Chapter Leader UpdateDec. 1, 2022
Chapter Leader UpdateDec. 1, 2022
This Week's Focus
Lead or support a Contract Action Team at your school
Our UFT Negotiating Committee will have much more leverage at the bargaining table with the city and the DOE if it has a vocal and united membership behind it. This organizing work must happen in each school. That’s why we are asking you, as chapter leader, to lead your school’s Contract Action Team or support your colleagues who have the time and energy to take on this task. These teams will help organize and promote future school-based actions and activities in support of negotiations and keep members informed about where we are in the process.
Chapter leader stipend checks will be mailed in December
You, as chapter leader, are the face of the union for your members, and we rely on your leadership. As a small acknowledgment of the work you’ve done and the work you will do this school year, we are mailing your base stipend check this month to compensate you 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 clear: For tax purposes, any excess you receive must be included in your gross income. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you keep all receipts. 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 2022–23 school year.
School budget update
The city’s more than $400 million in budget cuts to schools across the city in September will stand after an appeals court ruled on Nov. 22 that the New York City Council won’t have to vote again on the education budget. The appeals court agreed that city officials violated state education law in how they passed the budget for this fiscal year, but the panel decided that requiring a new budget vote would be unsettling to “the DOE’s operations and be detrimental to students and teachers alike.” The decision overturned the Aug. 5 ruling in which a lower court judge asked for a budget redo because the City Council adopted the city budget before the Panel for Educational Policy had voted to approve the education portion of it. "The DOE still needs to make school communities whole,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “It has the funding. The city needs to stop the financial fear mongering and do right by our students and educators."
Information about the health care battle
As a showdown on health care with the city looms large, the UFT and the Municipal Labor Committee continue to press the City Council to amend the city’s administrative code. If the Council fails to act, city retirees will likely lose their choice of health care plans, and UFT members, along with all other municipal employees, could have to pay health care premiums. Because we know this issue is complex, we have gathered together in one place all the explanatory information we have created for members, including our FAQ, a detailed look at the language of the proposed amendment, a health care negotiations timeline and a fact sheet that debunks misinformation about amending the code. UFT President Michael Mulgrew will give a health care update and answer UFT members’ questions at an all-member town hall next Wednesday, Dec. 7. Members will be receiving an email invitation shortly.
UFT Shanker scholarship applications available now
Make sure high school seniors in your school apply for a $5,000 Albert Shanker college scholarship. The application deadline is Feb.17, 2023. Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible New York City public high school seniors through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund. Please reach out to your school’s college advisers and school counselors to make sure that eligible seniors apply for these scholarships. If you do not work in a high school, please reach out to family, friends and community members who may qualify for this award. To receive a $5,000 scholarship from the fund, those selected must be accepted in a full-time, matriculated, degree-granting program at an accredited college or university for the fall of 2023. Students can apply electronically through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship website. Get more information and find the application materials on the UFT website.
Chapter Leader Checklist
To Do #1
Review DOE guidance on school handbooks
Please make sure your principal is adhering to the Department of Education’s guidance about school handbooks. While school handbooks may be used to notify staff of school procedures such as safety drills and student dismissal, they may not contain directives that contradict the DOE-UFT contract. For example, handbooks may not establish a staff dress code or mandate a specific timeframe for requesting a personal day. In addition, members can be asked to sign and acknowledge only the receipt of the handbook — not that they have familiarized themselves with its contents. If you think the DOE’s school handbook guidelines are not being adhered to in your school, contact your UFT district representative for help resolving any issues.
To Do #2
Bring toys to the Dec.14 Delegate Assembly
Encourage your members to share the season of joy this holiday season by donating new toys to New York City public school students in need or making a monetary donation via PayPal to the UFT Elementary School Division’s toy drive. Chapter leaders and delegates can bring the donated unwrapped, brand-new toys to the Dec. 14 Delegate Assembly. You may also bring donations to any UFT borough office through Wednesday, Dec. 21.
To Do #3
Don’t use student names in UFT emails
Please remember that any identifying information regarding students is considered a student record and should not be shared with the UFT. If you need to submit a report to the union for an investigation or a complaint that involves discussing student behavior, performance or related services, please do not name the student. If you receive a communication that includes a student name, please do not forward it. Copy and paste the pertinent information and remove the student's name before sharing with others.
To Do #4
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.
Work in progress
The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:
- Pushing the DOE to take common-sense steps to plan for compliance with the state class-size law.
- Advocating for members employed in the Division of Early Childhood Education and the 3K and pre-K educators they support.
- 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
Information on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Like the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus. RSV infections most commonly occur in late fall through early spring. However, RSV is hitting harder and earlier this year. Decreased exposure to it due to pandemic-related safety measures created an immunity gap – a group of susceptible individuals who avoided infection and now lack immunity. RSV, like other seasonal respiratory viruses, is spread by contact with droplets from the nose and throat of infected people when they cough and sneeze. Many COVID-19 precautions (such as masking and ventilation) will also help reduce the spread of RSV in schools.
Your school should handle confirmed RSV cases in the same manner as it handles all other communicable diseases: Patients should follow guidance from their doctors on isolation and the return to their school or work. Principals may speak to their on-site school nurse, the DOE’s Office of School Health or the city Department of Health’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases for guidance. You can consult the DOE’s Office of School Health’s Communicable Disease Reporting Guide to find out which diseases should be reported when there is an individual case and which diseases should be reported only when there is an outbreak. For more information, see the FAQ on RSV on the UFT website.
Apply to become a teacher leader
Tell teachers at your school that starting on Monday, Dec. 5, they can apply to become a teacher leader for the 2023-24 school year. The 2014 DOE-UFT contract created instructional leadership roles for teachers that provide additional compensation for their time and commitment (a stipend $7,500 for model teachers and a $12,500 stipend for peer collaborative teachers) and year-long professional learning. The DOE has organized informational sessions featuring current teacher leaders (Zoom link and passcode: 028610) on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. through Dec. 14. Interested teachers can also book a chat with a current teacher leader to learn more about the position. Visit the Teacher Career Pathways website to find further information about becoming a teacher leader, including eligibility and this year’s application form (which will be posted on Dec. 5). Applications must be submitted by March 20, 2023.
Use our ELL advocacy tool to support your students
UFT members can use the union’s English language learners complaint form to advocate for English language learners. Please use this form to notify the union if a school is ignoring or curtailing the rights of a parent of an English language learner, or if a school fails to provide an English language learner with required educational services, especially those services required under Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. We also want to know if educators receive appropriate and sufficient professional development to help serve English language learners. We ask for identifying information on this form so a UFT liaison can directly verify the claim with you, but it is a confidential complaint process. We will not share your name or any information with administrative, supervisory or managerial staff at the DOE without your consent. The complaint form and other resources can be found in the English language learners section of the UFT website.
SALARY & PERSONNEL
UFT offers mandated courses for state certification in December
All teachers and school-related professionals applying for state certification must complete a six-hour Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) workshop to learn how to prevent bullying or intervene when bullying, harassment or discrimination takes place in schools. The UFT is a certified vendor for the New York State Education Department in providing these workshops. The union’s next DASA training session takes place on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While it is a virtual workshop, a few seats for in-person attendance at UFT headquarters are available. The fee is $50 for UFT dues-paying members who are pedagogues and $25 for paraprofessionals. Visit this DASA training page on the UFT website for more information and to register.
All teachers who seek initial or permanent state certification must also take a two-hour Violence Prevention Training workshop. The UFT, a state-certified vendor, is offering its next in-person session on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m. at UFT headquarters. Seating is limited to 25 people. Register here. This workshop is offered for $25 to UFT members.
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.