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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Sept. 27, 2019

Photo of the Week

Abe Levine Tribute

HIS LEGACY: The UFT held a memorial on Sept. 25 to honor the late Abe Levine, one of the founders of the UFT. In addition to his other roles at the union, Levine was the union’s first vice president for elementary schools. Recounting stories of Levine’s life and impact on the union are (from left) George Altomare, founder and first vice president of high schools, Mel Aaronson, founding member and former treasurer, Karen Alford, vice president of elementary schools, Shelvy Young-Abrams, paraprofessionals chapter leader, and Ron Jones, also a former vice president of elementary schools.

This Week's Focus

Lump-sum payment coming in October paycheck

Because you have a union that fights for you, all eligible employees now on payroll who worked for the Department of Education between 2009 and May 1, 2018, will be compensated for the two 4 percent raises that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to other city employees in 2009 and 2010 but refused to give to public school educators at the time. These employees will receive a lump-sum payment of 25 percent of the money they are owed in their October paychecks. This payment comes eight months after a 2 percent salary increase last February and a half year before a 2.5 percent raise on May 14, 2020, thanks to the 2018 contract negotiated by the UFT with the DOE. The 2019 lump-sum payment, which will be added to a regularly scheduled paycheck, is the fourth of five lump-sum payments between 2015 and 2020. For in-service teachers, other pedagogues and paraprofessionals, the money will be part of the Oct. 15 check. For nurses, therapists and other UFT-represented DOE employees who are paid on the H-Bank payroll, the money will be in your Oct. 18 check. Per-diem and per-session payments will be issued in a check dated Nov. 1. If you are on paid parental leave on Oct. 1 and you return by the last day of February in the same school year, you will receive your lump-sum payment on March 15, 2020. Those paid on H-Bank payroll will receive the payment a few weeks later. If you return to work after the last day of February 2020, you will receive both your missed payment and the next lump-sum payout in October 2020 provided you are back on payroll. If you are on another form of leave this October, you will receive the next payment next October if you are back on payroll in time. TDAs will be updated, along with all other payroll contributions and deductions. While the calculations can be complicated, the truth is simple: You deserve this money. See this handy pay chart to learn more about the salary increases and lump-sum payments you have received as a result of the 2014 UFT-DOE.

Register now for Teacher Union Day on Oct. 20

You and your members are invited to attend Teacher Union Day on Sunday, Oct. 20. This year, the UFT will give special Above and Beyond Awards to UFT chapters and members who have extended themselves to lift up their schools and students. The recipients are the UFT chapter at PS 153 in the Bronx for the more than $10,000 they raised in the past five years for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer; Beverly Dais at PS 154 in Manhattan for her extraordinary efforts in the District 5 prom dress giveaway; the UFT chapter at PS 177 in Brooklyn for their spirit of community in events such as Crazy Hat Day, Animal Print Day and a schoolwide field trip to Marine Park; the team of members at PS/IS 116 in Queens who did a makeover of the 5th-floor girls’ restroom with messages that foster self-esteem; and Patricia Lockhart at PS 57 in Staten Island for her commitment to sustainability and for teaching her students to be stewards of the earth. Teacher Union Day will take place at the New York Hilton at 1335 Avenue of the Americas in midtown Manhattan. The event will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25, which includes brunch. To register, complete the online form. You must be logged in to the UFT website.

No school on Dec. 23

The Department of Education on Sept. 24 amended its school calendar to make Monday, Dec. 23, part of the school holidays. UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “We are happy this issue has been resolved, and in a way that gives parents, educators and school communities adequate notice of the change.”

Bring middle school students to our anti-bullying conference

The UFT’s third annual In The Middle Anti-Bullying Conference, presented by the UFT Middle Schools Division with the Department of Education, the New York Police Department and STOMP Out Bullying, will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Shanker Hall. Each middle school is invited to send up to 15 students from the 6th and 7th grades, accompanied by a teacher, school counselor or dean. Participating students will hear inspiring speakers and attend engaging workshops. The conference aims to “deputize” students to become ambassadors to their schools and help other students deal with and identify cyber, physical and mental bullying. The event organizers provide students with strategies that help create a calm school environment. Students will receive lunch, snacks and giveaways. Transportation must be provided by the school. Each student must bring a signed UFT Parent Consent Form and a signed DOE Trip Permission Slip to attend the event. If you have questions or to sign up, please contact Kim Polite at kpolite@uft.org or Bradley Alter at balter@uft.org.

Donate winter clothing for homeless students

Please organize a winter clothing drive in your school to make sure the homeless children attending the union’s Thanksgiving Luncheon all have new winter apparel to bring home afterwards. You may bring your school’s donations of new winter coats, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats for homeless children to the Delegate Assembly on Oct. 16 and Nov. 20. You may also drop off donations until Wednesday, Nov. 20, at any UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. The union can accept only NEW articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. For questions, contact Kim Polite at kpolite@uft.org. Please post the UFT Middle School Division 7th Annual Thanksgiving Coat Drive on your UFT bulletin board if you haven’t done so already.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • NEW Take the contract empowerment survey: Last week, the union sent chapter leaders a survey to gauge how well the 2018 DOE-UFT’s contract is serving you, specifically the portions that give you more of a voice in our schools and in your profession. If you haven’t answered the quick four-question survey, please check your emails from Thursday, Sept. 19, and do so today.
  • NEW Focus group for school librarians: Please tell school librarians in your chapter about the new UFT School Library Focus Group, which looks at current issues of concern to librarians and proposes possible courses of action. For more information about the focus group, email Evelyn DeJesus at EDeJesus@uft.org. Please also make sure school librarians are included in all UFT member meetings and receive all member materials. It is more important than ever that our librarian colleagues have the opportunity to participate fully in school and union activities. And remember to include them in school-based professional development!
  • Thank you for reporting class size on Sept. 24: We appreciate your efforts to resolve class-size issues on the school level on days 6, 10 and 14. Any oversize classes reported on Sept. 24 have been referred to the superintendent and your district representative as part of a new expedited process for handling class-size violations. If your school has any oversize classes on the 20th day of school, which is Friday, Oct. 4, you must send an updated RACL or Master Schedule Final to your district rep on that date. On the 21st day, all remaining oversize classes go to the Class Size Labor-Management Committee for review. If that committee can’t come up with a remedy, the issue goes to arbitration. We’ve fought for years to strengthen the process for addressing oversize classes so it’s critical that we take advantage of the new contractual provisions. Class-size limits are in Article 7M of the contract.
  • Organize your school’s Go Pink day on Oct. 16: About one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime. Please organize your fellow UFT members to raise awareness about breast cancer by asking them to wear pink on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The activity helps build chapter unity and demonstrates commitment to fighting breast cancer. Take photos of your members wearing pink and post them on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UFTgopink. Please send your best one or two photos (large size, with captions) to uftphotos@gmail.com for the union’s Facebook, Instagram and website photo albums. Also, we want chapter leaders and delegates to wear pink at the Delegate Assembly on that same day. The New York Teacher will send its photographer to a few schools to take photos of members in pink. If a UFT photographer has not come to your school before to take Go Pink photos, please send an email request to editor Joe LoVerde at jloverde@uft.org.
  • Use the new operational issues process to resolve workplace issues: Resolving school-level operational issues is a great way to organize and empower your chapter. The DOE and the UFT negotiated the systemwide standards covering paperwork, curriculum, professional development, basic instructional supplies, workload and space. Use this new process to quickly address issues. You should submit an online paperwork and operational issues report (you must be logged in to the UFT website to access it) the day you attempt to resolve the issue with your principal through a one-on-one conversation, an email or your UFT consultation committee. From that day, your principal will have five days to rectify the issue. If the issue remains unresolved, the issue may escalate to the district paperwork and operational committee. If unresolved at the district level, the central committee will attempt to resolve the issue. The UFT can take any unresolved issues concerning paperwork, curriculum, professional development and basic instructional supplies to arbitration. Unresolved workload and space issues affecting functional chapter members can be escalated to the UFT president and the schools chancellor, or their designees.
  • Chapter leader stipend formula to change: The UFT is changing its formula for chapter leader stipends to recognize the time and effort dedicated by chapter leaders to empower, organize and engage their members. As in previous years, the base stipend will be calculated at a rate of $6 per member. Each chapter leader receives a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,350, depending on the size of the chapter. What’s new is chapter leaders will now earn a larger stipend for participating in union activities and spurring member engagement. You will receive points for having 100 percent union membership; holding regular chapter meetings and consultation meetings with your principal; attending the Delegate Assembly and district representative meetings; COPE participation; and having active school-based committees. Your points will convert to a bonus ranging from $250 to $1,000 based on the number of points you accrue from your leadership efforts. For more information, see the stipend page on the UFT website. You must be logged in as a chapter leader.
  • Safety is an operational issue: Last spring, the DOE issued new systemwide standards for safety that incorporate existing rules and regulations on school safety. You are encouraged to learn about and use these standards. These safety issues can be resolved at the school level. You can submit an online operational issues report (you must be logged in to the UFT website to access it) the day you attempt to resolve the violation of any of these safety standards with your principal through a one-on-one conversation, an email or your UFT consultation committee. As with paperwork and other operational issues, your principal has five days to rectify the issue. If the issue is unresolved in that time, the issue may be escalated to the borough-based safety committee. If it remains unresolved at the borough level, the central committee will attempt to resolve the issue. The UFT can take any unresolved safety issues to the UFT president and the schools chancellor, or their designees. Here’s the School Safety Meeting Summary template. Please contact your district representative if you have any questions.

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Share with Your Members

NEW Flier for Middle School Division 7th Annual Thanksgiving Coat Drive

NEW Flier for Elementary Schools Division Social Media Handles

Flier for Classroom Discussion for the 21st Century conference

Flier for UFT conference on effective instruction for English language learners

Flier for Dial-A-Teacher

Flier for LEAP to Teacher Open House

Flier for Partners through Experience

Flier for the Middle Anti-Bullying Student Conference

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You Should Know

Community Service

TAKE ACTION Donate to hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas: Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, killing at least 45 people, leaving an estimated 70,000 people homeless and damaging or destroying as many as 13,000 homes. Parts of the Bahamas are still without power or running water, and it will take weeks to assess the severity of the damage from the Category 5 hurricane. Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has called Hurricane Dorian “the greatest national crisis in our country’s history.” The UFT Disaster Relief Fund is asking UFT members to help people in the Bahamas. Please consider making an online donation.

Opportunities

NEW Join Team High School at the Museum of the City of New York: Team High School’s monthly citywide meetings are open to all high school UFT members. This year, we will periodically hold our meetings in cultural institutions throughout the city. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, we will visit the Museum of the City of New York to explore the current exhibition, “City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Unions Changed New York.” We will also hold a meeting to discuss issues that affect our high school members. Please register online. For more information about the exhibition, see the Museum of the City of New York website.

NEW Follow the UFT Elementary Schools Division on social media: Members based in elementary schools and early childhood settings can follow the Elementary Schools Division on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Use the handle @UFT_Elementary for Twitter and Instagram. Find us on Facebook on the UFT-Elementary Schools Division page. You can refer to this Elementary Schools Division Social Media Handle flier.

Follow the UFT Middle School Division on social media: Members based in middle schools can follow the Middle School Division on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Use these handles: @uft_middle_schools for Instagram; @UFTMS_Division for Twitter; and @UFTMDivision for Facebook. Contact the Middle School Division by email at middleschools@uft.org.

Salary and Personnel

NEW DOE parking permits effective Nov. 1: Members in schools with approved DOE parking spots who were issued temporary parking permits last spring should renew their parking permits through the DOE’s self-service portal by Wednesday, Oct. 9. The new permit takes effect on Friday, Nov. 1, which is when the current permits expire. Please note: The number of parking spaces available at school sites will not increase. All Department of Transportation-designated street-parking spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions, email the Department of Education at DOEParkingPermits@schools.nyc.gov.

Teaching and Learning

NEW Registration fee lowered for literacy conference: The registration fee for the literacy conference, “Next Generation Standards for 21st Century Learners,” has been lowered to $40 for teachers seeking a certificate for CTLE hours; $15 for paraprofessionals seeking a certificate for CTLE hours; and $10 for registrants who do not want CTLE hours. This training takes place on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants will engage in speaking and listening practices which ignite imagination, foster deep discussion and support all students, including culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Register online.

NEW Lessons for Hispanic Heritage Month: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has lessons and other resources for Hispanic Heritage Month. Elementary teachers can find culturally responsive lessons for holidays. Middle school teachers can access a wealth of informational texts about Hispanic heritage for classroom use. High school teachers can view a webinar with journalist Sonia Nazario, author of the popular classroom text “Enrique’s Journey.” You can find more lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Chicago teachers vote to strike: Chicago teachers on Sept. 26 voted to authorize a strike in response to stalled contract negotiations, reports NPR. The union says after months of negotiations, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team have failed to hire more school support staff or to lower class size. Teachers could walk out in mid-October. In 2012, teachers left their classrooms for seven days. 

Kentucky miners block coal delivery: A group of unemployed Kentucky miners are sending a strong message to powerful coal corporations by blocking the coal trains from leaving a mine that laid them off, reports the Guardian. A small group of families have occupied the site since July 29, preventing trains carrying more than $1 million worth of coal from moving until workers are paid wages they’re owed since mining firm Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy. About 1,700 coalminers in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Wyoming were laid off without notice on July 1. There are no longer any unionized coal miners in Kentucky.

Arkansas proposal would deepen school segregation: Arkansas parents, educators and community leaders are furious about a state plan that would create separate governance for majority white schools and majority black schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. The plan would allow the best schools in Little Rock – those that have the highest enrollment of white students – to be run by a locally elected school board, while struggling schools – those that have the highest enrollment of black and Latino students – would be run by the state or an outside entity. Former state Senate Majority Leader Joyce Elliott, a Democrat who lives in Little Rock and attended segregated schools there until she was in high school, said, "What's happening in Little Rock is not new except for the blatant proposal on paper that we are going to practice segregation."

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Events Calendar

Featured

Saturday, Oct. 19: ExcELLing, the fourth annual UFT conference on effective instruction for English language learners, runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The UFT hosts this conference every fall so all educators can learn strategies to help English language learners reach their full potential. For more information, see the ExcELLing flier and to register, use the online registration form.

Sunday, Oct. 20: The Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk takes place in all five boroughs and on Long Island at various locations. Visit uft.org/strides to sign up for a walk. For more information, see the item in Community Service.

Sunday, Oct. 20: Join us for our annual celebration when we honor UFT leaders past and present at Teacher Union Day at the New York Hilton. To register, complete the online form. You must be logged in to the UFT website to register. For more information, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

This Week

Sunday, Sept. 29: All members are invited to join the NYC Central Labor Council and Labor 411 for Union Night at Citi Field at the last Mets game of the regular season (Mets vs. Braves). The game begins at 3:10 p.m. For ticket prices and to register, see the online form.  

Wednesday, Oct. 2: Queens-based members are invited to a maternity and paid leave consultation for birthing parents in their third trimester from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, Forest Hills. Space is limited. Register online. See the Paid Parental Leave Consultation flier for details. 

Wednesday, Oct. 2: Brooklyn-based members are invited to a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 25th floor. UFT membership is required to attend and the workshop has limited seating. Light refreshments will be served. Register online. For other dates, see the Pathways to Parenthood flier.

Thursday, Oct. 3: Queens-based members are invited to a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, Forest Hills. UFT membership is required to attend and the workshop has limited seating. Light refreshments will be served. Register online. For more information and other dates, see the Pathways to Parenthood flier.

Thursday, Oct. 3: The Paraprofessionals Chapter’s representative meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Thursday, Oct. 3: Brooklyn-based members are invited to a spring sabbatical workshop from 4 to 6 p.m.at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St. Register online. For more information, see the Brooklyn Spring Term Sabbatical Workshop flier.

Save the Date

Tuesday, Oct. 22: The UFT Middle School Division’s In The Middle Anti-Bullying Student Conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Download the flier.

For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.

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In Case You Missed It

Testimony regarding testing and alternative measures of performance

Queens parent newsletter: September 2019

Staten Island parent newsletter: September 2019

Bronx parent newsletter: September 2019

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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.

English Language Arts Committee

African Heritage Committee

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Please attend the monthly meeting of the African Heritage Committee at 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, Room A.

Asian-American Committee

  • Wednesday, Oct. 2, 4 to 6 p.m., Monthly membership meeting.

NYC Association of Foreign Language Teachers

  • Saturday, Nov. 16, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Annual professional conference for all second language teachers (Language Other Than English.) Theme: World Languages Proficiencies: Celebrating Our Shift to Global Connections. For more information and to register, see the LOTE Conference flier. Registration opens on Monday, Sept. 30.

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Calling the UFT

The UFT’s new contact center is open and can provide support with all your union rights and benefits. Call the following numbers with any questions or for assistance.


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Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, Shelvy Young-Abrams, George Altomare, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Alison Gendar, Brian Gibbons, MaryJo Ginese, Christopher Grandison, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, David Hickey, Janella Hinds, David Kazansky, Lynne Kilroy, Katherine Kurjakovic, Joe LoVerde, Rich Mantell, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Khiera Pena,  Marisol Pena, Suzanne Popadin, Cassie Prugh, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Robin Sentell, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin and Liz Truly.