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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ATRs Starting To Organize Citywide Opposition To ATR Status

ATR Hiring Fair
Washington Heights Armory, 169th Street Manhattan
The pictures in this post show the many people who showed up at the "mandatory" ATR recruitment event held today and next tuesday (see previous post about mandatory fairs for ATRs)

According to one teacher who called me, the fair was "a total waste" except he saw people he knew from the rubber room in which he spent almost two years. This person said there were no positions open or offered.

Opposition to the "ATR" pool is growing, due to events like this that only serve to humiliate members placed into this unrecognized position.

There is nothing in the UFT contract about the current growing population known as ATRs. People are being dumped into this group after they have completed their 3020-a hearings and, no matter what the decision, told they are now "ATRs" So, if you are exonerated of all charges and an arbitrator says you must be placed back into your position as a permanent teacher, the NYC DOE will ignore this. And it seems that there is nothing you can do about it, because all anyone has received from the UFT is silence. Oh, I take that back. A very brave soul who was not terminated at his 3020-a, at which the arbitrator said in the record that he  was a great teacher, went to NYSUT (9th floor, 52 Broadway, Manhattan) and asked Assistant General Counsel Claude Hersh what was going on, and where in writing could he find information about Absent Teacher Reserves. Claude told him that there was nothing in writing, except that after the middle of October everyone will be moved every week to a different school.

Like THAT's going to work well.

Everyone should be sharing their stories with the blogger at NYCATR, the new blog for ATRs.

My friend Phil Nobile did just that:

UFT refuses to help ATR teachers organize

On September 10th, NYCATR posted an open letter from an ATR teacher, Philip Nobile, (see letter below) to the UFT's Co-Staff Director, LeRoy Barr. In the letter, Mr. Nobile requested that the UFT form a special chapter to represent ATR teachers.

Mr. Nobile never received a reply from Mr. Barr. Instead, he was referred to Elizabeth Perez, a UFT Special Representative. Below is an exchange of emails between Nobile, Perez, and yours truly, this time going by the name of Joseph Moses.

Sept. 12, 2011
FROM: Elizabeth Perez, UFT Special Representative
TO: Philip Nobile, ATR Teacher


It is my understanding that the UFT has no plans to create an ATR Functional Chapter. All ATRs have Chapter Leaders with whom they can speak with, in the schools/buildings they are assigned.


Sept. 12, 2011
FROM: Joseph Moses, teacher and publisher of NYCATR
TO: Elizabeth Perez, UFT Special Representative

Dear Ms. Perez
I understand that ATR teachers have chapter leaders with whom they can speak. However, when these teachers begin to be shifted about on a weekly basis, they will not really have access to a chapter leader who can help them. Perhaps a special chapter of ATR teachers could be formed before October 9 when the weekly reassignments are scheduled to begin.

Joseph Moses

Sept. 13, 2011
FROM: Philip Nobile, ATR Teacher
TO: Elizabeth Perez, UFT Special Representative

Hi Liz,
Good to hear from you, though I am surprised that LeRoy deferred to you.Surely, he could have said the same thing himself.

Naturally, I am disappointed by the news that the UFT is denying meaningful representation its neediest members. As you know, ATRs, like rubber roomers of yesteryear, are prime DOE targets. With the connivance of Tweed we are routinely kicked around in the press as no-good, unhirable teachers draining the city of $100 million a year. On top of this revolting predicament, and with UFT agreement, we are condemned to wander the wilderness of new schools every week punctuated by occasional mandated fairs for jobs that are rarely consummated.

Clearly, we nomads have special needs and interests that cannot possibly be satisfied by quickie conversations with ever shifting chapter leaders and DRs. Consequently, I do not understand why the UFT would not show ATRs, numbering around 2000, the same solidarity shown to 700 rubber roomers who were likewise separated from meaningful representation. Further, regular meetings at 52 or borough offices, would advantage the UFT as well. We can provide you with direct feedback and the informationgained would inform your negotiations on our behalf. A win-win situation, as they say.

ATRs are the least of the union brethren, and the pool is expanding every year. How will it look if the membership comes to believe that you do not care enough to recognize us via a functional chapter? Do you really want thatfight? At the least, the UFT owes us an explanation as to why we don't count enough to meet with union leaders.

Thanks for your consideration,


"Moses" of NYC ATR sent out via email about the ATR fair held today:
Over 300 ATRs (excessed teachers) lined up for another DOE sponsored job fair where most will not find permanent jobs.

It was another one of those summer mandatory futile job searches where ATRs are obligated to attend and where only a few will land a job.

Most at today's job fair were clearly senior veteran higher-paid excessed teachers and over 50% were Black and Latino.

Principals generally will hire the younger inexperience teachers who are paid less and tend not to know their
Labor rights -- thus more compliant to the whims of administrators. Many of those young teachers are graduates of the Teach For America pool who are inculcated with anti-union and anti-veteran teacher propaganda. Principals, facing mounting budget deficits and cuts, would be foolish to hire seasoned teachers who earn salaries between $80 - 100K yearly when the bargain is to hire two at those prices! The deck has been unfairly stacked against older higher paid ATRs.

At his job fair today, some expressed the hope that maybe the city will offer them an early retirement buyout.

Others shared anger at the UFT leadership for abandoning them in the 2005 contract which bargained away their right to seniority rights transfer. Now starting in October, those ATRs can not find a steady classroom job will become substitutes who will be assigned weekly to different schools in their districts to cover for absent teachers. This agreement by the UFT with Mayor Bloomberg to turn ATRs into traveling subs can force many to quit due to the untenable and unpredictable situation.

Bloomberg persists in seeking to eliminate tenure and the just "Last In First Out-LIFO" state protections. Should layoffs occur, without these protections, ATRs will be surely the first targeted for firings. Be on the look-out also for Bloomberg's allies in our schools --- an nefarious group called E4E (Educators for Excellence) is aggressively organizing to win over the hearts and minds of our newer teachers in this deceptive anti-tenure and anti-experienced teacher campaign that unjustly and cruelly blame them, instead of government, for the problems in our public schools in Chicago and Washington DC excessed teachers are given from six to nine months to find placements or else are fired. We can't let this happen here too. We can't allow our brothers and sisters to be dumped like collateral damage in this charter-privatization assault of our schools. Excessed teachers should be guaranteed a job elsewhere as was the case prior to 2005. As schools continue to be closed to replaced with charters, hundreds more of ATRs will be created. It is estimated that it costs today the city $100M yearly!

An ATR Sends Mulgrew a Letter


Good Day All!

As most of us know, the board has an inaccurate count of just how many ATRs are out there, and being that twenty-five plus schools were shuttered/given over to charters, it is fair to say there are far more then a mere 1200! For I doubt highly that all those teachers in the 25 schools were permanently placed, and I know for a fact that there are numerous colleagues of ours, who, like myself have been floating around for the last five years now since this mess began!

That being said, I sent a letter to Michael Mulgrew, (which has yet to be responded to), requesting information on how the ATRs are supposed to be evaluated for our end-of-year assessment. This is a very SERIOUS issue because with the new "agreement" on how ATRs can be used/placed many will have the possibly of having anywhere from 3 to 10 different supervisors! As it stands at the moment ATRs are being assigned for periods ranging from one to three months at any given location, with the possibly of being moved afterwards! So what criteria could possibly be used to evaluate them, since more than likely they will not be given teaching assignments and more than likely used as subs and to do scut work. Given that the three "U's" and you're out is being pushed-HARD, this needs to be clarified immediately!!!!!

If anyone out there has some information, please share it, and also do raise this issue, educators are under attack in every possible area and this seems to be just another tactic to trim our ranks, especially with 2,000 NEW TEACHERS having been hired for this school year!!!!!!


(Name redacted)

Sunday, September 04, 2011


If you haven't already done so, then go on over to the NYC ATR Teacher blog for some real honest insight into the life of an Absent Teacher Reserve. The post about the latest so called DOE job fair is deeply moving. I can confirm from information I have received from other people who were there that NYC-ATR's post is absolutely accurate. Basically, at this time many ATRs appear to be on an informal "Do Not Hire List." Here is an excerpt of the blog piece:

The saddest thing I saw was a male teacher about my age, who had two kids with him, about the ages of my older two. His name tag said, “Technology and Computer Science” and his kids kept pointing to tables saying, “What about this one, Dad?” or “This is a high school, Dad, how about here?” and he kept answering, “No, they don’t want me, they don’t want me.” My heart broke for this man, and my anger flared at a system that throws people on the trash heap like day-old bread.

The ICE UFT blog has been complaining since before the ink dried about how the ATRs were left with third class gypsy status by June's UFT DOE agreement that will allow the DOE to redeploy ATRs to different schools every week this fall.

My phone has been ringing every day and text messages and emails have been pouring in from friends who are ATRs and can't find jobs. Remember, my school is phasing out so roughly half the teachers were excessed in June.

It's time to get these people together at more than just job fairs.

Posted by James Eterno at 9/04/2011 10:31:00 PM

FEDUP! said...

I agree! We are treated like garbage and that must stop! We have paid our dues and are being treated unfairly! For the last couple of years in my old school,only young teachers straight out of school were being hired. I don't how since I thought there was a hiring freeze! What do you expect? The APs and principals are very young. They do not want to have to deal with experienced teachers who may (do) know more than they do! True, it's about paying our salaries but it is also about being too experienced for the newbie administrators!

Monday, September 05, 2011 2:53:00 PM

Pre-K Teacher Tracie said...

It is true- DEFINITELY TIME for all to fight back...they need to stop hiring new employees and place the teachers that they already have.

Monday, September 05, 2011 10:30:00 PM

FEDUP! said...

Went to my old school today cause they still haven't given me an assignment and guess what????? New teachers all over the place. One girl was just certified in English and she was there for a position. My friend just told me 6 spanking new teachers were hired.Why isn't the union fighting harder fo us? This is a travesty!