Michael Mulgrew started by calling for a moment of silence for three UFT activists who recently passed on.
It isn't a DA. Class size legislation passed on the day the Queen passed so it was nowhere on the news. Class size bill has been a goal of the UFT for over 50 years. Paid Parental Leave was something we wanted for decades also. 25 years ago a court ruled the children of NYC were not receiving a sound basic education and class size was one of the reasons. That court case took 17 years. Legislature had to do it. Governor Pataki didn't want to do it. He didn't want to send more money to NYC. Legislature wanted to include other needy districts. Governor who settled this was Elliot Spitzer. He didn't last much longer after settling it with Legislature. Money was supposed to be phased in. Governor David Patterson said there was no way there was no money for Contracts for Excellence in 2009. Legislature finally funded Contracts for Excellence now called Foundation Aid that Governor Hochul signed. She said it was an obligation to the children. City said no to smaller class sizes from this state aid. Bloomberg never put money in. He wanted classes of fifty which he had so he has social-emotional issues. DOE doesn't want to take this work on. They want to put schools on their own. If class sizes are maximized, it increases central DOE budget. We had a big fight last year with City Council on class size but when state finally fulfilled its financial obligation, we went back to what the court said about how class size was part of a sound basic education. Bill on class size passed overwhelmingly in both houses. City said it can't be done. Governor looked at it. We gave her the information. We have the funding, we need the lower clas size to force the DOE to do it. Governor added an extra year onto the implementation. It is now the law of New York State to reduce NYC class sizes starting next year. Planning starts now. 20% of classrooms must meet the 20 K-3, 23 4-8 and 25 in high schools. It is not about moving children out, it's about building more seats, not forcing people to move. Used parents to say they would limit specialized high schools. Either build more schools or make specialized schools bigger. It is political to build schools. Parents and teacher make noise and new schools are built. Francis Lewis High School got an annex built. They should have had this done 15 years ago. Class size legislation will be a long process. There are waivers. For example, if a schools only has one physics teacher, they will get a waiver. They need to recruit more physics teachers. HR Connect telling people after waiting on hold to call the union. This will change the face of the Union forever. Ten years from now these lower class sizes will be the norm. Thanks for what people did to make this happen. This is historic legislation.
Notice that the contract expired yesterday. 98% of workers who work for NYC are without a contract. Legal department sent notification to the city. Process of scheduling first official negotiating session is going on. First negotiation will be in October. Probably in the afternoon. Trying to get over 500 people from negotiating committee to attend the first session so the city sees all of you.
City made new hires wait outside in heat before entering new hires meeting. Chapter leaders need to make new UFTers feel welcome. Make them feel at home. They have phenomenal energy.
Borough response teams will be conduits. Protocols are changed. Everyone has a citywide radio. Not all have an NYPD radio. City has challenges. We want problems to be outside of schools. Jeff will send out more information. We need to do basics with a locked front door and a buzzer in every building. They have them around the country but not NYC.
Many unions getting raises but increased health premiums are eating away at increases. Teachers and other essential workers are in short supply. Paychecks not going up because of increases in healthcare costs. We are looking to keep a premium-free system for retirees and in service members. 13% increase in healthcare not sustainable. Record profits for insurance companies, pharmaceutical and others. We will have an in-service committee. $600 to take a temperature is real. Too many going to emergency rooms so we put a $500 copay on emergency room visits by setting up urgent care centers. Now they are raising rates for urgent care centers. That is a fight we are in. We need federal intervention.
It is the same amout as last year.
It is a mess. Those who have immune suppression issues still can get COVID accommodations. DOE on Friday before school left it to principals. Principals relying on DOE legal asked if people can do jobs. We are trying to get this rectified.
All should get paid to set up digital classrooms. That has been negotiated.
It was supposed to be done in May, June and July. It didn't get done. It got done a little in August. They still haven't gotten it fully done. DOE still moving people around. Some palace intrigue still going on. Many still think the school is at the bottom of the food chain. We are pushing to make sure the school is at the top. Superintendents are in charge. They should fully support schools. They will fix special ed compliance issues. Consultations with principals is important. Are they trying to solve problems or cover their butts?
It is tough to live out there. Members deserve a real raise. Nurses applauded two years ago; we were applauded. Now it is back to normal. We have to reach out to members to connect with them. We are more than an insurance policy. Between District Reps and Borough Reps and Field Reps working on ideas. Contract will be a big fight. Record reserves but mayor says we are going to fall off a financial cliff next week. City doesn't work without its employees like sanitation, us and the rest.
Wear pink to support this. Large crowd on Labor day. Mulgrew will scream and get arrested but we need to harness member passion. Parents and members like their schools. Problems are from the DOE. We have been there for children of NYC. Classrooms, guidance offices, nurse's offices are where work is going on. We have to go forward.
Question on Class size: What are prek and 3K numbers?
Mulgrew answer: 15 for 3K and 18 for prek is already covered under state law.
Question: I Ready has lesson plans. Can I tell principal that is my lesson plan?
Answer: As long as it is applicable to what you are doing, what is the problem? Administration should be concerned with what you are actually doing. If you are teaching from the book they gave you, it should be alright.
Question: District 75 class sizes, are they covered by legislation?
Answer: They are already covered on class sizes. D75 should not be displaced to lower general ed classes. Law prioritizes greatest needs first. First 20% must be neediest kids. 60% could have met it by last year. We are not hurting students.
Question: Principal removed last year who didn't do all of the observations for teachers. Was told teachers who didn't get observed would get S or U. Veteran teachers who didn't get observed, how many observations will they have to do this year? What about untenured people?
Answer: Many schools didn't do MOSLS. Small number, greater this year, who didn't do observations. Email Leroy Barr. Teachers did their job. If administrators didn't do their job, Contractual and policy issues. Tenure question is on law. For veterans, it is contractual question. We will get back to you after we do consultation with Chancellor on Monday.
Question: Senior members who got lump sum payments from last contract worried about getting big tax bill for retro checks?
Answer: Taylor Law takes away our ability to strike. A strike voids our contract. We don't like that and want the 2 days penalty for every day out on strike. Taylor law also keeps expired contract in place after it expires. We like that. Step and longevity increases stay in place. We knew under Bloomberg we would not have a contract for five years because Bloomberg wanted to make everyone an at-will employee. I do not believe it will take five years now. De Blasio came in when there were no reserves. This administration has largest reserve. We worked with de Blasio to figure it out. I don't expect it will be five years. Hopefully, everyone will get their retro money without an undue tax burden.
Question: Testing coordinator got a great deal of testing material. Is there a push to assign testing for MOSL's? Screens.
Answer: Baseline screenings are being done everywhere. We told DOE they are not part of the MOSL If they are trying to figure out where a student is, then it shouldn't be part of an accountability framework. We need to get together on MOSL. Many new people. The opening was quiet. We will get out different MOSLs to find out what is best for your school. We are fine with them baselining but it shouldn't be part of accountability system because it skews numbers like with special ed compliance.
Question: What is going on with GAMA (grading, messaging attendance system) that does not work and will not work for a couple of years?
Answer: They have been building this for five years. Remember Schedula which was created by a group of teachers from South Brooklyn which people didn't like when it was sent out. Nothing should take five years to develop. They are creating stuff with ancient computer system that doesn't work. VP Hinds and VP Gordon should collect information on this.
Question: Trying to build a union in school with Professional Development Committee, we need PD for Gama. Principal said it is student engagement and nothing else and he wouldn't listen to us.
Answer: We know your school and ding dong company is coming. Did they propose PD on student achievement? Answer is no and Mulgrew responds that there will be multiple visits. Janella Hinds is informed to get in touch with this CL to talk about relevance. Teachers want to teach and have paperwork and PD that are relevant. This is across the country. CL says we will work to rule if we don't get PD. Mulgrew says we need relevant PD. You will be getting visitors before Friday.
Question: September Parent Conference tomorrow, it is the first full week of school. Some staffers don't have access to DOE accounts. Can we let DOE know it is a little early to have Parent Teacher Conferences?
Answer: We need to have those things in place to have meaningful interactions with parents. We will advocate on your behalf.
Question: New CL having a baby when Mulgrew came to school last year (Mulgrew congratulates her and family), morale low. Principal denied personal business day and said take a vacation day. Can he do this?
Answer: No and contact Mike Sill.
Question on negotiations
Answer: We deal with city Office of Management and Budget. They always say there is no money. One other union is about to start negotiations. Parents still like teachers. We will go from there.
(Sorry folks, I have another appointment and have to leave for the last ten minutes. Please help me get updated information.)