I hope you are having a good year and that you had a restful spring break.
As we enter the final months of the school year, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any concerns, questions or suggestions. I’m here as your union representative. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, I work at UFT headquarters each Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. and at those times you can also reach me by phone at 1-212-598-9427.
Audiology position becomes part of UFT bargaining unit
Representatives of the UFT and the Department of Education have after lengthy negotiations signed a stipulation establishing that new audiologists who were hired as DC 37 members are part of the UFT bargaining unit and that the UFT and DOE will commence negotiations of terms and conditions of employment for the position.
The DC 37 audiologist position was first introduced in 2011 in response to the state's changes to licensing requirements for speech teachers. But the audiologist position never fit well in the DC 37 bargaining unit. Under the DC 37 contract, the audiologist position was a 12-month, 8-hour-per-day position, which was considered to be a poor fit for school employees. In addition, new hires became keenly aware of the differences between the terms and conditions of their employment and that of their UFT colleagues, which led many to leave.
In response to such concerns, NYSUT attorneys, working closely with the UFT, filed a case with the state Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) to include the position of audiologist in the UFT bargaining unit. Now our next step will be to establish a time frame for negotiations of terms and benefits. We are delighted that the position is now a UFT position!
UFT Delegate Assembly calls for hearing screenings in city schools
The Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution in February calling on the city to reinstate hearing screenings in the public schools. Speech Improvement Chapter Leader Mindy Karten Bornemann worked with me and Cecilia Cortez, our Hearing Education Services chapter leader, to write this resolution. The three of us stood together at the DA to recommend the resolution for approval.
This issue has been a major concern for audiologists since 2009, when the Bloomberg administration ended routine hearing screenings in our schools. Hearing education teachers and speech teachers are also concerned about the lack of attention paid to potential hearing loss in students in our public schools. I will keep you posted on any developments on this issue.
Chapter 683 summer positions
For members who are eligible, it is time to apply for Chapter 683 summer positions. This year the application process began April 1 and runs to May 6 and it will be online only. Paper applications won’t be accepted. Access to the Chapter 683 application system and current postings are available online.
Postings will also be available at your schools and sites. You need an active DOE email account to access the site and need to make sure your inbox is accepting new messages. The site looks easy to use, but if you encounter any difficulty or have additional questions, please contact me.
Fight for our rights
Our union, which fights on our behalf every day, needs us to donate to our political action committee, COPE, so that we can continue our work to promote and support laws that advance public education and protect our rights as educators. Contributing to COPE is voluntary, and the UFT relies on these donations to continue our work representing our members and pushing back against assaults on public education. The recent attempts by Gov. Cuomo to force his political agenda on public education is a good reminder of how vigilant the UFT must be.
To sign up, contact me or call COPE at 1-212-598-7747.
May 1 salary boost
The salaries of UFT members employed by the DOE will increase 3 percent on May 1 as part of the 2014 contract. You will receive a regular wage increase of 1 percent coupled with a 2 percent wage increase that is the first step of the phase-in of the 8 percent retroactive rate increase arising from the 2009–11 period. Audiologists, teachers and other pedagogues including paraprofessionals paid on the Q Bank payroll will receive the 3 percent increase in their May 15 paycheck.
All teachers and other pedagogues who work per diem or per session will first see the new pay rate in the June 3 paycheck for any days worked from May 1 to May 15. If you have any questions, please contact a salary representative in your UFT borough office.
Ear ailments and treatments in the news
Hope everyone spotted the article in the New York Times in January on new treatments for ear disorders. In case you missed it, here it is: From vertigo to tinnitus, ear ailments are new focus for drugs.
I also searched for the article on Novartis because it looked interesting and want to share that with you as well: Can We Unlock The Body's Ability To Regenerate Lost Hearing?