Saturday, August 08, 2015

Why The ATR Agreement Is Not What It Seems.

When then UFT President Randi Weingarten shocked the membership and other City unions and agreed to Chancellor's Joel Klein's proposal to not place teachers who were excessed due to closing schools into vacant positions in their district, they created the infamous ATR pool.  The ATR pool consists of teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, and paraprofessionals, with most of them being teachers.

The ATR pool of teachers range from a maximum of 2,600 at the beginning of the school year, to 1,000 near the end.  Does that mean the 1,600 excessed teachers received an appointed position?  The answer is an emphatic no!  Most of the 1,600 ATRs are either provisionally appointed for the year or on a long-term leave replacement assignment.  Almost all of those teachers will be back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year.  Unlike the CSA (administrators) and DC37 (secretaries), the UFT members, except for paras, are rotated throughout the year.

The union negotiated a two year ATR agreement that ends in the 2015-16 school year and must be renegotiated for the 2016-17 school year and beyond, otherwise, it reverts back to the 2007 ATR Agreement.  How has it worked?  In my opinion, terribly!  Few ATRs have landed permanent positions and the ATR pool is as large as ever.  The union had touted that if a school picked up an ATR for the second year, the ATR was free for the school.  Then why don't principals take the DOE up on their generous offer?  The answer was that there are strings attached.

First, let's look at the two year ATR agreement the union negotiated with the DOE. without any input from the people affected, the ATRs.  The union agreed to the DOE's demands that ATRs must go to mandatory interviews in their Borough (not Districts) and missing two would result in termination.  That ATRs have no right to refuse an assignment or position and if they don't show up by the second day, they are terminated.  If two consecutive principals or in consecutive years, find the ATR's behavior not to their liking, the ATR will be subject to a termination hearing. In other words, the union agreed to reduced "due process rights" for ATRs.  Oh, did I forget about the one day 3020-a hearing for the ill-defined problematic behavior?  How about the ridiculous "flyby observations" by the DOE field supervisors assassins that have resulted in quite a few "unsatisfactory" ratings and some 3020-a charges this year? The result was that the ATRs became second class citizens.

Despite, all the restrictions the union and the DOE imposed on the ATRs, the union made a point to tell the ATRs in their October meeting that the ATR Agreement will help get them positions as principals will employ them for the school's average teacher salary the first year, with the DOE paying the rest and for free the second year.  What a great deal!  Except, they didn't tell the ATRs the fine print attached to the ATR Agreement.

You see the free second year comes with a major string attached.  The free second year comes with the permanent appointment of the ATR to the school and that means the ATR's seniority will be taken into account if the school does any future excessing.   That's right.  Once the Principal picks up the ATR for the second year, they are permanently appointed, with full seniority rights. Therefore, few principals are willing to take a chance, unless they get a special waiver from DOE Central to keep the ATR a second year without permanently appointing the ATR.

Finally, many principals have told me that they would have to pick up the ATRs full salary in the third year and beyond and because of the DOE's "fair student funding" they do not have the budget to pick up the salaries, especially when the DOE froze the budget in the last two school years and the upcoming year as well.

If the union really wants to "do the right thing", they must demand that the DOE either eliminate the "fair student funding" and return to units for staff or at least, get the DOE to agree doing what they did for one year starting in November of 2008 by subsidizing the schools for appointing ATRs to their schools.  No other option is acceptable.  The union must not agree to continue the present agreement as it does not work and is detrimental to the ATRs.  At least the 2007 ATR Agreement did not have rotation and the ATR was part of the assigned school culture for the school year and they weren't subject to a field supervisor's "flyby observations".

For the ATRs, look for another year in Purgatory as we rotate monthly, weekly, or forced placed against our will for the 2015-16 school year.


Gladys Sotomayor said...

In addition, a teacher who transferred from one school to another are in a permanent teaching position. Once you are excessed and labeled an ATR, your status as a teacher is diminished in comparison to a teacher transferee from another school. Getting a new position becomes like everyone else is close to none.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chaz,
A quick update. This past week, principal Rose LoBianco was finally removed from Lehman HS in the Bronx. another large Bronx HS destroyed by the DOE. Good luck Ns. LoBianco, you snake!

Anonymous said...

The "union" has no intention of doing the right thing. In Newark, Baraka sold out to Christie and the NTU sold out to Baraka. I will be returning to the same school as an EWPS providing additional support. It is an exemplary use of my skills and experience.

Abigail Shure

Bronx ATR said...

There's a lot of new ATRs entering the pool for the first time. 19 schools were shuttered in June and those teachers are dreading September 8. The UFT should be doing something to get us back in the classroom, but they have done nothing. Yes, it is purgatory and the Bronx is hell. Cuomo is the devil and the UFT is a coven controlled by the High Witch Weingarten.

CC said...

What about ATRs applying for jobs and principals telling them that the DOE gave them a list they have to hire from?

nerd said...

Why are ATRs being observed by outsiders? What rating system was used this past year for ATRs?

I feel for them.

guerrillateacher said...

Does anyone know how to reach the upper level of the UFT? I need the name and telephone number of a union lawyer and i cannot get anyone who answers the phone to transfer me to that department. I am fighting a C-31 after 5 years of glowing observations and a clean file. I am told that a superintendent does not have to offer any reason to fire me and i intend to build a case with my attorney and take it to the state court by filing an article 78. I have a month to file the A78, and I am getting a lot of resistance from the union. I was told that they were useless but i cant believe that their disinterest was to this level. I do not understand their unwillingness to help me fight this. It is just astounding. Can anyone here offer any advice?

guerrillateacher said...

Does anyone know to access the name and telephone number of one of the labor lawyers we employ at the union?
I am fighting a C31 and I need the aid of one of the many lawyers. I was advised during a consultation with an outside lawyer that i need to know the reasons for my termination before i can offer a defense at the state level. Although i have been teaching for 5 years with an excellent record (satisfactory, effective and highly effective and a clean file), I was denied tenure and my license to teach in NYC is being threatened. I have called into the union several times and have been diverted and transferred over and over again in an attempt to get rid of me. I have even been hung up on THREE TIMES! I am astounded at how they treat people who pay their salaries. I really need to speak to union lawyer about the validity of the termination letter i was given in June. Time is of the essence and the Union is playing gatekeeper. I swear that it is easier to get a hold of Bigfoot than it is a Union Lawyer.
Does anyone here have any advice for me?

Anonymous said...

Chaz. Please be advised, school secretaries are UFT members, not as your posted incorrectly stated, DC 37 members. It is true that ATR secretaries are not rotated, however, many of them are at the high end of the salary schedule so finding a permanent placement is also very difficult.

Anonymous said...


The UFT lawyer's name is Adam S. Ross, Esq.

His contact information is:

(212) 701-9420

fran said...

Good luck contacting Adam Ross. I had MY personal lawyer try to get in touch with him regarding a situation I was in regarding a 3020-a. He never returned my lawyer's call. My advice is to physically go to the union and speak to someone. Start from there. I wish you luck and you're in my prayers.

fran said...

The reason ATRs are observed by outsiders, engineered by High Witch Weingarten, is to get rid of ATRs. The field supervisors come in to observe and automatically give you a U rating. If you get enough U ratings (2 years I believe) you're terminated. I believe that is how it was set up by Randi and probably Mulgrew. The contract is a sham especially for ATRs. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Gatinvisible said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Make a complaint to PERB for unfair labor practices.

Anonymous said...

We should file a class action lawsuit against this discrimination.