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Kudos to Lillian Palladino, Susan E. Wagner HS on Staten Island

For using the contract to resolve a paperwork issue
New York Teacher

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Lillian Palladino
Susan E. Wagner HS Chapter Leader Lillian Palladino turned to the union-negotiated process for tackling excessive paperwork to deal with onerous electronic paperwork demands from the principal at her Staten Island school.

“I am so grateful that the resolution was accomplished quickly and amicably through the new process,” she said.

In February, her principal instructed staff to upload documents, including agendas, minutes and logs, onto Google Drive and to write and upload the minutes of the common planning group’s sessions and samples of learning targets on a daily basis. Palladino promptly filed a complaint that the new work requirements were in violation of the paperwork reduction standards in the DOE-UFT contract.

The purpose of the paperwork resolution process — which was expanded in the 2018 contract to cover more workplace issues — is to settle problems locally and quickly. And that’s exactly how it worked at Wagner HS. When Palladino’s complaint could not be settled in-house, it was brought to the district committee and then to the central committee, both of which meet regularly and are composed of an equal number of representatives appointed by the DOE and the union. The central committee issued a decision on April 12 ordering the principal to rescind his earlier paperwork requirements.

Palladino, a science teacher for 19 years and a chapter leader for four, said the new process worked much faster than the regular grievance procedure. It unified the staff, she said, revitalized morale and highlighted for each member “what the union does for me.”

English teacher Linda La Rocca noted that the staff was “angry and upset about the added paperwork because it didn’t make any sense.” After Palladino filed the complaint on their behalf, she kept the staff “informed through emails and notes in our mailboxes” throughout the process, said La Rocca.

When the matter was ultimately resolved, La Rocca said, “We realized we have a voice and that the contract will be followed.”