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School Nurses Chapter Newsletter - Spring 2016

From your chapter leader

It’s been an exciting year with more than 20 new members joining our chapter. I look forward to seeing all of you at our next monthly chapter meeting on Wednesday, April 13 at UFT headquarters. Our speaker will be Junior Linton, program coordinator of the UFT’s Safety and Health Department. These meetings are a forum for members to raise concerns as well as learn about the benefits of belonging to the UFT.

I’m delighted to tell you that you’ll have a chance to spend an evening hearing from UFT President Michael Mulgrew at a “Meet the President” event on May 4. He’ll provide an overview of issues of concern to the union in general and with regard to our work. You’ll also have a chance to ask him questions as well as to voice your concerns. I’ll send registration information, but pencil in on your calendars 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters in lower Manhattan.

I also hope to see all of you at our annual School Nurses Appreciation Dinner on May 11. Please save the date.

Last, but not least, the UFT will be holding elections for our UFT officers, Executive Board and delegates. Ballots will be mailed to your homes on May 5 and must be returned to the American Arbitration Association no later than May 25. Make sure you vote so your voice counts.

In unity,

Cathy Connolly
School Nurses Chapter Leader

Fate of unions tied up with SCOTUS appointments

As you have probably heard, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld fair-share fees in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association with a 4-4 ruling on March 29.

It’s a big win for working families, but our fight is far from over. The decision won’t stop our enemies. Other cases are already in the pipeline.

The appointment of the next Supreme Court justice will be key. Our message to the Republicans in the U.S. Senate is: Do your job and give Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee, a fair hearing. In the event that the Republicans continue to refuse to hold a hearing, we must do everything in our power to ensure a Democrat wins the White House in November.

We encourage you to stand with your brothers and sisters and join the Union Loud and Proud campaign. In numbers we have power. Please join in our fight and encourage your colleagues to join as well.

Please also take a moment to read your colleagues’#UnionProud stories on the importance of union membership. You can subscribe to read new ones as they are added and share your favorite stories on social media. Have your own story to tell? Please let us know by filling out our Union Loud and Proud testimonial form.

Training and learning about the union

School nurses

Members at the UFT Functional Chapter Leader Training Weekend held on Feb. 27 in Rye Brook, NY.

I joined 15 of my fellow school nurses at the UFT Functional Chapter Training Weekend held at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, NY, on Feb 27-28. The union dedicated two days to helping us build stronger chapters and learning more about the UFT and the many benefits it offers.

Some of the workshops presented were on pensions, contractual rights, safety and health and workplace bullying. During the plenary session, UFT President Michael Mulgrew spoke about the importance of union activism to preserve collective bargaining rights.

Register to vote, and then vote!

Paul Egan, the union’s political director, briefed us at the UFT’s Functional Chapter Training Weekend regarding the upcoming presidential election and gave us eye-opening statistics regarding the number of Americans — 18.5 million — who are not registered to vote. Two million live in New York state.

How about YOU!  Are you registered to vote? Visit the NYC Board of Elections website to find out how to register. Your registration form must be delivered or mailed at least 25 days before the next election for it to be effective in that election.

Congratulations to Sherri Lewis Branch

Mia Martinez - Resource Coordinator

Sherri Lewis Branch, school nurse, PS 37

One of our own, Sherri Lewis Branch, has spearheaded a health and nutrition program at her school, PS 37 in Queens. Sherri also established a Wellness Council comprised of 10 staff members and parents who applied for and received a grant from the Common Threads Organization based in California.  

The entire staff has become involved in supporting projects funded through the grant such as cooking classes for parents and students, a “Small Bites” nutrition program for students in grades 3 through 5, and a gardening program for kindergarten through 5th-grade.

A chef comes to the school every Thursday to work with parents and children, teaching them to prepare healthy meals with foods that hail from different countries.

Moreover, Sherri was just notified that the Wellness Council has won another grant from Active Design in Schools administered by the Citizens Committee for NYC in collaboration with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Part of this grant will be spent on new water fountains for students.

(Interested in learning how to write a grant? Just type the words “how to write a grant proposal” into your search engine. While grant-writing is a skill, it is a learnable one.)

Voluntary contributions fund UFT political activities

Did you know that our union dues are not used for political activities? That’s why you need to sign up to give to UFT/COPE. These voluntary contributions support campaigns for candidates who are pro-labor and pro-education. We want legislators in office who support our rights and our students.

To find out more about COPE, download the union’s brochure at or call 212-598-6898 and speak to Derly-Mikaella Charles.

Our consultation meeting with the Office of School Health

We met with Cathy Travers, the OSH director of nursing, and Gail Adman, the deputy director of nursing on Feb. 2. Some of the issues we covered:

  1. Some supervisors are still asking staff nurses to submit monthly reports. This practice ended years ago, so if your supervisor asks you to submit this report, remind him or her that filing this paperwork is not required. The only time submitting a monthly report may be required is when there is no computer in the nurse’s office.
  2. Beginning this fall, the nurse transfer process will be through an online application. (Note: Nurses without computers will follow the current process.)
  3. On a related note: Nurses applying for a transfer must complete the 150-word essay as part of the application process. Otherwise your application will not be considered.
  4. Several nurses have requested a written policy regarding the storage and shredding of certain paperwork and nursing forms.  OSH sent a memo outlining policies and procedures on Feb. 3. If you have not received the memo, contact your supervisor.

Read the consultation meeting minutes online »

Just for laughs: From the UFT Functional Chapter Training Weekend

School nurses

School Nurses Chapter members showcase their colorful hats and costume clothes at the UFT Functional Chapter Leader Training Weekend held on Feb. 27 in Rye Brook, NY.

Union-initiated grievance on working a DOE holiday

The union has filed a union-initiated grievance regarding nurses who received only half-pay when they worked a DOE holiday. If you worked a DOE holiday and did not receive a full day’s pay for your work, please go to your UFT borough office and file a grievance. Not sure if you qualify? Send me an email at

By the way, if you’re not receiving overtime pay in a timely fashion, contact me as well, or head to you UFT borough office and file a grievance.

Upcoming events

Please save the following dates!

School Nurses Chapter Meeting
Date: Wednesday, April 13
Time: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room H. Directions »
RSVP online now »

School Nurse Appreciation Dinner
Date: Wednesday, May 11
Time: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 3rd floor. Directions »

National Nurses Week
Date: May 6-12

Run/walk for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund

Join your colleagues at the UFT 3rd Annual 5K Family Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, April 16 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The run is sponsored by the UFT Middle School Division. The starting point is in front of the Coney Island boardwalk. You have until Thursday, April 14 to register. The fee is $25 for adults, $15 for children, age 12 or younger.

For registration and more information, see the event listing »

Meet your Executive Board members

The following nurses represent you on our chapter's Executive Board:

Cynthia Bennett, Queens
Beverly Briggs, Bronx
Janet Carter, Queens
BJ Darby, PM Staffer
Ellen Sebastiano, Brooklyn
Marie Thompson, District 75
Jessy Warren, Queens

Related Topics: Chapter News