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Chapter Leader UpdateOct. 20, 2022

A large group of UFT members, all wearing blue, stand outside their school building

SOLIDARITY IN BLUE: UFT members at PS 173 in Manhattan joined their colleagues across the city in wearing blue on Oct. 13 to show their strength and resolve as the union began contract negotiations with the city. 

This Week's Focus

City and DOE faced a sea of blue on Oct. 13

We want to thank all the chapter leaders who organized their members to wear blue to work last Thursday as the union kicked off what will likely be a difficult fight for a fair contract. City and DOE officials entered Shanker Hall that afternoon for their first negotiating session with the UFT to face the 500 members of the UFT Negotiating Committee all dressed in union blue in an impressive display of solidarity and strength. “We are united, prepared and ready to fight for the contract we deserve,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Our new Q&A on contract negotiations will help you answer questions from your members about contract negotiations and how they work. 

Read our contract FAQ

Rising health costs pose a challenge

The escalating cost of health insurance, prescription drugs and medical care across the country has created a national crisis. The UFT and its fellow unions in the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) have been a shield for in-service and retired members from these escalating costs, but it is an issue that must be addressed since pressure is growing on the city and the MLC to add health care premiums. There is a better solution: aggressively leverage the size of New York City’s municipal workforce to battle insurance companies and get medical providers to deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost. It’s the approach we have taken over the past decade, and it has yielded results. The MLC continues to look for ways to bring down costs that don’t affect quality of care. City officials told the UFT during the first bargaining session on Oct. 13 that before any contract agreement is finalized, the city and the municipal unions would need to be on the path to a health care agreement that offered major savings. The city took the same stance with District Council 37, the city’s largest union, at their first bargaining session. We created a new FAQ on health care to answer some of the most common questions that members ask. 

Read our health care FAQ

Help get out the vote in Pennsylvania

Of all the elections taking place in the United States on Tuesday, Nov. 8, two of the most pivotal are in Pennsylvania: a gubernatorial race and a U.S. Senate race. The race for governor pits a moderate Democrat against a far-right candidate running on the Republican line. Pennsylvania is one of three U.S. Senate races most likely to decide which party holds the majority in the Senate come January 2023. UFT members led by UFT President Michael Mulgrew will be knocking on doors in Philadelphia with union members from local AFT affiliates on Saturday, Oct. 29, to help elect Josh Shapiro for governor and John Fetterman to the U.S. Senate. You can take a bus from UFT headquarters in Manhattan or the union’s Staten Island borough office. You can also drive your own car to Philadelphia and meet up with the volunteers there.

Sign up

Thank you for helping to raise awareness about breast cancer

We want to thank all the chapter leaders who asked their members to come to school in pink on Oct. 12 and organized teams for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks on Oct. 9, Oct. 16 and this coming Sunday, Oct. 23, in the Bronx. These activities enabled our members to pay tribute to lost loved ones, honor survivors and celebrate their commitment to fighting for a cure to breast cancer. We also want to thank all of you who sent photos or tagged the union on posts to their own social media accounts. You can see Making Strides Against Breast Cancer photos and Go Pink photos on the UFT website. Check out the UFT’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for many more. Be on the lookout for articles in the next New York Teacher.

Chapter Leader Checklist

To Do #1
Encourage members to get out and vote

The UFT is working to elect Kathy Hochul for governor and backing other candidates up and down the ballot who support the union's education, economic and labor agendas. Please remind members of your chapter, your friends and your family to vote — by absentee ballot, through early voting or in person on Election Day. No one should sit on the sidelines.

To Do #2
Request a UFT representative to speak at your school 

Do your members have questions about Welfare Fund benefits, certification or school safety and health? Would they like to have a conversation with the UFT vice president from their school division? UFT officers and union reps from various departments are available to visit your school and speak with the members of your chapter. Fill out the online request form on the UFT website.

Request a school visit

To Do #3
Organize a coat drive at your school

Please organize a winter clothing drive at your school and ask members of your school community to donate new winter coats, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats for students in need. The union can only accept NEW articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. You can bring your school’s donations of clothing to the Nov. 16 Delegate Assembly or drop off donations until Friday, Nov.18, at any UFT borough office or on the 14th floor at UFT headquarters. You and your members can also make a monetary donation, which will be used to buy winter clothing. If you have questions, reach out to Jeannette Noriega at Please post this coat drive flier on your UFT bulletin board. 

To Do #4
Study sabbatical application deadline is this Friday

Please remind your interested members that the deadline for eligible teachers to apply for a study sabbatical is tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 21. The current guidelines and eligibility requirements are in the DOE sabbatical memo.

To Do #5
Fliers to share with your members

Here are fliers you can print and distribute in member mailboxes or post on your school’s UFT bulletin board.

Hub Highlights

File a Step 1 grievance from the hub

As chapter leader, you’re empowered to resolve many issues at the school level through consultation. But when consultation fails, filing a Step 1 grievance may be the best course of action. You now have easy access to the online Step 1 grievance form from the Chapter Leader Hub. After submitting the grievance in the hub, email or hand a copy to your principal to complete the filing. Remember, you can access the Chapter Leader Hub using your UFT website username and password. 

Enter the hub


Work in progress

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

  • Ensuring the protection of the contractual rights of members affected by the restructuring of the Division of Early Childhood Education.
  • Streamlining the process for bilingual education certification.
  • Lobbying the New York City Council to amend the administrative code to state explicitly that the city must negotiate with the Municipal Labor Committee on all employee health care plans and must allow city unions to negotiate so employees have health care plan choices. 

You Should Know


Final SBO deadline for 2022-23 school year is Oct. 31

If you plan on initiating a school-based option (SBO) for the current school year, the deadline to conduct SBO votes is Monday, Oct. 31. Your SBO must not change the times of the students’ school day. These SBO votes are conducted online through Election Buddy. You should follow the regular SBO process, including meeting with your chapter and your principal to discuss possible modifications. If there is agreement, an SBO ballot should be created. Your UFT district representative must approve the ballot prior to the vote being set up in Election Buddy. For complete information on SBOs, see the SBO section of the UFT website.


Election Day citywide safety symposium on Nov. 8

The UFT, the DOE and the NYPD School Safety Division are jointly hosting a full day of safety and health training for chapter leaders and school deans on Election Day. We encourage you to attend what promises to be a day of useful professional development. Topics include:

  • General response protocol overview
  • Conducting effective safety meetings
  • Online Occurrence Report System reporting
  • Threat assessment
  • NYPD School Safety Division community outreach presentation

Please share the registration link with your school deans. Prior to attending, chapter leaders and deans must consult with their principals for release time. The symposium is at UFT headquarters from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Register now


Tell us about an inspiring classroom at your school

Is there a classroom in your school you admire for its unique décor, innovative organization or creative visual projects? We want to highlight these classrooms for the New York Teacher’s Inside My Classroom feature. If a teacher in your school has done something special with their classroom to inspire student learning, use this online form to tell us about it or submit a photo.


How to avoid power struggles at home or at school

Have you ever wondered how to avoid power struggles at home and in the classroom? In this episode of the Member Assistance Program’s Classroom Café podcast, Chazz Lewis (aka Mr. Chazz), a parent and teacher coach with a huge social media following, will share his experiences guiding parents and educators in managing difficult situations with children. A former Montessori teacher and the author of “No Bad Kid,” Mr. Chazz talks about how to see children for who they are to better guide them and win their trust as you foster a healthy environment. Listen and subscribe to Classroom Café wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.

Listen to the podcast


You may vote by mail in the Nov. 8 election

Due to the COVID pandemic, registered voters in New York State may vote by mail in the Nov. 8 general election. If you live in New York City, you must request an absentee ballot by Monday, Oct. 24, at the NYC Absentee Voting website. If you live outside New York City, obtain your absentee ballot online from the New York State Board of Elections website. Make sure that you check off “Temporary Illness” on the application as the reason for your request to vote by mail. See the candidates endorsed by the UFT and NYSUT in the election.

Early voting begins on Oct. 29

The in-person early voting period for the Nov. 8 general election runs from Saturday, Oct. 29, to Sunday, Nov. 6. Members who live in New York City can use this tool to find their early voting and Election Day polling sites. Members who live in other parts of the state can use the Board of Elections' online portal to find their location for early voting and Election Day voting.


Lump-sum payments head to members returning from leave

In-service Q bank members who were on an approved leave for any of the lump-sum pay years (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020) and remain eligible and on payroll on Oct. 1 of this year should receive a payment in their Oct. 31 paycheck. In-service H bank members who were on an approved leave for any of the lump-sum pay years (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020) and remain eligible and on payroll on Oct. 1 of this year should receive a payment in their Oct. 28 paycheck. Q and H bank retirees who were on an approved leave for any of the same lump-sum pay years should receive a payment in mid-November. The specific date has yet to be determined. H bank retirees who were on an approved leave for any of the same lump-sum pay years should receive a payment in a supplemental check dated Nov. 17.

November workshops on 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 a child. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for every Thursday in November except for Thanksgiving. More will be scheduled in December. All workshops are online from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information about these benefits, see the paid parental leave section of the UFT website.

Next round of pension workshops starting in November

The UFT Pension Department offers virtual workshops throughout the school year to help members understand their pension benefits. While members may register for individual workshops, the Pension Department encourages members to attend the series. All workshops take place from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Upcoming workshops include Turning 65 and Medicare on Thursday, Nov. 17; Annual Benefit Statements and Death Benefits on Wednesday, Nov. 30; Tier 4 Milestones, Final Average Salary Calculations and CAR Days on Thursday, Dec. 8; Tier 6 Milestones, Final Average Salary Calculations and CAR days on Thursday, Dec. 15; Retirement Options, TDAs, SHIP, COPE and RTC Membership on Wednesday, Dec. 21; and Health Benefits for Pre-Medicare Retirees on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.


Getting to “yes” on special ed issues at consultation

When special education staff speak with one voice about problems with special education service delivery and procedures, your ability as a chapter leader to resolve issues through the consultation process is strengthened. A cohesive voice also helps to build a strong chapter. Encourage special education staff at your school to work together to identify concerns and suggest possible solutions. You can then present these concerns and solutions at your consultation meeting. Your advocacy for students should not be questioned. Issues are often rooted in the laws, regulations and policies that govern special education. If you need help identifying the appropriate law, regulation or policy to cite, please check the teaching students with disabilities section of the UFT website or contact UFT Vice President MaryJo Ginese at 212-598-7706 or If you are unable to resolve concerns at the school level, the UFT members who work with the special education student(s) whose services are being affected can file a confidential special education complaint. As a reminder, students’ names, OSIS numbers and other identifying information should never be included on the special education complaint form or communication with the UFT.

Consider compensatory service needs at IEP meetings

The DOE’s Special Education Recovery Services (SERS) initiative was an attempt to close pandemic-related learning gaps for students with disabilities. When SERS did not fully address this learning loss, IEP teams must consider students’ need for compensatory services at an IEP meeting as opposed to waiting until parents file due process complaints. Here’s the DOE guidance for IEP team members. The “new” consideration at the IEP meeting is whether the student received adequate SERS support to sufficiently close the learning gaps. If not, compensatory services are available as an option on a new dropdown menu in SESIS. Note: Schools can receive authorization to deliver compensatory services via the P4 (SETSS) or an RSA (related services authorization). For further information, see the Sept. 13 IEP meeting and compensatory guidance on the UFT website.

Find the latest guidance on students with disabilities

The students with disabilities section of the UFT website has comprehensive, up-to-date information about working with students with disabilities in New York City public schools. Check out What’s new in special education as items are added on a weekly basis. Stay turned for a new feature on the latest research about special education.


Nominate an outstanding teacher for $25,000 FLAG Award

The FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence is accepting nominations to honor extraordinary New York City public school teachers. One teacher from each borough will win a $25,000 cash prize plus an additional $10,000 for their school. Students, parents of students, colleagues and school administrators may nominate teachers. Nominations are due by Friday, Dec. 2, and awards will be announced in June 2023. Read the FLAG Award FAQ to learn more about the award and the nomination process.

Nominate a teacher

See the State Teacher of the Year at Teacher Union Day

Harlem science teacher Billy Green, the New York State Teacher of the Year, will be a featured speaker at this year’s Teacher Union Day. We will pay tribute to 81 chapter leaders who will receive the Ely Trachtenberg Award for building strong and vibrant UFT chapters. Among the day’s other honorees is Shelvy Young-Abrams, who has retired as chair of the UFT’s Paraprofessionals Chapter. She will receive the Charles Cogen Award, the union’s highest honor, for her fierce advocacy on behalf of paraprofessionals for more than 50 years. Please join us on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown at 1335 Sixth Ave. The $50 entrance fee includes a continental breakfast and a post-awards reception. The deadline to register is Monday, Nov. 1.

Register now

DA and Executive Board dates for 2022-23 school year 

You can check the UFT website for when the UFT Delegate Assembly and the UFT Executive Board will meet during the 2022-23 school year. All dates are subject to change. Typically, the UFT Executive Board meets on Mondays starting at 6 p.m. and the Delegate Assembly takes place on Wednesdays starting at 4:15 p.m. These dates are accurate as of Dec. 8, 2022. They are subject to change.

See the calendar

Contact the UFT

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