Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12: Can MORE Prove the UFT Contract Is Not Worthless?

I am opening up today's MORE Hard Core Contract event at The Dark Horse - 17 Murray St. and that has had me thinking -- a dangerous thing -- about things I haven't thought about in 15 years. I saw the contract being violated regularly in my school, often related to teacher assignments for the next school year. Most people wouldn't file grievances but as chapter leader I tried to use my weekly newsletter to put pressure on the administration.

Some people out there think the UFT contract is a worthless piece of junk. But don't give up on using the contract where possible but using the contract backed by some schoolwide political campaign enhances the chances of winning. One of my main gripes with the UFT over my decades of activity was their advice to keep grievances behind closed doors. I urged people to make their stories public to build support in the school. Why leave the narrative, which would be negative towards the teacher, to the principals and their minions?

Experienced contract guru James Eterno will be schlepping in from his Queens outpost to be a resident expert on the contract. (See his post yesterday on the ICE blog: TRS WORKSHOP; MORE CONTRACT TRAINING

In many schools, with knowledgeable union reps and an engaged staff, there is more enforcement of the contract than in other schools.

Experienced chapter leaders in MORE have supported people on the chapter leader listserve who have contractual questions.

Here is a recent one:
We had 13 staff up for tenure and all were denied, including guidance counselors, speech teachers, regular teachers and an AP. We have a particularly ruthless superintendent but curious if this is the case elsewhere. Some teachers had been extended in the past and as you can imagine, it's very demoralizing and disheartening.
Curious how it's going in other schools...
Is this situation an outlier or indicative of a chronic situation? Depending on how many people who come and the issues they bring, the MORE event today will attempt to gather information on this type of issue -- can we pin this on a particular supt?

We get lots of personal issues, like this one:
A teacher in my school teaches an extra period. We have a staggered schedule. Her normal day is period 1-8, but she teaches period 9 pro rata. During Regents, is she required to stay the extra time or is her day also 6:50?
One of the issues we want to touch on is to develop a guide on what to do when an incident is used to remove a colleague from the classroom, the school (rubber roomed) and how to know what is coming. Or how to prep people for a possible 3020a hearing. One thing I've noticed is that DOE legal will often contemplate adding a charge to people who contact parents for support. So we urge people to be careful and use stealth. I asked Peter Zucker to give us a summary of what he learned.

So many people are in the dark about the process. Catlin Preston of CPE1, who told me he spoke to Peter before his hearing and felt Peter was a great help, will be out of town but may call in. We discussed a follow-up with a working group coming out of this meeting where people with experience develop a guide with a roadmap of what a principal, OSI, etc are likely to do -- and how to interpret their actions.

If you have had issues in your school or want to share issues you have, or can offer some advice - or just to sit down and have a beer or two - or three - and some decent bar food, come on down.

1 comment:

  1. "One of my main gripes with the UFT over my decades of activity was their advice to keep grievances behind closed doors. I urged people to make their stories public to build support in the school. Why leave the narrative, which would be negative towards the teacher, to the principals and their minions?"

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been saying this for the last 15 years to anyone who would listen. And I'll add to your point by saying not only does keeping things quiet allow the administration to create the narrative, but that often there is no narrative at all because teachers suffer in silence and no one knows that problems exist. I take this position not just because it makes sense to me, but also because I worked for a much stronger union than the UFT and we publicized any and all grievances throughout the shops in order to unite people and expose mistreatment. It works!!

    ReplyDelete

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