UFT and DOE agree: If it’s not in the contract, you could be made an ATR at anytime.

Mayor de Blasio, UFT President Mulgrew and Chancellor Farina laugh at the new contract that is ignored.

Mayor de Blasio, UFT President Mulgrew and Chancellor Farina laugh at the new contract that is ignored.

[UPDATE: The below post is the original from November 2014. The only difference is the letter from the UFT Grievance Department indicating they will not be representing this case in arbitration. It’s located at the bottom of the article. It took exactly 130 days to decide.]

Below you will hear audio of the chancellor’s representative stating that just because something is not in the contract “it doesn’t prohibit” the DOE from doing it to members.


After years of working under an expired contract, the members of the United Federation of Teachers union finally have a new one. Now, we can argue whetheror not we should have voted for it, but it’s here and we would liketo believe that it means something and, most importantly, it is adhered to.

But what if it’s not What if thecontract is violated

What if the contract says that a teacher can not work more than four periodsin a row and they are assigned seven in a row (no bathroom breaks) [Article 7 A 2aThere should be no more than three consecutive teaching assignments and nomore than four consecutive working assignments (including professional activities)]

What if a principal comes in to a teacher’s class and says, “I don’t like the way you arrange your desks.” and then disciplines the teacher for their class set up [Article 21 A.6. The following issues shall not be the basis for discipline of pedagogues: a) theformat of bulletin boards; b) the arrangement of classroom furniture]

Both of those scenarios are violations of contract articles. Thankfully, there is a procedure in place that allows for members to grieve alleged violations of thecontract. I’ll tell you that in my experience the grievance processis worse than a “kangaroo court.” The previous administration wiped their feet with our UFT contract and now Chancellor Faria and her subordinates, unfortunately, do the same.

You can file a Step 1 grievance on your own, or through your chapter leader. Step 1 is usuallyaddressed toyour principal. They will usually deny it asthere exists no accountability not to. It’s not like the UFT has a list of principals that repeatedly violate the contract. I don’t know of any CSA union administrator that is concerned about the UFT knocking on their door. In fact, one chapter leader told me they recorded their principal saying just that “WHAT…YOU THINK I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE UFT” Not good.

Next you will go to a Step 2 grievance hearing where you can meet withthe chancellor’s representatives and plead your case at 49-51 Chambers Street in Manhattan. You can have stacks of documentation, and even video evidence of theviolation, but it does not matter. The DOE Office of Labor Relation will wait as long as they can and deny you your grievance again. I remember Michael Mulgrew told us that under Bloomberg, Step 2 grievances were denied at a rate of 98%. Not bad for engaging infair labor practices.We are told thatrate has not changed in the last 11 months under Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Faria. Why should it changewhen the new administration has kept all the old Bloomberg-Klein lawyers and directorsNYC Education Bureaucracy Gone Wild– Diane Ravitch

The same directors that denied 98% of grievances, and fought against tenure of probationary teachers, are still there. David Brodsky and Karen Solimando.

David Brodsky (Still here since 2006

If the UFT Grievance Department chooses, they will take your case to an arbitration where independent arbitrators will hear your case months, or a year, later. The whole time your rights are still being violated and perhaps affecting the education of students (depending on theviolation). There is also a chance that your UFT Borough office will not move forward to arbitration as there are only 175-200 arbitration sessions allowed in one year. Believe it or not, the Staten Island office actually refused to go to arbitration on a Union Animus Grievance I filed in 2012. Imagine that. Read my whole case and tell me the union in my former school was not under attack.

I have gone to this Step 2 kangaroo court many times. The chancellor’s representatives have lied. The administrator’s representatives, that represent theprincipal or superintendent, havelied and sometimes they switch places and tag team in lying. I’m not kidding. They all work together and actually share cubicle space. Why would they disagree with each other, when they are colleagues. One day the chancellor’s rep can be Gary Laveman with Pedro Crespo as the principal’s rep and another day they swap.

Who are these representatives that make a mockery of our contract at the Office of Labor Relations

1. First wehave Pedro Crespo. Remember Superintendent Pedro Crespo Remember how The Special Commissioner of Investigation found him guilty of hiring relatives, holding secret meetings and other malfeasance

Pedro Crespo

SCI recommend District 7 Superintendent Pedro Crespo be terminated in 1996, but instead he is made a chancellor’s representative for the next 8 years.

You can read more here:http://www.nycsci.org/reports/6-96%20DIST%207%20RPT.PDF

Yes, SCI recommended he be terminated, but in the DOE, when you are an administrator, the only placeto fall is up! Instead he was banishedto the 6th Floor of 49-51 Chambers Street, continues to draw a salary and ordered to continue ignoring contract articles.

Then we have Gary Laveman. I had some run ins with him in the past where he and others made up reasons to keep me in a reassignment center 20 miles and two boroughs away for over a year.

Here you can hear him state, two years after the UFT and DOE closed out the rubber rooms, that an employee can just sit and read the newspaper.

Let’s not forget that after I caught them lying, he and Employee Relations had this exchange:

We also have reps like Susan Mandel, who used to bean assistant district attorney and instead of greeting me back when I introduced myself instead said “You don’t want to shake my hand, I am the enemy.” Enemy So much for a collaborative and objective hearing.

Marcel Kshensky is another rep who travels back and forth between hearing rooms and his OLR office. I had several hearings with him and no matter what the evidence, my grievanceis denied every time. Again, the students get hurt the most and this should be theconcern of theparents. You can read more about him HERE.

Of course all of theabove can just blame their bosses David Brodsky and Karen Solimando and actually have done just that. I have heard that Marcel would say “Let me see what Karen decides.” I once invited David Brodsky to my hearing, but he did not show.

In any case, I went through this processbecause I was made an ATR and not placed back in my school after my hearing. This decision to make me an ATR predates any new contract that states otherwise. Not only was I removed, but I was also the union chapter leader of theschool, but that factor was ignored. The superintendent denied it based on therecommendation of DOE legal. I then went before Chancellor’s Representative Marcel Kshensky and Superintendent’s Representative Pedro Crespo at Step 2.

My UFT rep basically stated “The contract and agreement state that an ATR is made an ATR when a school closes or a program is cut due to budgeting.

Listen carefully as Marcel Kshensky asks “Where is that written” in reference to teh statement that a teacher cannot be made an ATR based on a 3020-a hearing. When my rep states it’s “notin the contract,” Marcel responds”Right, but it doesn’t prohibit it.” <——-

Again, the chancellor’s representative is basically saying if thecontract doesn’t say the DOE can’t do something, then therefore it can.

Next we have Pedro Crespo further reaffirm that this action is past protocol, not policy,and theUFT never grieved it. The last portion of this audio clip was me putting on my case.

I recently, after many months of waiting, received their expected denial.

Keep in mind the administration that is in place that allows this AND UFT President Mulgrew who lauds this new education chancellor as a beam of hope. No hope, just the same rehashed policy with almost all the same players.

Anyone….I repeat anyone….can become an ATR and be stripped from their school based on this decision. Why…because thecontract doesn’t say they can’t.

Grievance Denied Step 2 ATR - Copy_Page_1 Grievance Denied Step 2 ATR - Copy_Page_2


This story is shared, but not to deter you from grieving. Please… FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.

Solidarity Caucus of theUFT has merged thefull contract together and made it more available for UFT members. We took the 2007-2009 and embedded the 2014 ratified portions.

Click Herehttp://solidaritycaucus.org/full-contract-with-2014-moa-included/

We also have a copy of DTOE.org’s Grievance procedures and form here:

Click Here to File a Grievancehttp://solidaritycaucus.org/how-to-file-a-grievance/

Read more about the OLR Gotcha Squad at Betsy Combier’s bloghttp://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/searchq=gotcha+squad

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. I remember sitting in front of the union executive board and asking them to show me where in the contract did it say that after my 3020a hearing I was to become an ATR. of course the table was filled with blank stares because I asked a difficult question. Two days later Servia Silva showed up with a notice about ATRS and hearings I had to remind her that a union contract is binding and any changes must be done through collective bargaining. Once again the blank stare.I’m just wondering if ATRS are the only ones reading the contract.

  2. Some food for thought.

    The Chancellor’s representative states that while Article 17 specifies two paths to an ATR, they are not the only paths as the Union argues. However, the contract does not use the legal language “but not limited to” which is necessary in order to prevent the allowance of other additions. In other words, I believe that unless a contract explicitly states that there are not limits, then there are.

    You only need to look as far as the Education Law 3020a to see that this is indeed the language that is used in legal documents.

    Another angle is to look at the section of Education Law 3020a called Disciplinary Procedures and Penalties section vi 4 (a). It states, “In those cases when a penalty is imposed, such penalty may be a written reprimand, a fine, suspension for a fixed time without pay, or dismissal.” It does not say, “but not limited tp”. Therefore they have given you an additional penalty by making you an ATR (because an ATR position is not equivalent to a regular teaching position. It is less than.)

    Look at Education Law 3020a. It has that term, “but not limited to”, written throughout.

  3. Right. Hear Pedro Crespo say the union never fought this before

    Sally, I will look into that. What are your thoughts on my status as elected chapter leader No bearing or violation of Taylor Law

    Contact also doesn’t state a ” limited to” a disciplinary letter. What if a superintendent pulls a teacher out of school for verbal abuse Doesn’t say they can’t.

    • It happened to me and is happening repeatedly. New teachers are having their careers easily destroyed by principles under that “verbal” abuse clause. In my case it was based upon her claiming I yelled. Which others claimed I didn’t and was in fact was verbally abused by the student documented calling me a nigger and threatened to fight me. Even with supportive documents, the students and school site. Because I was to new to be so ” effective” and too praised at the site by other teachers. Because I assisted them in classroom management. I am not the type to see a coworker struggle with a rowdy room. But yes “limited to” is their escape route and it’s working. If I had the money for a lawyer I would have filed.

  4. Farina is not Gorbachev. At best, she’s Khrushchev.

  5. If I find anything that relates to the Taylor Law and your position as a chapter leader I will post it.

    As I was reading the grievance decision again, they really have not provided a legal explanation or a contractual explanation for denying your grievance. He stated twice (as if that doubles the strength of his false logic), “It has been a longstanding DOE Practice to assign teachers,,,,” You cannot justify violation of a contract by saying that you have been doing this for a long time, therefore,,,, In contrast, now that they have put this nonsense in writing, it could become a weapon against them.

    To me, this decision translates into, “You think it’s a violation of the contract, but we don’t think so.(Lame and irrelevant excuse is then inserted) The end.” It actually sounds like a five-year-old thought of it. It states absolutely nothing worthwhile.

    Also, it seems the arbitrator did not assign you to the ATR pool. It was the DOE’s illegal interpretation of the decision that assigned you. Apparently, the arbitrator left the door ajar by stating it so vaguely (return to the classroom), and the DOE kicked it wide open. Teamwork!


  7. Luckily, the contract does address the “Becoming an ATR topic.” And because it is addressed, then anything that is not included explicitly cannot be done. Language that serves to make a list non-exhaustive is “Including and But not limited to.” Our contract has a tendency to list things and then put a period. Which means the list is exhaustive or complete.

    He stated in the audio clip that the Union never grieved it. So he’s saying the Union never grieved it so it must be non-grievable. He’s using our Union’s own inaction against the members. Our Union did not grieve it because they agreed behind closed doors not to. They are standing on the sidelines and allowing members to be eaten alive.

    He’s also saying that unless a judge orders the DOE to cease and desist on this matter, they will continue violating the contract. You can offer up the best legal explanation, but you are not a judge so they can therefore continue giving you a five-year-old child’s logic, shrug their shoulders, and then end the meeting.

  8. Can this be address as part of your federal case

  9. We need to be able to make FOIL requests for the following:

    1. Criminal background checks on all persons who hear Grievances downtown including Pedro Crespo. We must review his arrest record.

    2. Maintainence of records of internal disciplinary proceedings.
    This must apply to all hearing for which the NYC Corporation Counsel is responsible. How often are they lost? Destroyed?

  10. Why has Carmen Farina stymied review of Pedro Crespo’s rap sheet?
    Let’s review…for all Internal Administrative Hearings for which the NYC Corporation counsel is liable:

    a. Number of files lost/damaged…
    b. Review of the conduct of so-called outsourced attorneys….
    c. Right for an impartial Observer to monitor these internal hearings for wrongdoing…

  11. Regarding complaints to the NYS Div of Human Rights….

    Can circumstances of fraud, school closure be cited to make a discrimination claim—after the statute of limitations….has run its course….?

  12. Subsequent to a Recommendation to Distoninue….

    Is there any time frame…statute of limitations appropos to the conduct of a 31 Circular R?

    That is, is there a time limit of one, two…or say three years?

    Or. is there no time limilt?

  13. Trying to determine how unsigned letters may be utilized in disciplinary proceedings. If Rating Officer claims Teacher refused to sign…must any party witness this refusal?
    Is the Grievant entitled to union representation when asked to sign an Unsatisfactory evaluation?

  14. Subsequent write up for Insubordination……

    Is it incumbent upon the Rating Officer to assert Insubordination in a subsequent letter? (When a Rating Officer asserts Teacher refused to sign a letter)

    If Rating Officer fails to do this….can first letter still be used?

  15. Conflicts of Interests…..

    Where’s a blog…devoted to conflicts of interests between the DOE and the UFT?

  16. Seeking review of conflicts of interests regarding:

    a. illicit relations between Rating Officers and UFT officers they supervise.

    b. Joint burden of DOE and UFT to address/review and determine what constitutes proper Orientation to the position of Teacher.

    c. Joint burden of DOE and UFT to address/review credentials of DOE administrators.

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