Safety remains a UNITY/UFT Caucus priority as middle schools reopen

Middle schools will once again welcome students after the February break under the terms of an agreement between the city and state. Specifically, the city can reopen more schools after it has demonstrated it has built capacity to maintain strict in-school coronavirus testing standards.

However, the UNITY/UFT Caucus, under the leadership of President Michael Mulgrew, will monitor the situation to make certain the city can truly conduct randomized weekly testing of 20% of staff and students in every middle school building. In addition, we will also make sure that there is no diminishment in the current testing (the same 20% of staff and students) in elementary, K-8 and District 75 schools.

Furthermore, with middle schools reopening, UNITY/UFT insisted on:

  • All students in school buildings must have testing consent forms on file. The forms must be signed by a parent or guardian or students may not remain for in-person learning.
  • The city will provide all educators working in-person with additional opportunities for vaccinations through the union’s vaccine program
  • The city will open new vaccination sites dedicated to DOE employees.
  • The city will arrange to designate more vaccines to thousands of educators with the goal of offering a shot to every in-person teacher who would like to receive it.
  • On Feb. 8, more than 400 UFT members received the vaccine at Thomas Jefferson HS as part of a program with Emblem Health.

We will of course continue to push for even more safety and health protocols. As UNITY/UFT President Mulgrew said, “We want our educators to be safe and to have access to vaccines if they want them. We want the continuation of strict testing and the closing of individual schools when necessary. It is our collective responsibility to do all we can to help our school communities thrive while we continue to fight the pandemic through safety protocols and vaccinations.”

UNITY/UFT: Fighting for our Health and Safety!

Our caucus, UNITY/UFT, has advocated and fought for the safety and health of our members since our union’s inception more than 60 years ago. The past year has been a testament to that fact as UNITY/UFT fought seven days a week for our members to work in a safe environment as the pandemic devastated our nation’s health and economy.

And, because of our perseverance, our refusal to bow to poorly-conceived strategies that may have harmed our members and to advocate for safety and preventive measures, we are now among the first people in the city and state to receive the vaccine.

UNITY/UFT coordinated with participating health care institutions to ensure that teachers, paraprofessionals and our other education members who want the shot can get it as soon as possible. Priority was given to in-person educators first because they’re at a higher risk for contracting COVID than those who remain at home.

An astounding 20,000 UFT members responded with a resounding, “I want the vaccine,” since we announced this program on Sunday, Jan. 10. Of course, educators may receive their vaccine through the city-run programs but our swift actions allowed for multiple vaccination opportunities for members.

UNITY/UFT also negotiated with the city to ensure our members have two hours of paid release time if they can’t schedule an appointment outside of work hours.

UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew, when asked about our members being offered the vaccine said, “Thankfully, our members are getting the vaccine. We all hope this is the beginning of the end of this horrible crisis that has killed thousands in our city and millions worldwide.”

UNITY/UFT – Working to keep members safe during the COVID pandemic.

UNITY/UFT Keeping Us Safer!

UNITY/UFT has been a bedrock of our union for more than 60 years. We have successfully navigated our membership through many political, economic and financial crises. And, now we find ourselves in uncharted territory as we battle a pandemic that has left more than 300,000 dead across the nation and more than 35,000 in our state.

Under the leadership of UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew, we are fighting every day to keep our members, students and school communities safe and healthy. And we have succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. Our schools remain among the safest institutions in the city.

Because of UNITY/UFT’s diligence, we have had the strongest protections of any school system in the country since we opened in the fall. And in the last weeks, we’ve worked with the city and state to make those protections even better:

  • Schools in the City’s high-impact red and orange coronavirus zones will continue to follow the state’s 3 percent rules
  • Schools will reopen in phases
  • More frequent testing and more stringent guidelines for closing
    • 20 percent of all staff and students must be tested every week in every school
    • The presence of a COVID-19 case or cases in a classroom results in that class moving to remote instruction
    • Two or more positive cases in a school that are not linked will result in the entire school going fully remote

As President Mulgrew recently said, “Each of these strategies, properly implemented, will keep us even safer until we beat the pandemic ravaging our nation. With approved vaccines arriving in our city, we are nearing the finish line for what has been a year none of us will forget.”

We’re Not Finished! Census 2020 / Next Generation Standards

It has been one year since we ratified the UNITY/UFT negotiated contract that provides us with new and improved rights at the school level/workplace for all UFT represented DOE titles.  We listened to our members concerns and addressed safety, lack of curriculum, professional development, basic instructional supplies, workload and issues around physical space.

However, UNITY/UFT is NOT finished. We are now confronting the issue of curriculum
alignment to the new standards (NextGen). We are working to ensure that EVERY school in the city has an appropriate curriculum to match with these new standards and that each and every one of our members is given professional development on these standards. UNITY/UFT knows that if our students and schools succeed, then WE win. Unfortunately, these days, too many people want to see us fail. We cannot and will not let that happen. As UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “we need to have the appropriate curriculum in our schools and be given the proper professional development . . . we work with students every day and know better than anyone what works and doesn’t work in the classroom.”

Whats At Stake Pledge Card 3On a very different note, UNITY/UFT has pledged to raise awareness and encourage participation in the 2020 census. It will literally and figuratively be our rallying cry as we head into 2020. NY historically has had a low response rate and, as a result, our city has lost BILLIONS of dollars of federal monies. UNITY/UFT President Mulgrew recently stated that “We cannot keep subsidizing the rest of the country while continuously losing tens of  billions of dollars each year. We can and must change this . . . it is our job as educators to teach everyone about the importance of being counted.”

Everybody counts!

UNITY/UFT: Not on Our Watch!

The UNITY/UFT caucus has been the foundation of our union for over 60 years, and we proudly bear the responsibility for being the majority voice. UNITY/UFT never stops advocating and fighting for our members, improving our working conditions for the betterment of our schools and students.  This is exemplified by our current contract which, one year in, has demonstrated its value by enabling VOICE, SUPPORT, RESPECT and true EMPOWERMENT.

As you know, under the leadership of UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew, we have negotiated many tools to assist us in our roles as educators. Among them are school-based professional development committees, standards for paperwork reduction that eliminate duplicative and unnecessary paperwork (both written and electronic), and, for the first time, a requirement that the DOE provide curriculum to teachers of core subjects. Unfortunately, the DOE has again managed to “muddy the waters” when it comes to these three collectively bargained items.

The Instructional Leadership Framework, or ILF, is a DOE initiative that integrates NYS Standards (“Next Gen”), Culturally Responsive Education, and Advanced Literacy. While we agree with this initiative in concept, we do not agree with the implementation. Our teachers should be exposed to these new standards, as next year our students and our school system will be judged on them.  Writing curriculum, bypassing the PD Committee and creating paperwork for the sake of creating paper and work are our new but old fights. How does this help our members, our students, and our schools?

UNITY/UFT President Mulgrew has made it clear that if the DOE can’t or won’t help our students prepare for the Next Generation Standards, then we must do it alone; if the DOE will allow it to fall on the backs of our members, then we must stand firm and demand the support our schools and teachers need. As ridiculous as it sounds, if our employer cannot do this work, then we must lead the charge to help our school system succeed. We have too many enemies waiting and hoping for us to fail in the ever important role of educating our students.

UNITY/UFT believes that failure is not an option. As President Mulgrew stated “. . . if we are challenged with the tasks of working towards a successful school system and ensuring that the DOE does their due diligence in supporting our schools, then we will wholeheartedly rise to that challenge.”

THIS FRIDAY: Coquito Fundraiser to Support Refugee Families at the Border

Come out this Friday November 1st at 4:30 to the UFT Bronx Borough Office for the AFT-Latino Caucus’ Coquito Fundraiser and Challenge!

Your donations to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund will support the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley as they work to provide humanitarian relief to refugee families at the border.

Register Here https://tinyurl.com/CoquitoFR

And if you think you make the best Coquito in town, join the Coquito Challenge.  Sign up here: https://aftlatinocaucus.wufoo.com/forms/coquito-challenge/

 

Coquito Fundraiser Flyer

Coquito Challenge

UFT/UNITY: Making It Happen

cropped-unity-moving-forward-together-large-transparent.pngFor over 60 years UNITY/UFT has been the proud majority voice of our union. UNITY/UFT tirelessly fights for UFT members, improving working conditions for the betterment of our schools and securing the economic benefits our members deserve.

COMPENSATION:

Because of UNITY/UFT’s persistence, our members now are receiving the fourth of five lump-sum payments for increases not received in 2009 and 2010 when, nearing the end of his mayoralty, former Mayor Bloomberg refused to give raises to UFT members. It was a different story during contract negotiations with Mayor DeBlasio in 2014. UNITY/UFT members negotiated a contract that not only ensured UFT members were made whole by 2020 for what Bloomberg had refused to pay, but also provided salary increases totaling 18 percent by the end of the contract.

This is in addition to the 2.5 % raise we will receive in May 2020 because of the current
contract UNITY/UFT members negotiated with the DOE in 2018!

WORKING CONDITIONS:

Class size has been a concern for many of our members and, as a result, during our 2018 contract negotiations, UNITY/UFT negotiated an expedited class size resolution process. The results have been overwhelming. Simply compare this school year to last:

Oversized Classes

  • Day 10 2018: Approximately 400 schools with oversized classes
  • Day 10 2019: Approximately 350 schools with oversized classes
  • As of 10/15/19 that number was down to 81

Out of Compliance Schools

  • School year 2018-19: 113 chronically out of compliance schools
  • School year 2019-20: so far, 51 of these schools are in compliance

These are, by far, the lowest numbers of any year in recent memory. And it is all a result of UNITY/UFT’s hard work and dedication.

UNITY/UFT President Michael Mulgrew always reminds us “. . . it is about always doing
the absolute best for our members both inside and outside of the workplace . . . and
we will always fight to make that happen.”

Donate to the 7th Annual UFT Middle School Coat Drive

Unity Caucus encourages all UFT members to support the 7th Annual UFT Middle School Coat Drive and help ensure that our students have access to warm winter clothing.

Donate NEW with tags: coats, hats, scarves, sweaters, mittens and other winter accessories to support NYC public school students living in temporary housing.

 

Donations may be:

  • Brought to the UFT Delegate Assembly in October and November

  • Brought to any UFT borough office

  • Mailed or brought to the UFT Middle Schools Division located at 52 Broadway, 14th Floor NY, NY 10004

ThnxGivingLunch2019-Donate

Help Refugee Families at the Border

Join the work of Unity Caucus by putting our values into action.

We are providing everyone the opportunity to support refugee families at the Border by donating to The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas where they are provided with warm meals, showers, medicine and other supplies.

Your donation to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund will support the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley as they work to provide humanitarian relief to refugee families at the Border.

Please use the link below to donate:

https://www.uft.org/get-involved/uft-campaigns/donate-help-refugee-families-border

Print and share the flyer with your school community and any community based organizations.

Link to Download Flyer: Help_Refugee_Families_at_the_Border

Help_Refugee_Families_at_the_Border.jpg