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In UFT Solidarity, we believe that knowledge is power. UFT Solidarity activists learned mostly through trial and error what strategies work the best to rectify workplace issues to prevent them from becoming bigger situations and what to do if things do get intense quickly.
Our member toolkit has been around since 2014 but we’ve decided to simplify it! We’ve divided the toolkit into three sections depending on member status and resource type. If you feel that our toolkit is missing something, please get in contact with us!
Teacher Toolbox Item of the Season: Navigating the DOE as a New Hire
Are you new to the NYC Department of Education? Feeling confused and overwhelmed? We hear ya! We created this New Hire Guide to help folks figure out essential to-do’s and provide them helpful hints on adjusting to your new school and career. Click here to get started!
Good News: Solidarity CL and Executive Board Member Ibeth Mejia Wins Major Grievance Victory!
For over twenty years, shop teachers and other non-shortage area teachers at Aviation HS were teaching an extra class all term but were being ripped off by getting paid at a lower daily coverage rate instead of the higher special per session rate. The UFT did nothing to stop the cheating until 2021 when new Chapter Leader Ibeth Mejia did the research on why this practice was improper and then mobilized the shop teachers to fight back. One of those teachers won a precedent-setting grievance arbitration case this summer. 20 others grieved. The DOE is still fighting but soon the teachers et.al. case will go to arbitration and the teachers should be getting back pay.
From the UFT’s Email to Chapter Leaders: We now have a precedent-setting decision that providing coverage pay for teachers who teach a sixth-period class on a regular basis is a violation of the DOE-UFT contract. A principal may offer a sixth class to a teacher only if they get approval from the schools chancellor and pay the shortage rate. The arbitration began as a grievance filed by an Aviation HS teacher with an aviation mechanics license who taught a sixth-period class every day and received coverage pay. The DOE argued that since the aviation mechanics license is not on its list of shortage areas, the principal had the discretion to offer a sixth class to aviation mechanics teachers at the coverage rate. The arbitrator sustained the grievance, stating that the DOE-UFT contract is clear that the coverage rate is for covering a class on a day when the regular teacher of the class is not available and a substitute teacher could not be hired. The shortage rate is the only rate available in the contract for teaching a sixth class, regardless of whether the class is in a shortage area or not.
News from the Excutive Board: Solidarity, MORE, and New Action Executive Board Members Fight for Action Committee for Contact Talks With City
Nick Bacon, Ed Calamia, Ilona Nanay, Ronnie Almonte, Ibeth Mejia, Lydia Howrilka, and Alex Jallot brought forth a resolution to to the September 20th Executive Board Meeting. Please read below for more information on their fight for more transparency in the contract talks with the City.
Nick Bacon asks for an Action Committee. Mulgrew said it’s not looking good. We are without a contract. In the past, we’ve had Action Committees like in 2004. When we haven’t had a contract in the past, we have had these committees.
Amy Arundell: Speaks against resolution and says we have an action committee called the negotiating committee. Action is part of their responsibility. Not against in theory, it isn’t necessary.
Mike Sill follows Amy and says we have a negotiating committee. Why take authority of negotiating committee and give it to us. We are smaller in number. Mobilization is going to be needed as part of contract fight.
Rashaad Brown: It excludes people.
Carl Cambira: Things have changed since 2004.
Mike Schirtzer: Can do both. Negotatiating Committee and Action Committee can also do actions to get things started.
Alex: This isn’t an either or thing. Good for us to have an action committee that works in tandem with the negotiating committee. It can happen here and in the negotiating committee.
Ilona: This is not an either or but an and. More folks involved, better chance for us to get a contract. Negotiating committee off to a slow start. We need people to meet here to talk about things that aren’t fleshed out at the negotiating committee.
Elementary school person: people not involved flocking to get to negotiating committee. It needs the chance to do what it was put in place to do. It indirectly undercuts what negotiating committee does.
\Question is called.
Point of information on debate not being balanced. Leroy said Robert’s Rules doesn’t call for one speaker for and one speaker against but does call for one other speaker for.
Ed Calamia: Action committee could keep members activated even when there is a contract settled. It is an independent committee needed.
Melanie: Point of order on speech not being in keeping with resolution. Leroy says it’s not in order.
Nick Bacon: We could amend.
Vote to call question passes easily.
Vote on resolution: A few yes, overwhelming majority- No to forming action committee.
I'd Like Some Additional Support, Please!
Have you reviewed our toolkit and contacted your UFT rep at your school? Have you checked out the UFT website and contacted your District Rep? If so, you might want to contact UFT Solidarity for more help.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from Member Support will be in contact with you.