I've waited for someone to come out and say it: the UFT's refusal to allow ATR teachers to form their own chapter amounts to taxation without representation. I need not wait any longer. Marjory Stamberg, a veteran NYCATR correspondent, has reported that the issue was raised at the UFT Delegate Assembly meeting that took place on October 19, 2011. And guess who more or less agreed that it is unfair for the UFT to collect dues from members who cannot elect representatives? None other than the President, Michael Mulgrew.
Here is Stamberg's report:
President Mulgrew reported that since October 7, the number of ATRs has gone down to a little over 1,100. If the principal gives an ATR a provisional placement, they can stay in the school. ATRs that are not picked up will now be moved from school to school on a weekly basis. Mulgrew said the chapter leaders will make themselves available at schools to welcome the ATRs and help them with their problems at a new school. They should be treated with respect, as with any other staff member. A resolution was passed on dignity for ATRs.
Dave Pecoraro, Chapter Leader at Beach Channel High School put up a motion for an ATR chapter, which would elect a chapter leader and delegates. I seconded the motion. His argumentation was that in May there will be elections for all chapter leaders and delegates. ATRs are dues paying members and have a right to vote, and will not be able to vote if they don’t have a chapter.
The motion was defeated, but there was a good deal of support for it. The motion was opposed by the leadership which argued that this would make the ATR situation a permanent fixture, and they want that status to disappear. Mulgrew did acknowledge that the voting-franchise issue was a problem and they would work on it.
My own view is that as long as the DOE keeps recklessly closing schools down and throwing teachers out of their classrooms, the ATR situation will not disappear. No amount of incentives given to the principals will work. There need to be systemic changes in the system. The problem arose out of the 2005 contract sellout when seniority transfer was eliminated and will not be resolved until those transfer rights are restored.
Several motions on ATRs were circulated but not allowed on the floor at this meeting.