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

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government

Hello, ATRs are suing

Thursday, October 22, 2015

UFT to ATRs: NYC has many new teacher schools and principals are saving bundles

At one of the UFT's once a year boro ATR meetings Amy Arundell said that there many schools across New York City where the DOE has has hired mainly or only new teachers. She added that many of these schools are renewal schools and that because of these hiring patterns test scores are suffering and that this adding to their phase-out status.

And at the latest UFT delegate assembly president Mulgrew said that the union has taken in 6,000 new members. That means thousands of displaced roving teachers could have had stationary teaching assignments. But unlike Randi Weingarten, Mulgrew has never pushed for a hiring freeze, and has never advocated for the ATRs, pressing the city to hire them. See this age discrimination lawsuit the Weingarten waged, to get the city place ATRs. Read this Chaz post from that time. On the new teachers, Mulgrew at last week's DA said, "we're going to do the new teachers." Whatever that meant.

The union is only too happy to have the dual dues income stream of dues paying new teachers and dues paying wandering ATRs. This is more favorable for the UFT over the pre-rotation pattern of the city hiring more subs than today. Subs don't pay the full union dues that ATRs pay. New teachers have the posts we could have had, and the UFT has dues from both new and old teachers.

Where are the kids in all this? Arundell pointed out that the students and their Regents test scores are suffering. ATRs see that thousands are suffering in another way. At schools across the city schools drag their feet and do not hire teachers for vacancies --including in Regents classes. They ask the ATRs passing through: when will we get a teacher? Will you be our new teacher? Will you be entering the grades? Will you speak to our parents? ATRs honestly have to say that they don't know.
Bloomberg/Walcott's and now DeBlasio/Farina's policy has been driven by spite against veteran teachers; it has not been productive. Children, as we see, are the victims.

And when the city starts placing ATRs in "provisional" positions what they mean is that they are placing teachers in positions only for the four to six weeks that they will be in the school. Students ask the same questions of the teacher. ATRs, for their part, ask students about past teachers that year and learn that they have had a revolving door of different teachers different weeks or months. Of course, many students feel bitter, abandoned. No wonder many lack motivation. Who gets blamed? The ATR of course.

Realistically, how well do you think that teachers can get students to put their all into their work under these situations?  The students treat the ATRs as extended time subs. And more than a few students have been upset when they find that the teacher they finally warmed to in a month is going to be replaced the next week by an entirely different teacher. The UFT claims to be the union that cares about students and families. Where is the advocacy this time? And readers, imagine that your child were in such classrooms. Would you appreciate DeBlasio's continuing this Bloomberg era policy against placing teachers on a permanent basis?

She made this revelation after acknowledging a point that critics have long made: "There are many schools where principals are making a lot of money" by filling their schools with new teachers. For example, see these postings at the Chaz blog here and here. This conforms to our point that Fair School Funding which the union agreed to in 2007, is creating administrator bias against hiring ATRs our other senior salary staff. (The union let the city jump into FSF. Quickly it meant big trouble.) However, she said that the principals were not being truthful.

Here is the nuance: principals will hire people for the first year because the city pays their salary, but beyond the second year they will have to pay for them out of their own budget. It's only in that preliminary time frame that the principals are off the hook. 
This is explained in August 8's Chaz School Daze

Despite, all the restrictions the union and the DOE imposed on the ATRs, the union made a point to tell the ATRs in their October meeting that the ATR Agreement will help get them positions as principals will employ them for the school's average teacher salary the first year, with the DOE paying the rest and for free the second year. What a great deal! Except, they didn't tell the ATRs the fine print attached to the ATR Agreement. You see the free second year comes with a major string attached. The free second year comes with the permanent appointment of the ATR to the school and that means the ATR's seniority will be taken into account if the school does any future excessing. That's right. Once the Principal picks up the ATR for the second year, they are permanently appointed, with full seniority rights. Therefore, few principals are willing to take a chance, unless they get a special waiver from DOE Central to keep the ATR a second year without permanently appointing the ATR.

Where does this all come from? We can't find this online in the UFT contract? Chaz explained:
The ATR pool of teachers range from a maximum of 2,600 at the beginning of the school year, to 1,000 near the end. Does that mean the 1,600 excessed teachers received an appointed position? The answer is an emphatic no! Most of the 1,600 ATRs are either provisionally appointed for the year or on a long-term leave replacement assignment. Almost all of those teachers will be back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year. Unlike the CSA (administrators) and DC37 (secretaries), the UFT members, except for paras, are rotated throughout the year. The union negotiated a two year ATR agreement that ends in the 2015-16 school year and must be renegotiated for the 2016-17 school year and beyond, otherwise, it reverts back to the 2007 ATR Agreement. How has it worked? In my opinion, terribly! Few ATRs have landed permanent positions and the ATR pool is as large as ever. The union had touted that if a school picked up an ATR for the second year, the ATR was free for the school. Then why don't principals take the DOE up on their generous offer? The answer was that there are strings attached. First, let's look at the two year ATR agreement the union negotiated with the DOE. without any input from the people affected, the ATRs. The union agreed to the DOE's demands that ATRs must go to mandatory interviews in their Borough (not Districts) and missing two would result in termination. That ATRs have no right to refuse an assignment or position and if they don't show up by the second day, they are terminated. If two consecutive principals or in consecutive years, find the ATR's behavior not to their liking, the ATR will be subject to a termination hearing. In other words, the union agreed to reduced "due process rights" for ATRs. Oh, did I forget about the one day 3020-a hearing for the ill-defined problematic behavior? How about the ridiculous "flyby observations" by the DOE field supervisors assassins that have resulted in quite a few "unsatisfactory" ratings and some 3020-a charges this year? The result was that the ATRs became second class citizens.
The UFT needs to fight for the termination of the Fair Student Funding formula. DeBlasio needs to start being a mayor that does not show contempt for veteran workers as Bloomberg did. Actions speak louder than the words of pretenses of progressive. Career-threatening dubious U ratings from field supervisor observations, under substitute settings, grown to a record level under DeBlasio/Farina. DeBlasio, we're reading your actions. Right now, your labor and DOE policies are looking little different from Bloomberg's.


  1. As I explained in the meeting:
    If a school hires an ATR permanently, the MOA states that
    Any school that selects an ATR for a permanent placement
    will not have that ATR’s salary included for the purpose of
    average teacher salary calculation.

    If a school utilizes a person from the ATR pool to 1) fill a vacancy as a provisional hire; or 2) cover a long term leave or absence for someone who is not on payroll, the school must staff the person, which means the person costs the school the average salary for the school for that fiscal year.

    If a school has a long term leave/absence and the person who is being covered is using his/her days, the DOE allows a person from the ATR pool to remain at a school and cover that leave without the person from the ATR pool having to be staffed at the school (without going on the school’s Table of Organization.)

    Everything you have listed below are the typical types of misinformation and “urban myths” out there around school budgets. What I have provided here is the policy of the DOE (in alignment with our MOA). Anyone who is told something other than what I have detailed are welcome to report this to my office and we will follow up and clarify with the school.


    Amy Arundell
    Director of Personnel and Special Projects
    United Federation of Teachers
    212 510-6468 (office)
    212 388 9467 (fax)

    1. Why aren't ATRs being hired permanently if there's no economic disincentive? How can the union welcome 6000 new teachers while 2000 plus ATRs have been turned into subs? Why are inexperienced candidates chosen over those with one or two decades of experience? The implications of age discrimination (something that I've said couldn't be proven because of unprotected pay grade discrimination) is proved if there is no economic disincentive. That coupled with the age and race demographics would be proof. Why did J. Hinds bring up a resolution to go back to unit funding if the ATR salary will not be included in the average teacher salary? Finally if we are a temporarily displaced group (who don't need a chapter), how does the city plan on changing that? While this article has several discrepancies the major point is correct - there is an incredible indecency being done to NYC's students - they are being denied the most experienced and best teachers. WHY and WHY isn't the union doing something about it?

  2. Hey Amy thanks for the info but as an atr we are being abused. That's right we are being subjected to abuse and bullied by principals that lie about our work ethic. Check out Ritter at arts and letters. He bullies his teachers and lies about the behavior of arts. Look into how your members are bullied by Cruz and the principal from Bryant and many other schools. We are your brothers and sisters, your husbands,
    wives, sons and daughters. We are your mothers and fathers being disrespected by the likes of Ritter and Cruz and all the rest. Help us, please help us. We are hard working professionals who loved to teach. We are flawed but our dedication is pure. Help us please. Yours truly
    A disrespected atr.

  3. Hey amy....

    Blah blah blah blah......NO ONE BELIEVES YOU ANYMORE!!!!!!

  4. Hey Amy....

    ATRs are lucky to have jobs! Right?

  5. Hey Amy, how about all the guidance counselors and social workers I see roaming around our schools and not being utilized?? With the group of students that we serve, surely having guidance counselors and social workers seems like a mandate that is not being used?? WHy?? WHy have sociaL workers and guidance counselors go to a school and given menial work like making calls or covering a class?? They are social emotional professionals who can be helping the students cope with the stresses of being a student in the NYCDOE system. Come on you have go to be kidding me woman. I know that if I had your job ALL of our guidance counselors and social workers would be sitting and working with our students and NOT ROTATING bozo.

  6. Hey Amy, I hope you read this. I am a teacher at a bronx high school and in september we had 6 ATR guidance counselors sent to our school. The 6 guidance counselors were all vibrant highly educated and sophisticated in their professions as you could tell from having conversations with them. Funny thing, our school however only employs 1 guidance counselor to handle all 500 students here. Question: How is it that the DOE sends 6 ATR guidance counselors to a school who stay in the library who virtually then are not given much assignments as principals know they will only stay for a short time. So what we had was a situation where 6 highly qualified guidance counselors sitting in the library while our school only had one working guidance couinselor???? Amy, if I were you I would be looking for a new job

  7. Amy, people say you are simply a liar. I don't like writing it, but how can an ethical person be in your position as our sole representative and do virtually nothing but say over and over, we're lucky to have jobs and we have to be our own advocates? Our careers have been stolen from us and those we pay to advocate for us, have betrayed us. You shouldn't be part of it. It is the one thing people will remember about you in 20 years. Mulgrew is poison.

  8. Amy, you evil woman.....

    May you suffer the same fate as the the rest of us. Yes, I know, "ATRs are lucky to have jobs". How can you live with yourself?

  9. Please help us!!!!!!! You have no idea what we are subjected to daily

  10. Dear Amy I am an atr and have witnessed countless examples of principal abuse. Yes I am thankful not lucky to have a job but I became a teacher to teach. I don't want a job but my profession back. My school closed after teaching for 20yrs and now travel from school to school being a sub and trying to avoid the horrible principals that are everywhere. As was said earlier we are your brothers, sisters, mothers, husbands, sons and daughters. We are your family, friends and your teachers. I was in a school where one of my former students is a teacher. He couldn't believe I am now an atr. He said you were my favorite teacher. I didn't know what to say but thanked him and told him how proud I was of him. We are on the front lines of the assault on education and you should be advocating for us. Help us, please help us. Shame on the uft and doe!!!!!

    1. Every school I go to I meet someone I know. Many are teachers who are now admins, ATRs teachers, GCs, social workers, paras, and yes, like you, one student who is now a teacher. I'm not embarrassed by being an ATR and when I'm introduced as a Sub I correct that person, no matter who it is. I always explain what it is to the kids. I'm always surprised by their reactions. I usually get a "that's f--ked up", but sometimes get a response that questions why it's being done and how it affects them as students. I'm proud of my years teaching and am disgusted with the UFT.

  11. Anyone worth his or her weight in salt knows what's going on. Teacher jobs matter! How can you turn your back on us. Is it really worth it? How can you not help us. What goes around comes around. Amy you can make a difference!

    1. Your pleas are falling on deaf ears. Amy doesn't give a rats ass about ATRs, that's plainly evident.

  12. How is this even possible? I share my ATR horror stories with my friends and they just cannot believe that the UFT is allowing this. They cannot believe that a person with my years of service and seniority has been sent to the bottom of the heap.

    There are mornings I am so hopeless and wonder if I will ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am demeaned at every turn, including having to carry around my personal belongings all day and wait for someone to open the bathroom for me.
    This was not part of the deal when I signed on to teach over two decades ago.

    Why is it necessary to place ATRs in rotation, month to month, week to week?
    I believe all this is done to vex the veteran teacher so that he or she will retire, resign, or just leave. C'est ne pas, isn't that right, Amy, Michael, Carmen, Mayor? Please note that I'm definitely not leaving until I get all of my retro pay in 2020!!! Brother and sisters in the ATR, I hope you're with me on that!!!

  13. AMY YOU SHOULD BE AN ATR for a while, and maybe Michael Mulgrew should try it when we vote him out.