Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UFT Files Grievance for ATR Fellows Facing Firing Deadline

The UFT announced today they have filed a grievance to prevent the firing of 130 Teaching Fellows who face being terminated on Dec. 5. This is beyond a firing in that due to the special TF circumstances they will lose their provisional teaching certification and be tossed from their cohort's masters degree program even if they offer to pay. Upon joining the TF, they were required to sign a document that this would occur, but the over hiring by the DOE that led to this situation is inexcusable.

The UFT claims it "is aggressively pursuing the matter with the DOE." Right. They argue
that such a move by the DOE would constitute a layoff, which is not allowed under the UFT/DOE collective-bargaining agreement unless the city declares an official financial emergency, which it has not. The union further argues that the UFT/DOE contract supersedes the DOE hiring agreement that teaching fellows were required to sign when they agreed to join the program.
The Teaching Fellows working with the Ad Hoc ATR Committee commented:
They are starting to do what they must for us. They didn't consult with us, or even tell us they had done so. An email to them making today our deadline for action is certainly the motivation. They could have called to let us all know that they were filing (get input, etc.) but somehow they just can't do it. We might have told them that we weren't hired in September. We've been telling them all along that they haven't filed a grievance for for the last 2 classes of NYC Teaching Fellows. [Why not?]

Of course we look at it as UFT public relations to get them off their backs. They certainly didn't act when TF's were fired last year only because none of them were organizing. Thus, a good lesson for all interest groups in the UFT to get some level of organizing going. Remember the prime directive of Unity Caucus: Hold onto power at all costs. Only a perceived threat of people going over to the opposition will get them to move even if only in a way to make it look like they are dancing the moon walk.

To be clear this is only a grievance not a law suit asking for an injunction to stop it.
Questions to ask:
What is the timetable for the grievance?
Will this be expedited?
Does the grievance go directly to the last step?

Hearing officers for grievances are DOE hires.
After that it goes to arbitration which can take a year.
Remember that the UFT loses almost 95% of all grievances.


  1. The UFT contract's "no layoff" provision specifically applies to appointed teachers. So will this apply to all of the individuals that received commitment letters from the DOE and didn't find an appointment? If not, why not?

    I think this a hollow grievance, with little chance of success.

  2. Odd they do this now--some have already been fired over the years, and the precedent has already been set, unfortunately. I got an email over a year ago from a woman who got tossed from her job, school and health insurance, and no one with any authority lifted a finger to help her.

    NYC Educator

  3. Darn, looks like I probably will be terminated despite this effort (effort by Cohort 16, not by UFT - they were very reluctant). Well I guess I need to start looking for a different type of work.

  4. All hope is not gone yet. There will be attrition. And the press seems interested. Then more exposure this gets the better the chance as the DOE won't be happy if all the teachers laid off on Dec. 5 happen to meet up in front of Tweed that afternoon with press around to tell their story too.

  5. Where is the no layoff provision in the Contract? I can't seem to find it.

  6. I don't have access to the contract - but from what I know there was something in the 2006 contract that addressed the issue. Does the UFT still give everyone copies of the contract or is it like mystery meat?

    Anyway - I'll ask the gang in ICE to check it out and put the results in this comment section.

  7. You can get a PDF of the Table of Contents and of the Teachers Contract at:

    All the other contracts are at:

    The actual wording in the contract is Art. 17.D. called "Layoff."

    James Eterno wrote a couple of weeks ago on the ICEBLOG:

    "We discovered that there was a provision in the 1995 Contract that was Article 17F, "Job Security." It stated that "no employee covered by this Agreement shall be displaced or involuntarily separated from service except for cause or reason related to state civil service law (e.g., the movement of appointment lists and/or requirement to hire certified teachers, if available)." This job security provision lasted from 1995-98. The Tentative Contract at a Glance for the 2000-2003 Contract continued Article 17F. The UFT stated at the time: "No layoff agreement. For the duration of this contract, no UFT member shall be terminated except for cause." Article 17F was removed from the giveback laden 2005 Contract and its successor agreement and replaced by the ATR provision."

    Back to me: we keep being told that there is state law governing no layoff (it's been through the courts, or something: please, someone, help out here), so it doesn't seem as if layoff is something the union would actually be in a position to give up. But I'm not a lawyer, or a deal negotiator, or a conniving, immoral, non-educator chancellor who doesn't give one hoot about teachers, kids or communities.

    One more thing: on the UFT website, it explains excessing rules and says:

    "Now, a person can remain as an ATR indefinitely while still seeking another position, and because these positions are not limited no one can be laid-off unless there is a true citywide layoff situation or major budgetary problems that require the DOE to cut back severely on staff. In such emergencies, the DOE must follow Ed. Law section 2588, which states that part-timers and regular subs must be let go first and if all vacancies have been filled then layoffs must follow a strict seniority pattern starting with the most junior person in the city.
    * The DOE will no longer let principals take an excessed person off the school’s budget until that person has a job. This stops the wholesale excessing of personnel. But while this is a positive for many of members it may serve to retard some of the job acceptances in the open market system. This new provision not only gives our members a no-layoff provision under ordinary circumstances but keeps them from being bumped or excessed all over the city."

  8. the teaching fellows in nyc is a scam and they discriminate against older applicants!!!


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