Tuesday, September 06, 2005


For the third successive year UFT members return to work without a labor Agreement.  While the UFT did not even mention the lack of a Contract in its latest email newsletter to chapter leaders, there was news in the Queens Chronicle where UFT President Randi Weingarten said, “If there’s not a contract, I think things will get very bad in the school system as the year progresses.”  

As most of you probably received a letter from the President outlining our plight, I will summarize the situation briefly: there is a fact finding panel that is weighing the demands of the UFT and the City/Department of Education and they will release non binding recommendations soon that could serve as the basis for a final settlement.  In 2002 and 1993 fact finder’s reports were accepted by both sides and ended up being used as the foundations for new Contracts.

The City is offering us the same 4% total spread out over three years that DC 37 received in the latest round of contract settlements that the city says presents a pattern that other municipal unions must accept.  The UFT is asking for 19% over three years so we can start to catch up with what suburban teachers earn.  For those of us who are hoping that the police union’s arbitration settlement could help us as incumbent officers received two raises of 5% per year, it must be pointed out that the police were only able to significantly beat the DC 37 pattern by slashing pay for new officers, thus saving the city almost $50,000 per new hire.  Due to a possible teaching shortage, I very much doubt the UFT and city will come up with a similar arrangement for us.

I read the Union’s arguments closely in June and the UFT readily accepts the reality of the DC 37 pattern being very important in determining our settlement.  The UFT argued in fact finding, “Perhaps the 'pattern' provides a starting pointing for negotiations or creates a framework for negotiations to take place, and such would not be inappropriate." (Page 15S of the supplement to the NY Teacher; June 9, 2005) 

If we argued in June that the DC 37 pattern can be used as a framework for the UFT, then can we logically expect arbitrators to recommend a raise for us that would be more than four times greater than DC 37’s basic increase?  The 19% we are asking for does not fit into any basic framework that the DC 37 pattern set so I really doubt we can come anywhere near 19% without major givebacks such as a longer year and a longer day.  The only way to significantly beat the meager DC 37 pattern without givebacks is to really fight.

Written by James Eterno


Anonymous said...

From the NY Times:
While some political analysts have suggested that the mayor might push harder to reach a contract deal with the teachers to win their union's neutrality, if not an endorsement, in the mayoral race, Mr. Klein said he remained steadfast in his demand for concessions on work rules.

"My view is clear: I'd like to have a contract," he said. "But my view is equally clear that in the absence of meaningful school reform, I, at least, am not going to support it."

Mr. Klein specifically complained about the contractual right of "excessed" teachers - those who lose a position for any number of reasons, like a decline in enrollment - to claim a vacant position anywhere in their community school district, even if a principal wants to hire someone else for the job.

"It's unfair, disruptive, irrational and it should be changed," he said, adding that teachers should be able to find jobs without forcing themselves on a school. "If you can't find a slot in our school system," he said, "I think it's a pretty good indication that you shouldn't be here."

Mr. Klein boasted that one sign of success was that fewer teachers, principals and other administrators left the system in the past year. But union officials countered that this was because in the previous two years, large numbers of veterans had retired in frustration.


NYC Educator said...

Boy, that is depressing and, I hope, incorrect. On the brighter side, it's well-established the Chancellor is a lying weasel and none of his words can really be interpreted to mean much of anything.