The meeting opened with President Michael Mulgrew having a moment of silence for two UFTers who passed: Barbara M. retired D30 Rep and former Edison Chapter Leader Vivian Noble.
No red wave. We supported Republican Senate in NYS years ago. Joe Bruno stopped tenure from not being a right in NY. We are going to support people who support public education and teacher unions. Republicans use public education today to fearmonger. They say teachers are trying to indoctrinate children. We know right now that the people who are backing public education: President backs public schools and NLRB supports workers. Governor Hochul thanked teachers. She did more in a year than other governors did in their entire terms. Fetterman thanked us. Retirees went to Pa. Across the country, 95% of ballot initiatives on behalf of public education won. We have Senate. We will probably lose House. It was a good election night in terms of public education. Florida was not a good night for public education. Our retirees were trying to fight back in Florida. Overall it was a good night. Teachers unions did a million-dollar expenditure on behalf of the governor in the last week before the election. We don't want to go back on public education. Prognosticators expected Republican wave. Somebody else announced last night that they were running for president. We support anyone's right to run, Next big cycle for us is City Council next June. We can relax from politics for a while.
The Gamma system sucks. Nobody is being forced to use Gamma. Skedula is gone because of hack last year. Illumination bought Skedula and was responsible for a data breach. DOE IT (tech) people put Gamma together quickly and put it with STARS which is from 1985 and an old program. This is frustrating. Can DOE get off 1985 platform; at least get a 2010 system. Grievance Department wanted to know if people are being forced to use this. We have duplication and redundancy provisions to protect us in contract.
Early Childhood educators
3k downsizing, we did not react well to it being downsized. We didn't think this would be a large grade. DOE planned for 55,000; only got 35,000. People keep 3-year-olds home if they can. Dismantling 3-k is like when Bloomberg tried to close schools. We will fight to keep early childhood programs. DOE agrees but we need to know what changes are. They can't base changes on hearsay from administrators. Chancellor sat down with us. We hear form some DOE administrators that social workers just sit around and don't go to schools. Couldn't attend rally on Friday because of death in family, sorry. New people running early childhood. We have to move sites to where the kids are.
Teacher Union Day.
Shout out to Shelvy Young Abrams and everything they did. 1,000 there. Congratulates honorees.
Chancellor said Brooklyn Queens Day would be swapped and became Chancellor's Day. When cities merged, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island had to have the schools closed for kids on that day. Mayor says next year Diwali will be day off. They have to change law in Albany. We don't have days to give in calendar. It is tight going from day after Labor Day through June 28 (except for certain titles). We support Diwali recognition. We still don't have Saint Patrick's Day.
Subcommittees met. Next full meeting of Negotiating Committee will be November 30.
Audit on Board of Education Retirement System
Some of our titles in BERS. Comptroller auditing it. OTPTs want to get into TRS. BERS has high administrative costs. This is a state law issue. Calling for pension advice in BERS is like calling HR Connect. We have to make OT-PTs pedagogical, not health. We must look at the plusses and minuses.
We represent them. Numerous investigations going on at every level. Teachers recruited from DR had to live in certain houses and pay specific rents. This was severe exploitation. DOE told us in past. They didn't get proper visas. These teachers came to our system. We are trying to get these people supported. Something has to be done here.
We will launch it in December and then more in January. People have different ways of doing things and we will pilot it and make changes in January.
In service committee is working. This is our biggest crisis. We are doing a Negotiated Acquisition RFP. We can negotiate. This is a process. We will be able to do savings. We pay jointly for healthcare with City. Retiree side, we have to be clear, we age at forty and it gets worse at fifty. Options for healthcare. There is anxiety and fear, mostly among retiree chapter. How long can we remain the unicorn? This will come to active people. With a split government, we are not going to get federal intervention. National goal is to make sure people know this is the national priority. For our retirees, we were looking to do a Medicare Advantage Plus that nobody else had. The company lost $100 million and got out. No plans to have a Medicare Advantage at this time. The committee needs the authority to say something isn't followed and we could go to arbitrator. Prior authorization for active people. Medical necessity, some hospitals do unnecessary testing, and so do insurance companies. We need independent medical experts. Medicare Advantage is off the table for now. Senior care is not an Advantage plan. Medicare pays for 80%. 20% is on us and the city. Why a big copay on one urgent care? They were way overcharging us. We told other companies. All agreed to lower costs for us except for one. One refused and we raised copay. We are trying to get best healthcare for best price. Memorial Sloan Kettering is good on service and price. We felt our Medicare Advantage was the best.
In court case, judge ruled wrongly, we believe, that any plan below the HIP rate must be given for free. We have 8 plans for retirees. 2 are free; 6 are pay-up plans. Those 6 pay-up plans according to judge must be premium free. GHI doesn't have many providers in Nevada. Judges ruling says the city doesn't have to pay for more than one plan. The judge ruled the city can go forward with Medicare Advantage. We want basic union authority. Collective bargaining rights are the basis for all of our rights. City negotiated pay-up plans. All of us have price tag on us. 100% of cost we have to figure out how to pay for but for retirees, they will never reach the HIP-HMO rate. Someone took away our collective bargaining rights. Over 10,000 responses to City Council. This isn't going away. It will be a big issue in Albany. We have best healthcare because of what our welfare fund does. We can do savings that make sense. Urgent care is number one health provider. City MD is used most often. This is something we have to focus on. Different unions fighting. RFP is an opportunity for in-service people. We have to have everything in writing. We have to go hard at City Council.
This Saturday it will be the biggest one we've ever done. Thanks Rich Mantell. It is great and sad. Happy Thanksgiving. Find new teachers, they made it to Thanksgiving.
Staff Director's Report
Hundreds of people rallying for early childcare workers. Coat drive Saturday. Elementary toy drive. Donate at borough office. World Aids Day candlelight march Dec 1. African Heritage Committee Kwanza celebration. Happy SRP week. Next DA Dec 14.
Question: Taylor Law protects right to collective bargaining?
Mulgrew Answer: 6 pay-up plans that retirees have to pay for. We want access to premium free health plan. City has a ruling that says they have to offer one plan. They cannot charge up for it unless it is above the HIP rate. It ensures that if we get a Medicare Advantage plan, there will be no option. We have 9,000 policy holders in other plans. They would lose it. There is collective bargaining under the Taylor Law. Right to negotiate payups for retirees has been taken away from us. All we want is right to negotiate as we have negotiated for 40 years. We want to clarify our right to negotiate what we have negotiated for over 40 years. We have to get something that has been taken away from us.
Question: What are the next steps for the implementation of class size law? Slogan: Class size: it's the law.
Answer: Great slogan. Talking to SED. 20% must be involved in year one must be schools with most poverty. Parents don't want kids thrown out of schools. We told DOE what schools were the 20%. DOE talking about waivers.
Question: We have been required to use GAMA for grades.
Answer: That is redundancy and we could deal with that.
Question: Elementary school teachers with I Ready and other assessments. Why are we still doing them?
Answer: The problem is child can't read. We don't need repetitive assessments. Let us take it up at Superintendent's level. Some is out of control. Some positive, and some negative with the new Superintendent system. Telling schools to change IEPs is a problem.
Question: 3 administrators observing a new teacher's class at the same time. It is intimidating. Can they do that?
Answer: DOE will tell us they are norming. There has to be an open dialogue here. I understand quality assurance. We will come in if they don't change it. This is not a cooking contest. What is the dialogue with the teachers? How are we providing professional development?
New Motion Period
Compliance with special ed and ENL students.
Superintendents saying they don't have money. We need to get to get support.
562-30 vote to close the debate online. There is no opposition in the room.
Vote to put it on next month's agenda passes with overwhelming support.
Resolution for next month
Ronnie Almonte and Janella Hinds bring up resolution supporting Dominican teachers being abused in NYC.
Employer, principal Polanco told teachers from DR they had to live in room principal was renting. Support teachers and get help from AFT.
Speaker against is Dermott Myrie. We need to protect the people, the Chapter Leaders who are here.
On phone is 197 Yes - 7 No in the room. 526 Yes - 96 No on phone. 88% in favor. It is added for next month.
Special Orders of Business
Support for Diwali resolution, making it a holiday.
Vote to close debate passes.
Vote on resolution: In-room I couldn't hear count. On Phone 480 Yes - 50 No. It passes.
Haitian Revolution resolution,
Support Haitian Revolution teaching. It inspired many. Toussaint Louverture's slave revolt led to the overthrow of the French. We have to teach the truth.
Nobody speaks against it.
Resolution passes easily 480 to 58 online, I couldn't hear vote in person. It passes.
Support for striking workers at Starbucks and Amazon.
Janella Hinds speaks for this resolution.
Amendment to get specific to include member support of local actions like sip-ins at Starbucks. Get chapter members to show support. Organize in stores. Janella Hinds recognizes the amendment and supports it.
Amendmet and resolution both pass easily.
Mulgrew wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving.