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Monday, October 24, 2011

The ATR Situation And Rights Of UFT Members To Have Justice And Proper Representation By Their Union Reps And Arent Getting It

Teachers who are now "Absent Teacher Reservists" or ATRs are participating in a strange process that gives them only 5 days to get settled into a school culture, perhaps teach what they are professionally licensed to teach (but most often not), and pray for the best. Again we see the dumping of the good with the bad, one of the many serious problems with the "Rubber Rooms".
The UFT is saying that they cannot get a chapter leader for ATRs and must use the CLs of the school in which they are placed (for 5 days)  because....well, I'm not clear on why, except that they - the ATRs - are not in a place long enough to find the chapter leader (CL) at their weekly assignment, unless they are lucky and have an exceptional CL who finds time to welcome them to the school, or bumps into an ATR in the hallway..

No matter who the ATR is, whether experienced and excessed because of a closed school or found guilty of something at 3020-a but not terminated, this process serves to show the deadly lack of oversight and management of education policy during the reign of "Education Mayor" Mike Bloomberg. This, combined with the perception at the UFT that any member accused of any transgression is always onsidered guilty, led to the "hands off" attitude of all the borough Representatives. For this reason no Representative calls back when a member wants help. The Rep. cannot help, or he/she will be accused of interfering with an investigation, aiding in a crime, or some such claim. ATRs, you are on your own.

NYC Educator, one of my favorite blogs, has a fabulous article on the ATR nomads, a must read.
I also recommend Chaz' piece on ATR rights:
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Know Know Your Rights As An ATR?

There seems to be some confusion on what the rights of the ATRs are. Most schools appear to be using the ATRs appropriately as teachers in a classroom or doing circular six duties that other teachers do. However, some schools are making ATRs do the work of school aides or doing clerical work which violates the teacher contract. A few schools are requiring the ATRs to do all day hall duty or Cafeteria duty which would also appear to violate the contract. Most Chapter Leader (CL) have failed to meet with the ATRs despite union assurances that the CLs were told to greet the ATR (In my first three schools I met only one, my first school) and despite union assurances, having CLs represent the weekly ATR does not appear to be working. My District Representative (DR) always seems to be on the run and it is difficult to contact him on a timely basis. That brings up the question what are the ATR's rights when showing up to a school for a weekly assignment? This post is an attempt to answer those questions.

First and foremost, ATRs are teachers and can only do duties assigned to teachers! They should not be doing the job of school aides or clerical work unless the school's appointed teachers are doing such duties, subject to the School Based Option (SBO). That is why the ATR must make immediate contact with the CL to ensure that the Administration does not abuse the ATR.

Second, the ATRs must be given a lunch and a prep period and, if possible, be given a bathroom key.

Third, the school the ATR is assigned to cannot loan the ATR out to other schools without written authorization from Central to the ATR.

Fourth, In mufti-session schools the ATR must be assigned to one session only!

Fifth, an ATR can refuse a "mandated interview" outside their district by simply emailing the reply to the person who sent the email or the Principal of the school. Do not let the words "mandated interview" or "as an ATR you must attend". These are just scare tactics and if it is outside the District you have the right to refuse to go. However, if it is in your District you are required to attend.

Sixth, if a Principal offers you a long-term or vacant position and you do not believe it is a "good fit" for whatever reason, you have the right to refuse the offer and proceed to the next weekly assignment. Remember, you are not required to accept a long term or vacant position in a school that you are uncomfortable in, just say no thank you.

Seventh, if you are asked to cover an additional class, you should make sure that the school pays you for the coverage. Do not let them claim that you are required to give them a "free coverage". Inform the school that you already did a "free coverage" at a previous school and you would only be too happy to cover an additional class as a paid coverage and "get it in writing"!

Eighth, yes, in theory you can be observed for classroom management issues even if you are not teaching in your subject area. However, it is highly unlikely that an Administrator will bother to observe you if you are there only a week. It would be too much trouble to observe the ATR, write up an observation, and meet with the ATR. Certainly the observation will not be a formal one where a pre-conference meeting is required. Furthermore, your file is probably in the last school you had an appointed position in so what does the Administrator do with the observation?

Ninth, you can go back to the school you were excessed from for a weekly assignment. Furthermore, due to DOE incompetence, even teachers who were charged and removed from schools can end up back in those schools for a weekly assignment.

Finally, the school must give the ATR a list of the school rules that students must abide by, be it a dress code, use of cellphones, or discipline codes. Lack of knowledge about school rules can put an ATR in a position that could lead to disciplinary action. Take it upon yourself to contact the CL about the school rules.

Remember ATRs are teachers and can only preform duties that are assigned to the appointed teachers in the school that the ATR is assigned to. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the school's administrators to provide meaningful lessons to the ATRs to give to the students. It is not the responsibility of the weekly ATRs to develop lessons for the class!

More information about the rights of the ATR can be found in the "ATR Agreement". By the way if I have missed any ATR rights please feel free to let me know in the comment section of this post. Knowledge is power and the more we know the more powerful we become.
Posted by Chaz at 8:46 AM

I suggest that readers look at a case that hit the news yesterday concerning the collusion of Local 237 President Greg Floyd with Mike Bloomberg when he was running for his third term. The lawsuit, filed by Jakwan Rivers, alleges that Greg Floyd sold out to Bloomberg and retaliated against Rivers when Rivers tried to get support within the membership of Local 237 for the mayoral campaign of Bill Thompson.

Jakwan Rivers
I posted the article about the lawsuit on my website

Jakwan Rivers: Local 237 President Greg Floyd Sold Members Out To Mayor Bloomberg To Win A Third Term, Then Retaliated Against Me For My Opposition

Jakwan: "It's truly important that we understand the power in unity and the power of knowledge.The current leaders of local 237 has let the members down and it's up to the members to take our union back. We are loosing members thru bogus claims and abuse of authority by management with no opposition by the union leaders whom are sworn to protect our contractual rights. "
Isnt the same thing happening with Mike Mulgrew and the UFT?

Are You Excessed?


New!! - Pay Check Locator link now available in My Current Status screen

The Excessed Staff Selection System is now open for current staff who have been placed in excess.

During this time, the Excessed Staff Selection System will only be available to current staff in the licenses listed below who have been properly placed in excess by their current school (including staff currently assigned to closing and phasing out schools). Staff in excess who previously registered for the Open Market System may log in as a continuing user without re-registering. Other individuals in excess who did not previously register for the Open Market must register as a new user with the Excessed Staff Selection System before they may access it to review schools and vacancies or submit applications. Staff in excess may contact the Excessed Staff Selection System tech support team at the email address shown if assistance or further information is required to access the system. It is anticipated that access to the Excessed Staff Selection System will remain available continuously for use by staff who remain in excess for use by staff who remain in excess until the Open Market again becomes available in the spring.

Staff who have not been placed in excess in their current school’s table of organization are not eligible to use the Excessed Staff Selection System at this time. However, staff who have not been placed in excess may continue to network directly with schools in an effort to be interviewed and selected for a new assignment for this upcoming school year. Staff who are not in excess and are offered a position at another school are reminded they must obtain a release from their current Principal before they may be finalized to a new position.

Subject to the limitations cited above, all other procedures and application requirements that previously applied to the Open Market system continue to apply.

The creation of an Excessed Staff Selection System is intended to increase opportunities for teachers and other current staff who have been placed in excess to apply to seek new assignments in different schools throughout the system.

Offering this opportunity to excessed staff, following the recent posting of the Open Market Hiring System for current staff, provides wider choices for both staff and schools, and facilitates better matches between current employees seeking new positions and schools seeking to fill vacancies.

The Excessed Staff Selection system applies to staff in all regularly appointed UFT titles who are in excess, including Teachers, Guidance Counselors, School Secretaries, Lab Specialists, School Psychologists, Speech Improvement, School Social Workers, Attendance Teachers, and UFT Paraprofessionals. Click here to view Eligible Titles.

Please proceed to the Sign In page in order to enter the Excessed Staff Selection System.

If you need assistance, please email to Excessed Staff Selection System Support.

See also "Human Resources" on the NYC DOE website:

Human Resources

The Division of Human Resources (DHR) serves the entire employee population of the Department of Education (DOE), including teachers, school-based staff, central administration, and support staff.

Time-Sensitive Information for Employees

* Basic plan and optional rider rates for several health benefits plans are changing in July 2011. These changes include the discontinuation of the Aetna QPOS health plan. For more information regarding the updates and changes, please click here.

* The Open Market Hiring System is closed effective August 8, 2011 at 5.00pm. The Excessed Staff Selection System opens on Wednesday, August 10 at 9.00am and is available for current UFT school-based staff in excess (including teachers in excess who are on leave) who wish to submit applications to schools or specific vacancies.

* Put your information in the best hands – your own! Employee Self- Service (ESS) is a tool that allows you to view or change your personal information and health benefits online. Click for more information about ESS.

* Administrative Employees (H/ZBank) and Pedagogues (QBank) and Hourly and Part-Time Employees (EBank, TBank, and Custodial Payroll) should verify and update their Personal HR Record information to ensure HR records are accurate.

* The Long Beach Decision is an outcome of a New York State Court of Appeals decision based on a grievance filed by Civil Service Employees Association on behalf of employees in Long Beach, Long Island. A key provision of the decision required Long Beach (and other municipalities throughout the state of New York) to comply with applicable civil service law that limits the amount of time an individual may serve in what is known as a "provisional" capacity in a competitive class title. To learn more, read Frequently Asked Questions about the Long Beach Decision.