Chapter Leader UpdateNov. 17, 2022
Chapter Leader UpdateNov. 17, 2022
This Week's Focus
Contract negotiation update
UFT negotiation subcommittees representing functional chapters and divisions are formulating their bargaining demands and meeting with the city and the Department of Education to present those demands this month. The 500-member UFT Negotiating Committee will reconvene on Nov. 30 to discuss next steps in the bargaining as well as next steps in the citywide campaign to win a fair contract. At the next meeting of your school chapter, please let members know that bargaining is underway. It will take time to reach agreement on all the topics that need to be discussed because it’s important that all voices be heard. For answers to commonly asked questions about contract negotiations, read our FAQ.
A strong showing on Election Day
We want to thank our political action volunteers, in particular those from the Retired Teachers Chapter, for the time they invested in making calls to fellow union members in New York and battleground states and for traveling to Philadelphia to get out the vote for John Fetterman, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. We rallied behind Gov. Kathy Hochul, who solidified her place in history as New York’s first elected woman governor. From signing the historic New York City class size bill into law and delivering the full amount of state funding that city public schools are owed to signing landmark legislation to automatically enroll full-time paraprofessionals in the pension system, Gov. Hochul has delivered for public schools and UFT members.
Bring joy to a child by donating a new toy
Share the season of joy this holiday season by providing a toy to New York City public school students in need. Donate an unwrapped, brand-new toy for children, newborn to 16 years of age. We’re offering three options to make it easier for you to donate to make sure no child goes without a gift this holiday season:
- Donate an unwrapped, brand-new toy at the Dec. 14 Delegate Assembly or at a UFT borough office through Dec. 14
- Make a monetary donation via PayPal
- Select an item online while shopping and have it shipped to the UFT at:
Elementary Schools Division
52 Broadway, 14th floor
New York, NY 10004
Thanks to you, Teacher Union Day was a success
We want to thank the 1,000 UFT members who came out to recognize their colleagues’ dedication to the union and to unite in solidarity to face the battles ahead at Teacher Union Day at the New York Hilton on Nov. 6. Retired Paraprofessional Chapter Chair Shelvy Young-Abrams, who received the Charles Cogen Award, the union’s highest honor, articulated the case for using our voting power on Election Day and amplifying our collective voices in schools on behalf of our students and our profession. New York State Teacher of the Year Billy Green, a Harlem science teacher, called on his fellow educators to continue providing “positive, equitable and empowering spaces and experiences” for students. We want to give a special shoutout to the 81 chapter leaders who received Ely Trachtenberg Awards. Read our Teacher Union Day story and our feature story on Young-Abrams, and see photos of this year’s honorees on the UFT website.
Chapter Leader Checklist
To Do #1
Warn your members about predatory student-loan relief companies
Alert your members that the only company that has a partnership with the UFT to provide student debt relief is the National Student Debt Forgiveness Center. The UFT has learned other companies have been presenting themselves to members as having agreements with the UFT to reduce their student loan debt. Beware: None of these other companies are affiliated with the union in any way and may charge upfront fees and hidden monthly fees. You can find out about the Student Debt Relief Program and register for an introductory webinar on the UFT website.
To Do #2
Determine if PROSE is right for your school
If you work in a school that is highly collaborative and has innovative practices, you may be interested in becoming a Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) school. PROSE schools may change the UFT contract and DOE regulations to create educator-led, community-driven innovations. The UFT is accepting applications from schools interested in joining the PROSE program in the 2023-24 school year. Please join us at a virtual information session this coming Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 3:30 p.m. In the interim, check out the PROSE section of the UFT website. A PROSE school liaison would be happy to meet with your school. Contact PROSE@uft.org to request a visit or ask questions. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, March 31, 2023. Applications are reviewed and approved on a rolling basis by the PROSE panel. The earlier your application is received, the sooner it will be reviewed by the panel.
To Do #3
Nov. 30 deadline to change NYC health plans
Remind your members that the open enrollment period for health benefits for in-service members is the end of the month. In-service members who plan to change their NYC health plan must complete the enrollment by Wednesday, Nov. 30. All changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
To Do #4
Notifications for MOSL selections in mid-November
Remind teachers at your school that the DOE will notify them of this school year’s Measures of Student Learning selection in mid-November. Teachers should check their DOE email account for this information. Find detailed information about the teacher evaluation process on the UFT website.
To Do #5
Final chance to donate winter apparel
Drop off donations of brand-new coats and other winter accessories for children in need through Friday, Nov. 18, at 5 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 14th floor.
To Do #6
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.
Did you miss our last issue?
The Chapter Leader Update runs every other week, but don’t fret if you miss an issue. As a chapter leader, you have access to the complete Chapter Leader Update archive through the Chapter Leader Hub. Check out the archive to find information in any updates you may have missed. Remember, you can access the Chapter Leader Hub using your UFT website username and password.
Work in progress
The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:
- Advocating for members employed in the Division of Early Childhood Education and the 3K and pre-K educators they support.
- Working with the DOE on comprehensive guidance on SETSS that will clarify recommendations for direct and indirect services, explain the distinction between instructional adaptations and supplemental instruction, and spell out the differences between integrated co-teaching and SETSS.
- Demanding that the City Comptroller’s Office immediately conduct a thorough audit of the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) in light of the reported mismanagement of resources.
- Looking at ways in which occupational and physical therapists can move from BERS to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).
- Lobbying the New York City Council to amend the administrative code to preserve health plan choices for retirees and save premium-free health care for all UFT members.
You Should Know
HEALTH & SAFETY
COVID tests for Thanksgiving break
The DOE is distributing two additional at-home rapid test kits for staff and students for use during the Thanksgiving break. Students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are encouraged to test at least 48 hours after traveling or attending a large gathering, as well as before returning to school. Students are bringing home a letter that provides instructions for when to use the kits. See the DOE’s updated School Health Policy.
Discuss the DOE’s plans for its gifted and talented program
The UFT Elementary School Division will hold a virtual discussion on Thursday, Dec. 1, in response to the DOE’s plans to change some aspects of its gifted and talented program. The DOE’s plan includes adding seats and replacing the admissions test with universal screening. If your members teach pre-K or kindergarten, encourage them to join the discussion at 4:30 p.m.
City solicits bids for in-service health care plans
The city, with the support of the Municipal Labor Committee, has begun a negotiated acquisition process for health care plans for in-service employees that will allow for lots of back-and-forth between the bidders and the city and the unions to ensure the winning plan provides the same standard of care as GHI CBP and allows in-service members to maintain their existing health benefit structure.
Our push to change the administrative code
The UFT continues to fight to preserve robust premium-free health care benefits for all its members, both in-service and retired. We are focused on persuading the City Council to change the administrative code to preserve the Municipal Labor Committee’s decades-long authority to negotiate health care benefits and preserve health care plan options for all our members. The change to the code became necessary after a state judge issued a ruling in NYC Medicare Advantage Plus litigation in June that interpreted the code in a way that undermined the municipal unions’ ability to advocate for their members in this crucial arena. If we are not successful in changing the code, it will be more likely that New York City municipal employees will have to pay health care premiums. UFT members should not have to pay the price for this judge’s flawed interpretation of the administrative code. Please call, send an email to or tweet at the Council member who represents you or your school neighborhood and ask them to amend the administrative code now. Learn more in our updated health care FAQ.
SALARY & PERSONNEL
Members should check their TEACH account for CTLE status
New York State requires teachers with professional state certification and paraprofessionals with a Level III Teaching Assistant Certificate to complete 100 hours of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits every five years. Encourage members to make sure they are registered with the State Education Department through their TEACH Online Services account. The profile page shows an individual’s current registration period expiration date, which is their deadline for completing 100 CTLE hours for that five-year cycle. Every educator's deadline is different, so individuals must log in to their own TEACH accounts to find out their deadline. Members must re-register on their TEACH account every five years and may do so as early as six months before the current cycle’s expiration date. Failure to re-register may result in a fine for late registration, though the state has so far waived this fee. Members should not send any proof of CTLE hours unless requested to do so by the state. However, they should get proof of CTLE hours and be prepared to submit that proof if the state Office of Teaching Initiatives audits them. Certificate holders may be audited any time during the three years following any registration cycle. For more information, read our Q&A on certification or call a UFT certification specialist at 212-331-6311.
Teacher’s Choice payments come on Nov. 30
Members eligible for Teacher’s Choice should receive their allocation in their paycheck on Nov. 30. If a member in an eligible title who was on payroll as of Nov. 1 does not receive the payment, your principal should inform the DOE’s Teacher’s Choice unit by Dec. 7. A second distribution for those missed on Nov. 30 is scheduled for Dec. 30. The Teacher’s Choice purchasing window, which began on Aug. 1, closes on Jan. 13, 2023. The receipts for your purchases must be submitted with a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form, by Jan. 17. Members who received a Teacher’s Choice payment but don’t file an accountability form with required receipts by the deadline must return the money to the DOE. For more information, go to the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website. If you need assistance, call the DOE at 718-935-4000 or speak with your payroll secretary.
Update your contact information
Make sure your members have up-to-date email addresses and cell phone numbers on file with the UFT to ensure that they receive timely and informative emails and text messages. The quickest way to change an email address or opt in to text messages is to go to My Account (you must be logged in to the UFT website) and then select edit. To update their mailing address (important for the New York Teacher and Welfare Fund benefits information), the member should fill out the UFT Welfare Fund’s Change of Status form, which is listed in the bottom section of My Account.
New continuing education credits required for UFT members providing mental health services
Licensed psychologists, social workers and other mental health practitioners will now be required to complete three continuing education credits on issues related to maintaining appropriate professional boundaries with patients/clients as part of the 36 continuing education credits they must earn every three years. The new requirement was enacted by the state Board of Regents, which passed an amendment to the Commissioner’s Regulations proposed by staff from the State Education Department’s Office of Professional Practice. The new requirement takes effect with a triennial registration period beginning on or after April 1, 2023. These professional-boundary continuing education credits must be taken from state-approved providers.
Financial wellness workshop for UFT members
UFT members asked to learn more about smart financial strategies, and the UFT Pension Department responded by offering Money Moves, a virtual workshop on this topic. This valuable workshop will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. UFT Pension Representative David Kazansky will talk about guidelines for living within your means while saving to meet your short- and long-term financial goals. Topics include budgeting, tips for saving, reducing debt and planning for retirement.
Recent Guidance and Agreements
- DOE school health policy (Nov. 14, 2022)
- Updates on DOE's Grading, Attendance and Messaging Application (GAMA) (Sept. 16, 2022)
- Digital classroom agreement for 2022-23 (Aug. 24, 2022)
- Personnel Memo No. 1 for 2022-23 (July 1, 2022)
- Mayor’s Personnel Order No. 2021/2 on excused leave to get own children vaccinated (Nov. 8, 2021)
Contact the UFT
- DOE members, call 212-331-6311.
- DOE functional chapter members, call 212-331-6312.
- A health benefit question? Call the Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500.