Letter-in-File Grievances
Under Article 21A supervisors can include in your personnel file letters of a disciplinary or negative nature limited only by whether they were "unfair" or "inaccurate."

With our new contract, there is no right to grieve these letters. The principal can write anything he/she wishes without fear that a grievance procedure will change or delete the letter.

When the U-rating is given the letter can theoretically be challenged but U-rating appeals are run by DOE supervisors. They will clearly not provide the forum to remove the letters that our Union has been so successful in doing at arbitrations.

While there are some very fundamental problems in which LIF grievances are (should I say were) handled there is no doubt how empowering the procedure is to the member and the Chapter. The principal and assistant principal, had to explain and testify to support what they had written. The grievant and UFT rep. then explained and testified what really happened.

The grievant can receive a U-rating based on these letters so if the arbitrator removes or changes the letters in a favorable way she will be able to keep her job. It is difficult to predict what the arbitrator will do but at least she had a fair opportunity to confront her supervisors and demonstrate that these unfair and inaccurate letters should be removed.

If letters for the file are written today the UFT member would only have the U-rating appeal to deal with the letters. Not only is there now no way to prove inaccuracy, but the hearing officer has no reason to take the teacher’s word over that of a supervisor.