Sunday, February 4, 2018

Video: Parental/Family Leave – MORE Holds Rally, UFT Officials Join in

So it was surprising to see the official UFT banner and Mel Aaronson join the rally and march. Mel who began teaching 10 years before me in 1957 -- he could have been my JHS teacher -- had more stamina than me. Most of the participants were too young to even think of asking Mel a pension question.

Yes, it was freezing and my fingers barely could press the RECORD button. But a dozen MOREs warmed up at the Dark Horse afterwards - that gin and tonic took the chill off. And major kudos to Rosy Clark, the point person for MORE on the rally whose strength and leadership was a major factor. I can't tell you how impressed I am when people take responsibility and do it competently. I bet Rosy is a great teacher.

Below is the video followed by an article we have in our new edition of Another View, being released this Weds at the DA. Also a link to a NY1 clip on the rally. NY1 has done 2 stories based on actions by MORE in the past week.

Parental/Family Leave – MORE Holds Rally, UFT Officials Join in

One of the hot issues nationwide and directly on our union’s agenda is the question of paid parental leave, something enjoyed by employees in almost every industrialized nation and increasingly a right being given by major corporations, including McDonalds, which has expanded the concept to family leave.

The issue has become a bit controversial in the UFT as the MORE-UFT Caucus issued this statement:
The UFT is currently in negotiations to get Paid Parental Leave for UFT members. We are so glad that this important right is one that our Union is fighting for, and we want to make sure that our members get the best deal possible. We also want to make sure our Union doesn't give back any of our hard won benefits without a fight, want our colleagues the Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists (PTs and OTs) to get the same coverage as teachers, and we want full, paid, family leave, so that we can take time to care for other members of our families, as well as our children.
MORE made a point with a Jan. 31 rally of about 50 people in front of UFT headquarters, followed by a march uptown to Tweed where the marchers gathered on the steps to share some stories. One of the most respected UFT officials, Mel Aaronson, joined the march with a small contingent from UFT HQ who marched uptown with MORE holding the UFT banner. MORE is trying to push the envelope beyond the narrower issue of paid parental leave, which affects a small segment of the UFT, while paid family leave ultimately affects most people and would garner more support. Aaronson, who began teaching in 1957 pointed out how they had nothing then and the union won many things over the years, seemingly a call for gradualism – win parental leave as a first step. NY1 has a report:

James Eterno, a MORE member, posted some thoughts on the ICE blog,
Why can't we have paid family leave corporations, small businesses and unions are required to provide for their NYS employees?
I am having a very difficult time understanding why the city and the UFT can't negotiate the exact same Paid Family Leave policy that is called for in state law for the private sector. This seems like it should be an easy negotiation. Paid Family Leave is for more than just parents of newborns.

Workers in NYS in the private sector are entitled to six weeks paid leave to take care of a newborn and in addition they can take the Paid Family Leave to care for a sick family member and for military families. That will expand to twelve weeks in the coming years. The cost is a maximum of $85.56 per year for employees in 2018. That comes to $1.56 a week.

NYSUT locals with paid employees must provide Paid Family Leave, including the UFT. Not only the regular office staff at the UFT but the Special Representatives on leave from the Department of Education who work for the Union are entitled to the Paid Family Leave but city teachers and other UFT members are not. This should be rectified now.

If the UFT wants to win the widest support possible, they should push for paid family leave. While the city can afford to give us this benefit at no cost to employees, I am under no illusions that any city union can get it. We are too weak.

But, we should get what workers at McDonalds, NYSUT and the UFT get.
NY1 did a nice piece on the rally.

NYC teachers rally, demand city gives them paid parental leave

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