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New York TeacherMarch 12, 2020

Volume LXI, Number 5

Latest News

Bernie Sanders

AFT OKs 3 to endorse for prez

The American Federation of Teachers is encouraging its state and local affiliates and its members to support one of three Democratic candidates for president: former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator  Bernie Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Student Debt Relief Seminar
News Stories

UFT helping members make loan burdens manageable

Cheryl Martin was worried sick for years about her student debt: $166,000 that hung over her like a cloud nearly a decade after she left graduate school. "The anxiety I had was tremendous," said Martin, a teacher at PS 449 in the Bronx.

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta joined by union leaders, state lawmakers and activists
News Stories

UFT: Tax on ultra-wealthy needed to prevent service cuts

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta — joined by union leaders, state lawmakers and activists — announces results of the survey showing that 92% of the state’s voters support new taxes on the ultra-wealthy during a Feb. 10 press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. 

Kickstarter logo
National News

Kickstarter union is first of its kind in tech industry

Workers at the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter voted to form a union on Feb. 18, becoming the first white-collar, full-time employees in the technology industry to unionize.

A February 2019 strike helped Denver public school teachers earn a salary increase.
National News

Denver teachers earn $9,000 more after strike

One year after Denver’s first teacher strike in a quarter century, public school educators are earning an average of $9,000 more per year.

Feature Stories

Charles Cogen at Guild Rally
Today's history lesson

March 16, 1960: The UFT is founded

At the old Astor Hotel on Broadway and 44th Street, the Teachers Guild and the High School Teachers Association merged on March 16, 1960, to form the United Federation of Teachers, Local 2 of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.

Underpaid and overworked teachers, with miserable working conditions and overbearing supervisors, needed the protection of a strong, united union before 1960. But many issues dividing teachers stood in the …

Students show off their puppets
Member Profiles

Painting the bigger picture

Janet Lombardi and her son, Zach, are both Staten Island teachers, who share their passion for activism through art with their elementary school students.

A room with a rocking chair and ottoman

A room for nursing moms

IS 61 now has a “calm, quiet and clean” lactation room thanks to the efforts of Hearing Education Services Chapter Leader Raquel Sepulveda and the school's principal and parent coordinator.

Member Spotlight

Matthew Foglino headshot
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Matthew Foglino, Wings Academy HS, the Bronx

Wings Academy HS Chapter Leader Matthew Foglino's adept use of the operational issues process not only addressed a paperwork problem for his members but also solved it for hundreds of other teachers at a dozen or more Bronx high schools who were facing the same issue.

LaWanda Riddick
What I Do

What I do: LaWanda Riddick, home instruction teacher

LaWanda Riddick provides science instruction — and a listening ear — to junior high and high school students in Brooklyn who qualify for home instruction for medical reasons.

Around the UFT

Two women pose for a photo.
Awards & Honors

Prepping kids for high-growth jobs

More than 70 outstanding educators were honored at the UFT’s annual Career and Technical Education Awards ceremony on Feb. 7 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan.

Members share a laugh at the information table at the UCS partner expo.

‘Instrumental in our success’

Forty youth organizations took part in the second annual partner expo for the UFT's community schools program, United Community Schools, on Jan. 30 in Shanker Hall at union headquarters in Manhattan.

Paras show off their T-shirts

Fit to a T

UFT members met at the Staten Island borough office on Feb. 6 to design T-shirts celebrating the 100th day of the school year on Feb. 14.

Panel members listen on during the Building Power at the school level event.

Using the tools in the contract

Putting power in the hands of members in the schools was the theme of a panel discussion at the UFT’s Queens borough office on Jan. 30. The panel featured 11 chapter leaders, representing every district and grade level in Queens, who discussed how they successfully empowered members in their schools to advocate for their rights as union members.

Two colleagues engage in a group activity during a workshop.

‘The building blocks of organizing’

About 30 District 75 members learned how to organize their colleagues to get politically active and advocate for their interests as workers at a political action workshop at union headquarters on Feb. 25.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Asian couple with small child smiling with hands up

Extended child care leave

Many UFT-represented members have a unique and valuable benefit: the ability to take an extended child care leave and return to their job afterward. This benefit is for those who want to take more time off than paid parental leave or a FMLA benefit will allow.

Know Your Rights
Teacher helps student on computer

Programs and professional activities

The UFT-DOE contract’s provisions regarding teaching programs and professional activity assignments give teachers a voice while providing for a fair and objective selection process.

You Should Know

For Your Information
Pharmaceuticals

New option for getting maintenance drugs

The UFT Welfare Fund prescription drug benefit has been enhanced. In-service members who are eligible for UFT Welfare Fund benefits now have a new convenient option for picking up their long-term medications for chronic conditions such as high cholesterol or asthma.

Q&A on the Issues
A pile of money and a graduation cap

Student Debt Relief Program for members

The UFT launched the Student Debt Relief Program in late 2018 after members told the union the burden of student debt is one of their most pressing concerns. Since then, more than 1,500 members have seen a reduction in their monthly payments and look forward to significant loan forgiveness after 10 years. Here's what you need to know about the program.

Secure Your Future
Words as an image: tax deferred, benefits, annuity, unit values, defined benefit

Demystifying terminology

Members of the city’s Teachers’ Retirement System receive many TRS communications and have access to TRS publications that may include unfamiliar words and phrases. This column defines some of those.

Opinions

VPerspective
Youth drawing chalk art on ground in front of the White House

Activism for educational growth

We teach — and our students live and learn — in a world of rapid change, with new technological tools for navigating that world at our fingertips. For academic high school educators, it’s an exciting and challenging time. Do we have a role in creating innovative teaching environments for our students and professional learning settings for ourselves? I say yes.

President's Perspective
Albany capitol building

Funding our future

The UFT is once again marshalling its forces to ensure we get a state budget that protects public education in New York City.

Editorials
US Population Map using stick figures instead of dots

Everyone counts!

UFT members pledged to help ensure New Yorkers all are counted in the 2020 Census during six teach-ins at schools throughout District 2 in Manhattan on Feb. 11, a citywide day of action to educate New Yorkers about the Census.

Editorials
UFT Charter School Star

Public school proud

The UFT Charter School's Board of Trustees voted on Feb. 28 to bring the school under the supervision of the city’s Department of Education as a regular public school. Educators at the school say they hope the move will provide greater access for their students to a variety of public school resources.

Editorial Cartoons
News Stories
Two UFT nurses placing ballots in box

VNSNY nurses unanimously ratify contract

Federation of Nurses/UFT members on Jan. 29 unanimously ratified a two-year contract with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York that raises salaries, protects members’ pensions and existing health care benefits, and improves safety provisions.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning
Microsoft OneNote provides students with a digital means of documenting what they learn. 

Online note taking

Online note taking means no more lost or forgotten notes, missing or torn notebook pages or illegible writing that must be deciphered after the fact.

Teacher to Teacher
Students from Martin Van Buren HS in Queens Village made the trip to Washington.

Civics amplifies students’ voices

Participating in civics gives students the ability to champion causes, organize, disseminate information and influence public opinion. And through civic experiences, they learn they have a voice.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Book Shopping Helper

Book shopping helper

I created this 'book shopping helper' this year for my students with special needs.

New Teacher Articles
Highlighters, notebooks, pencils

Get your school supplies without paying for them

It is possible to finance classroom projects with grants, donations and other money-saving strategies.

New Teacher Profiles
Students raise rolled up newspapers

‘It’s not called gym anymore’

Jerry Kane says he's had the three best jobs anyone could have. "I coached basketball, I was a sports reporter and now I'm a phys ed teacher," says Kane, a second-year educator at PS 38 on Staten Island.

Retired Teachers News

Senior at computer

Age to start minimum distributions is now 72

The age at which required minimum distributions (RMDs) must begin has been changed from 70½ to 72. This change is effective for individuals who reach age 70½ after Dec. 31, 2019, and who have since left active service.

  • TRS members who were subject to RMD rules in 2019 (generally, retirees who reached age 70½ by Dec. 31, 2019) will need to receive RMDs in 2020.
  • TRS members who reach age 70½ after Dec. 31, 2019, will not be subject to RMD requirements until the year in which they reach age 72 (or the year they leave active service, if later).
  • TRS members who were in active service and were at least age 70½ on Dec. 31, 2019, will be subject to RMD requirements in the year they leave active service.

There are also changes in how money goes to beneficiaries after a retiree's death. The Teachers' Retirement System will be sending more information as it becomes avail…

Rules - generic

Rules for working after retirement

If you are a UFT retiree who plans to reenter the workforce on a full- or part-time basis, you must follow some important rules or you will jeopardize your pension and Social Security benefits.

Tom Murphy

Happy birthday, UFT

This year marks the 60th anniversary of two milestones in the history of this union: the March 16, 1960, founding of the United Federation of Teachers and the Nov. 7, 1960, commencing of our first strike.