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Making the contract work for us

President’s Report
New York Teacher
UFT President Michael Mulgrew shows off one of the posters members can display i
Jonathan Fickies

UFT President Michael Mulgrew shows off one of the posters members can display in their windows.

During the final Delegate Assembly of the school year on June 12, UFT President Michael Mulgrew talked about how the new DOE-UFT contract has given members a greater voice in their workplaces this year.

Mulgrew reported that chapter leaders have been using the new methods for tackling workplace issues at the school level. Of the 242 reports filed since February, he said, all 34 safety reports, all 10 space reports, all 11 curriculum reports and all 23 professional development reports were resolved. All but one of the 25 workload issues and one of the 13 basic instructional supplies issues reported to the union have been resolved. Eighty-eight percent of the 126 reports connected to paperwork were also addressed, Mulgrew said.

“Does your school have any of these problems?” he asked the delegates who filled Shanker Hall in Manhattan. “If so, file an operational complaint. It works!”

UFT chapter leaders are also making use of school-based options, which enable staff at a school to modify contractual articles or create positions not automatically allowed under the contract, Mulgrew said.

Parent-teacher conference SBOs topped the list at 344, he said, followed by time reconfiguration or calendar changes at 188 and programs and schedule modifications at 122. Also, 65 chapter leaders submitted SBOs to create compensatory time positions and 51 submitted SBOs for professional activities.

“Again use the contract,” Mulgrew said. “We know it works.”

He said reaching an early contract agreement last October was, in retrospect, clearly a wise move.

“Only two unions have their contracts,” Mulgrew told the delegates. “And the city is not talking to any of the others right now.”

He also reported that the union has created Union Proud signs, stickers, Facebook profile frames and door hangers at a time when anti-worker forces are ramping up their efforts to capitalize on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling.

“We are where we are today because of all of you,” Mulgrew said. “This union allows us to have a real voice and power that other workers don’t have.”