Monday, October 10, 2005
WHAT DOES A NO VOTE MEAN?
If I vote no, will I have to go on strike?
Absolutely not! If the proposed contract does not win approval from the members, both sides will go back to the bargaining table. A “no” vote does not mean there will be a strike but will give us time to properly organize.
Has there ever been a “no” vote, a rejection of a UFT proposed contract before?
Yes. In 1995, the members turned down a proposed contract.
What happened when the Contract was rejected by the membership last time?
In a few months time, we were offered a better deal. The revised Contract included a 22 year longevity (reduced from 25). Low cost P credits were added and a 5% withholding of pay was eliminated. The Contract also forced the City to increase welfare fund contributions and contained a real retirement incentive. Despite our former leader’s statement that we would have to be “smoking something” if we thought we could do better, we went back to the negotiating table and did!
I need a raise. If I vote to reject the proposed contract I won’t earn any more money, right?
Not exactly. There are provisions in the Taylor Law which continue all salary differentials as they exist under our present Contract. All longevity increases, salary steps and pay differentials are in full force and effect.
Would my salary be keeping up with inflation under the proposed contract?
No. Given the recent rise in gas and oil prices and everything that they affect in our economy, any increase under this proposed contract will be totally outpaced by inflation.
Does the right to grieve letters to the file really matter?
Absolutely. We are giving up our first line of defense. If information a supervisor puts into your personnel file is unfair or inaccurate you should not have to wait three years for its removal. The letters still can be used against us for “U” ratings and dismissal hearings as well as to deny us teaching assignments, per session and transfers. Untenured staff and paras are virtually defenseless.
Isn’t it true that Administration cannot place any letters in my file about furniture arrangement, bulletin boards and the duration of lesson units?
No. The proposed contract only says that these items cannot be “the basis for disciplinary action”. It does not prevent letters about these issues from going in your file.
What happens if my school closes or gets reorganized?
Under the terms of the proposed contract you would be forced to scramble for a new job. Veteran teachers receiving higher salaries and who could not find jobs would become substitutes and could be assigned anywhere in the City.
Under the proposed contract isn’t it true that teachers in all tiers can retire after age 55 with a full pension?
No. The City and the Union have agreed to ask our State legislators to change the law. Since this does not require the City to pay for the change its likelihood of passage is very slim. There are no new benefits under this provision in the proposed contract.
Will the proposed contract end the 60 minute Professional Development and faculty and grade conferences on Mondays?
Yes and no. PD Mondays are gone but conferences come back. Our school day will be 7 hours and 37 ½ minutes long on faculty and grade conference days! We’ll have 5 classes in secondary schools/6 classes in elementary schools our prep and lunch plus cafeteria or hall duty, prep, lunch, small group instruction and conferences.
Doesn’t the proposed contract preserve our union’s core values?
Disgracefully, no. By giving up rights such as Step II grievances, the right to grieve letters to the file, by agreeing to the imposition of merit pay (lead teacher), the loss of seniority rights, and the institution of hall and potty patrol and an extra class 4 days a week we are destroying our union’s core values.