Tuesday, June 20, 2006

ICE to Exec Board: Show Us That You Are True Union; Don't Take the Pay Raise!

The UFT Executive Board with only two dissenters and one abstention, voted on June 19 to give UFT officers and staff the full 15% increase that ICE said they would do months ago. Many of these people already earn six figure salaries and have a Union as well as Department of Education pension.

What is the giveback that the UFT agreed to for themselves in order to justify 15%? The UFT offices will remain open one extra hour per week. ICE asks is this the equivalent of the givebacks people in the schools have had to endure under the current contract? These givebacks include working an extra tutoring period four days a week for small group instruction in most schools, hall patrols, cafeteria duty, loss of two vacation days (three in Brooklyn and Queens) resulting in the longest school year in the New York Metropolitan area, loss of ability to grieve letters in our files, restricted transfer rights, weaker tenure protections and more.

What follows is a speech that James Eterno (High School Representative and Chapter Leader for Jamaica High School) gave in opposition to the pay raises at the Executive Board.

UFT officers, Borough Representatives, District Reps, Special Reps and the staff work extremely hard; some are on call 24/7. People who work diligently should be rewarded. That’s not the issue.

The issue was framed wonderfully by President Weingarten when she was quoted in the June 16 Chief Leader talking about the unions working together. Randi told the Chief: “Given globalization and Wal-Martization and this assault on working and middle-class people, it makes a lot of sense to band together.” I agree. However, before we can create a powerful coalition of unions ready for a real fight against the city, we have to unite ourselves. If this resolution passes tonight, we will do the opposite.

If there is a full 15% increase for UFT officers and staff (5.5% in December and now the remainder tonight), as soon as someone gets home this information will be out on the net and it will be in many of the schools by tomorrow. Everyone will know and the cynics will be saying, same old UFT, givebacks for the members and salary increases for the leadership with a nominal change in their conditions.

Opening up the UFT offices once a week for an extra hour is a worthwhile endeavor, but does anyone honestly believe that it is the equivalent of what people in the schools are going through under this current contract? We’re under siege in many schools.

I recently spoke to a friend from a high school in Brooklyn who is teaching his five classes; then he was assigned small group instruction for a professional assignment and then he has small group instruction again at the end of the day and yes since he is a math teacher, his students showed up. There are similar stories of teachers and other UFT members being overworked all over the city. Many members don’t want to assert their union rights because they fear retaliation.

In the schools, we are sacrificing every day. The Union leadership could take a big step in reforming this union if tonight, this body agrees to forgo the rest of the pay raise and put that money where it’s badly needed, defending our members directly.

I would favor taking that raise money and using it to hire some paralegals, and investigators and then send them to NYSUT to do our own investigations and research as Jeff Kaufman is calling for in a resolution to be introduced later. (Unity would not agree to hire the full investigation teams that Jeff called for as they watered down his proposal at the end of the meeting so that members who are reassigned will merely receive information about their rights.)

That’s one idea. If someone has a better idea on how to use this money, I’m all ears. The bottom line is if we are truly interested in uniting this Union for a no contract=no work battle in 2007, this Executive Board should lead by example by putting short term self interest aside for the benefit of the UFT’s future and the future of the union movement. Say no to rest of the raise and yes to real change.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some alternatives on how to use the money. ICE is thinking.

NeedALoan said...

Randi's raise is bigger than what a starting teaching makes!

Unitymustgo said...

They are going to keep the UFT offices open an extra 1 whole hour each week!!! Wow 12 minutes extra a day!!! Our leaders are being worked to the bone. This is only a guess on my part, but I predict they will add the time to the start of their office hours. This way there is really no actual change to their work day, except now they will technically be on the clock as they drink that morning cup of coffee. Is it just me or does your ass hurt too?

Anonymous said...

This is quite different than what you have on your website posted in Dec. 2005. Which one is it, then or now?

http://www.ice-uft.org/ICEflyerSalaries.htm


Working Conditions and Protections Worsen
but the UFT Leadership Takes a Pay Raise

Did you know?

UFT president Randi Weingarten recently secretly orchestrated a 15 percent raise for herself and her fellow officers.

Anonymous said...

It is nice speech about assisting the people in the "rubber room" with paralegals and more lawyers, but I heard that they ("rubber room" people) actually dismissed what you guys proposed at the Ex. Bd. and followed Randi's lead instead?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you talk about Jeff Kaufman's report to the Ex Bd that he let a member he "represented" at a 3020A hearing got a horrible deal giving up his/her rights. (I'm assuming like we've seen on this blog). According to Jeff, know one was there to help the member so their rights were violated.

Randi asked why he didn't call, e-mail or do something immediately. He calls, writes and does other things to get attention all the time? Why not now to help a member he was suppose to "represent"?

Talk about selective reporting. Is this politics at the expense of our members? Nice!

Anonymous said...

"know" should be "no".

Anonymous said...

What's secret about putting a resolution in front of the executive board and announcing that in a show of solidarity with the members, certain union staff will work an extra hour one evening every week in the borough offices and that they agree to give up a whole slew of summer vacation days in return for the raise that members receive?

Anonymous said...

How aboutdoing this for all of the working class:

http://edwize.org/
minumum-wage-in-the-senate-a-call-for-support#comments

Anonymous said...

Jeff's proposal regarding the rubber room was done without consulting any of the representatives of the people who are in those rooms. They said this at the exec board. The only opportunity they had to see the motion was when it was handed out.

Some democracy, some member engagement, some stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Do you Unity guys have anything to do besides knock Jeff who was trying to help members with his proposal to add legal staff?

The December resolution called for a pay raise and ICE said that it would be 15% as soon as the UFT figured out what the productivity increase would be. We now know it is an extra hour a week in the office. How generous of our leaders. Only the UFT thinks they are entitled to a better life style than the membership they are supposed to represent.

Anonymous said...

Aren't union leaders supposed to show solidarity with their members. Why don't the UFT leaders stand outside the bathrooms in the UFT building for forty five minutes a day? Then they can talk about a salary increase.

NYC Educator said...

It's incredible that the Unity hacks resort to ad hominem attacks on those who report the truth rather than responding to the blatant inequity in the way Unity treats itself, as opposed to lowly duespayers like us.

One hour a week? We have that plus an extra class, a permanent building assignment, three extra days of endless drek, a lost transfer plan, the right to be suspended without pay on the basis of unsubstantiated accusation, and who knows what else crawling around in that vile document they shoved down our throats.

Anonymous said...

I guess we are too stupid to realize that we have to have something to negotiate with in order to get a cost of living adjustment. That's why it's called negotiation. The city offers us a crappy cola and Unity gives Klein and Bloomberg the productivity increases they want. All the givebacks make the teachers more productive. Unity can only do so much to make themselves more productive. Unity has hit a brick wall. They can only offer one hour extra a week. I'm pretty sure if Unity was able to negotiate their own contract, they would have been asked to give up more than just an hour a week. Awww screw it, Unity stinks!

In the TRC said...

I am responding to Anonymous who said, "It is nice speech about assisting the people in the 'rubber room' with paralegals and more lawyers, but I heard that they ('rubber room' people) actually dismissed what you guys proposed at the Ex. Bd. and followed Randi's lead instead?"
No one thought about us in the Rubber Room until Jeff Kaufman and ICE raised several important issues about our working conditions and representation. One embittered Queens Rubber Room teacher did disagree with what Jeff was saying- not all of us in the Rubber Rooms around the City do. This guy spoke at length with Randi before the meeting-he had just lost his Chapter Election (the staff doesn’t want him) and got sent to the Rubber Room (his administration doesn’t want him). He does not represent me or the people I sit with each day. The angry speaker has been critical of Randi for years. Perhaps he has realized the personal advantage one gets if one is on Randi’s good side. Speaking against Jeff and other caucuses or their leaders will most certainly achieve this goal, which brings us to the point of Mr. Eterno’s piece- advantages for the few- the upper classes of the Union. Use the money from the raises to pay for paralegals to investigate the charges brought against us in the Rubber Room.

Anonymous said...

Just curious:

Why do you think he lost the chapter election? If his staff voted against him, what were there reasons?

We just voted out our (seems like forever) chapter leader too. It was time for change because she just wasn't getting our message across to the principal.

Anonymous said...

There are hundreds of people in the rubber room. Were these "reps" elected or are they self-appointed representatives of people in the rubber room? Is that democracy? How come they get to be consulted? Wasn't Jeff also in the rubber room? Shouldn't he have enough information without asking evey single person for advice?

Anonymous said...

Ho hummm! Boring! Soooo? But 2/3 of these members don't want the union to do anything for them! That's what one survey said. These members just want to sit it out until they're eligible to retire. Hey ICE, you can have them. Sitting there doing nothing is justice enough for them. Who asked you to help?

Anonymous said...

I am an upstate NY teacher who reads your blogs. Perhaps I have not read back far enough in the archives, but can someone describe to me what is meant by the use of the rubber room metaphor; I assume it is a metaphor perhaps wrongly. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Rubber Room is where teachers are sent when they are pulled from a school because they did something to get them in trouble. It's referred to as a rubber room because they do nothing all day while waiting for their 3020A case to be heard to decide whether or not they will be fired. While in the rubber room, they receive full pay and benefits, unless it's for a sexual charge or a felony where they could be suspended without pay.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to give up returning to work in August, if the "leadership" gives up on the cash.

Anonymous said...

I'll take that deal. I would even let them keep the cash if we don't have to work in August.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info re: the rubber room metaphor. I am a new delegate to the nysut RA for my local. Boy was I heavily recruited by unity. I found it sad they are the only caucus (except for the latino caucus). As I understand it, ICE etc... are only local caucuses (or is it cauci)? Any thought to going statewide?

Anonymous said...

ICE should help you start a statewide caucus.

Dr. Homeslice said...

Why did you lose the right to grieve letters to your file?

Anonymous said...

The UFT gave it up in the recent contract.

Anonymous said...

Just curious....
How much does a school's Chapter Leader get compensated? I heard it was something like 1 or 2% of their salary....is this true? Did they get a raise as well?

Anonymous said...

Chapter leader gets a period off for union activities in large high schools, extra preparation time in elementary schools and relief from administrative assignments at all levels.

All chapter leaders get a few dollars per year for each member in their school as a stipend to cover expenses. The money doesn't nearly cover what a decent chapter leader spends. Therefore, a chapter leader essentially does the job as a volunteer.