......most importantly, we ask why as due paying members of this union, per diems substitutes were not given a ballot to vote for the contract nor participate in its negotiation. This was wrong, undemocratic and unreasonable..... Dave Jensen, RetiredJust another example of people paying dues and getting little or noting in return. Like the ATRs. This points to the arrogance of UFT leadership even in the age of Janus. These subs are making it clear that they still support the UFT with their dues. Frankly, for how much longer?
Comments before The Executive Board of the United Federation of Teachers – Dec 17, 2018
D. Jensen – Retired S.S. Norman Thomas HS
My subject today is to highlight the plight of per diem substitute teachers at the New York City Department of Education but before I continue my comments I tell you that they are for the most part those of a more enlightened substitute teacher colleague who wishes to be anonymous. This because I feel that her great efforts on this subject over time have been ignored by both the union, the city and some in attendance today and that her name and voice is not considered sincere, genuine nor relevant. And so upon her urging and others, I have been asked to speak on their behalf. I feel no more important then they and am honored to do so.
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For untold years, thousands of per diem teachers automatically, continuously and without objection had a portion of their hard earned money deducted from their pay to be given to the UFT.
This in exchange for the reasonable expectation that they would receive appropriate representation and protection by their union in the teachers' contracts; in other words due process.
For them, Due process is the most fundamental protection that a union can guarantee for all of its members when they are accused of an infraction.
Yet despite being members, substitute per diem teachers today however enjoy fewer or no due process rights as they are summarily and automatically barred of their right to work without the opportunity to conference the issue prior to inactivation of their"licenses" And while it seems that para professionals have finally been given this all-important right in the recent contract, substitute per diem teachers have only gotten a mention of this. To wit, Article 42 of the new contract states:
“The UFT and D.O.E. will jointly create guidance for schools on best practices for working with substitute teachers that the DOE will share with principals”
We feel though that this is far from enough for we, the per diem substitute teacher, have become a class of “forgotten teachers” who, in the absence of the regularly appointed teacher, shoulder the identical burden of public liabilities, responsibilities and protections of the students.
We often endure classes with no lesson plans or instructions, teach six classes in a day including four in a row, fill vacancies out of license for weeks at a time without any support from department heads and suffer the moods, eccentricities and scolding of administrators who, without any notice or our input when a problem arises, contact subcentral to put either put us on a DNU (Do Not Use) list or even worse suspension.
I can tell you today that there are several treasured colleagues who have suffered such treatment and because of no due process have languished for several months on suspension and without pay. This without any response by subcentral who seem disinterested.
Subcentral is a single, solitary office governed by an seemingly unimpeachable administrator who has been given complete unilateral and arbitrary authority to decipher and resolve our problems and suspensions. We and I have experienced him to be an arrogant, impatient, dismissive and a procrastinate and do not see him as a cooperative partner is seeking the “best practices” as promoted in Article 42 We we do not ask but demand that a more transparent referee system be created and replace subcentral to find solutions and “best practices”.
Finally and most importantly, we ask why as due paying members of this union, per diems substitutes were not given a ballot to vote for the contract nor participate in its negotiation. This was wrong, undemocratic and unreasonable.
Thank you. David L. Jensen