This is especially true for teachers pushed into ATR status. ATR means "absent teacher reserve", where licensed, certified employees suddenly become substitute teachers who go from school to school weekly, do not know who the students are, or the curriculum in the classes they are put into, teach out of license, never see any Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or SOHO (suspension/discipline histories) reports, and can provide no witness testimony except their own when charged with misconduct. I have been hired to defend teachers who have fired their NYSUT attorneys after they hear that they cannot have any witnesses testify at 3020-a.:
See an email from NYSUT Attorney Paul Brown, to a client who fired him when she received this:
"From: Paul Brown <email@example.com>
Sent: Wed, 2013
Subject: Re: - WITNESSES
Paul K. Brown
Also, when I asked UFT Rep. Barbara Mylite ( 718-275-4400) to appear at the 3020-a arbitration of a member who had worked with her on a U-rating appeal, Barbara told me to have the attorney on the case call Adam Ross at the UFT main office and speak with him. Adam said that he would not permit any Rep. to appear at a 3020-a, even if subpoenaed, because this was a conflict of interest.
You, an ATR, don't know the answers to these questions, because you were charged after you were with the children 1-5 days!!!! You are a sitting duck for some kind of penalty from an arbitrator who hears from the children under your supervision for a couple of hours.
The DOE "convinces" these children that they "should" complain, and the parents get upset, and boom. You are re-assigned, charged, and the children are given a pizza for lunch or their parents are promised a higher grade if they testify.
You get a quickie "trial" of 2-3 days, where the DOE Attorney brings in the students who supposedly saw you allegedly rape, maim, throw a fellow student, etc. The arbitrator has no witnesses from your defense who could verify your testimony, does not believe you, and you are fined and/or terminated. What a farce. Everyone benefits financially except you. The lawyers get paid, the arbitrator gets paid, and you pay a fine. Where does the fine go? I filed a freedom of information request to find out both at the state and city levels. No one "knows", or no one is telling. This is outrageous.
By the way, if you are not terminated at 3020-a - and my clients are usually not terminated - you automatically become an ATR and on the no hire list of the Office of Personnel Investigations (OPI). Your file is tagged with a problem code. Gina Martinez is the Deputy Director (from LinkedIn).:
NYSUT defends the UFT, not individuals or individual rights.
When U-ratings and misconduct reach the 3020-a level, the same applies, customarily, and the contractual violations are ignored so that the member is left without a defense. What contractual rights are we talking about? The right to have gainful employment, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I'll give you an example.
Currently, ATRs have no right to representation. They do not have a chapter or a chapter leader. If a UFT member wins his/her 3020-a and is not terminated (termination after 3020-a is only common if you have a NYSUT Attorney and you are African-American), then this person never goes back to their licensed position, but "automatically" becomes an ATR. Who dreamed this up???? Why does the UFT allow this????.
This is what the current status of teachers pushed into being ATRs is all about, and should not be happening, but, as a respected Attorney/Arbitrator told me, "the UFT and DOE have not been challenged ".
Well, now they are. My organization is gathering names for a lawsuit to be filed in the fall to help ATRs regain their rights. So, all people charged should, within 90 days, file a Notice of Claim.
A notice of claim is required as a condition precedent to commencing an action against an employee of the New York City Department of Education (Education Law § 3813; General Municipal Law § 50–i), when the conduct complained of was engaged in as part of defendant's employment or in the scope of his/her employment (Radvany v. Jones, 184 A.D.2d 349 ; see also Hale v. Scopac, 74 AD3d 1906 ; DeRise v. Kreinik, 10 AD3d 381, 382  ).
I'm not an attorney, so this is not "legal" advice, but I have read hundreds of law books, I go to a law library often, and I read cases filed in State and Federal Courts. Constantly. And, I speak about all that is going on to anyone who contacts me. There should be no secrecy.
The UFT representatives are not supporting the members. I provide assistance to UFT members who are charged with 3020-a, and I am part of the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scene. When trying to settle a case, I always throw in that my client does not want to be an ATR. The DOE response: "sorry, all Respondents who are not terminated automatically become ATRs".
Really? Who says?
The UFT and the DOE, that's who.
August 3, 2014