ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

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"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
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Hello, ATRs are suing

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What happened to the UFT's age discrimination lawsuit for ATRs in 2009

There are so many interesting news items lurking in the past. Back in 2008 the UFT started a lawsuit against the DOE, on behalf of the ATRs. This was publicized in an April 10, 2008 article in the union's paper "UFT sues Tweed for age discrimination". The UFT argued that in creating the Fair Student Funding formula the DOE created a disincentive for principals to hire teachers. The UFT reported: "The lawsuit argues that the DOE essentially shifted from an age-neutral system to one that has a disparate impact on older teachers." Weingarten defended the ATR's reputation: "These are good teachers, mostly from closing schools. But rather than create a win-win situation, the system - despite repeated requests - refused to deal with these issues."

Yet a year later, the union dropped the suit. Today the age discrimination problem remains. By our survey of our members, which comprise one-tenth of the number in the excess staff (ATR) pool, 86% polled are 50 years of age or older.

Chaz's School Daze wrote on the issue:

Randi & Joel Do It Again - The UFT Secretly Dropped Their Age Discrimination Lawsuit When They Signed The Unenforceable ATR Agreement

It appears once again Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein negotiated an agreement that resulted in the UFT members getting the short end of the stick. JD2718 reports in his blog that an apparently secret agreement between the UFT and DOE resulted in the UFT dropping their age discrimination lawsuit as a part of the unenforceable ATR agreement that has so far resulted in only 16 ATRs given classroom assignments. Time and again the Joel Klein's DOE negotiates in "bad faith" with the UFT and refuses to live up to the negotiated agreements. Be it the ATRs, the "rubber room" or paperwork reductions. The reason is simple. Our union refuses to ensure that any agreement have enforceable provisions. Both sides leave enough "wiggle room" in the language to allow DOE to ignore the intent of these agreements. >

According to JD2718 the age discrimination lawsuit was discussed at last Monday's Executive Board meeting and he summarizes the following:

At last Monday’s Executive Board meeting a question and follow-up about the UFT’s age discrimination revealed:

-the suit was withdrawn, without prejudice, when the ATR side agreement was reached.
-to refile the suit, the UFT would need to collect fresh information.
-members individual suits were not withdrawn.

This is shocking. I was under the impression that the UFT dropped their original age discrimination lawsuit because of legal issues on the use of the data collected. In other words the NYSUT attorney didn't believe the age discrimination case would succeed based upon the information. Now it turns out that the UFT secretly bargained the age discrimination lawsuit away in the unenforceable ATR agreement. How come the UFT didn't report this as a part of the ATR Agreement in their press release? The reason is quite obvious to me. They were embarrassed and afraid to tell the teachers the truth that this is what the union gave up for the ATR agreement. Therefore, they kept the age discrimination lawsuit issue secret to the members. To my knowledge, no teacher who was part of the dropped age discrimination lawsuit was told the truth. They were all apparently told that the age discrimination case had no legal standing. Now that the truth is known, it now makes sense why the UFT is reluctant to file a new age discrimination lawsuit despite he influx of older teacher in the "rubber rooms" and the ATR ranks.

I can only say what my friend Woodlass said in her comments to the information provided in JD2718's article. SHAME, SHAME,. SHAME.


  1. I think that we should ask to testimony from all teachers over 40 if they feel they have been targeted by the administration. For I think it is not just ATRs who are feeling discriminated but that their discrimination is most visible. I also think we need to look into how many schools are hiring per diems teachers and part time teachers to cover full programs that are vacancies. This is should be pretty easy if one looks at the school's payroll. I do not understand how is it possible that there is such little scrutiny of a school's payroll for you can learn so much about a place by looking at the money it spends.

  2. when will this insanity end.....this is completely wrong by every measure...this is a bloomberg klein devilish move and it really needs to end and end fast..please enough already lets get these educators back into schools permantly please

  3. I have been an ATR for 9 years not including one year that I actually had a position and then I was excessed again. I have read some of the experiences posted on your blog and feel the pain of what so many of us are experiencing. I was a literacy coach for two years. After the 2nd year you have the right of return to your district but not to your school. My first 5 years weren't too bad. I was assigned to one school and the principal was smart enough to know that she had an excellent reading teacher and utilized me as such. The only problem was she wouldn't put me on her payroll because she couldn't afford my salary. The 6th year I was transferred to another school. What a year that was I was place in a 2nd grade ctt class. I went through 2 new teachers that couldn't hack it and this old teacher is the one that managed to get the class to thrive. The following year it came to my attention that ATR's would be rotated. I had no desire to that. I therefore took a middle school position and was promised training which I never got. I have always been an early childhood teacher. I was told that I couldn't take a position out of license. The principal found a way to hire me under my reading license. By the end of the year I was excessed again. Between last school year and this is has been beyond horrible. I am sent to schools where I sit on my butt for an entire week and do absolutely nothing. I have been put in classes that I am not even qualified to teach. The lack of professionalism and respect is absolutely daunting.

  4. At some Brooklyn schools ATRs are being asked to do work while principals conduct interviews. Great and people wonder why ATRs don't get placed.

  5. The Principal of Bryant High School only rates veteran teachers unsatisfactory. She has told teachers that their methods of teaching are old, ask APs to change the ratings on veteran teachers. After 3 years, she has 53 untenured teachers.