President Michael Mulgrew begins by stating how the school year is at half-time in January.
Governor Hochul has proposed a 13% increase in school funding. Push for Career and Technical Education. Federal, they want college preparation. Data shows CTE has closed the achievement gap and students are more likely to graduate. Governor believes in CTE. Good proposal for budget out of Albany. The budget comes out in February. Then Assembly and Senate put out one house bills. Then there are discussions, fights. Some little things we don't like but mostly it is good. Big lobby day in March. This is not like what happened under the previous governor (charter schools, extension of tenure).
It is the opposite of the state. $80 million increase. Everything else is flat. State giving historic increase in funding. How can the city be flat? $8.3 billion surplus is growing. Mayor talking about city falling off a financial cliff.
Debt ceiling crisis. Wall Street will react in a negative way and the mayor will say this is the financial cliff. This will get settled eventually. We are negotiating a contract under these circumstances.
We must take care of Albany which looks positive. Then, we need to work to get City budget to where it should be. This is focus of the work along with getting a contract. We also have special ed, principal and migrant issues.
400 trained in teach-in yesterday. Members don't really understand what goes into getting a contract. We are training people on what goes into getting a contract. Costing, value, and pattern bargaining need to be understood. Mayor saying City is broke. We have to make members understand there are record surpluses. We must understand the rules of the game. Members of the UFT tend to be reasonable people, unlike what is going on in DC. Teach-ins to drive our own narrative of what we do. Some think we just sit in a chair and kids learn. Not true. We do more than we have ever done before. We want to take care of our families, live somewhat close to where we work, and not be harassed. We'd like support too. The public will not disagree with us. Good schools and challenging schools. Some schools are mismanaged. We are doing a damn good job.
Someone thinking of quitting because they can't help a migrant child. We are on the front line doing this work and need the public to back us up so we have the teach-in.
Negotiating committee coming in February 1. We are moving into the serious stages of negotiating.
Who signed up? We have over 5,000 completely enrolled. There are no technology problems, unlike the DOE. Basic info is in the member hub.
We brought it to consultation with DOE. Thank Michael Sill and his team for getting 70 people pushed through. We are going to get 600 more. DOE principal didn't call sub-central so we can't get nominees through. If a school is uncomfortable with sub-central, that shouldn't stop hiring to aleviete sub shortage. We have many absences and vacancies. If everyone works an extra period, people burn out much quicker and get more tired. We are going to get nominees through.
Eva Moskowitz schools getting through. Three coming up for a PEP vote. Every politician and CEC has told the DOE not to do this. There is no space in these three buildings. We knew when Eric became mayor that this could be a problem. If they jam these schools through, we know there will be problems. Documented problems with Eva not taking challenging kids and then forcing someone who becomes a challenge out.
Early Childhood Educators
Chancellor's been great about early childhood sites. He is talking to the people who do this work.
Staff Director's Report
Chapter leader training late January, trailblazer awards Feb 3, CTE awards on Feb 4, something else coming up that date, migrant first book event on Feb 4, nomination for Academic HS awards up to Jan 30, Black History Film Series Feb2, 9, 16, and March 2. Happy Lunar New Year. Feb 15 is the next DA.
Mulgrew Report continues:
Healthcare: Many on the active healthcare committee. RFP moving right along for in-service people. The goal is premium free, high quality healthcare. Retirees, we have been negotiating with Aetna. The arbitrator said the possibility of in service premiums with Aetna. At this moment, we don't think we are going to get a contract with Aetna. Mulgrew doesn't do well with regressive bargaining. Doesn't believe we are going to get there with Aetna. We must protect each other. Healthcare is out of control. Federal program known as Medicare Advantage gives us a chance to get a good plan but we need the right partner. We are moving forward on the in-service RFP. We have been straight up throughout. We are going to keep premium free high-quality healthcare for actives and retirees. We are going to dig in and fight to get what we need.
Question: If it doesn't work with Aetna, can we renegotiate with Emblem?
Mulgrew answer: We need a new RFP to go back to Emblem that has to have significant changes but it can be done.
Question: D75 person is overwhelmed with work and there is no time in the day. Work two hours at school and then bringing work home? Why?
Mulgrew: Get a list of everything they are doing in D 75 and we will bring it to consultation with chancellor on Monday.
Question: D79 teacher has no substitute teacher so the school puts pressure to cover absences. Many teachers absent and students have to take care of two or three students. How to compensate teachers?
Answer: We have to figure out the substitute problem. In terms of additional work, we are in negotiations on stuff like this. We will find out from District Rep the specific issues and move ahead.
Question: When do resolutions expire? Union takes opposing policy?
Answer: Resolutions don't expire.
Point of order: You stated that resolutions won't unilaterally be opposed but you opposed the NY Healthcare Act.
Mulgrew: Resolutions can become moot. The issue may be resolved. Saying someone unilaterally opposes you is really saying they don't agree with you. This is harming democratic process. This is degrading society.
Question from Nick Bacon: Arbitrator's decision not binding, in what situations would we have to pay premiums when 12-126 protects us up to HIP rate?
Answer: We have saved money and added benefits. HIP rate protected. Vast majority is in GHI which is at risk.
Question: Tottenville teacher asks about the contract negotiation process. Members looking for a timeline?
Answer: We don't have a timeline but we would like to have it done as soon as possible. You should be part of teach-in training.
Motions to the agenda
Motion to move Resolution 7 up to 1 for timeliness (colocation resolution opposing Success Academy colocations.)
It needs a 2/3 vote. Online 743 Yes to 59 No. In the room, 216 Yes to 7 no. 959 Yes to 66 No. 94% yes so it is moved to top of the agenda.
Resolution for next month to support NY Public Library.
Libraries are vital to our communities. Thriving community centers. Actual books are still a vital part of our well-being. Library offers City ID, passports and more. Mayor proposing $13.6 million in cuts. All NY residents will be harmed. Join with City Council to keep libraries open. Libraries are for everyone. It is one of few safe spaces.
Nobody wants to speak against it.
Online 752 Yes to 24 No
Live 230 Yes to 5 No
Total 97% yes so it is placed on the agenda for next month.
Resolution in support of Amazon workers in Kentucky for next month. Amazon Labor Union won recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. Northern Kentucky hub doing a union drive. We know of horrific conditions for Amazone workers. KCBG looking for $30 an hour and better working conditions. Inflation eroding everybody's pay. November 16, UFT supported Amazon and Starbucks unions. Resolution ask to help this organizing union expansion.
Nobody wants to speak against.
Online 673 Yes to 66 No
Live 210 Yes to 14 No
Total Mulgrew doesn't give numbers (883-80 by my math). It is on the agenda for next month and Mulgrew will speak to the AFT if this passes.
Special Orders of Business
Resolution to oppose Success Academy colocations. D 28 Chapter Leader says schools have had strong opposition to Success Academy colocations. School communities oppose them in multiple districts. DOE underestimates building utilizations. Schools need more space with the lower class size law. New programs will be cut. UFT has supported schools opposing charter expansion. This resolution expands that.
Amy Arundell follows speaking in favor. Queens and Bronx and other communities are galvanized by this fight. Eva Moskowitz is saying there is space in these schools. Success wants to take classrooms. Our schools will have no clubs, meeting space, etc. Email the PEP to show how our schools are utilized. PEP members will vote on this.
Matt Driscoll amendment: The UFT will mobilize members and parents to show up at the PEP. Mulgrew says that is already there so this is moot. Matt says this is only in the whereas, but not in the Resolved clause. Matt says that we should specifically add in the resolution to flood the PEP. Someone says we don't need this amendment. We don't do this alone. All of us includes not just the members and parents. We are in the community.
Another amendment: Support these schools by lobbying at all levels including the PEP members.
Point of information: Could these be considered friendly amendments?
Mulgrew says there is no such thing as a friendly amendment.
Martina rises to support amendment one. She goes to every PEP meeting. We need to show up and speak against. It would be really powerful if we had our whole force to counteract the Success people who will talk for hours at the PEP.
Someone calls the question on all matters before the house.
Vote on closing debate:
Online Yes 596 to 23 No
Live 194 Yes to 13 No
Total Debate is closed but numbers not announced.
Vote on the Second amendment on lobbying PEP members
Online 561 Yes to 38 No
Live205 Yes to 13 No
Total 766 Yes to 51 No
Second amendment passes.
First amendment to mobilize members and parents to be at the PEP
Online Yes 537 to 43 No
Live 137 Yes to 71 No
Total 674 yes to 114 No
Vote on Resolution as amended twice
Online 594 Yes to 22 No
Live 204 Yes to 3 No
Total 798 Yes to 25 No; Resolution carries
Resolution to support Iranian protestors. This is about women, life, and freedom. Women should not be stripped of rights because of religion. Women repressed. As a union we need to condemn what is happening in Iran. We stand for women and freedom. Quotes MLK on silence of good people being bad.
Nobody wants to speak further.
Online 510 Yes to 47 No
Live 184 Yes to 9 No
Total 694 Yes to 56 No
Tom Brown reports that the next resolution is moot because DOE pension system is already being investigated and audited.
Next resolution is to hold the DOE accountable for not meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English language learners. Our most vulnerable students are not getting the services that are mandated. Resolution calls for the City Council to get involved to help the students in need.
A District 3 Chapter Leader supports the resolution and speaks in favor of helping our most vulnerable students. She adds that these are legal requirements and the Chancellor pledged to help these students when he took the job and yet nothing has been done.
Nobody else wants to speak.
Online 565 Yes to 7 No
Live in the room the numbers were not announced.
Total 774 yes to 7 No. Resolution carries.
Janella Hinds speaks in favor of the newly arrived Dominican teachers exploited by the DOE. Teachers need to be treated with respect and the salary and benefits they deserve.
Nobody else wants to speak on the resolution.
Online 514 Yes to 18 No
Live 201 Yes to 1 No
Total 715 Yes to 19 No. Resolution passes.
Resolution opposing blood donations not being allowed from LGBTQIA+ community. Rashad Brown gives history of people not being allowed to give blood. COVID rules changed things from 1 year down to 3 months for homosexual men. Only 3% of eligible people give blood. These policies are discriminatory. World Aids day celebrated on December 1. Past policies and present policies are all wrong. Demand FDA stop this discriminatory policy.
Nobody wants to speak in favor or against.
Online 383 Yes to 84 No
Live 190 Yes to 13 No
Total 473 Yes to 87 No. Resolution passes.