Skip to main content
Full Menu

Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for May 6, 2019

May Day protests 2019
Jonathan Fickies

UFT members were there to greet U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on May 1 outside Cipriani’s Midtown restaurant, where she came to receive an award from a New York City conservative think tank.

This Week's Focus

Talk about why the union matters at your May chapter meeting

In this post-Janus environment where our enemies are running anti-union ads on social media telling members to “give yourself a raise,” we need to stay united and strong as a union. That is why we are asking chapter leaders to hold a discussion at your next chapter meeting about the value of the UFT and the importance of union membership. Remind members of our recent victories in defeating the constitutional convention proposal, winning paid parental leave and bargaining a new DOE-UFT contract that gives members more voice in the workplace and much more. To build union spirit at your school, encourage groups of members to attend UFT events such as the 5K Family Walk/Run, the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk, the UFT Pride Committee Scholarship Brunch and the Spring Education Conference.

Come to the Student Debt Relief Program session at the May 18 Spring Conference

Online registration is available for the Spring Education Conference, the UFT’s signature annual conference that celebrates, supports and inspires members’ work as public school educators. This year’s event is on Saturday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave., in Manhattan. Participants may choose to attend a two-hour Student Debt Relief Program clinic during the workshop session. The Student Debt Relief Program is an exclusive UFT member benefit for educators who are struggling to pay off student loans. Full-time educators working for the Department of Education may be eligible for the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Members with certain licenses may also be eligible for the federal Title 1 forgiveness program. These programs may be able to help educators reduce their student debt burden and lower their monthly payments. The Student Debt Relief Program helps members navigate their options and apply for the right programs. Bring your fellow members with you to this year’s Spring Education Conference. We look forward to seeing you there.

Guidance on the SBO certification and ratification process

By now, the process for considering any school-based options (SBOs) in your school should be well underway. Before scheduling an SBO vote, chapter leaders should have a chapter meeting to discuss possible SBOs. You should then consult with your principal and conduct a survey to gauge whether the chapter wants to ratify any proposed SBOs. You should only conduct an SBO vote if your survey indicates that an overwhelming portion of your membership wants to ratify the SBO.Only the chapter leader can determine whether or not to conduct an SBO vote. A principal or other administrator cannot conduct an SBO vote. Before scheduling the vote, ask your district representative to approve the ballot. You can review new sample SBO ballot templates on the UFT website. Remember that an SBO can only be adopted if 55 percent of the voting UFT members — not 55 percent of all members at the school — vote to support it. Once your ballot(s) have been approved by your district representative and a ratification vote has been held, contact your district representative to obtain the hyperlink for the UFT’s online SBO submission form. This year, there will be one SBO form for all SBOs. You will be able to submit up to five SBO modifications and ballots on one form. The vote on SBOs and the online certification and ratification form should be completed by June 10. For complete information, see the School-Based Option page and SBO Ratification Process and Timeline page on the UFT website. You can also consult the newly revised SBO Manual and the SBO PowerPoint. Make sure to keep your district representative informed at every stage of the process.

Show appreciation for teachers next week

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10 this year. Share your teacher appreciation photos! Many schools and PTAs are organizing events next week to show their thanks. If you have helped organize an event or activity at your school, please send your best couple of photos (large size) with caption information, including your school, neighborhood and borough, to Use the hashtags #ThankATeacherNY and #PublicSchoolProud when posting your Teacher Appreciation Week photos on social media.

Back to top

Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New Nominate a new teacher to spotlight on Instagram: We are featuring new teachers in New Teacher Spotlight stories on our @uftny Instagram account. If you have a first-rate teacher with three years or less on the job at your school, please use this form to let us know. 
  • New The Update is online: The Chapter Leader Update is posted on the UFT website every week in the Chapter Leader section and will remain online for your reference. You’ll need to sign in and click on “Chapter Leaders” on the home page to view the Update.  
  • Consider attending your school’s parent association meetings: The union’s close work with parent groups has forged strong bonds and support that benefit both our students and our members. Consider attending your school’s PA meetings to strengthen these bonds.
  • Share how the union has made a difference in your life: As a chapter leader, you know the importance of being part of a strong union. Let’s share our stories with fellow members so they can see the value of union membership in its many facets. Read UFT members’ stories on our Union Proud website. When you subscribe to stories, you’ll get an email notification each time a new story is posted on the Union Proud site. What story do you have to tell about the importance of the union for you or your school? Use this online form to share your story.

Back to top

Share with Your Members

New Living a Jewish Life in Politics flier

New Labor History Month 2019 Poster of Events

5K Run/Walk flier

Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch flier

Back to top


You Should Know

Community Service

Create a school team for our 5K Family Run/Walk on May 11: The UFT will host its sixth annual 5K Family Run/Walk on Saturday, May 11, in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Put together a team from your school for this untimed walk/race sponsored by the UFT Middle Schools Division. Proceeds go to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. The 5K Family Run/Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs to noon at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave. We’ll provide complimentary water, snacks and giveaways for each participant and a chance to win raffle prizes. The fee to participate is $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 or younger. You can run or walk as an individual or as part of a team. Sponsors can also pledge money for your participation. Information about sponsorship and registration for family and friends can be found on the 5K Run/Walk flier, which you can post on your UFT bulletin board. UFT members may register online on the UFT website. Please note: You must be logged in to the UFT website to access the registration link. Here is a map of the route. The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 8.

Functional Chapters

New Workshop for social workers and licensed mental health staff: School social workers and licensed mental health staff are encouraged to attend mental health workshops presented by the UFT Member Assistance Program and LearnUFT. The sessions will take place at the UFT’s borough offices. The next session is on Wednesday, May 8, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. The registration fee is $50. Participants earn two Continuing Education hours upon completion. Enroll ASAP. These classes fill up quickly. For complete course descriptions and to register online, see the LearnUFT Courses for Social Workers page on the UFT website or the Calling All UFT Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Counselors flier.  

New Members

New Is your teaching certificate about to expire? With summer just around the corner, it’s crucial to meet upcoming deadlines for certification if your current teaching certificate is near its expiration date. If you’re a teacher in your fifth year of teaching under an initial certificate, you should apply for your professional certificate before your initial certificate expires on Aug. 31. Read more about how to keep your certification in order as you are starting your teaching career. The UFT is here to provide new members with clear, reliable answers. Remember, when in doubt, reach out to an educational liaison in your UFT borough office or a certification specialist at UFT Certification Services at 212-420-1830.


New Panel discussion on Jewish life in politics: All members are invited to Living a Jewish Life in Politics, a panel discussion presented by the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee. This event will take place on Thursday, May 9, at 4 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room D/E. Jewish members of the New York City Council and the New York State Assembly are scheduled to participate in a discussion on how their Jewish heritage and identity inform their personal and political views. David Kazansky, the chair of the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee and the Educators’ Chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee, will serve as moderator. For more information, see the Living a Jewish Life in Politics flier.

New Exhibit highlights struggle of labor movement: May is Labor History Month and a reason to spend time learning about past union activists who gave us so much. A new exhibit, “City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Movements Changed New York,” at the Museum of the City of New York examines the fight for workers’ rights and its roots in 19th-century industrialization. The exhibit includes the recent battle over Amazon’s now-halted plan to build a new headquarters in Queens. For more information, see the Museum of the City of New York website. Throughout Labor History Month, you can attend panel discussions, live performances, film screenings and more. Many of these events are free or low cost. For a comprehensive list of citywide labor history events, see the Labor History Month 2019 Poster of Events.

New 2019 Japan-U.S. Information and Communication Technology Teacher Exchange Program: Teachers of grades 7-12 are invited to apply for the Japan-U.S. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Teacher Exchange Program. This program provides 15 U.S. teachers with the opportunity to travel to Hawaii to learn about ICT efforts and strengthen ICT curricula in both the United States and Japan. The application deadline is Thursday, May 23. Please contact with any questions. For more information and to apply, see the Institute of International Education website.

Free summer program for current 3rd-graders: Teachers of students born in 2010 and entering 4th grade in the 2019-20 school year may refer struggling readers to Catching Up and Getting Ahead, a free three-week summer collaboration between Everyone Reading and the Museum of the City of New York. This program helps 30 rising 4th-grade students with basic reading skills and provides a jump-start on the 4th-grade social studies curriculum. Teachers can download the application for parents. For more information, see the program description in English or Spanish.

Win a chance to teach in zero gravity: Science teachers of grades 8-12 are encouraged to enter Mission: Microgravity, a nationwide competition sponsored by Zero Gravity Corporation. Contestants must create a video that chronicles a creative and thought-provoking experiment to be conducted under microgravity conditions. The winner will test their experiment in a weightless science class aboard the company’s specialized aircraft, G-FORCE ONE®. The submission deadline is Tuesday, May 7. For more information about Zero Gravity Corporation, see the ZERO-G website. To enter the Mission: Microgravity contest, see the online application.

Attend a zine event: Educators are invited to attend the second annual Zine Fest (dot) EDU event on Friday, May 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Blue School, 156 William St., in lower Manhattan. Zine Fest (dot) EDU is a gathering of teachers and students who make zines, which are digital magazines with content on a variety of subjects including social justice, politics and poetry. Participants can read and purchase zines created in classrooms across New York City. Please note, CTLE credit is not offered for this event. For more information and to register to table at the event, see the online form. You can also view the Zine Fest (dot) EDU page on Facebook.

Day trip to Philadelphia Museum of Art: The UFT Social and Recreational Committee invites members and their friends and family to a day trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to view the exhibit, "The Impressionist’s Eye," an examination of Impressionism. This trip is on Saturday, July 27, from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The bus leaves from and returns to UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The cost is $105 (add $1 for handling) and includes round-trip motor coach, driver’s gratuity, admission to museum and dinner at Positano Coast restaurant. Please make check for $106 payable to UFT/Philly Museum. This trip is limited to 48 participants. For more information and to download the mail-in flier, see the Just for Fun page on the UFT website.

Political Action

Take Action Volunteer to elect UFT’s choice for 45th Council District in Brooklyn: There's a special election coming up on May 14 for the City Council seat vacated by Jumaane Williams when he was elected public advocate. The UFT has endorsed Farah Louis in this race. Louis, who was Williams’ deputy chief of staff for six years, has worked tirelessly to address issues involving equity and excellence in education. As a graduate of public schools, she understands the needs of students and teachers and has pledged to be an advocate for both. Can you spare a little time to help Farah Louis take office to defend our schools and communities? The UFT’s Brooklyn borough office is holding phone banks from May 6 to 13. Use this online form to sign up to staff a phone bank or to help with canvassing or leafletting in the 45th Council District, which covers East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood.

Town hall with presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar in Yonkers next Friday: The AFT is holding an AFT member-only town hall featuring Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at Yonkers High School on Friday, May 10, from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. The town hall will be an opportunity for Sen. Klobuchar to not only hear directly from AFT members about the issues affecting their jobs and lives, but also an opportunity for AFT members to ask her questions about her campaign and policy proposals. Please fill out this online registration form if you plan to attend. This town hall is one in a series of candidate and member events the AFT is holding across the country as part of its 2020 endorsement process, which emphasizes direct engagement between members and the presidential candidates.


Chapter leader shoutout to Lucas Rule: Chapter leaders are on the front lines, defending members’ rights, ensuring members have a voice in school decision-making and mobilizing members in political action to benefit public schools. Congratulations to Lucas Rule, the chapter leader of Pathways College Preparatory School, a school for grades 6-12 in St. Albans, Queens. When one of his members struggled to resolve a workload issue with an assistant principal, Rule immediately took advantage of a new provision in the DOE-UFT contract that helps chapter leaders address violations of systemwide standards governing workplace issues. When five days passed without a resolution to the problem, Rule’s UFT district representative escalated his report to the superintendent, who then got in contact with the principal “within two hours,” Rule recalled. The principal quickly agreed in writing to Rule’s request. You can read more about Lucas Rule’s achievements on the UFT website.

Rights and Grievances

New DOE-UFT contract provides stronger protection against harassment: No one should have to tolerate workplace harassment, discrimination or retaliation, which is why the DOE-UFT contracts have long contained protections against a wide range of discriminatory or harassing behaviors, including sexual harassment. The 2018 DOE-UFT contract requires the DOE to maintain an environment that promotes an open and respectful exchange of ideas. It explicitly prohibits retaliation, harassment, intimidation and discrimination of any kind because an employee has raised concerns or reports a violation or a suspected violation of any DOE policy, rule, law or regulation and/or contractual violation or participates or cooperates in an investigation. UFT-represented employees can file grievances in response to violations of this new contractual clause. If unresolved, the union may take the matter to final and binding arbitration. If a supervisor is harassing or intimidating you, another option is to file a special complaint under Article 23 of the teachers’ contract and corresponding articles in other DOE-UFT contracts. If you feel you have been harassed, intimidated, discriminated against or retaliated against, keep an anecdotal log indicating the place, time, date and any witnesses who were present during each incident and contact your UFT district representative. For more detailed information, read the Know Your Rights column on workplace discrimination and harassment.

Special Education

New Guidance on 2019-20 IEP-Intervention Teacher job postings: IEP-Intervention teacher positions for the 2019-20 school year will only be posted in schools that have a centrally funded IEP-Intervention teacher position for the current school year and a vacancy exists or is anticipated for the coming school year. The link for the job posting will be sent to principals at eligible schools within the next week or two. The DOE reassesses the school allocation for IEP-Intervention teacher positions every three years to account for enrollment trends, school openings and closings, etc. In the spring of 2020, the position will be posted for the 2020-21 school year in those schools that remain eligible or are newly determined to be eligible for the position. All IEP-Intervention teachers must attend training on reading interventions appropriate for the grades of students they serve. Teachers can register online for this training. If you have any questions about your school’s eligibility for an IEP-Intervention Teacher position, see the DOE’s FY ’18 School Allocation Memo.

Back to top

This Week in Education and Labor News

Jersey City school district sues the state: The Jersey City school district on April 29 filed a lawsuit against the state over proposed cuts in education funding that could lead to program cuts and hundreds of teacher layoffs in the district, reports The Jersey City school district, which has 29,000 students in public schools, alleges that the cuts are unconstitutional and that New Jersey is failing to meet its obligations under the law. In the lawsuit, school officials also allege that the proposed state cuts come after a decade of state underfunding left Jersey City with a $700 million shortfall.

North Carolina teachers march for greater school funding: Thousands of North Carolina teachers on May 1 participated in a protest organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators to demand increased funding for public education and Medicaid, reports the Charlotte Observer. Last year’s May 1 Day of Action helped mobilize voters in November’s election, which ended the Republican supermajority in the Legislature. Concerns voiced at this year’s march and rally included requirements in some districts for teachers to have commercial drivers’ licenses so they can drive school buses when necessary.

AT&T cuts jobs and its taxes: An analysis of AT&T’s 2018 SEC filings found the company paid no income tax and eliminated U.S. jobs, according to LaborPress. The inquiry, conducted by the Communications Workers of America, shows that AT&T enjoyed a net tax rebate of $354 million in 2018, the same year it cut a staggering number of jobs and closed call centers throughout the United States. AT&T has eliminated more than 12,000 jobs since December 2017 despite receiving a $21 billion windfall and projecting $3 billion in annual tax savings going forward as a result of the Trump tax overhaul.  

Back to top

Events Calendar


Saturday, May 11: The sixth annual Middle Schools Division 5K Family Run/Walk will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave., in Coney Island, Brooklyn. For more information, see the item in Community Service, above.

Saturday, May 18: The UFT Spring Education Conference will take place on Saturday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave., Manhattan. The event includes breakfast, a morning town hall, a large exhibit fair featuring CTE programs, workshops and a gala luncheon. Participants may attend a two-hour workshop of their choice. You can read detailed descriptions of the six workshops. School Leadership Team members may use funds allocated to the team to pay for registration fees by using the Spring Conference Purchase Order. For more information about paying by purchase order, see the UFT Purchase Order Memo. For more information, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

This Week

Wednesday, May 8: The Speech Chapter general membership and executive board meets from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G.

Wednesday, May 8: The School Nurses Recognition Dinner will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 3rd floor. Register online.

Wednesday, May 8: The Social Workers and Psychologists Chapter meeting will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room F.  

Wednesday, May 8: The Occupational and Physical Therapists Chapter meeting will take place at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. We'll discuss issues pertinent to our chapter, answer questions, network and socialize.

Wednesday, May 8: The Supervisors of Nurses and Therapists Chapter meeting will take place at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 9:  A Student Debt Relief Program information session takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. See the Student Debt Relief Program page on the UFT website for more information and to register for this and upcoming sessions.

Thursday, May 9: Queens-based members may attend a maternity workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 8th floor, Rego Park. This workshop is only for those in their third trimester. For more information and to register, see the Queens Maternity Leave Workshop flier.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 1: The second annual UFT Pride Committee Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch takes place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, from noon to 3 p.m. The registration fee is $75. For more information and to download the mail-in coupon, see the Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch flier.

Upcoming LearnUFT workshops

LearnUFT, the UFT’s professional development institute, offers an array of affordable workshops and professional learning opportunities for UFT members. The cost to register, unless otherwise indicated, is $30 for teachers seeking CTLE hours and $15 without CTLE hours. The cost for all paraprofessionals is $15. Participants will earn two CTLE hours for each workshop, unless otherwise specified.

These workshops will take place at UFT borough offices, unless otherwise indicated:

See LearnUFT courses in the Bronx »
See LearnUFT courses in Brooklyn »
See LearnUFT courses in Manhattan »
See LearnUFT courses in Queens »
See Learn UFT courses on Staten Island »

For a full listing of upcoming LearnUFT workshops, see the LearnUFT page on the UFT website.

For more events, go to

Back to top

In Case You Missed It

UFT testimony regarding segregation in New York City public schools

Murdered teacher known for patience and dedication to students

Charters’ ‘bottom line’ led to Chicago teacher strikes

Photo Gallery: Academic High School Awards Celebration 2019

Photo Gallery: Jewish Heritage Committee Labor Seder 2019

Photo Gallery: Greater Metropolitan New York Social Studies Conference 2019

Photo Gallery: Meet the President Districts 18, 23 and Brooklyn High Schools

Photo Gallery: Mulgrew visits Flushing HS

Photo Gallery: Hydroponics greenhouse ribbon-cutting at PS 349, Queens

Chapter News: Audiologists chapter newsletter May 2019

Bronx Parent Newsletter — April 2019

Brooklyn Parent Newsletter — April 2019

Staten Island Parent Newsletter — April 2019

Back to top

Professional Committees

UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Manhattan. Check in the lobby for exact locations. For further information, contact us at 212-598-7772 or visit us online.

Capably Disabled

New York City Art Teachers Association and Math Teachers Committee

  • Tuesday, May 14, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Exploring ArtMath/MathArt Connections: “Knitting/Crocheting the Fibonacci Sequence.”

New York City Association of Foreign Language Teachers

  • Saturday, May 4, 9 to 1 p.m., NYCAFLT/UFT Spring Professional Development Conference.

Back to top

Send us your feedback

We are committed to making the Chapter Leader Update as interesting and relevant as it can be. Please fill out this online form to let us know what you found most valuable in this week's newsletter and how we can improve the Chapter Leader Update.

Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Catherine Creegan, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Doug Friedlander, MaryJo Ginese, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, Junior Linton, Joe LoVerde, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Jeffrey Povalitis, Nadine Reis, Sterling Roberson, Chris Santoro, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geofrey Sorkin, Rosemarie Thompson, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega, and Shelvy Young-Abrams.