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Role of a UFT delegate

Delegates vote unanimously to support striking Los Angeles teachers.

Learn more about the role of a UFT delegate

About UFT delegates 

The highest decision-making body in the UFT is the Delegate Assembly. The Delegate Assembly is the union's legislature, with elected representatives from every school. At least nine times a year, and on other special occasions, the Delegate Assembly (DA) is called together to vote on the priorities of the UFT. These priorities include everything from political endorsements to goals for contract negotiations, support for policy initiatives or even to authorize union leadership to take work actions if needed. 

As a teacher delegate, your role would be to attend the monthly Delegate Assembly meetings. Your vote would be the representative voice of the teachers at your school. As a delegate, you also can speak to proposals or suggest your own proposals or amendments in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order if you so choose. 

These meetings are hybrid: there is an in-person meeting held at UFT Headquarters at 52 Broadway in Manhattan and also telephonically to enable delegates to call in, listen and participate remotely. Delegate Assemblies are scheduled monthly during the school year, are held after the school day and last approximately two hours. 

Electing delegates 

Only teachers are eligible to nominate, run for and vote for school DA delegate. They must be on the school’s table of organization or assigned to the school on the first Monday in May of an election year and must have signed the union card at least 60 days prior to the election. 

Every school has at least one delegate elected or perhaps more, depending on the size of the school. Each school chapter is entitled to one delegate for every 60 teacher members or major fraction thereof, so additional teacher delegates could also be elected. 

Secretaries, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and other functional chapter members are represented in the Delegate Assembly through their functional chapters and may stand for election as delegate from their functional chapters. 

Additional support for your school chapter 

As a delegate, you can assist your school chapter leader with the following responsibilities: 

  • Taking an active role in school chapter meetings. 
  • Joining the chapter consultation committee, meeting monthly with the committee and the principal, and reporting the results of the meeting to the chapter. 
  • Involving the chapter with the union by advising members of meetings, programs, rallies and other activities. 
  • Explaining VOTE/COPE to the members and collecting VOTE/COPE checkoff cards. 
  • Explaining the union’s positions to members. 
  • Providing regular communications to chapter members (emails, electronic or print newsletters) and maintaining the UFT bulletin board. 
  • Working with the district representative and other union representatives. 
  • Contacting and lobbying politicians. 
  • Working with parent groups. 
  • Disseminating UFT materials via members’ mailboxes and/or electronically. 
  • Conducting letter-writing campaigns and other union activities. 
  • Protecting the confidentiality of all members. 
  • Involving newer members and members of functional chapters in the life of the school chapter. 
  • Ensuring that the negotiated contracts are enforced and implemented at the school level, and that UFT members’ rights and benefits are protected. 
  • Discussing the development and implementation of educational policies in the school in accordance with union policy.