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Working weekend

Functional Chapter Leaders training

Miller Photography

Young-Abrams (far right) leads a workshop for a group of paraprofessionals. More photos >>

Miller Photography

Staten Island University Hospital nurses (from left) Lisa Cardieri-Morris, Nancy Barth-Miller and Shari Piscitelli were among 50 members of the Federation of Nurses/UFT who “learned how to be good labor union advocates,” said federation Special Representative Anne Goldman.

Miller Photography

Leslie Barfield, an audiologist from Bronx CSE, asks a question.

Studying the ABCs of solidarity, UFT functional chapter leaders and many of their core members met at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, N.Y., on Feb. 12 and 13 for a training weekend that met with rave reviews.

“It was the best chapter leader weekend I’ve attended — engaging, running smoothly and packed with information,” said Rosemarie Thompson, guidance counselors chapter leader. Thompson attended with more than 30 fellow guidance counselors, both seasoned and relatively new to the profession, who participated in workshops tailored for them on the subjects of grievance, safety and special education.

Like the guidance counselors, functional chapters consist of educators who serve students outside of a regular classroom setting, including social workers, psychologists, nurses, secretaries, paraprofessionals, lab specialists, audiologists and more. All shared in the talk by UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who gave an update on current issues facing the union on the city and state levels. They shared in the plenary sessions, as well, which addressed pensions, changes in special education and the role of the union in politics.

The paraprofessionals, who comprise the UFT’s largest functional chapter, studied in workshops designed for them on contract language, grievance procedures, effective communication among colleagues and students, and how to report violations of mandated special education services.

“It was great, with a lot of information for people with all levels of experience,” said Shelvy Young-Abrams, chair of the paraprofessionals chapter. “The new para reps felt it was helpful and were very impressed.”

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