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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Delegates that support ACRs/ATRs and educators will support these resolutions at Wednesday's UFT Delegate Assembly

Resolution for Full Union Representation for ATRs
Please raise for NEXT MONTH’S AGENDA

Whereas, the Delegate Assembly is the highest policy making body in the United Federation of
Teachers, and
Whereas, federal labor law requires that policy making bodies within a union be democratically
elected with each member entitled to a vote, and
Whereas, Absent Teacher Reserves (ATRs) are not entitled to vote in Chapter Elections unless they
happen to be working in a school that has a Chapter Election during a particular week that the ATR is
working in a school, and
Whereas, unions can set up reasonable rules as to who can run for office, but it is not reasonable that
ATRs including Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers cannot run or serve as
Delegates or Chapter Leaders simply because they belong to no Chapter, and
Whereas, the ATR position has now been embedded in the UFT contract in Section 16 of the 2014
Memorandum of Agreement, therefore be it
Resolved, that the UFT will immediately create a Functional Chapter to represent the interests of
ATRs, Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers.
Movement of Rank and File Educators is the Social
Justice Caucus of the UFT- New York City’s Teachers union.
We are a positive alternative to the current union leadership.
Want to talk MORE?
Join us for a post-DA gathering at 6 pm, just a few blocks away at
the White Horse Tavern, 25 Bridge St.

Whereas, both New York State gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino vocally
support the privatization of education through the expansion of charter schools, and the Green Party
ticket of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones oppose charter schools, and
Whereas, Andrew Cuomo has pushed through an expansion of testing statewide and the punitive linking of test scores to teacher evaluations, while the Hawkins/Jones ticket opposes an emphasis on
testing, and
Whereas, Andrew Cuomo implemented a destructive tax cap that has forced massive layoffs of teachers in upstate districts, and
Whereas, the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers have declined to endorse
Cuomo because of his anti-education policies, and
Whereas the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, East Williston Teachers Association, Lakeland Federation of Teachers, Diane Ravitch, the Coalition for Public Education,
the Independent Commission on Public Education and three local NYC Democratic clubs have all
endorsed the Hawkins/Jones ticket, and
Whereas, the Hawkins/Jones platform of a Green New Deal calls for equitable funding for all of our
schools, reduced class sizes across the state, support for programs that promote desegregation in
our schools, an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies driving the school-to-prison pipeline,
and allowing schools to develop methods of assessment organic to the learning process, and
Whereas, Astorino and Cuomo are both millionaires while Hawkins and Jones are both union activists,
Hawkins in Teamsters, Jones in the UFT and PSC, therefore be it,
Resolved, the United Federation of Teachers endorses Howie Hawkins for Governor of New York State and Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor. Be it further
Resolved, the UFT, through COPE, inform its members of this endorsement, the contrasts between the candidates on key education issues, and mobilize its members to support the Hawkins/Jones campaign.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

“Here We Go Again!”

An ATR returns to page 1.
“Here We Go Again!” – In which the former ATR is no longer a former ATR, but an ATR, not former, but for a second time and, OH, HECK, I’m back in the soup.

You know those kids’ picture books where you give a mouse a cookie, or you give a pig a pancake, and you go on this long convoluted journey only to end up back on page one when you get to the last page? Yeah, I kinda feel like one of those characters. You see, friends. I am back in the ATR stew.

Funny how this came about. I had a roller coaster of a year last year – I was in a school that was completely out of control and was assaulted and sent to the hospital. Over the summer, I had no idea what was waiting for me come September, as I had heard nothing about being moved to another school and had yet to hear the result of my transfer request.

As the summer wound down, I was focused on squeezing every bit of goodness and family time out of what remained of the season. Almost daily visits to the pool, summer outdoor concerts, cocktails on my backyard patio with friends, and barbecues kept the trepidation at bay and I made a firm commitment to not worry about things that hadn’t happened yet.

So imagine my surprise when my husband tells me that he checked the house answering machine and said that there was a call from a principal asking me for an interview. I was completely puzzled, as Open Market had closed and I had not found any vacancies on it that I found suitable, and therefore had not applied for any interviews. Anywhere. But, not one to mess with fate, I returned the call.

The principal was very nice, and we spoke for a few minutes before I asked how he came to call me, as I didn’t recall applying to his school. He said, “I got your name from the excess list.”

WHAT??? “Excuse me?” I said, “Excess list? Like ATR?”

After a few moments, I found out that I had been allegedly been placed in excess at the end of the school year. Sure enough, I logged on to the Excess Staff Selection System, and there I was. In excess.

To this day, I have received no formal, written notice that I am in excess. I have heard nothing from my former principal, and all my belongings are still, as far as I know, in my old school. Requests to reclaim my belongings have been ignored – and my union has been little help in assisting me in getting my property back.

The question lingers – what if we had ignored the house answering machine, as we tend to do as we favor our cell phones and the land line is used mainly by the kids? What if this principal had never called me and I never found out I was in excess? Am I really in excess? I got an assignment on the system, but I have no hard paperwork explaining how I came to be here. Would my no-show on the first day been my first instance of “problematic behavior”?

Why does this bother me?