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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Dec. 3, 2020


A man and a woman, both wearing masks, stand behind a table in a public school office full of bags to distribute to share with members of the school community.

IT'S IN THE BAG: James Madison HS staff packed bags with paint supplies and a facemask to send to members of the school community who signed up for a painting event via Zoom on Dec. 9.


This Week's Focus

Check out our FAQ on the December reopenings

As elementary school and District 75 members prepare to return to school buildings next week, the union has compiled a new FAQ with answers to the most common questions about staff and student reporting, the new testing protocols, blended learning, travel quarantines and medical accommodations. The new FAQ is one part of a comprehensive FAQ on every aspect of the 2020-21 school year.

Chapter leader stipend checks will be mailed in December

Chapter leaders are the face of the union for most members and we rely on your leadership. As a small acknowledgment of the work you’ve done and the work you will do during this extraordinary school year, we are mailing you your base stipend check this month as compensation for out-of-pocket expenses you incur while performing your duties as chapter leader. The base stipend is calculated at a rate of $6 per member. Each chapter leader receives a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,350. The chapter leader stipend is based on your estimated expenses as chapter leader during the school year. The IRS is very clear that for tax purposes, any excess you receive must be included in your gross income. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you keep all receipts. Like last school year, chapter leaders who qualify will receive a second stipend check at the end of June in recognition of the extra time and effort they have dedicated to empower, organize and engage their members during the 2020–21 school year.

Give a toy to a deserving child

As educators, we know how important it is to care for the whole child. That's why the UFT is calling on you to help bring the joy of the holiday season to our neediest students. Your monetary donation to the UFT Elementary School Division’s holiday toy drive will go toward the purchase of age-appropriate toys for New York City public school students. We encourage you to make a monetary contribution or ship toys directly to UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford at 52 Broadway, 14th floor, New York, NY 10004. The UFT will accept donations until Dec. 16. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Karen Alford at

Donate money for a toy

UFT-Mobile, NYSUT and AFT can save you money on holiday shopping

As a union member, you benefit from strength in numbers. Leveraging the same power the union brings to the bargaining table to negotiate for its nearly 200,000 members, the UFT has negotiated special member-only discounts with local and national merchants. The UFT app unlocks special member-only discounts for apparel, entertainment, travel, school supplies and more to save money on holiday shopping. Members can download the app for Apple phones or the app for Android phones . Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of the UFT app. Members log in to the app using the same username and password they use for the UFT website. Some of the many discounts include 30% off Skechers footwear, 15% off New York & Company and 15% off Ann Taylor LOFT. NYSUT Member Benefits also has helpful discounts including 20% off 1-800-Flowers and 15% off Bose products. The AFT has many members-only discounts that can be accessed by registering on the AFT website. The deals for AFT members include 10% off Dell computers and 20% off Dansko shoes.

Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Encourage new members to complete the DOE's new teacher survey: The DOE launched its annual new teacher survey (now named the Fall New Teacher Onboarding Survey) on Dec. 1. First-year classroom teachers received the online survey at their DOE email addresses. Principals should provide new teachers with time to complete this survey and encourage them to complete it by Dec. 18. The survey is confidential. The results will inform the DOE’s decisions about new supports for incoming teachers.

Work in progress

The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:

  • Roles and responsibilities of paraprofessionals in 2020-21 school year
  • Lobbying the state to pass an early retirement incentive for New York City educators

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You Should Know


UFT offers enrichment classes for students

The UFT is offering New York City students of all ages a series of three free Saturday enrichment sessions on Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. The UFT Teacher Center has created different programs for 3K to pre-K, pre-K to kindergarten, kindergarten to grade 1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Each program will be offered twice each Saturday to accommodate as many students as possible. These 90-minute virtual classes are designed to reinforce the classroom work children are doing during the week and help boost academic progress in this difficult school year. The dates, times and descriptions of the programs offered are in the Session Dates tab of the registration form. 

Register a child for enrichment classes »

Medical and Wellness

Finding purpose during the pandemic

In the latest episode of the UFT Member Assistance Program’s Classroom Café podcast, Christine Whelan, who teaches well-being at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, shares strategies for finding your purpose even during a pandemic. Embrace a “purpose mindset” and connect to something bigger. To learn more about Christine Whelan, visit her website, The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and SoundCloud.

Listen to the podcast >>

Political Action

Support UFT-endorsed candidate in Dec. 22 special election in the Bronx 

UFT-endorsed candidate Kevin Riley is running for the vacant City Council District 12 (School District 11) seat in the Bronx on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Turnout is crucial to ensure educators’ and teachers' voices continue to be heard during the coming year's legislative session. Margaret Borrelli, the UFT’s political action coordinator for the Bronx, will be organizing a virtual phone bank in the near future. Members may email her at to volunteer. 

Salary and Personnel

Sign up for virtual pension workshops

The UFT Pension Department has planned a series of workshops covering a range of topics to help you understand your options at retirement. All workshops will be held via Zoom. The next three Tier 4 sessions: “Annual Benefits Statements, Death Benefits and the Cumulative Absence Reserve,” on Tuesday, Dec. 8; “Pension, Milestones, Final Average Salary Calculations,” on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and “Tax Deferred Annuity Program, the UFT’s Supplemental Health Insurance Program; the COPE Fund, and the Retired Teachers Chapter,” on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. All workshops are from 4 to 5 p.m. Register online for  Dec. 8Dec. 15 and Jan. 14. While members may register for individual events, the Pension Department encourages members to attend the series.

Extension of medical accommodations

Thanks to the UFT’s advocacy, most members who have medical accommodations to work remotely don’t have to reapply. The DOE will automatically extend their accommodations until the end of the school year. For 12-month employees, the accommodation will be extended through the end of June. The only members who will not receive an automatic extension are those who received an accommodation based on pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have not yet given birth, you can apply beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1, for an extension of your accommodation. If you have already given birth and you are not on a leave of absence, you may apply for another accommodation for an underlying medical condition, if applicable. If you have an accommodation for any condition other than pregnancy, you should have received an email from the DOE confirming the extension of your medical accommodation. If you do not receive that email by Dec. 7, call the UFT at (212) 331-6311.

Attend a virtual workshop about paid parental leave

UFT members preparing to welcome a new child into their lives are invited to attend a virtual Pathways to Parenthood workshop to learn about their parental leave benefits. These UFT workshops are for any DOE-employed member who is about to give birth or adopt. The next two available workshops are on Thursday, Dec. 10, and Thursday, Dec. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m.For more information about these benefits, see the paid parental leave page on the UFT website. If you have any questions, call the UFT at  (212) 331-6311. 

Register for a workshop »

Sign up for e-delivery of tax forms

In-service DOE employees may have three important tax forms delivered to them electronically. Members may request secure electronic delivery of their W-2, 1127 waiver and 1095-C forms. The deadline for submitting this request is Friday, Dec. 11. To choose electronic delivery, employees should log in to their NYCAPS Employee Self-Service NYCAPS ESSaccount. Those employees will then receive an email by mid-January, which will provide instructions for downloading their forms. If an employee does not choose electronic delivery, the forms will be mailed to them at the address on file with the DOE.

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