Monday, May 01, 2006

UFT Members Beware!

Hell Must Have Frozen Over;

by James Eterno, Chapter Leader, Jamaica HS; Executive Board Member, HS Rep.

UFT Won't Accept More Extended Time in Next Contract but All Other Givebacks will be Considered

A little over a year ago when Teachers for a Just Contract and ICE wanted the UFT leadership to hold the line and demand that all offers to add time to the school day or year should be rejected by the Union, the UFT leadership blasted us. Unity Caucus at the time put out literature entitled "Hell Will Sooner Freeze Over" saying that the UFT delegates have no right to tie the hands of the Negotiating Committee. Unity stated in their December 2004 leaflet: "Placing prior constraints on the negotiating committee is a blatant attempt to usurp the rights of UFT members to make the ultimate decision on what they will or won't accept in contracts."

Fast forward a little over a year and now the leadership has completely reversed its position as they recently passed a resolution at the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly that says the UFT will not accept any offer in the next contract that adds extra time to the school day or year. The leadership has adopted the TJC-ICE position that extending the school day or year should be non-negotiable issues, but it's a little late, isn't it? A year ago hell would have to freeze over before there could be prior constraints on the negotiating committee but now it's ok to tie its hands when it comes to time. Forgive us for being a tad cynical.

A quick look back at the 2002 Fact Finding Report that led to the first extension of the school day shows that the UFT implicitly put extending the school day on the bargaining table, not the city. Part of the Report says, "While no proposal was made by the UFT, its arguments seem designed to invite the panel to recommend that any above the pattern increases be funded through extending the work day for teachers."

It's all good and well that the UFT leaders have come around to our position on extended time, however when our friends at TJC recently proposed that the UFT reject any and all givebacks in the next round of negotiations, the UFT leadership said NO. It's clear to many of us that the Union knows that the membership is disgusted with the longer day and longer year and so they will not make additional work time an issue in the 2007 negotiations, but all other givebacks will be considered by the UFT.

We believe that we will probably be asked to pay for part of our health care like the transit workers. We also feel that there will be more of these merit pay schemes such as Lead Teacher on the table and look out for more housing bonus plans for certain people to divide us next year. We might be asked to give up even more of our due process rights; maybe there will be a Tier V pension for new hires and who knows what else we will be asked to give back, but the leadership will come back and try to sell the contract by bragging how we don't have an even longer day or a 12 month school year.

Everyone out there should not worry about further extensions of the school day or year. Instead, start worrying about losing significant other parts of the contract.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Unfortunately no one is going to believe that you stood fast for the changes that Unity now says it will protect.

Unity will continue to spin the facts. However, many teachers who voted for this last contract are now disgusted now with our leadership. Unfortunately, and fortunate for Randi, no one is stepping up to the plate to replace her.

Unity will do more to drive good teachers out of the city than the DOE. Principals are now being appointed by Leadership, and they can do no wrong in Klein's eyes even when they do stupid things. These principals will have nothing to do with the CSA. So both unions will be meaningless in the years to come. If Unity thinks Democrats will save the day, think again. Once concessions are made, no Dem wants to look weak, especially if they have higher ambitions. Randi is hoping Hillary will save her. She would rather deal with long shots than take strong stands.

Randi has already added a sad footnote to the union movement. How ironic she stands with TWA when she herself was afraid to face jail and used the Taylor Law to put fear into the rank and file in order to save her own skin.

Anonymous said...

What we need now is for the leaders of the opposition to announce their intentions to run against Randi and her officers. Many of us rank and filers are eager to support them. Let's get it done.

Anonymous said...

If only people knew about this.

Anonymous said...

Yes UFT Members beware!

An HS (ICE) Ex. Bd. on Mon. thought we should support cell phone use for students everywhere. What is Jeff thinking about? As a "HS Rep" on the Ex. Bd. he should know better. How many people in HSs really want students to have an open policy of using cell phones? Is he really in a HS?
Between these postings and ICE actions at the DA and Ex. Bd. it makes me wonder what is their interest? Obviously it isn't who they claim to represent? Is it really only to be against everything Randi maybe for? How creative.

jameseterno said...

The last comment is a complete misrepresentation of our votes at the executive board on Monday. We voted for the resolution that the union proposed prohibiting cell phone use in schools but siding with the parents against an outright cell phone possession ban citywide. (A different resolution that the parents are presenting on this issue is great.)

In fact, the vote at the Executive Board on the cell phone issue was unanimous as reported in the papers on Tuesday.

Now we are being criticized for supporting the leadership. Maybe the commentator above didn't understand our vote. I hope this clears it up.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess that Lucifer should now be smiling since hell has frozen over. I remember numerous DAs where Randi and the Unity faithful would criticize people for trying to bind her hands. Now apparently she wants to be completely bound when it comes to extended time. Where was she last year? Now we know that Unity is planning brand new givebacks for the next contract.

Chaz said...

I agree with the first anonymous that a candidate must step up and now!

This candidate should represent the classroom teacher and not accept any pattern bargining. Further, the candidate must commit to takebacks from the city, not givebacks!

Anonymous said...

Chaz: I don't recall any municipal union EVER "breaking the pattern". How do you suppose we do this?

Chaz said...

anon:

Not going to arbitration! Have rolling sickouts, a media bliz, and a rule book slowdown.

Anonymous said...

Chaz has some ideas that are out of the box. Not the same old.

Chaz said...

anon;

I take that as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chaz-

Why don't you ask to join the negotiating committee? Tell Randi your ideas.

Anonymous said...

Chaz?

Chaz said...

Anon:

Sorry, I just know that when the real negotiations began it will be Randi & her lawyer friends making the deals...At the expense of the classroom teacher.

People like me will have no say in those negotiations and that is why I think this negotiation committee is simply a figleaf that has no real say in the negotiations.

I do my best work commenting on the articles that appear in Edwiz.

Anonymous said...

Chaz-

Get involved. Don't take the easy way out. The union leadership won't react until everyone is actively saying that we won't stand for givebacks any longer.

Anonymous said...

The negotiating committee will be as much of a farce as the DA.

Anonymous said...

The negotiating committee won't be a farce if people who believe in a really improved contract come and speak up. If it's the same old crowd, then we will get the same old lousy contract.