Sunday, November 12, 2006


As you ponder your vote on the proposed Contract that is basically asking us to extend the worst Contract ever for nearly three more years (almost a year remaining on the old one and two on the extension), ICE asks that you to take our Contract quiz.

Part I-- Givebacks from 2005 that continue in the two year extension that will last through 2009

  • Are you happy coming back to school in August?

    Yes No

  • Are you content knowing that NYC educators have the longest school year (190 days) in the entire NY metropolitan region?

    Yes No

  • Are you satisfied with the 37.5 minute small group instructional period that most schools have to endure four days a week?

    Yes No

  • Are you delighted with hall patrol and cafeteria patrol for teachers?

    Yes No

  • Are you thrilled that UFT members are now considered guilty until proven innocent and can be suspended without pay for 90 days for certain offenses?

    Yes No

  • Are you filled with joy knowing that administration can write anything they want and put it in your personnel file and you can't file a grievance to get it out?

    Yes No

  • Are you glad that administration can write unfair/inaccurate observation reports and you can't grieve them?

    Yes No

  • Are you rejoicing over the fact that transfers are now based on the whims of principals as opposed to hiring committees made up of a majority teachers or seniority as they were in the past?

    Yes No

  • Are you elated knowing that if you are excessed you have no right to a job and new people can be hired while you are demoted to a substitute (absent teacher reserve)?

    Yes No

  • Are you pleased knowing that if your school is closed or redesigned you no longer have preferred placement and can be stuck as a substitute (ATR) while new people are hired?

    Yes No

  • Are you satisfied with a shorter break if you are a school secretary or more work time every day if you are a lab specialist, social worker or guidance counselor?

    Yes No

Part II—The new two year extension of the worst contract ever that will last through 2009.

  • When the city has billions of dollars in surplus revenues as the Stock Market sets new records, should UFT members settle for salary increases (2% in 2007 along with a $750 bonus, 5% in 2008, 0% in 2009) that do not even keep up with the current NY area annual inflation rate of 5.2%?

    Yes No

  • Do we need Randi if a kindergarten student could go in with the city, present the DC 37 settlement and say, "Me too," and get it based on 30 years of precedent saying when one city union settles, the other unions are guaranteed to receive roughly the same percentage raises without givebacks? (The DC 37 pattern settlement was 6% over 20 months; UFT's extends it a few more months to make it 7.1 %.)

    Yes No

  • Is now the right time to settle the Contract right before Governor Elect Spitzer says he will soon settle the 14 year old Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit so there should be an influx of funds headed to the city schools?

    Yes No

  • The NY Times reported on November 7 that Mayor Bloomberg wants "separate talks aimed at achieving crucial savings and healthcare and pension costs." Should we give Randi Weingarten and Bloomberg a "blank check" to charge us for health insurance that is now free and not let us vote on any changes as we have in the last two Contracts?

    Yes No

  • Should we agree on a new Contract when the City still has not convinced the State to come through on a 25 years in the system and 55 year old retirement plan that was promised in the last contract?

    Yes No

  • DC 37 members won the right to live outside of the city in the current round of collective bargaining. Are these provisions actually gains for us?

-A new provision saying we won't get a letter for our file if charges of corporal punishment are "unsubstantiated" If charges are not substantiated, you don't get a file letter reprimanding you now.

-A new committee to reduce paper work on top of the two committees we already have in Article 8I

-A second Peer Intervention Program in addition to the one we already have but the new program is not confidential and can be used against us in 3020A hearings?

Yes No

  • Should we allow the city to offer a "voluntary" severance package that is irrevocable for people who are excessed through no fault of their own and can't find regular assignments because they are not politically connected?

    Yes No

  • If we continue not asserting ourselves, do you think the next Mayor will be any better to us when the city's labor commissioner has been James Hanley since David Dinkins was Mayor?

    Yes No

  • Have you been so beaten down by the school system that you are not willing to stand up for your rights and win back what was robbed from us?

    Yes No

Answer key:

The correct answer for every question is NO.



Anonymous said...

It would be quite amusing if it weren't so on point. I hope the teachers don't fail. The quiz should be sent to the schools

Anonymous said...

get a life you cry baby,,,,,you cried to randi when you were in trouble..and you have nothing more meaningful than than the craziness of a shleppy shlocky parents taught me about useless anarchists like yourself.....lucky you for not being able to be a productive educator and having all of this time to write this junk

Anonymous said...

Why can't Unity lackeys just argue the points? Such a troll...

Norm said...

Are you enthralled with the sizes of your classes, which are 30% higher than the rest of NY State?

Do you find it scintillating that the UFT leaders have been futzing with court cases on class size instead of gaining parent support for demands that class size reductions be part of contract negotiations?

Are you euphoric that Randi Weingarten said the CFE funds would reduce class size ignoring that BloomKlein said they would use no more than 2% of the CFE funds for class size reduction?

Does it make you jubilant when you hear BloomKlein talk about accountability and say class size is not a factor?

Are you rapturous that not one politician supposedly allied with the UFT calls on BloomKlein to be held accountable themselves when scores are low and class sizes are high?

jameseterno said...

Norm you should have added these to the quiz.

Anonymous said...

Not even worth taking. Vote Yes!

Anonymous said...

Hey Norm how would you respond if under "productivity" Kleinberg asked for it to come out of salaries? I guess your tactict would be to simply "demand class size reductions". Obvioulsy that is all it takes and they will listen. Moreover, as much support as we need from the parents which we do why would we want parents to dictate part of our working conditions?

The reality is that we already have tremendous alliances with parents and they realize things like class size, the importance of the teacher's voice with issues in the classroom and adequate funding for school facilities and supplies takes political weight not just "demanding" it.

As a retiree, apparently you just want us inservice teacher to vote down a good contract because you hate Randi and that is all.

Anonymous said...

Jeff. You missed a question.

Is there anything ICE will NOT distort, make up, or completely lie about?

Anonymous said...

James and jeff still don't comment about all of their protests at the negotiating committee and the Ex.Bd. meetings dealing with contract demands and strategy. how come?

Anonymous said...

What is Joe Mudgett smoking? I'm assuming he is not a math teacher because his numbers of what actually occurred at the DA on 11/8 is completely off. About 35 people voted against the contract proposal to go to the membership versus 1200 supporting it NOT 300 against. As for the amendment for the DR proposal it was not even close although it was more than the 35 from before.

Smokem' if you got 'em.

Anonymous said...

Your cynicism is sad. And you guys want us to turn to YOU as leaders?

jameseterno said...

Hey Norm there could be a question on class size loopholes still being in the contract. This is turning into a test more than a quiz.

Also, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit should soon be settled with a new governor. That would be a good source of funds to reduce class size once and for all by contract. Can't get it if you don't try. It certainly doesn't help if you agree to extend the worst contract ever for three more years.

Anonymous said...

Now james you want to link CFE, a 12 year old lawsuit, that is going to be determined by courts and politicians in Albany to our contract? Get real! For that we use political capital and COPE funds. Our contract should be controlled by us, the 100,000 members not them!

Anonymous said...

Hey why does Norm have his own blog now? Have you been relegated to the outer worlds again?

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone from Unity should explain why we should be happy with the extended day, not being able to grieve an observation or letter, working a longer school day and year because I really don't understand the joy of it all.

And does anyone have the statistics of how many "senior" (20-30 years) teachers who applied through the open market were hired?

Anonymous said...

I know of experienced people whose schools were closed who are now working as ATR's. It's a crying shame but the people from Unity who have blitzed this blog will probably tell us that it's wonderful to lose our seniority rights.

Anonymous said...

When they say the ATRs are happy, and don't bother proving it.
I can only imagine they means those who would retire at the end of this year.

What a great gift the DoE and UFT has given them. They receive a top salary without any of the responsibilites. Who wouldn't want that job! I therefore would love to volunteer to become an ATR my last year too.

And for those of you who are old enough to remember that it wasn't too long ago Unity was pushing the school-based option plan for transfer. Even though it basically took away the right of transfer, at least teachers were empowered in the decision-making process. Now all decisions are made by the chancellor including arbitration.

Anonymous said...

It is a lousy job being a teacher these days when you can get pushed around by kids and bosses and can't do anything about it. Randi says we're doing well though so it must be so. NOT! I'm voting no.

Take your bonus and do you know what with it.

nyc educator said...

It's remarkable that once again the Unity folks indulge in name-calling and ad hominem attacks while utterly evading the issues. Incredible that such unimaginative folks run the union.

It's tough, of course, to defend the "more work for less pay" strategery.

Nice checklist. Very comprehensive.

Anonymous said...

If you are claiming that ATR's are miserable, isn't the burden of proof on you not the other way around?

Anonymous said...

what did you say about the burden of proof?

Anonymous said...

What year is this?

Obviously some people are stuck in the past. So much talk seems to come about a contract that was ratified in 2005. The question is what should we do about this contract in 2006? It and the strategy to achieve it was overwhelmingly approved by the DA first in Feb. 2006, then in June 2006 and again in Oct. and Nov. 2006. The 350 person negotiating committee also passed it all along the way and both ICE and TJC people were there. They also voted for it until the last day when it was all done. Perhaps they were reminiscing about 2005. Perhaps they forgot to protest during the process. Perhaps their idea of leadership is to fight something from the past and have no vision for the future. Perhaps they need to put things in perspective and admit they are desperately dumbfounded.

Anonymous said...

My thinking on this is pretty straightforward, and I agree in great degree with NYC. If you voted against the last contract, as 40% of us did, you have no reason to vote for this contract, because they are identical except for a few things:

---a 7% pay hike that is less than a COLA increase.

---uncertainty about whether we'll have to pay for health insurance, which would further erode the 7%

---not even a mention of the 25/55 mentioned in the last contract. With Spitzer coming in, you'd think that would be a no brainer.

Even if you voted yes last time around, you should vote no this time unless you think the givebacks of the last 7 years were a good thing, because a yes vote tacitly endorces that draconian document.

Simply put, this contract contains all the poisonous provisions of the last contract, with the opportunity to earn even less after inflation. Such a deal.
Just A Cog | 11.13.06 - 7:11 pm | #


Anonymous said...

I'll chime in as a parent. I would support a strike, mostly because I've taken the time to read beyond the favorable press the Mayor gets with his world-class PR machine. The UFT simply is no match for him. Take the issue of parity with the suburbs. That seems to be a big goal. But teaching in the suburbs has got to be far easier than teaching in NYC. In the corporate model the Mayor likes, the people who have the most challenging jobs get paid more. The people driving results get paid more. NYC teachers should get paid more than any other teachers.

The other problem is the new liberal-progressive viewpoint that says education policy, the latest teaching methodology, modified work rules, merit pay, etc. is what matters. Joe William's column today criticizing the contract in the News is a prime example. Somewhere along the way it became very progressive to say the teachers are the problem.

Better pay to attract and retain good teachers and a better environment for learing, especially class size would make a big difference. We hear these points often on this blog. The problem is we don't hear them from our politicians or see them in the press.
Patrick | 11.13.06 - 7:15 pm | #

Anonymous said...

We must vote no for no other reason than a message to Randi and Unity that we are not sheep. Their blatant disregard for the intelligence of the membership is insulting. Sadly many of the sheep simply follow along.

Unfortunately I think getting any of the bigger rights back we lost in the last contract is unrealistic, but shouldn't we at least try? I wish we weren't in this predicament in the first place, but we are. I think it's just a matter of simple psychology. For Randi and Unity to go in and say they want our rights back would be an admition of a mistake. Anyone who's ever taking as little as Psychology 101 can tell you people will support a bad decision or point of view to their death rather than change it or admit a mistake.

We need new leadership which can go in and say "Hey guess what? No more of this BS. We want everything back!!'. Of course the city will laugh and say no way, but at least we are starting negotiations from a starting point, which favors us.

One last thought. I'm simply amazed at how out of touch Randi and Unity are with the working teachers. At a minimum this contract should have fixed Veteran's day and shortened training days to not include the 37 1/2 mins. These are two small things, which my gut says Bloomie would have happily tossed us without any fight, but our Union is so inept and out of touch they never even thought about it.
Unitymustgo | 11.14.06 - 7:36 am | #

Anonymous said...

Unitymustgo--great point. To my knowledge, we have never started negotiations by asking for the moon, and we've paid dearly as a result. At least Klein was smart enough to ask for an 8 page contract so he could bargain from a position of strength.

Why didn't we ask for 20% pay hikes and the reversal of all the previous givebacks as our starting point? Then we might have gotten something.
Just A Cog

Science Sam said...

Jeff, What's up with these naked distortions here in your main post. To take just one distortion: observations.

On one hand you mislead with this sarcastic line: “Are you glad that administration can write unfair/inaccurate observation reports and you can't grieve them?”

Right there, you bate the uninformed, even though you must know teachers almost never were successful with observations at grievances And you know why too, probably - arbitrators don’t second guess principals. They aren’t educators. At my school, we saw those losses at arbitration, first hand.

But right after wailing about the loss of (pointless) observation grievances, you disparage the better system that’s replaced it. You disparage a program that will actually get an independent educational arbitrator into the classroom so he just might override the administrator. . Independent evaluation is a big gain.

So, we lose ineffective arbitration (grieving letters) and we gain a shot at effective arbitration (independent observer) and you tell everyone it is a loss.

There is something so shrieky here. The contract's not about you. Let go already. It's degrading.

Anonymous said...

Unitymustgo: It is pretty insulting to say that everyone who disagrees with you are simply "sheep". My voice is/was important when I voted at both the DA in Oct and Nov. The teachers in my school are proud to have someone be a voice for them at the DA. I'm sorry if that isn't enough democracy for you but, your elitist few is telling.

Anonymous said...

Patrick made a great point about class size and the lack of care from this administration and politicians in general. for what ever reason some here are delusional about what we could actually get.

As for the 20%, without the time for money swap, we did increase our pay almost 35% in 5 years. Isn't that what you mean?

Anonymous said...

Science Sam,

Your blog says the same thing you do. Absolutely Nothing

What gets me is that no one on your side even acknowledges that both contracts were seriously lacking.

How many grievances have been won under the new abritrator. I seem to recall we did pretty well when we went to abritration.

40% disagreed with your point of view. That's a lot of people to ignore.

Anonymous said...

"this contract should have fixed Veteran's day and shortened training days to not include the 37 1/2 mins. These are two small things, which my gut says Bloomie would have happily tossed us without any fight"


First Veteran's Day is not linked to our contract it has to do with federal law.

Secondly, "Bloomie would have happily tossed us without any fight" obviously shows that you have not been around here for the past 5 years. he would not have "tossed" anything away that is as big as that and long term. All of that "extra time" was a swap for money, but I guess you would be willing to let that go. I have bills to pay and don't see it as the worst thing in the world.

Anonymous said...

Where are James and Jeff? Please stop writing as "anonymous" so often. You use to write her often and took pride(?) in what you said. Now you are making it seem like more people support you than actually do.

Anonymous said...

Vote no and I guess we can wait for this:

NY Dailynews

Johnny got a raw deal


Mayor Bloomberg and Randi Weingarten flashed smiles this week after an unprecedented early contract deal between the city and the 80,000-strong teachers union she leads.

Her smiles were understandable - the deal will enrich lots of teachers, many of whom deserve it. His were not. This agreement was not a real step forward for the city's 1.1 million schoolkids.

No collective bargaining agreement in America has been as closely scrutinized as the New York City teachers contract. Before the last deal - struck just before the 2005 mayoral election - pressure yielded some serious change, including a longer school day and potentially significant changes in work rules, including curbs on the rights of senior teachers to "bump" novices out of their jobs.

But rather than build on and solidify that progress, this time the headlines were all about money and politics, not reform. Top annual teacher salaries will rise to over $100,000 by May 2008. Minimum salaries will jump from $42,000 to $45,000. Yes, there were some small work-rule changes around the edges - but nothing to warrant bold type.

By cutting such a deal so early rather than keeping pressure on, Bloomberg has made a statement loud and clear: Only contract nips and tucks are needed from here on out. Major new work-rule changes are unnecessary.

He couldn't be more wrong.

Under the current contract, not only will school leaders continue to be prevented from rewarding excellence within the teaching force - nothing approaching real performance pay appears in the contract - but the agreement fails to even recognize excellence as a concept. The best the city's schoolchildren can hope for in a teacher is one who has been rated "satisfactory" by their principal.

Yes, that's the highest official teacher rating you can get, under the new contract. A bar that low is usually reserved for limbo.

Satisfactory may have cut it in the 1980s and '90s, when expectations - and outcomes - for public education in the city were depressingly low. Mayoral control was supposed to change that.

The way teacher evaluations work, only about one out of every 80 teachers gets an "unsatisfactory" rating. Changes were made in the last contract to try to correct that - by making it harder for teachers to challenge a "U" rating. By agreeing to the new deal so soon, Bloomberg didn't even give his school managers the chance to see how those provisions were really working.

The union has been an eager partner with a small "Lead Teacher" program that allows successful teachers to mentor others for additional pay. But these are still baby steps toward changing a culture that has been conditioned to prize mediocrity. Pushing these types of pilot programs in even bigger directions is where Bloomberg could have made his mark in terms of enhancing the interaction between kids and great teachers.

After giving raises of up to 45% for some teachers since gaining control of the schools in 2002, Bloomberg has squandered his chance to go down as the man who reintroduced the idea of excellence to public education.

Williams is author of "Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education."

Originally published on November 11, 2006

jameseterno said...

Jeff and I have lives; we don't blog all day and all night. But I am checking so hi everyone.


That's all I have to say right now.

jameseterno said...

One more thing: Vote no and we have the pattern to protect us. 30 years of precedent guarantees it for us without givebacks. it looks as though you are engaging in the fear mongering that you accuse us of.

nyc educator said...

It looks like it?

It's what they did last time.

Anonymous said...

Nice quiz. Don't think Randi will pass it.

Anonymous said...

The "work rules" that were instituted in the last contract are just too far draconian to continue. The reality is that within the same theoretically 5-day work week, we are actually working one more work day when you factor in our infamous C-6 assignments: tutoring (the only duty beneficial for kids), hall patrol,(where you can see how the other half lives; at least those assigned can get some work done if they are sitting in the hallway), writing college recommendations, and all the other insulting and demeaning generally non-teaching assignments. The difference between now and the pre Giuliani days is that I think you had a duty every 3rd semester; now, it is yours forever, day after day, year after year. Now factor in all that extra time, and we are working over 30 more days a year. That's more than a month's worth of school days!! How come Unity isn't doing the math for us? No salary is worth the stress and exhaustion this is causing everyone. I see even young new teachers looking exhausted after 2 1/2 months of this routine with only one day off since September 5th. These are heinous working conditions, and there should have been at least an attempt to include this issue in our negotiations.
Ellie | 11.15.06 - 5:33 pm | #

Anonymous said...

"It feels like April! It’s only November"

Vote no

Anonymous said...

From the Take Back our Union Blog.

Some years they [unity]get you nothing and tell you it's all there is. But they get something in return. When the city's rolling in money you wonder why you took nothing. Then when the city has money they get you something and ask you to be glad they didn't take anything away.

No matter what, though, they never get a good contract.

They have to go, the sooner the better.

November 15, 2006 1:23:00 PM PST

17 more years said...

My DR (who is supposedly on the negotiating committee) claimed that Election Day and BQ Day were offered up as instructional days (they are both PD days now, as we all well know) in exchange for the 2 days in August. This was turned down. I asked why they didn't work harder to try to get them back, considering that we have nearly a year left on our current contract. I never got a reasonable answer.

Anonymous said...

Copying form other blogs - desperation.

Anonymous said...

James: If "we have the pattern to protect us" with "30 years of precedent guarantees it for us without givebacks" then why vote no now. According to you nothing will change anyway. And even you admit that they we will never get more than the pattern. That is fear mongering.

Yes I think!

jameseterno said...

We should campaign to get back the givebacks. The DC 37 pattern sets the starting point for negotiations without givebacks.

Some of the givebacks from the last contract like Circular 6 won't cost the city anything to give us back. Some like placing ATR's and excessed teachers before hiring new teachers would actually save the city money.

Pushing through a three year extension of the current terrible contract and not even attempting to do better is not very smart.

The so called gains aren't really gains at all. The provision on corporal punishment that says you don't get a letter for your file if charges are unsubstantiated and the new committee on reducing paperwork on top of the two we already have could have easily been dropped and we could have asked to fix the ATR provision.

However, the whole thing was so rushed that nobody had a chance to do anything. Now that we are questioning things, we are attacked.

Also, holding out for those two days before Labor Day certainly would not have taken that much either if that's all we were demanding for there to be a deal. Yes the pattern would have been there and we could have gotten some things back too.

Anonymous said...

Jeff and Norm:

You are STILL losing the debate on your own blog, even after you have issued your plaintive cries to everyone on the ICE listserv to post more comments here.

It may have something to do with the fact that you haven't been able to make one telling argument against ratifying this contract.

But, go ahead, complain away.

jameseterno said...

How about the givebacks from last year continuing until late 2009? If we ratify what basically is an extnesion to last year's pretty awful Contract, then don't complain when things get worse in the schools. They are bad enough now.

Anonymous said...

You are right James if we vote this down now Klein and Bloomberg will find it in their heart to jsut give us everything you want "back". (Of course you don't want to admit that the Negotiating committee did actually "demand" to do something about those days before labor day because that would go against your agenda).

jameseterno said...

That's why we have to organize and fight. That's why I joined the negotiating committee; not to be a rubber stamp. When management says no, I don't believe in saying ok. I believe that is when a union has to mobilize and organize. Isn't that why we have a union?

Anonymous said...

So when you were at the negotiating committee wht didn't you say something? Isn't voting with the comittee evrytime except for the final proposal rubber stamping (or desperation)?

Destroy UNITY said...

Do you call weakly asking for those two days back in August doing something? How about the right to grieve?

Anonymous said...

Destroy Unity is 100% right. We need the right to grieve material in the file again.

Anonymous said...

I would still love to know how many members of the committee spoke out for the takebacks and why their voices were not heard?

Anonymous said...

If they said anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Is there any possibility of getting ballot envelopes that are not "literally" transparent this time around? We all know the process is expertly, professionally and 100% legally processed. However transparent ballot envelopes give an unclear impression.

Anonymous said...

Call the UFT and ask.