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Blue Sheet Update February 2013

United Teachers of Northport
February 2013

Professional Issues

APPR Update

On December 13, 2012, the New York State Education Department approved the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Plan submitted by the District after many months of negotiations with the United Teachers of Northport. While it is expected that District administration review the plan with teachers, it can also be viewed on the State Ed website at:

Once again, I would like to thank the following UTN members who joined me in serving on the APPR Committee: Terry Behrenfeld, Dickinson; Carol Carpenter, Pulaski; Annie Lauritsen, High School Math Department; Jane McNamara, Norwood; and Nick Raio, NMS English Department.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­UNION 101

Weingarten Rights

In 1975 the United States Supreme Court, in the case of NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975), upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that employees have a right to union representation at investigatory interviews. These rights have become known as the Weingarten Rights.
During an investigatory interview, the Supreme Court ruled that the following rules apply:

Rule 1: The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request.

Rule 2: After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options:

  • grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives and (prior to the interview continuing) the representative has a chance to consult privately with the employee;
  • deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
  • give the employee a clear choice between having the interview without representation, or ending the interview.

Rule 3: If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.

The bottom line … an employee has the right to make the following statement to management (in our case, administration) prior to a meeting with management where the employee believes that discipline or termination may result:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative or officer be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”

Contract 101

Article 31—Conditions of Professional Practice

Please be reminded that all teachers are contractually provided a duty-free, uninterrupted lunch period and a duty-free, uninterrupted prep period.

Member to Member

Sandy Relief Efforts

Nearly $2,500 was raised through the UTN raffle for a 42” flat screen television. Special congratulations to Nancy Burke, Ocean Avenue, the lucky winner of the TV! Kudos to Fifth Avenue for 100% participation!

In addition to the union-wide raffle, various fundraisers have occurred throughout the district since Superstorm Sandy devastated so much of our area and dramatically impacted so many of within our community. Among them was the December 7th, members of the Northport High School community participated in a FUNdraiser at The Lark in East Northport. More than $1,800 was raised who help colleagues in need.

Legislative Issues

Progress on Budget, But Some School Needs Still Unmet

New York State United Teachers has said the proposed executive budget builds on positive education initiatives that are essential to ending the achievement gap and raising overall student performance. NYSUT noted that state aid to public schools and colleges still remains below what’s needed to reverse damage wrought by the Great Recession, previous budgets and the property tax cap.

NYSUT said the proposed $889 million increase in education spending would bring total state aid to schools to $21 billion, still about $100 million less than the $21.1 billion that New York State invested in the state’s nearly 700 school districts in 2008-09. Holding funding flat for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges – and significantly reducing state funding to SUNY hospitals – will curtail the ability of those institutions to train the next generation of workers and help revitalize the state’s economy, the union added.

“This proposal starts what can be a positive budget for New York’s schoolchildren,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “It takes many steps in the right direction, but we still need to address years of inequality and the state’s failure to meet its legal obligation, in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, to address the achievement gap by investing more in its low-wealth, high-need school districts.” Iannuzzi added, “Community schools, full-day pre-kindergarten and more time in the classroom for our most at-risk students are all great ideas that will require a much greater investment of state resources.”

Iannuzzi also credited the executive’s budget’s plan to raise the minimum wage and increase unemployment benefits for displaced workers. “Unemployment benefits and the minimum wage in New York have lagged behind other states for far too long. This proposal takes significant steps in addressing both issues,” said Iannuzzi.

While details and fine print of budget language must still be fully analyzed, NYSUT praised several education initiatives in the proposed education budget, including $25 million in funding for full-day pre-kindergarten programs and $20 million for extended learning time – ideas embraced by the governor’s Education Reform Commission and in his State of the State address. In addition, NYSUT said a new “career ladder” for master teachers who help train other teachers, and a ‘bar exam’ for aspiring educators would be “steps toward increasing the stature of the teaching profession.”

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta applauded the governor’s proposal to recognize the short-term spike in pension contributions stemming from Wall Street’s collapse in 2008-09. In addition, Pallotta said greater access and more support are needed for worthy programs, such as full-day pre-kindergarten.

“These quality programs should be available to all children,” Pallotta said. “Providing students what they need to succeed in school is a moral imperative. We will again strongly advocate for all children and oppose having students compete for what they deserve in the first place.”

Pallotta said the union would also fight to reverse deep cuts to SUNY teaching hospitals, which are already in deep distress. “SUNY teaching hospitals need more state support,” he said.

Pallotta noted the union – and its 600,000 members – would strongly advocate for what the state’s public schools, colleges and hospitals need to succeed and said, “NYSUT vows to work with the governor, and elected leaders in the Assembly and Senate, to craft a final budget that better meets the needs of the state’s public institutions and the New Yorkers they serve.

Union Dues

Please note, for tax purposes, that the following dues were collected during fiscal year 2012

Full-Time Teachers: $962.07

Full-Time Teaching Assistants: $544.02

Full-Time Registered Nurses: $930.30


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