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The role and responsibilities of a UFT consultation committee

You are most effective as a chapter leader when you have the support and input of your colleagues. That’s why it is imperative that you establish a UFT consultation committee at your school and that this committee meets regularly.

Calling a consultation committee meeting with the principal should be the first step in response to problems, issues or concerns that arise. Article 19H3 of our collective-bargaining agreement states: "The head of the school and the school chapter committee shall meet once a month during the school year to consult on matters of school policy and on questions relating to the implementation of this Agreement."

The members of your consultation committee can be either appointed by you or elected by the UFT members of your school. You as chapter leader determine the size and composition of the committee.

This committee has a simple, yet critical purpose: to discuss and attempt to resolve issues at the school level before they escalate and to enable all staff members to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. When an issue cannot be resolved by the consultation committee, you should bring that issue to the attention of your district representative, who will in turn have a discussion with the superintendent.

The agenda for your monthly consultation committee meeting with the principal should be set by the committee before the meeting and given to the principal in advance. After the meeting, be sure to share the findings and outcomes with all of the UFT members at your school.

Consultation meetings are vital to maintaining the health of our school system at every level, starting at the school level and continuing all the way up to the schools chancellor. Just as you hold regular consultation meetings with your principal, the district representatives hold regular consultation meetings with the superintendents. In turn, UFT President Michael Mulgrew and his fellow UFT officers meet regularly with the schools chancellor and the deputy chancellors.

Consultation committees are the mechanism by which you as chapter leader can have a true voice at your schools. We believe that educators should have genuine influence on the decisions that affect them. The task before us now is to make sure that we use our voice — and it is heard.