Thursday, October 13, 2005

Smoke Seeping Through Cracks: Randi Modifies Contract After DA Approval


In a stunning move which further evidences the weakness of their contract proposal the Union leadership has modified the contract proposal to permit renegotiation of the draconian provisions eliminating grievances about letters to the file if they become “disproportionate,” so reports the Post.

While the “concession” is pure smoke since agreeing to negotiate is not a right, the move demonstrates the extent the leadership will go to sell this contract proposal. Randi and her “sales” staff have maintained that sitting down with the Mayor is impossible. This shows it is not only possible but, as the Post reveals, the plan was in the works for “weeks.”

Some have questioned how a contract proposal can legally be negotiated after the DA sent it to the membership for a vote. Isn’t it a violation of labor law to put a “contract proposal” before the membership which does not contain all of its provisions? What other “side” deals have been made that were not revealed?

Engage in discussions with your colleagues. Expose the attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. Don’t let this proposal become the contract!

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is proof that a "no" vote by the membership and a return to the table will yield a better contract for us. Obviously, what Randi has presented us with was not "the best the negotiating committee could do in the current political climate." VOTE NO!!!

jameseterno said...

I agree 100% with anonymous.

Anonymous said...

So let me ask James and Jeff what do they propose for our members? Just say "no" and then what? Where does that leave our members?
Three years without a salary increase and still counting!What's the chance of getting back to the negotiating table after Bloomberg is elected? Okay, maybe they want to wait and see if the stars will favor us with a contract without any trade-offs. Or, maybe they want to take everybody into the streets for a strike! Who are they speaking for?

So where does that leave the membership, Jeff and James? Better off or worse off? What's the plan?Trade-in our newbornes like most of the other municipal unions did?

There is no plan from ICE that works for the benefit of our members. There's just say "no"!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the second anonymous!

NYC Educator said...

The UFT did indeed sell out new teachers, reducing their "raise" from 15 to 9%.

They sold out everyone else by accepting this contract at all. In tough times, teachers take one for the team. In good times, teachers take another one ofr the team.

Whose team are these folks on, anyway?

imvotingno said...

Anonymous #2 asks where a no vote will leave our members.
A "no" vote leaves our members with their rights in tact. A no vote leaves our members with 50 less minutes to teach each week. A no vote leaves seniority transfers in place. A no vote allows our members the right to have inaccurate and unfair letters removed from their files within days, not years. A no vote allows our members to spend their time reading, studying, grading and planning- not doing the jobs of DC37 members. About two centuries ago a man named Judas thought money was more important than principle. He was wrong then and Randi and the "Yes" voters are wrong now- Hey, with inflation are you even getting the value of 40 pieces of silver?

reality-based educator said...

Weingarten and her UNITY caucus have failed in their leadership role for this union.

They live off of our membership dues and sell us out to the mayor and tell us this horrible contract is the best deal they can get for us. Then, when it turns out teachers hate the deal and all the "spin" in the world can't change people's feelings, they start "tweaking" it after passing the contract proposal in the DA.

What a joke. I'm not a member of ICE or Teachers for a Just Contract, but I believe the group of people currently running this union do not care about the rank-and-file membership. They only care about power and money and holding onto to their union fiefdom.

It's time for reform. It's time for change. It's time for term limits. It's time to throw these bums out of office onto their corrupt asses.

Two UFT guys came to spin teachers at my school yesterday. They were so arrogant, so condescending, so car-salesmen oily, so dismissive and confrontational that they turned the entire meeting off to both the UFT and the contract.

If these two men are representative of the people running my union (and I know they are), then no wonder the UFT is being run into the ground.

VOTE NO on the contract, VOTE NO on Randi Weingarten, VOTE NO on UNITY.

The time has come to make the UFT work for teachers, not for teachers to work for the UFT.

Anonymous said...

Well let's see--James, Jeff and NYC Educator usually have the ear of the NYPost, but even the Post is not listening:

(From the NYPost)
October 13, 2005 -- Critics of the new teachers contract are accusing United Federation of Teach ers President Randi Weingarten of misleading her members about the agreement's retirement benefits.
Now, we don't often find reason to stick up for Weingarten, but this time, she's absolutely right — except, perhaps, in the most technical sense. And, frankly, it's a shame — because those new perks will cost taxpayers plenty.

At a time when Gotham's fisc is billions in the red, the contract deal calls for the city to push Albany to give teachers pensions at age 55, with only 25 years of service;

See the rest of the editorial here http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/editorial/29415.htm
and if you don't want to register

This is how it ends:

"But while this may be bad for New Yorkers, it's surely good news for teachers. "I'm cautiously optimistic that if this contract goes up, we'll be able to get 55-25," Weingarten predicts.

Alas, she has good reason to think so."

I guess you may want to call this a sell out of our members, too!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous #2 - Where do we go after the election? Back to Bloomberg and Klein? It's exciting to be able to see someone write that every facet of the contract is crap, but most of it seems like reading Christopher Hitchens play a contrarian. I've got a life to live, a mortage to pay, and kids I need to teach.

Richard Skibins said...

"But while this may be bad for New Yorkers, it's surely good news for teachers. "I'm cautiously optimistic that if this contract goes up, we'll be able to get 55-25," Weingarten predicts.

Alas, she has good reason to think so."


Do you really think that Randi and the DOE will actually ask the state legislature and governor, who want to gut existing pensions, to create 55-25? Are you that naive? The proposed contract in NO WAY provides or will provide for 55-25, only to ask for an "investigation" into the possibility, which, my friends is ZERO!

BTW, does anyone know how the COPE strike is going? Does anyone have a link to the form online?

serenitynow said...

The 55/25 deal reminds me of the old Popeye cartoons. Whimpy would ask for a hamburger today and promise to pay for it Sunday, or some other day in the future. Randi is asking for a yes vote today, and she'll get you something in the future. Yeah, right. Hamburger or baloney?

NYC Educator said...

I would personally benefit from a 55/25 clause.

But I will not condemn future teachers to teaching 6 classes a day, and I will not give Klein that grab-bag of goodies for nothing.

jameseterno said...

I would like to comment to anonymous 2. If the contract goes down we'll still have our dignity. That's worth a great deal more than 3.4% a year, not even a cost of living adjustment. These horrific givebacks aren't worth that. As to what we do after the contract goes down, hopefully I will write a longer piece explaining our options that should be discussed.

jameseterno said...

As for the Post piece, The Agreement says, "The Committee will analyze the actual costs and additional contribution rates required to provide this benefit (including any additional health insurance benefit costs) without any cost to the city." 6 2

Who pays for the retirement incentive? We do! We will have to pay for this benefit with higher pension contributions because the city won't have to pay anything. This will create a de facto Tier 5 for anyone who wants to go at 55 with 25 years with higher pension contributions. A real gain would cost the city, not our members. Read carefully everyone.

When the Post and Daily News are endorsing the contract proposal, I know I'm on the proper side by being opposed.

John Doe said...

When did Weingarten say that hey can change that part ( LIF ) of the contract ?

woodlass said...

James -- I really appreciate and admire your 30 Questions for Unity Hacks, a lot of work went into it. And Lillian's additions make it even richer. But when you say "If the contract goes down we'll still have our dignity " -- I gotta disagree. RW and clan have not defended our dignity for years.
There is absolutely nothing dignified about the soul-destroying micromanagement we've been subjected to, nor teaching to scripts, or to tests. There's nothing dignified about being supervised by newbies out of the corporate (and I think fascist) Leadership Academy. There is nothing dignified about the unbelievable silence of this UFT administration when state-mandated subjects (foreign language, art, music, gym) were steamrolled into oblivion some years ago and teachers in these areas got excessed in the name of what? oh yeah, literacy and math, as if these subjects had no inherent value for students in an of themselves. And what about PD. Do you see anything dignified in being contractually required to attend a set number of minutes for "professional development" - as if we teachers, with Masters degrees no less, do not know how to keep ourselves professionally developed if and when we need to? Where's the dignity in across-the-board, unlilateral professional development?
And what about charges of abuse or corp. punishment? The Chancellor's Regs say that witness statements must be taken immediately from the "witnesses," but the person whose career is being threatened can be purposely left in the dark for weeks, depending on how soon the principal feels like telling them anything. Where's the dignity in that?
Those of us who hang in there are there for the steady salary, the beneifts, and for the kids. Dignity is has not been part of the picture for years.

Anonymous said...

I worked so hard to become a teacher. Went to school in the evenings while working a part time job and raising my young children. Studied hard and passed all the required tests with the belief that I was entering a profession of nobility; I carried myself with such pride. I am sick of arrogant union officials and their cronies manipulating the system and collecting monies from my hard earned paycheck ie. union dues while they strip me of my professional dignity. This union is just not working hard enough for me! The proposed contract says it all and I for one will vote NO!

jameseterno said...

Woodlass-

I think you are correct. A number of us like to think of ourselves as strong chapter leaders and we believe we have a shred of dignity left in our schools with the current contract. We don't bother with the PD and much of the micromanagement in my school and my friends in Region 4 fought it successfully last year. We will have lost all of this and much more if we accept the "Givebacks 'R' Us" Contract.

Lillian M. Varrassi said...

Dear Woodlass,
Your comments are well taken. Dignity, as defined in Webster's dictionary, "is the quality or state of being honored or worthy."
Based upon this, I agree we have not been honored, however, we do have worth. It seems to me that over the years (and I can only speak for secretaries), a mindset has depreciated the worth of secretaries. For whatever reason, the brainwashing effect of this union has diminished the dedication and commitment of our secretaries. It has been difficult, at least for me, to understand why we have become an insignificant part of this union's agenda and, for that matter, the DOE as well. Most of us come from a corporate environment which has instilled in us a work ethic that surpasses most administrative positions. Yet, we are not given the same consideration or respect by any department of this administration or union.

When the union exclaims, "Secretaries are the most important people in the building," it is a shallow and disengenuous comment. However, we know our worth and no union or department can ever take that away.
We are intelligent, hard-working women who, on a daily basis, do our utmost so that teachers can teach, children can learn, and the administrations can function.

To cast us aside as mere clerical
peons is grossly indignant. To consistently ignore our issues is dishonoring our vital role in this system. Nothing, however, will ever belittle our worth because we know who we are and what we contribute. With all of the indignities we have had to endure, the one thing we have is our integrity.

At the end of the day, we go home to our families and we savor those moments all the more. I often tell my colleagues, being a secretary is what we do - it is NOT who we are. It is a sad commentary on this union and system that they can only see the job and not the person behind it.

This union, this dictatorship, has been so corrupted by greed and avarice, that I truly believe they will implode one day. Their lies, manipulations and scare tactics will, when all is said and done, no longer have any effect on those who think they are fighting for us.

Many still believe in this union; many still may vote yes; but I believe that those of us who fight with truth will win.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you a victim without your consent."

It is time we stop being a victim, look the perpetrator in the eye, and say NO.

Chaz said...

Why is the per session increase 1.7% per year and not 3.46% per year?

Anonymous said...

Why is the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY Teachers) not accepting a similar deal? They are holding out. Why can't we join with them and fight?

union activist said...

As a long time union activist I appreciate the Iceblog comments and actions. Opposition makes for a more democratic union.

The leadership of the UFT negotiated in the best interest of the majority of members. If there was more to bargain for, it would have been done. I know that they attempted to.

Everyone gets to vote, the votes are counted by the AAA and when push comes to shove...we will see. I know that neither ICE nor the general membeship want to or can afford to strike. Neither can the majority wait another five years for a contract.

Struggle and dissent leads to strength. I was impressed to see that at the DA on the 11th of October, 50 per cent of the microphone time was given to less than 20 per cent of the con voters. However, it was amusing to see that the "opposition" wanted to discount one of the con comments...it did not meet with the party line!!

From where I sat, as a long time activist...I saw a passionate debate among 2200 activists in the "union hall" ...there was fire, there was concern and there was engagement.

I congratulate the opposition for voicing their opinions (the rudeness was unnecessary and defeats your platform) and I congratulate the union leadership for setting the stage for the debate.

Noone likes this contract...but if you are unable or unwilling to strike,...feel that you can use this contract in ways that will make it more tolerable...vote yes...if you can wait, or want to strike....vote no. In closing, remember...the vote no is not supported by a vote strike...and to me it is clear that the city will not negotiate...Bloomberg does not need our political support to win the election.

union activist

jameseterno said...

To Union Activist

You gave both sides but you failed to mention that Randi spent fifty minutes filibustering before the debate so there were obviously fifty additional minutes of speech in favor of the contract. The debate, therefore, was obviously one sided in Randi's favor.

In addition, if you vote yes you will have to live under a new contract with an extra 37.5 minute small group teaching period four days a week, hall patrol or cafeteria patrol in most schools every other year, no right to grieve letters in the file including observatins, weakened transfer, weakened due process protections, weakened excessing rights and no job security clause.

The Transit Workers' Union contract is up in December. They endorsed Ferrer, but I am sure they are not afraid of negotiations. The MTA (City State agency) will negotiate with them because they are prepared to fight. The Professional Staff Congress (CUNY professors) has not settled and they are preparing for action. A strong case can be made that our argument for a decent contract will be stronger if we vote no and force the Mayor back to the table and work together with these other unions. It's better than accepting the givebacks, rights that we struggled hard to win that will be virtually impossible to win back. Think before you vote, and then vote no.

jameseterno said...

To Union Activist

You gave both sides but you failed to mention that Randi spent fifty minutes filibustering before the debate so there were obviously fifty additional minutes of speech in favor of the contract. The debate, therefore, was obviously one sided in Randi's favor.

In addition, if you vote yes you will have to live under a new contract with an extra 37.5 minute small group teaching period four days a week, hall patrol or cafeteria patrol in most schools every other year, no right to grieve letters in the file including observatins, weakened transfer, weakened due process protections, weakened excessing rights and no job security clause.

The Transit Workers' Union contract is up in December. They endorsed Ferrer, but I am sure they are not afraid of negotiations. The MTA (City State agency) will negotiate with them because they are prepared to fight. The Professional Staff Congress (CUNY professors) has not settled and they are preparing for action. A strong case can be made that our argument for a decent contract will be stronger if we vote no and force the Mayor back to the table and work together with these other unions. It's better than accepting the givebacks, rights that we struggled hard to win that will be virtually impossible to win back. Think before you vote, and then vote no.

northbrooklyn said...

Bloomberg cannot afford four years of protracted negotiation during his second term. He has plans beyond being a mayor of NYC.
He needs educators on his side. He will go back to the table. We will get a better contract.

northbrooklyn said...

Bloomberg cannot afford four years of protracted negotiation during his second term. He has plans beyond being a mayor of NYC.
He needs educators on his side. He will go back to the table. We will get a better contract.

Apapercut said...

Unfortunatly, I don't think Bloomberg cares if the contract is signed or not; however, I would rather send Frau Weingarten back to negotiate so we can continue working under the present contract. Let her knock heads with Bloomie until we can vote her out and get a real leader in to take her place.

I'd rather the status quo then this giant step backwards!

Purple eyelashes said...

You are right, papercut. To Anonymous, who has a mortgage to pay, you would be far better off with a per session job. You would make money than what this new contract offers you and you would keep all the rights and benefits you have now.

Sometimes you have to take a risk. You can't always be a polite, timid employee and take what is handed to you. You don't have to support ICE or TJC. All you have to do is examine the contract and see that is not in our best interest.

It is not about money nor retirement nor a strike as an alternative. It is about working with dignity and putting our talents to use. What happens if you arrive 5 minutes late to cafeteria duty because you were doing something for a class and you get a letter in your file? What happens if the AP walks in on your new 6th period tutorial class and you were talking about current events and she tells you she is not happy because you were not 'tutoring' . Think it can't happen? Some of these adminstrators 'live and breathe' for this kind of stuff. Think you are 'safe'? No one is safe. Your administrator and principal could change tomoorow. Don't be a fool and don't be fooled -- vote no for this contract.

Anonymous said...

You are right, papercut. To Anonymous, who has a mortgage to pay, you would be far better off with a per session job. You would make money than what this new contract offers you and you would keep all the rights and benefits you have now.

Sometimes you have to take a risk. You can't always be a polite, timid employee and take what is handed to you. You don't have to support ICE or TJC. All you have to do is examine the contract and see that is not in our best interest.

It is not about money nor retirement nor a strike as an alternative. It is about working with dignity and putting our talents to use. What happens if you arrive 5 minutes late to cafeteria duty because you were doing something for a class and you get a letter in your file? What happens if the AP walks in on your new 6th period tutorial class and you were talking about current events and she tells you she is not happy because you were not 'tutoring' . Think it can't happen? Some of these adminstrators 'live and breathe' for this kind of stuff. Think you are 'safe'? No one is safe. Your administrator and principal could change tomoorow. Don't be a fool and don't be fooled -- vote no for this contract.

Anonymous said...

You are right, papercut. To Anonymous, who has a mortgage to pay, you would be far better off with a per session job. You would make money than what this new contract offers you and you would keep all the rights and benefits you have now.

Sometimes you have to take a risk. You can't always be a polite, timid employee and take what is handed to you. You don't have to support ICE or TJC. All you have to do is examine the contract and see that is not in our best interest.

It is not about money nor retirement nor a strike as an alternative. It is about working with dignity and putting our talents to use. What happens if you arrive 5 minutes late to cafeteria duty because you were doing something for a class and you get a letter in your file? What happens if the AP walks in on your new 6th period tutorial class and you were talking about current events and she tells you she is not happy because you were not 'tutoring' . Think it can't happen? Some of these adminstrators 'live and breathe' for this kind of stuff. Think you are 'safe'? No one is safe. Your administrator and principal could change tomoorow. Don't be a fool and don't be fooled -- vote no for this contract.

Anonymous said...

You are right, papercut. To Anonymous, who has a mortgage to pay, you would be far better off with a per session job. You would make money than what this new contract offers you and you would keep all the rights and benefits you have now.

Sometimes you have to take a risk. You can't always be a polite, timid employee and take what is handed to you. You don't have to support ICE or TJC. All you have to do is examine the contract and see that is not in our best interest.

It is not about money nor retirement nor a strike as an alternative. It is about working with dignity and putting our talents to use. What happens if you arrive 5 minutes late to cafeteria duty because you were doing something for a class and you get a letter in your file? What happens if the AP walks in on your new 6th period tutorial class and you were talking about current events and she tells you she is not happy because you were not 'tutoring' . Think it can't happen? Some of these adminstrators 'live and breathe' for this kind of stuff. Think you are 'safe'? No one is safe. Your administrator and principal could change tomoorow. Don't be a fool and don't be fooled -- vote no for this contract.

Anonymous said...

You are right, papercut. To Anonymous, who has a mortgage to pay, you would be far better off with a per session job. You would make money than what this new contract offers you and you would keep all the rights and benefits you have now.

Sometimes you have to take a risk. You can't always be a polite, timid employee and take what is handed to you. You don't have to support ICE or TJC. All you have to do is examine the contract and see that is not in our best interest.

It is not about money nor retirement nor a strike as an alternative. It is about working with dignity and putting our talents to use. What happens if you arrive 5 minutes late to cafeteria duty because you were doing something for a class and you get a letter in your file? What happens if the AP walks in on your new 6th period tutorial class and you were talking about current events and she tells you she is not happy because you were not 'tutoring' . Think it can't happen? Some of these adminstrators 'live and breathe' for this kind of stuff. Think you are 'safe'? No one is safe. Your administrator and principal could change tomoorow. Don't be a fool and don't be fooled -- vote no for this contract.

Anonymous said...

I like many of you went to school to become a teacher so that I could enrich young minds and foster a love of learning. I am still in school because I love education and enrichment so much. I am only in my third year teaching and have quite a few to go. I did not go into this profession to get rich as none of us do, and I will not allow Randi and this corupt union to sell us out. I risk everything when I am in school because I am non tenured until June, but I refuse to keep silent about this sell-out of a contract. I will vote NO! I only hope enough people are in agreement and vote this down. I had a UFT H.S. Rep at my school on friday attempting spin control and I quote her as saying "I guarantee you that Elementary School Teachers will overwhelmingly pass this contract" Really? I don't know of any that will. I am so disgusted with this whole thing. I have no user I.D. but you can call me by name... Jack over at John Bowne H.S.

Anonymous said...

I remember last spring at a delegate assembly, Randi urged us to allow more time for more money to remain on the table. She said that keeping it on the table was good PR, but that she "heard" us we didn't want more time. This fall,at the first delegate assembly, an indignant Randi blasted the panel report while asking us to make it a base for negotiations. She spoke of the attack on senority and vowed to save circular 6. After the new contract was negotiated, I was sent spin literature in favor of the contract and told by my district rep to only place Unity literature in my mailbox. Wednesday, the 19th, my school was visited by a VP who gave a long account of the road to the new contract, leaving very little time for questions. He called me anti union, he lied about the 1975 layoffs(saying that the strike causedthe layoffs), he said a no contract vote meant a strike, he said that retirees were allowed to vote at the delegate assembly, he was arrogant and rude. ALL THOSE IN POWER NOW MUST BE OUSTED.

Anonymous said...

Duh! Of course the strike caused the layoffs...we're not allowed to strike as per the Taylor Law and can be legally be fired off if we do. I don't think he was "lying" about that.

Also..I don't know. I didn't vote for Randi, but an awful lot of people did. Suddenly everyone seems to hate her....where was everyone when she was being re-elected.

Anonymous said...

DUH! you need to do some reading. It was the major bankruptcy NYC was facing that caused the lay offs. By the way, I'm a chapter leader and, when we were discussing strike, my district representative told us that the rumor that the 1975 strike caused lay offs was false. If you need reassurance see the flyer "Questions and Answers About the Taylor Law." It was distributed by Unity, and your chapter leader should have given you one in late Sept. Further, it is in the Taylor Law and in our contract. You should do some reading before you "think." (Actually, lay off and fired are different events.)

Finally, if you didn't vote for Randi the last time, who did you vote for. She was the only one running for prez on a bipartisan ticket. This will most likely not happen at the next election.
INFORM YOURSELF BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!!! DUH, YOU SHOULD BE SAYING DOH!!

Anonymous said...

DUH! you need to do some reading. It was the major bankruptcy NYC was facing that caused the lay offs. By the way, I'm a chapter leader and, when we were discussing strike, my district representative told us that the rumor that the 1975 strike caused lay offs was false. If you need reassurance see the flyer "Questions and Answers About the Taylor Law." It was distributed by Unity, and your chapter leader should have given you one in late Sept. Further, it is in the Taylor Law and in our contract. You should do some reading before you "think." (Actually, lay off and fired are different events.)

Finally, if you didn't vote for Randi the last time, who did you vote for. She was the only one running for prez on a bipartisan ticket. This will most likely not happen at the next election.
INFORM YOURSELF BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!!! DUH, YOU SHOULD BE SAYING DOH!!

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