UFT negotiations holding it up. 

The UFT responded to Banks with a statement:

"Clearly the Chancellor has been misinformed about the UFT’s position. We have long called for an instructionally sound remote option and have been speaking directly to the Mayor about creating one, a program that will work for students,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew in a written statement Thursday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


While President Michael Mulgrew spent much of the Town Hall telling you how wonderful you are for risking your health in a pandemic to come to work, the UFT did put out some useful information today.

Remote agreement still applies for office hours and online work
Teachers and related service providers are still eligible for payment for office hours and asynchronous/synchronous work provided for students who must quarantine due to COVID-19. If a UFT member puts in extra instruction/office hours during the workday on a prep or during lunch, the member should be paid for that time at the coverage rate. If this work is done after school, the member should receive per-session pay up to two hours for elementary school and up to three hours for middle and high school if teaching more than one course. The school chapter leader should report any violations of the DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on Remote Instruction in an operational issues complaint on behalf of all affected staff.
Update on staffing shortages and operational closures
Staffing shortages remain a concern. It has always been the union's position that if a school cannot operate safely, it should be cause for an operational closure. We have shared this position with the DOE, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

Currently, if a principal reports a staffing issue to the DOE, that school receives priority focus from the substitute pool and central redeployment of staff. If the number of COVID absences gets too large and the DOE cannot provide enough staff to operate a school safely, then an operational closure should occur and the school should temporarily shift to remote learning.


 Michael Mulgrew asks for a moment of silence for the Bronx fire that cost 17 people their lives including 8 children and impacted on dozens of families. He also asked for people to go to to go to the disaster relief fund. Doctor Mowen, an independent doctor will be on the call. COVID update came out weekly today. Pass it on. Get out information. Pass it on. It is clear. We are working with new DOE and City administration. This is rough. This has been the roughest time I can ever remember in Mulgrew's opinion. New variant through holiday season. Every day multiple coverages. Children not knowing what to do and parents asking questions. It's real. We have stood up for the children throughout the pandemic. We will fight about a remote option. City should be concentrating on the heroic work that is going on in the schools. Nobody could have ever imagined us going through something like this. We are the largest school system. We are doing heroic work. At times, we will fight.

We met with doctors after Thanksgiving. Doctors said rapid test kids were better now. New administration coming in. We wanted state to mandate student testing. Pushing with State Legislature and Governor. We haven't gotten there yet. Mayor didn't fight but said he would try to get us what we need. We send out clearer directions than the DOE does. New administration got control of the schools on January 1. School started on January 3. Kids getting sick in class. We asked for a remote day Friday. Told mayor but he thought it was an excuse for COVID remote.  We want schools to go remote if there aren't enough staff to keep the school safe. Teachers last week were taking the double coverages. That is the beauty of the people inside this union. We have a right to be fed up with the government but we picked it up and got instruction done. Moving forward we will have to fight to close schools if they don't have enough staff. Over 200,000 students have not shown up, we need a remote option. 200,000 haven't shown up and are getting no education. Have to be flexible. Remote should not look like it looked like last year. Last administration didn't want to do a remote option. We need a campaign to get parents to consent to testing. 

We have not taken a position on student-mandated vaccines. 5-11year-olds vaccinated percentage vaccinated in the 30s. 12-17 it is in the 80s. We are testing more than ever before. Situation Room was completely rebuilt. We have more testing team than before. We want staff tested who want it. We are asking them to use common sense. We can try to get things changed. Testing from NYC sites goes to Situation Room. Principals report rapid testing into Situation Room. Rough holiday caused positive tests to go up. It is in the teens percentage wise. We have heard reports that we have already hit the peak. First week numbers are going down. Rapid tests are our number one tool. KN95 masks important. There can't be an interuption in supply chain. Elected officials who say schools should remain open need to do what is needed to keep it safe. Mulgrew does not trust doctors who are on government payroll. We spoke to Governor Hochul. We got millions of tests. Think on school level how they should be used. We should get a rapid test each week for every staff members. Some children last week in secondary schools were getting seven-nine test kits. Schools need to use common sense. DOE can't waste test kits. Some principals giving the same kids test kits over and over. Want test kits used as needed. No individual needs 20 tests per week. There will never be enough testing. We want PPE available for everyone. Mulgrew went to D75 and American Sign Language School on January 3. They had supplies.

We are in a tough time. We have to be resiliant. We have to be there for each other. You are doing so much more than you have to. This goes past any dedication than should be required. We will hopefully get past this phase. Ask for Dr. Jackie Molene to speak.

Doctor comes on and says we were out banging on pots and pans cheering in March and April 2020 for healthcare workrs and they should now be cheering for you and all the essential workers. Two types of testing: PCR tests tells us where big problems are. rapid tests 95% sensitive according to new study from San Fransisco. Should be wearing N95 or KN94 which studies show they are effective for 24 hours. Cloth masks work but not as well. Omicron has different symtoms. No loss of taste or smell. Cold-like symptoms. You can come back after five days. Not sure of the rules of testing for children.

Mulgrew says if a student is symptomatic, they are isolated and sent home with a rapid tests that gets input into system. Mulgrew asks, if exposed, should I test every day? Rapid test show when you are symptomatic and infectious.

Doctor comes back and says you should test on day 3. Virus is evading some of the masks which come down when someone is eating and drinking. Testing every day not necessary but can test on third day. 

Mulgrew: In terms of virus, we know it's much more infectious.

Doctor: Rate as high as 30% and it is now down a bit. The hospitalization rate is stabilizing in NYC and Long Island. That is a lagging indicator but no big increase. We may have hit the peak and the numbers are going down. We hope for a deep down slope like South Africa.

Mulgrew: We talked to a South African doctor and hoping for a quick decrease. Since this is so rampant, shouldn't we look at hospitalizations?

Doctor: Omicron does not go deep in the lungs so less Covid Pneumonia. Some have cold-like symptoms. Some it is worse. People with worse outcomes who have things like blood cancers. Vaccines prevent severe outcomes, especially those who are boosted. Boosters are a big deal. Hospitalizations are shorter and fewer people on ventilators.

Mulgrew thanks the doctor.


Question: We're getting conflicting information from the Situation Room on testing kits.

Mulgrew Answer: One kit with two rapid tests for most; two with four tests for some with extenuating circumstances. Situation Room does not put out this guidance. If you are not getting one kit every week, then tell us. 

Question: We are getting one KN95 mask per week. Are we going to get more?

Answer: CDC says the KN95 the city is giving them are good for a week. Style shouldn't matter.

Question: Para on Staten Island snow days, have the city ever done a delayed opening? Coworkers crying because they had to scramble for child care who live where kids stayed home because of ice or snow.

Mulgrew answer: Many stuck because of ice last Wednesday. We can't delay the opening in such a large district. Delayed opening was tried once or twice and it was a disaster. We asked the ayor to go remote. 20% down already and if we had 20% more absent, we can't cover it. We should have gone remote. Mayor said we can't close because people will expect it. Less than 50% of kids showed up. Over 50% of staff were there. They needed to do it before. Classrooms are digital. Kids didn't come Friday

 Question: Can't do a live meet with kids quarantining. We were told we can't get per session?

Mulgrew Answer: That is not true. Contact Staten Island people. Office hours still there to take care of kids positive for COVID or in isolation. DOE made it up that agreement wasn't in effect. Chancellor told superintendents agreement was still in place. Staten Island people will straighten this out.

Question: Temperatures, classrooms in the 60s and 50s. Students with runny noses taking off their masks and heating system not working.

Answer: That is an emergency situation that needs to be fixed right away. Email me.

Question: DOE designated certain areas for PCR test. Wanted PCR and Rapid; PCR takes too long.

Answer: Look at sites to see which test they give and see who cast lines DOE employees. Rapid test came back positive. We will clarify where DOE fast track lines are. We meet with testing people at 8:30 each day. If DOE priority is for both tests, we should get both. Sorry you have tested positive.

Question: Had COVID over the break, question about spring break pay arbitration. Some of us were expecting money. Can people cash in before they retire? Many teachers not happy.

Answer: If you worked all 7 days, you get 7 days. UFT wanted cash. Arbitrator had 4 other unions involved.  Arbitrator not comfortable with giving us cash. City offered CAR days. Our team argued correctly that CAR days were not equal. Arbitrator made up vacation days. We can use this in future negotiations. We wanted cash but DOE tried everything to not give us anything of value of what we worked. Will get more value if you cash them in ten years from now.

Question: Consequences for staff who don't wear masks? Known issue that has been escalating.

Answer: If you don't follow the mask mandate, you can be disciplined. At this point, if you aren't wearing a mask, you are disrespecting my right to be safe. We had this last year. We had situations where administrators weren't wearing masks so half the staff wasn't wearing them. We will take this if you tell us.

Question: Omicron not mild for people with preexisting conditions. Should we get remote accommodations again?

Answer: You can put in for a medical accommodation but the criteria are different from last year. 

Doctor: Disease is mild for most people but for people who are medically fragile, the consequences can be different. Last year there was no vaccine. Even for those who are medically fragile, we are not seeing the same rates of disease as we saw in prior waves of disease. Diabetes, hypertension, and obesity might not get it but for things like blood cancer they are accommodated. Children being hospitalized more with Omicron than with some of the other variants. Newborns and people with other conditions more likely to be hospitalized.

Mulgrew: Some getting accommodations but vaccine is the difference.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew for thanking us. What is the work we have to do with kids who are testing positive? 

Answer: Post asynchronous work and have office hours. Make yourself available for two hours as your schedule permits.

Question: Thanks doctor. Are the Union and the DOE negotiating an early retirement incentive with this administration?

Answer: Only negotiating on COVID with new mayor.

Question: Non DOE sites in DOE buildings not getting screened or tested.

Answer: We will work on that; it is a great idea.

Question: Documentation after a positive test. She tested positive yesterday on a rapid test. Must show a documented test on form. It is unclear if a picture of the positive test is sufficient. Administration can be difficult. Midwood HS administration wants a documented test and a letter from a doctor saying we have COVID test. GP won't take COVID patients. 

Answer: I have the name of the school. They are not supposed to do this. Health screening is legal attestation. You can be brought up on disciplinary charges for lying. That is a difficult administration. Brooklyn people will resolve this.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew for vacation days; cancer patient whose accommodation expires on January 28. What happens after that? Recommends Sloan Kettering.

Answer: Medical accommodations expire at the end of the term. Reapply for the spring. We were the first union to get concierge service at Sloan.

Question: Testing in 3-k and pre-k sites has not happened. If we don't get testing in the schools by the end of January, can we still get the testing kits?

Answer: We may have passed the height of this wave, knock on wood, but we will still send the kits home. Situation Room measures rate of positivity. Rapid test kits are the most important tests now. Little kids get COVID and they are not vaccinated.

Question: Students with symptoms, are we still activating the Building Response Team? Should kids still go to isolation room? Should be sent back with a note?

Answer: Students who have positive test results should be isolated. I don't really care what the room is called. Adults who get the word they are positive also need to leave the classroom.

Doctor Answer: Omicron symptoms similar to the common cold. A child with cold symptoms probably has COVID at this point should not be sent back to the classroom. 

Mulgrew: We need to get a policy that errors on the side of caution at all times on this when the symptoms are similar to the common cold.

Question: Looking past surge we are experiencing and talk about the MOSL. This surge has caused a four weeks of poor attendance. Thought of doing MOSL under these circumstances is tough, is there any conversation about this? Will the state give us a waiver? 

Answer: No way in NYC to do this that is fair. Working with DOE and State on this. Only state can wave it. We are talking to state and city,

Question: Six google assignments and coverage assignments being mandated?

Answer: No they should not be doing that. We will fix it. 

Question: I was quarantined and asked to upload work while home. Was I supposed to do that?

Answer: Substitute is supposed to do that while you are out. Tell us what school this is. Can't wait to find out. Email me, DR.

Mulgrew thanks doctor. Says it can't go unnoticed what we are doing. The performance of our members is beyond everything we signed up for. Ask the press if they recognize the phenomenal work you are doing. Constantly in schools. We are in this together. Thanks all of you. What we are doing throughout this pandemic shows how great you all are. We will have another town hall in February. Be well and safe and try to stay warm. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


The walk out took place today in NYC. This is from NY 1 education reporter Jillian Jorgensen's Twitter:

Monday, January 10, 2022

CHICAGO REMOTE ACTION SUSPENDED (Update: CTU Members Approve Deal 55.5% to 45.5%)

This is from the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Chicago Teachers Union’s governing body has voted to suspend its labor action and return to in-person work Tuesday, ending a bitter dispute with Chicago Public Schools and setting up students to return to classrooms Wednesday for the first time in a week.

“Today’s negotiations were productive,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement ahead of the vote. “We are waiting to hear back from the CTU. We will update parents, students and members of the public as soon as we are able.”

The union’s 700-member house of delegates convened to discuss the school district’s offer, which appeared to make very few compromises. The union’s delegates voted 389 to 226 in favor of suspending the work action and returning Tuesday. The CTU’s 25,000 members are expected to vote later in the week on whether to approve the potential agreement.

The full membership will vote on this agreement.

Back to the article:

When it came to school closures, CPS compromised with the CTU and agreed to shut down a building for at least five days if 30% or more of its teachers are absent for two consecutive days because of positive cases or quarantines, and if substitutes can’t get the absences under 25%. A school would also close if 40% of its students were quarantining.

At first glance, this does not look like much for CTU as closing with that many out is too late but at least these are definite numbers. I see half-empty schools in Chicago soon just like we have in NYC.


From WTTW:

CTU members voted to go back the deal to go back to wor

But the decision came on a slim margin, with just under 56% of voting members casting their ballots in favor of the agreement.

“This vote is a clear show of dissatisfaction with the boss,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said Wednesday. “It’s outrageous that teachers, school nurses, counselors and more had to endure a week of being locked out by the mayor just to get a commitment from her bargaining team to provide every student with an N95 mask in a pandemic.”


The students in NYC are doing more than the UFT to protest the Mayor's dangerous fantasyland policies on schools during the huge Omicron wave.

When politicians and their media mouthpieces blabber on about how school is the safest place for kids, show them this pie chart from the Illinois Department of Public Health on potential exposure locations:

School was 42.6% on this list and own home was .938%. The Chicago teachers are quite intelligent and they remain on strike as they refuse to report to these unsafe schools but they have been locked out of their online classrooms by the Mayor. The strike is not legal but they put their health and the health of the students above all else. They had a car caravan protest today. One of the coolest slogans: "Until cases decline, class is online."

A report from Chicago

Sunday, January 09, 2022


Georgia Lignou guest blogs again today on observations. Although she is writing specifically about Bryant, we believe observations should be waived throughout the state this school year, including in NYC.

What if a school had decided to use a rubric of evaluation for student work, and although all teachers were normed on how to use it, one teacher deviated and kept applying the rubric differently? Even after students tried to explain their reasoning, their work was still rated based on what was not there and not really on what they did. As a result, students were downrated and no matter how hard they tried to comply to the teacher’s strict definition of effective work, their scores remained very low affecting their progress and their mental health. What if these students went to the principal with good evidence, they collected proving that they were rated with much stricter standards year after year? What would this principal be expected to do?

This is an analogy to what has been happening in Bryant HS pertaining to teacher ratings. For years we have been claiming that the Danielson Rubric is used inappropriately and unfairly by the Bryant administration. For years we have been claiming that the average rating we receive in our school is Developing and it is far lower than the average received in other schools. For years we have been pointing out the adverse effects this has on instruction and teacher morale. For years we have made the connection between the ratings and micromanagement, fear, narrow-minded and inflexible teaching strategies, low morale, and high teacher turnover. We were ignored and when we asked for our school’s teacher evaluation data the Principal and the Superintendent turned us down.

Now we have proof (see chart below). After filing a request under the Freedom of Information Law, we got the data, and the numbers are clear. In the period between 2016 to 2021 every single year in every single category of the Danielson Rubric teachers at Bryant High School have been rated significantly lower than our counterparts in the Borough of Queens and the City of NY overall. The average rating is at times close to one point lower on the Danielson Scale of 1-4. So, on average, what is rated as 3-Effective in other schools, in Bryant it is rated 2-Developing. The rating of 4-Highly Effective is almost never used, and although the Borough of Queens and the City averages are inching up, in Bryant they are inching down, so the gap is widening. The biggest gap appears to be during the school year of 2020-2021, the year of the pandemic when even the Danielson Group had made a public appeal to reprioritize, over thirty teachers at Bryant were found Developing on the MOTP measure. In addition, a compiled list of educators who left the school during the same period counted 140 teachers and guidance counselors, not including about 40 retirees and about 15 Assistant Principals who were -- for the most part—pushed out. Meanwhile, the level of trust for the administration recorded on the School Environment Survey has been abysmal year after year.

The question then became what to do with this information. First, we went to the Principal and the conversation held no surprises. Then we went to the Union and pleaded with the Union officers all the way up to UFT President Mulgrew to take some action, go public, and include the issue in their consultation. They responded by telling us that the chapter needs to organize, and they will help us do it. A point well taken, and assistance well received as a long-term plan, but for the issue at hand, as effective as asking a battered spouse to find the courage to fight the abuser. Then we went to the DOE and the union mediated a meeting between the Superintendent, the Principal, and the Chapter Leader. This might have been effective if we were telling Superintendent Lindsey something she did not already know. So, again no surprise, we were faced with the whole range of responses on the dismissal scale from avoidance to denial, to cheap excuses and victim blame. Overall, the argument seems to be that teacher ratings are inflated so it might be this Principal who rates with fidelity which by omission and deductive reasoning can be interpreted to mean that the overwhelming majority of Principals in NYC even of the most successful High Schools are incompetent in rating their teachers. If this argument had any merit, it is rebuttable by our MOSL data that elevate about a third of our teachers from a Developing to an Effective rating every year. We asked Superintendent Lindsey how she can explain the discrepancy among the schools she supervises. The only response clear enough to be understood was that the data presented did not reflect only her schools. So, we filed another FOIL and we saw how Bryant compares to the average of the schools supervised by Superintendent Lindsey in Queens North (see chart below). The results showed the overall average to be close to the Borough and the City averages while again Bryant is lagging far behind, and the results from this current school year are equally abysmal.

Many teachers at Bryant feel the work is excruciating and the expectations unrealistic but still the greatest source of frustration is that what we are asked to do does not always best serve the students. In fact, even good instructional practices when they are used every day, in every class, across all subject areas become repetitive and counterproductive lacking spontaneity and creativity. The claim is made that the school has improved, and in some ways, it has, but numbers are never enough to tell the whole story and a well-presented facade can hide a lot of abuse. If we were to accept that nothing is wrong in Bryant, we also must accept the unlikely and highly illogical premise that it has become a magnet for bad teachers. However, ten years into this school administration there is enough evidence to show that this is in no way true. Not only the MOSL results of some of the lowest rated teachers in the school are exceptional, but time after time teachers left Bryant with a Developing rating only to become Effective and have successful careers serving students in schools sometimes only a few blocks away.

We are calling on the DOE to pay attention to the plight of the teachers in Bryant HS. If what they dream is the unlikely situation that the style of management and teacher evaluation enforced in our school becomes the norm in the city, I will remind them of the shortage and the mass exodus of teachers we are already facing, and I will ask how much more of that the system can afford? We are calling on the UFT to pay attention to the plight of one hundred and eighty members in Bryant HS. The argument that the MOTP does not matter if the MOSL is Effective, is invalidated by the fear of the untenured teachers as they see their career endangered, the frustration of our young teachers who all they can see is years of this abuse ahead of them, and the humiliation and insult our veterans feel to be told that after years of teaching their content knowledge and pedagogy does not stand to scrutiny. The attitude that “they have power over you only with your permission” is a valuable Zen outlook on life, but it cannot be a Union strategy. We are calling for a real discussion on instruction and pedagogy because if we do not engage, others have it in our absence.

Teacher evaluation was supposed to establish norms in a system big and diverse. The Danielson Rubric was designed on the premise of objectivity. An ambitious and probably unattainable goal but nevertheless a promise on the side of the DOE and the UFT to teachers who at the time were very nervous on how it could be used in the hands of abusive principals. So, when we bring evidence that it is used subjectively, punitively and retaliatorily, we demand and deserve attention. Unfair evaluation is not only unethical. It is negligent and it is illegal. We demand that our teachers are not penalized for the failures of the system. Teachers are not expendable, and their health and career cannot be collateral damage. 

We are asking for a moratorium on observations in the school and an investigation by outside evaluators. We are publicly asking the DOE to pay attention to our school and to stop the abuse. How many teachers must be destroyed as they are broken and shaped to fit a principal’s vision? It’s been too long and too many already.

PS. Any legal advice will be appreciated.

Saturday, January 08, 2022


Michael Mulgrew thanks all of you over and over in his latest email (see below). The UFT is pushing for more testing and a threshold for absences of staff that would lead to an operational closure. When are they going to get this agreement? After Omicron has peaked and when the infection rate goes way down?

Dr. Michael Osterholm in his latest Osterholm update podcast calls what we are going through presently a viral blizzard. On schools he says, "Transmission is rampant in schools right now." He adds that we are in for a bumpy ride the next three or four weeks and then Omicron cases should fall precipitously. He concludes by saying he wants his grandkids in school and soon thereafter states, "But when I see politicians saying schools are the safest place for kids to be, we're not going to close them, you might as well say a category 5 hurricane is coming, school is the safest place for kids to be right now. That's crazy, that's crazy; that's not a scientific position to take. You can't guarantee safety right now with Omicron." It's the next few weeks Osterholm is talking about, not the rest of the school year.

Some NY numbers:

Mulgrew does not even use the term Omicron variant in his email or acknowledge that we are in the midst of a surge. Omicron does look like it is milder than earlier variants but it is so much more contagious. If it is half as likely to lead to hospitalization but twice as contagious or more, you do the math. Vaccines work against Omicron but they are far from perfect as there is waning immunity and most elementary school students aren't yet vaccinated. Attendance in NYC was way down in NYC all week.   Add to Covid a snowstorm and we had a 44.5% attendance rate in NYC on Friday. What is Mayor Adams doing for hundreds of thousands of kids who are home?  Even those who went in on Friday didn't get much instruction. My daughter stayed home from her middle school. Her friends reported that the entire sixth and seventh-grade student body spent the day in the auditorium because there were so few teachers. Her situation was not unique even before the snow as Chalkbeat reports

I did not hear a word from Mulgrew on the absurdity of keeping schools open in a snowstorm or the fact that many schools were mostly empty this past week due to COVID and then snow and only students out with COVID or officially isolating are required to get any instruction. 

He claims the message he received from teachers was: "If the kids are here, I want to be here." All the UFT President has to offer is a few thank yous for risking your health and assurances that he is pleading with the Chancellor and the State for some more testing and a threshold to close schools. They don't appear to be listening much.

Dear ________,

It’s hard to believe that our winter break was just a week ago after the week we just had. Two big issues on Monday and Tuesday were clarifying the testing protocols and making sure that all of our schools had access to supplies. At this point, we think we’ve mostly ironed out those issues, but we are dealing with the DOE so there will always be something it does that astounds us. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us with your concerns and feedback; it’s this constant communication that keeps us strong.

The public needs to see the level of instruction and care that all of you are delivering to our city’s children, even under these trying circumstances. Despite the staff shortages and the conflicting and changing safety protocols, all over the city I saw students happy to be in schools. Over and over again, I heard from members: if the kids are here, I want to be here.

But we cannot let our guard down. We have to keep fighting for what we believe is best at each moment in this ever-changing situation. Access to more testing and KN95 masks is a step in the right direction. Now, we are pushing the governor and the state legislature to mandate testing for all students. Finding substitutes continues to be a problem, and I’ve been in constant talks with the chancellor to figure out how to get more substitutes. We are also pushing the city and the DOE to create a threshold of absences for staff that would cause a school to go into an automatic operational closure, and those conversations have moved forward quickly. We’ll keep you updated.

Public health experts believe that we will have to live with this ever-evolving virus for the foreseeable future. Vaccination, booster shots and access to testing will help us get through this new wave. But it doesn't make our day-to-day jobs any easier; we all know how much more work it is to fill the gaps for sick colleagues and those who are out to take care of sick family members.

But what I saw this week was a truly dedicated group of professionals showing up when they were healthy and doing their best under the most challenging circumstances. The city should be thankful for you, and we should hold our heads up and be proud.


Michael Mulgrew

Thursday, January 06, 2022


 This is what President Michael Mulgrew said when UFTers lost their spring break in April 2020:

Under collective bargaining rules, the UFT has the right to negotiate a compensation package for all the extra days you are being required to work, and I will do everything in my power to see that you are properly compensated for your time. In the meantime, the DOE has agreed with the UFT, District Council 37 and the Council for Supervisors and Administrators that due to the number of different religious holidays that fall within the spring break, all school-based and other 10-month employees will automatically be granted four additional CAR days in their banks. People who take religious observance days will have those days deducted from those four new CAR days. The DOE's granting of these four CAR days now in no way impedes us from demanding a full compensation package in negotiations as soon as we are back in our schools.

Does taking those four CAR days and transferring them into vacation days and then adding three more make UFTers whole?

I hope everyone reads the arbitration decision thoroughly. Arbitrator Martin Scheinman clearly is no friend of workers and basically looks out for the city treasury. He is the same arbitrator who helped decide that we have to wait 11 years, and he changed that to almost 12, to get paid in full for work we did from 2009-2011.

The UFT in the current spring break case asked for monetary compensation. This should have been an open and shut case. Workers were forced to work extra days. Pay them for it. Scheinman was looking to save the city some money and he did by having the UFT come up with the vacation days alternative. From the decision on page 9, we clearly see the UFT asked for money: "Accordingly, the Union seeks monetary compensation for the seven (7) days worked." The next page shows clearly that the UFT came up with the vacation alternative.

The City's defense was an old standby: They can't afford to pay after they said we aren't entitled to compensation because spring break isn't in the Contract. Look how Scheinman bails out the city:

Paying subs and spreading the payments out for employees who don't take the vacation days but instead use them as termination pay that is spread out over three years will save the city a great deal of money compared to if they had to pay the money now. The UFT as usual goes in seeking to help the city and they managed to do that. The DOE with no leg to stand on managed to save money by spreading out payments to those who don't use the days and paying subs for those who use vacation days at a much cheaper rate than if they had to pay regular employees their regular pay for up to seven extra days.

Enjoy those vacations.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022


I just read the actual arbitrator's decision. This is the part I think most of you are interested in:

From the UFT:

Spring Break Arbitration Decision 

Members will receive a “vacation day” for each day they worked during the 2020 Spring Break.

Vacation days can be used in any manner you deem fit. You can use them individually, or grouped together without fear of any disciplinary action.

Vacation days are to be granted.

The only time an administrator may refuse a vacation day is for a compelling reason. The arbitration clearly rules on what would NOT be a compelling reason:

- Other staff members have requested the same day. Vacation days must still be granted to a reasonable number of staff in seniority of those who requested.

- A staff member who is one of only a small number of employees in a given title or license cannot be denied a vacation day on that basis alone. But it could be relevant in terms of the timing of the vacation day (i.e., if the only physics teacher asked to use several vacation days in the week before the physics Regents

- The proximity of a requested vacation day to a holiday recess cannot by itself be a compelling reason for refusal

You must notify your principal 10 school days notice. Your principal will have 48 hours to notify you if there’s a compelling reason. If they don’t get back to you the vacation day is considered granted.

The arbitrator has also set out an expedited appeals process that UFT members can use if they believe the principal has denied a vacation day without a compelling reason. The DOE and the UFT will be notified of every denial. If the DOE and the UFT do not agree that there is a compelling reason, it will immediately go to expedited arbitration.

A vacation day is worth the full monetary value of a full workday. When you leave service or retire, vacation days will be exchanged at a rate of one vacation day for one full day. People can choose, therefore, between taking their vacation time or being paid at the end of their DOE career for each additional day they worked during that spring break.

The arbitrator has instructed the DOE to credit these vacation days to you effective Feb. 1.

Vacation days will be given for each day that you worked during the 2020 spring break. If you took religious observance days or time off during the break, you will only be given vacation days for the days you worked.

Mulgrew's email