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School Secretaries Chapter Newsletter - December 2015

I hope your school year is going smoothly, and that you are looking forward to your winter break.

I thank those of you who are active in our chapter and who participate at union events. I know your time is valuable and limited. I urge every one of you to let the world know that unionism is alive and well by continuing to participate. We need you! Your voice is vital to the success of our chapter and the UFT.

We’ve been battling the right-wing assault on labor for years, but now a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, threatens to torpedo the financial structure of public-sector unions.

To learn more about this case, read an article from America Works Together or Michael Mulgrew's column from the latest New York Teacher.

The high court’s decision won’t come until the spring. What we can do now is to make sure that all our members understand what the UFT does for them in terms of salary, financial security, health benefits, advocacy and representation. If you have any questions at all about all the benefits of union membership, email me at

Please also feel free to email me if you have any ideas to share for our chapter or are interested in volunteering to assist with chapter functions.

Thank you for the opportunity to support you by serving as your chapter leader.


Mona Gonzalez
School Secretaries Chapter Leader


New secretary hiring process

I want to make sure you understand the new hiring requirements for secretaries. They are as follows:

Requirements for appointment

To be appointed as a secretary, an applicant must have either a bachelor’s degree plus one year of paid clerical or secretarial experience or an associate’s degree plus two years of paid clerical or secretarial experience. There is a third option wherein they can be hired as a Regular Substitute Secretary and must obtain 30 college credits within a three-year period, including criteria listed below. Under this option they will not go beyond Salary Step 4A until their required qualifications have been met.

All experience must be paid experience consisting of 1,200 clocked hours during a minimum span of approximately one calendar year. Experience as a paraprofessional, an educational assistant, educational associate or school aide or other similar DOE titles is not acceptable toward meeting the experience requirement.

As well as the above criteria, the secretary must meet additional criteria within two years. These additional requirements include:

Two semester hours of a course in School Records and Accounts and completion of the three workshops below:
  • Child Abuse Identification workshop
  • School Violence Prevention (SAVE) workshop
  • Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) workshop

To register for a course in School Records and Accounts, you can visit the courses and workshops page on the UFT website. To register for the three workshops listed above, use a mail-in registration coupon.

Our chapter marched in the 2015 Labor Day Parade

Our chapter made a strong showing at the Sept. 12 Labor Day Parade along with hundreds of other UFT members and thousands of union activists who gathered to celebrate labor solidarity.

Labor Day school secretaries with Michael Mulgrew

School secretaries pose with UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the Labor Day parade.

Labor Day school secretaries

We proudly carried our chapter banner.

See more photos on the UFT website »


Secretaries seminar on Saturday, Jan. 9

Our annual school secretaries seminar will be on Saturday, Jan. 9 at UFT headquarters.

  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 9
  • Time: 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
  • Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Directions »

This will be a great chance to network with your fellow secretaries and enjoy workshops from the UFT and DOE about school audits and the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS). Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Preregistration is required. RSVP online now.


Save the date: Annual secretaries luncheon on May 14

Our annual school secretaries celebration and luncheon is slated for Saturday, May 14 this school year. This is always a wonderful chance to celebrate the great work our chapter does. Keep an eye out for registration information and other details as they become available.


Sign up for UFT text messages

The UFT has launched a new text messaging system to deliver important information quickly. We’ll alert you about weather emergencies, school cancellations, political campaigns and breaking news. We promise we won’t bombard you with UFT text messages; we’ll still send most of our messages by email.

To sign up, text “UFT” to 30644 from your mobile phone or fill out the online form.


How to COPE?

In our current political climate, it is particularly important for us as a union to strengthen our efforts to do political work that can advance our interests and those of our students. The Committee on Political Education (COPE), the UFT's political action arm, covers the costs associated with:

  1. Meeting with and educating legislators,
  2. Helping to elect officeholders who respect our members, support education and work for union goals.

If you have not done so already, please fill out a COPE card to make a donation. Our support for COPE is more important now than ever.

To learn more about COPE, visit the COPE page on the UFT website.


Where’s the MAP?

All of us experience challenges in our personal and professional lives from time to time. Typically, we manage on our own or with the support of family and friends. But, with some issues, we can all benefit from a helping hand.

The UFT’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) has trained professional counselors who can help you with problems, including issues that may cause enough stress to put your health at risk or to affect your performance at your job. The services are confidential, professional and supportive.

For more information on MAP, visit the MAP page on the UFT website.

Related Topics: Chapter News