SPOTLIGHT ON THE UFT'S MATERNITY LEAVE POLICY: Later today, New York City schoolteacher Emily James will attend the United Federation of Teachers' executive board meeting deliver a petition with around 78,000 signatures calling on the union to implement a maternity leave policy.I'm heading over to the UFT Ex Bd meeting later. Emily James is the heroine of the day - she has managed on her own to garner super attention to this issue.
NY1 reporter Lindsey Christ laid out the current policy in a series of tweets: "Policies that assume only women should care for infants are inherently sexist, negatively impacting working women (and parenting fathers!) ... And here is city and @UFT policy: Only women who physically give birth are even allowed to use their own sick days. And only for six weeks ... Female, straight teachers with no fertility issues try to plan pregnancies so children are born in the summer. Everyone else is out of luck." Even the Department of Education's own LGBT community liaison, Jared Fox, criticized the policy on Twitter, writing, "This very much affects same sex couples. I encourage LGBT UFT members to join this effort." See the Change.org petition here..... Politico, morning NY ed report
Kudos to MORE's Mike Schirtzer for contacting her and telling her about the UFT Ex Bd option for speaking time before the meeting and also for offering the services of the MORE/NA EB people for follow-up. Two weeks ago MORE people did bring this up and the UFT leadership responded --- First UFT Ex Bd Meeting of Year - A Stephen King H...
I'll have more on this after the meeting but here are some notes for now.
I think mothers definitely deserve paid maternity leave. However, what greatly concerns me is that fathers are left out of this petition. As a father who wants to share the responsibility of parenting, I have found it extremely difficult. It is a travesty that mothers have to borrow days after exhausting their CAR, but what is also terrible is that fathers don't even have that option. Fathers are allowed the three personal days, and that's it. Schools with understanding principals might find a work-around, but the work-arounds certainly don't eliminate the job-stress during a very stressful time.Mike replied:
(Obviously, both mothers and fathers have access to FMLA, but who can honestly afford that?)I don't know about you, but I am all on board with the deal the rest of the state got. I would love to pay more into disability and then use that when necessary to take care of my healing wife and newborn child.I signed the petition, but maybe we can broaden its horizon?Sincerely,
When we speak on executive board, we always discuss it as family or parental leave. The UFT leadership has been using the terminology "family leave". Emily James who created the petition that went viral, she and her colleagues are women elementary school teachers and moms- they are not affiliated with any caucus. She is presenting this on behalf of the nearly 80,000 that signed- MORE/NA will support her in any way we can, as we hope our brothers and sisters in Unity caucus will do the same. We will also bring up the other petition. (MORE garnered 3000 sigs last year).Also see:
On the second point -I do think we disagree that the deal the others got is acceptable- I would read this great analysis by member and friend James EternoI would sum it up as our position is there should be no givebacks, parental leave in a membership that is over 75% female and a majority are primary caregivers should have already happened, needs to happen now, and come without give back of wages or days. - ms
Please support the signers of the petition who will present to the UFT Executive Board.
NO PAID MATERNITY LEAVE FOR NYC TEACHERS — Chalkbeat's Christina Veiga: "Susan Hibdon opened her front door and saw nothing but white. It was a day that would go down in tabloid headline history after schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña declared it 'absolutely a beautiful day,' despite a forecast calling for 10 inches of snow. For Hibdon, a Brooklyn high school teacher, it was memorable for a different reason. It was exactly six weeks after she had given birth, which meant it was time to go back to the classroom." Read more here.