JFT Update: October 7, 2022

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JFT Update

October 7, 2022

Dear Members,

I wanted to thank the members that have reached out to the office with support in my role as your Interim President. I am grateful for the kind words, appreciation, and enthusiasm.

Looking ahead, JFT is in the works of revamping the website to make it a useful tool for members. We are looking to add sections that give out information like class size, education laws, discipline, medical leave, and HR policies. This would allow members to have access to some of the most requested information that they need with a click.

We would like to be able to bring our union together through fun activities so we can meet one another and enjoy the camaraderie. The JFT staff can think of what members would like as a JFT social activity, but it is about what our members want to participate in. Please email your ideas to info@jft.org

We have fielded phone calls and emails and we hear your frustration. As your interim president, I have held meetings with Human Resources, Dr, Gray, and various members of his cabinet along with Teaching and Learning. Extensive lesson plans, unbearable workload, excessive paperwork, CLUSTER, lack of planning, lack of personnel, and work/life balance have been discussed.  These concerns are something that the JFT office staff cannot do alone.

We are asking our members and all employees to start using their voices. By using your voice, we mean holding school-level meetings with your JFT Building Representative, organizing around common concerns and working together for resolutions. Conversations break down walls.

In Solidarity,

Sandra Hauer
Interim President
Jefferson Federation of Teachers

 

JFT General Membership Meeting

The next JFT General Membership Meeting will take place in person at the Plumber’s Hall next door to the JFT office.

Thursday, October 27th

6 P.M.

3515 N Interstate 10 Service Rd W, Metairie, LA 70002
 

All JFT members are invited to attend.

Know Your Contract: Article 5 – Planning Time

“All teachers shall have an uninterrupted planning and preparation time each day equal to the length of a daily class period. The planning and preparation time shall be duty free unless circumstances clearly make it unfeasible and no other alternatives exist to rectify the problem. The planning and preparation time shall be used judiciously and appropriately and may include collaborative planning, grade level/departmental meetings, professional development and study groups, provided such shall occur no more than twice each week.”

Please complete this brief survey so that we can better understand how planning time is being implemented at your school.

School Board Elections

Jefferson Parish School Board Elections are coming up on Tuesday, November 8th. Early voting is Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 (excluding Sunday). We encourage all eligible members to vote in this election. If you are not yet registered to vote, or you need to update your voting information, the deadline to register through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is October 18th.

JFT has made endorsements in five of the nine districts and our candidates need your support. looking for volunteers that would like to participate in school board elections. We are looking for walkers in Districts #1, #2, #6, and #7. If you would like to volunteer, please click here to sign up, or email Lauren Francis at lauren@jft.org

LFT Virtual PD

Have you been kicked, bitten, or hurt at the worksite? Everyone loses when school staff don't have a safe workplace. Join us as we explore ways to raise awareness of this ongoing problem. Let’s explore different ways we can work to solve this problem. Work shouldn’t hurt!

Saturday, October 29, 2022, 9:30 AM, via ZOOM (PD Length 1.5 Hours)

Click here to register!

From the Lawyer's Desk

By Larry Samuel, JFT General Counsel

Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips, LLC

“I’m here From Human Resources and I need to speak with you.”

Note: This is our traditional “first message” of the school year, with revisions.

One day, while you are working, sudden someone approaches you and says, “I’m here from Human Resources and I need to speak with you.

The H.R. representative may begin by telling you that a student or parent has made an accusation against you. Or maybe you’ve been accused of posting something on your Facebook page. Or perhaps it involves money. Even if you are innocent, your heart begins racing.

The H.R. representative then gives you information.

What should you do? What should you say?

First, - and this is crucial - try to remain calm. Collect yourself. Maybe you remember the situation. Maybe you don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Maybe you are innocent. Maybe you’re not. Maybe the situation has been exaggerated. Or maybe not. Try to be calm. Due process procedures will be implemented. JFT will guide you through this if you are a member.

Second, - and this is also crucial - don’t give any information or try to explain your side yet. Chances are, you are upset and emotional, and that’s the worst time to try to explain anything. Even if you aren’t upset or emotional, you should wait to give your side until the school district gives you due process.

Third, - and this is REALLY crucial – if a police officer or sheriff’s deputy wants to ask you questions, you should give them your name, address, etc., but don’t say anything else! State that you are a member of the union and you would like to call the union first.

Fourth, - and this is important - listen closely to what the H.R. representative tells you. The H.R. representative should explain their procedures. You are not required to make any statements at this time, and you shouldn’t, even if you are 100% innocent.

Fifth, - and this is equally important - if you are escorted to the office, you should cooperate. You may be sent home. It’s okay to ask to retrieve your keys, purse, etc. H.R. will allow that, and will probably accompany you back to your room, hopefully outside the presence of students.

Sixth, - and this is very important - if you are given a conference form, you should sign it. The form already has the following preprinted language: “I have read and received a copy of this form. Signature does not imply agreement or disagreement with content.” The Conference Form also has a section entitled “COMMENTS (Employee).” You should simply state: “To be submitted later” or words to that effect.

Seventhand this is just as important - if you are a JFT member, tell the H.R. representative “I am a JFT member. Please contact JFT before scheduling a due process Conference.”

Eighthand this is extremely important – If you are a JFT member, CALL JFT IMMEDIATELY after leaving work. DO NOT WAIT until you hear back from Human Resources.

Ninthand this is truly important – Someone may tell you that you have the right to resign. Do NOT make a rash decision. If you are a JFT member, consult with JFT for advice first.

Tenthand this is really, really important – be sure to have JFT representation at your due process conference. Note: this benefit is for JFT members only.

It is very tempting to divulge everything right away. You may feel that it’s all a big misunderstanding and after H.R. hears your side they will surely allow you to go back to your classroom. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Human Resources will conduct an investigation. They will gather statements, which sometimes takes a few days or longer. JFT will explain everything to you when you call (members only).

Remember – representation and assistance is for JFT members only. That means that you must be a member before the underlying situation occurred.