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published September 7, 2017
Welcome to the 2017–18 school year. I hope you took time out of your schedule to relax, whether it was on a vacation out of town or at home with family and friends. As you know, our chapter is undergoing many changes and there are a few things for which we're still fighting.
I want to you to know that I am here for you, and as your chapter leader, I will do my best to ensure that you receive the respect, support and assistance that all occupational and physical therapists need. As we venture into the fall, I have a few things to tell you about, including OTs and PTs moving to an instructional model, SESIS, salary issues and more. Please take a quick look below to learn more about chapter issues we plan on addressing this year.
- Pedagogical titles for OTs and PTs: I met with UFT President Michael Mulgrew and discussed our progress on this subject in the spring. The Board of Regents was initially reluctant to see occupational and physical therapists move from a medical to an instructional model to support student performance and achievement. However, when the UFT presented materials that many of you had sent supporting our evolving role in the schools, they could make that distinction and see potential benefits. The Board of Regents is currently looking at some of the issues concering our licenses if we move to a pedagogical title.
- SESIS improvements and updates: In August, the UFT and DOE met to discuss some of the updates made to SESIS. Some of the changes include a voice dictation feature, which allows you to use the microphone on your Chromebook, and improved organization of student annual and triennial review dates in your caseload. Keep in mind that you must be in the Chromebook browser for the microphone dictation feature to work. We’ll also see improved user options, such as the ability to drag a document into SESIS and to hover over a section of a student’s IEP to view recent changes. There will be additional SESIS updates coming in the winter. If you do not have a Chromebook, contact your supervisor.
- Do you have a salary issue to report? If you believe you have a salary discrepancy, please fill out this general salary inquiry form and let us know. This form will be used to rectify general salary issues and answer questions, but it is not for reporting incorrect wages. If you believe you are not receiving the correct salary, you should file a salary grievance at your UFT borough office.
- Information on religious observation days: You are entitled to take three personal days for religious observance. You then may take non-paid days provided they are approved by your principal. If you have difficulty getting religious observance days approved by your principal, you should speak to your school-based chapter leader or your UFT district representative.
As we embark on another year, we also have a lot of work to do as unionists. New Yorkers go to the polls on Nov. 7 to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention. It is vital that we vote NO on this issue. Anti-union forces are committed to destroying our pensions as well as our right to organize and collectively bargain. Tell your family and friends to join you at the polls and vote NO!
Read more about why we must vote down a constitutional convention »
Watch this video about the dangers of a convention »
Public employee unions are facing an enormous challenge this year: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Janus v. AFSCME court case that seeks to debilitate unions by declaring fair-share or agency fees unconstitutional. These fees cover the costs a union incurs representing and providing services for people who do not choose to belong to a union.
As we brace for this decision, we need every single one of you to remind your colleagues about the benefits of belonging to a union: a defined-benefit pension, employer-paid health insurance, due process rights, tenure, a grievance process, and a voice in how schools are run. Unions, through our voluntary donations to COPE, also provide us a place at the table in Albany as well as at the City Council.
Help us keep our union the strong force it’s been for more than 50 years! Have a great year and keep in touch.
OT/PT Chapter Leader
What is your favorite winter-themed children's story?
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen
Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen
The Mitten, by Jan Brett
Total votes: 106