Chapter Leader UpdateJan. 20, 2022
Chapter Leader UpdateJan. 20, 2022
CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER: Students at PS 22 on Staten Island celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by posting their own dreams on a bulletin board honoring the storied civil rights leader.
This Week's Focus
UFT elections this spring
The UFT is holding elections for president and other officers, executive board members and convention delegates this spring. All the positions are three-year terms, effective July 1, 2022. Nominating petitions are now available to download and print. The deadline to submit completed petitions is Friday, Feb. 18. The ballots will be mailed on Friday, April 8, 2022. Balloting will be conducted by the independent American Arbitration Association. If you are interested in running for one of the positions, please read the 2022 UFT Election Notice for details. You’ll also find the nominating petitions and the candidate statements in our Election 2022 section of the website. Election committee meeting minutes will be posted in that section.
Seeking members for UFT contract negotiating committee
With the DOE-UFT contract due to expire in the fall, we are seeking members for the UFT’s contract negotiating committee. This committee will set our priorities in the upcoming negotiations. Our goal is to have the largest negotiating committee in the union’s history. Chapter leaders are invited to apply, but please mention this opportunity at your next chapter meeting or in an email or text message to your chapter’s members. We are asking all applicants to affirm that they will attend two training sessions on negotiations plus the many in-person meetings of the negotiating committee at UFT headquarters. As we are looking to have a committee that is representative of the various divisions, boroughs and titles, not everyone who applies can participate on the committee.
Clarification about providing remote work for students
Despite recent communications from the DOE that suggest the contrary, there is no new DOE-UFT agreement on providing remote work for students who are at home for reasons other than testing positive for COVID-19. The DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on Remote Instruction, signed in September 2021, is still in effect. Under that agreement, teachers and related service providers are eligible for payment for the office hours and other instructional support they provide for students who tested positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine at home. Teachers cannot be required to provide asynchronous instruction and office hours to students who are absent for other reasons. The DOE has said that if staff are willing and their supervisor approves, they may provide office hours and asynchronous instruction for these students but they must be compensated accordingly. No principal should pressure teachers to provide remote work online for students who are absent for reasons other than to quarantine or isolate. Please file an operational issues complaint if your administration is violating the MOA.
New chapter leaders invited to register for training
We encourage new chapter leaders to join us in person at UFT headquarters or online on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the second part of our four-part chapter leader training series. This all-day training session offers workshops on teacher evaluation, time and attendance, navigating school budgets and the consultation process. We recognize learning the ropes as a chapter leader in the middle of a pandemic is challenging. The UFT is here to help and support you every step of the way. We would like new chapter leaders to attend all four training sessions, but if you missed part one, please attend part two.
Chapter Leader Checklist
- Post the UFT Election Notice on your UFT bulletin board: We want all UFT members to know about the upcoming union elections and to have the opportunity to run for union office and vote in the election. Please print out and post the 2022 UFT Election Notice on your bulletin board.
- Last chance to submit Teacher’s Choice receipts: Remind your members that Friday, Jan. 21, is their last chance to submit the receipts for their 2021-22 school year Teacher’s Choice purchases to your payroll secretary. If a UFT member received Teacher’s Choice funds in their Nov. 29, 2021, paycheck and does not file an accountability form with required receipts by Friday, Jan. 21, that member must give back the money to the DOE. Note that Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) members who are assigned to your school this week must submit proof of eligible purchases on the DOE’s accountability form to your school’s principal by Friday, as well.
- Make sure your school’s testing list is refreshed weekly: Make sure your school is testing different students each week. Every week, the DOE creates a new randomized list of students to test, known as the RCOV list. The list includes only students who have consent forms on file. This randomized list must be refreshed and downloaded weekly (on each testing day). Schools should be sure to confirm the date is correct in the "Testing Week" column when preparing for the current week’s testing and refresh the list if needed.
- Fliers to share with members: Here are some fliers you can print and distribute in member mailboxes or post on your school’s UFT bulletin board:
Work in progress
The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:
- Expanding the pool of students for in-school testing
- A fully remote option for students
- Clearer guidance for operational closures of classrooms or schools
- Implementation of the vacation days created in the spring break arbitration
School Chapters on UFT.org
You Should Know
HEALTH & SAFETY
Government provides free at-home rapid COVID tests
The Biden administration is providing four free at-home test kits per household in the United States. All you have to do is provide your address. Orders usually ship in 7-12 days.
Opportunity to obtain school librarian certification
The DOE’s Department of Library Services has an opportunity for certified teachers to obtain State Education Department certification as a school librarian through the Michael Dodes at the DOE.
DOE guidance to ensure students receive their special services
In the wake of the COVID-related staffing shortages, the DOE has issued recommendations to principals to make sure that students with IEPs and English language learners continue to receive the services to which they are entitled. Principals are being encouraged to exhaust other options before temporarily reassigning teachers certified in special education, English as a new language or bilingual education to cover classes. Read the DOE’s recommendations in its Principals Digest.
MEDICAL & WELLNESS
Ongoing supplies of test kits and KN95 masks in schools
The DOE has promised to make KN95 masks and at-home rapid test kits available in New York City public schools for as long as needed. We have told the mayor and the governor that the school system’s new safety and health protocols depend on the city’s ability to maintain an adequate supply of test kits, and we will push to make sure the city continues to replenish its stocks. KN95 masks will be given to staff once a week. The same KN95 mask may be reused for up to five days. Remember: If your school is not distributing test kits as agreed or is experiencing a shortage of kits or masks, chapter leaders should call the union’s safety hotline at 212-331-6317 to report it.
SALARY & PERSONNEL
Assist pedagogues with certification problems
The DOE recently sent termination notices to teachers, school counselors, social workers and school psychologists who have not completed their certification requirements for their professional or permanent state certificate. These members should log in to their TEACH account on the State Education Department’s website to determine their next steps in becoming fully certified. Pedagogues who have received a notice of termination and have specific questions should contact the UFT’s certification specialists at 212-331-6311.
Pre-tax transit limits increased in 2022
The city Office of Payroll Administration has informed the union that the monthly pre-tax limit for commuter benefits has increased from $270 to $280, the new limit set by the Internal Revenue Service. This change took or will take effect on the first pay date in January. DOE employees do not need to change their commuter benefits payroll deduction amounts or their current Edenred order. Employees who were at the previous pre-tax maximum of $270 for transit and parking will automatically have $280 deducted each month starting in January.
School secretaries workshop on spring break arbitration ruling
The School Secretaries Chapter has organized a special workshop for its members on the DOE-UFT spring break 2020 arbitration decision. This virtual workshop will be held on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. It is designed to show school secretaries how to manage “vacation days,” a brand-new type of day that the arbitrator created to compensate members for the days they worked during the 2020 spring break.
CTE High School Awards postponed until March 15
The 2022 Career and Technical High School Awards Ceremony, which was originally scheduled for next month at UFT headquarters, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 15. We have an exciting new format in the works and will unveil it in the near future, but please save the date.
UFT’s Black History Month Film Series
As we celebrate Black History Month this month, please let your members know about the UFT's Black History Month film series. On five Thursdays, beginning on Jan. 27, we'll gather on Zoom for a virtual screening and discussion. We’ll see four movies (one is in two parts) that provide a vivid depiction of different periods in the history of Black Americans. The movies are: Slavery and Suffering: History of Africa, an episode of the BBC World News nine-part series; 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti, Parts 1 and 2; The Story of Marcus Garvey: A Documentary; and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.
Recent guidance and agreements
- Updated DOE School Health Policy (Jan. 11, 2022)
- COVID-related FAQ for principals (Jan. 11, 2022)
- Updated COVID-19 testing policies (Jan. 10, 2022)
- Updated Situation Room tips for principals (Jan. 6, 2022)
- Updated Personnel Memo No. 1 of the 2021-22 school year (Jan. 3, 2022)
- Remote per session work for the 2021–22 school year (November 2021)
- Mayor’s Personnel Order No. 2021/2 on excused leave to get own children vaccinated (Nov. 8, 2021)
- DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on remote instruction for the 2021-22 school year (Sept. 1, 2021)
Chapter Leader Communities
Share ideas with fellow chapter leaders in your district and find answers to questions about union rights and benefits.