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DA Report

Mulgrew urges reps to use power in new contract

Resolutions: 3 approved

Delegates vote unanimously to approve the OT/PT resolution.Jonathan FickiesDelegates vote unanimously to approve the OT/PT resolution.  

The delegates easily passed the three resolutions that came before the body, including one in support of the Occupational and Physical Therapists Chapter in its fight for a new contract.

Members of the OT/PT Chapter voted in the fall to reject the contract agreement the UFT reached with the Department of Education.

The two resolutions originally on the agenda were replaced by a substitute resolution approved by the chapter and presented by OT/PT Vice Chair Yona Adika. It called for the UFT to urge members to “unequivocally” support the chapter in its effort to negotiate a new contract and for the union to educate therapists about “the value of sticking with our union and continuing to pay union dues.”

The vote was unanimously in favor.

The delegates also approved two other resolutions:

  • To unite with a host of organizations against the nation’s toxic political atmosphere.
  • In support of racial and economic justice in New York City public schools.

Read the full resolutions »

Arthur Zander, the chapter leader at MS 210 in Queens, asks a question about snoJonathan FickiesArthur Zander, the chapter leader at MS 210 in Queens, asks a question about snow days. Chapter Leader Loretta Tumbarello of PS 229 in Queens asks if the union will proJonathan FickiesChapter Leader Loretta Tumbarello of PS 229 in Queens asks if the union will provide training on how to use the anti-harassment provision in the new contract.

Although the new UFT contract doesn’t officially take effect until Feb. 14, UFT President Michael Mulgrew urged those attending the Delegate Assembly on Dec. 12 to start utilizing the part of the agreement that gives new authority to chapter leaders to address operational issues at their schools.

That piece of the agreement went live on Dec. 5, Mulgrew said, noting that chapter leaders now have a new mechanism to resolve violations of the Department of Education-UFT contract related to professional development, basic instructional supplies, curriculum and paperwork and, for functional chapter members, also workload and space. School chapter leaders now have the right to raise these workplace issues with their principals, and if the principal doesn’t rectify the issue in five days, the complaint is automatically escalated to the district paperwork and operational committee.

“This is a great new tool for chapter leaders,” Mulgrew told the standing-room-only gathering at union headquarters in Manhattan.

Mulgrew announced that training sessions on how to utilize the new contractual provision had already taken place in some districts and would be scheduled in all districts in 2019. He suggested that chapter leaders sit down with their consultation committee and devise a strategy for using this new lever of power to address school needs.

“This provision was specifically negotiated so you can empower your professional voice,” he said.

Mulgrew said complaints could be filed any time a school administration was not heeding the DOE-UFT contract.

Rosie Frascella, the chapter leader at the International HS at Prospect Heights Jonathan FickiesRosie Frascella, the chapter leader at the International HS at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, asks a question about school funding. Mavis Yon, the chapter leader at PS 156 in Brooklyn, asks how schools should useJonathan FickiesMavis Yon, the chapter leader at PS 156 in Brooklyn, asks how schools should use their membership teams moving forward.

“If the professional development is not in alignment with what you are teaching or your instructional programs, then it’s a complaint,” he said. “If you don’t have your basic instructional supplies, it’s a complaint. If you’re being asked to do unit plans that are longer than the one-page, agreed-upon format, file a complaint.”

But Mulgrew warned the body against making frivolous complaints. “Before you go ahead with a complaint, you have to make sure it’s a true violation of the contract,” he said.

Mulgrew said chapter leaders can bring the complaints to their principals in a one-on-one meeting, a consultation committee gathering or via email.

“Once people are empowered, you can organize at the workplace,” he said. “You can make a difference in what goes on at your school each day if you use this and make sure it holds its integrity.”

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