Saturday, November 04, 2006



by James Eterno

ICE has no problem with the economic demands which the UFT Delegate Assembly endorsed for us, in coalition with other city unions, to advocate for in bargaining with the City. The economic demands, if achieved, would be a decent settlement and might actually even beat the rate of inflation. We voted for the economic demands at the the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly.

We also believed that the very limited non-economic demands that were put forward last month were part of our coalition strategy to work to get us a gain equal to DC 37's workers no longer having to reside in the city. (We already have that benefit.) We didn't think these demands were the complete list for the whole Contract and we don't recall ever taking a vote anywhere that authorized Randi Weingarten to close a final deal on an entire new Contract. However, with authorization to negotiate only an economic package, it appears that Randi is working to close a complete deal on a new Contract, not just a salary increase. This is a classic bait and switch. Bait us with money and then switch to make it a negotiation for the whole Contract so we can never talk about trying to win back what we gave away in the last round of bargaining. That's not what we sent her to do.

The DA never voted to authorize the negotiating committee to negotiate a complete Contract deal.

Our position is that we should attempt to get an economic package together as soon as we can and later work to achieve all of the non economic advancements we need such as fixing the excessing provision so excessed teachers get placed before new hires, winning back the right to file grievances for unfair letters in the file, ending cafeteria duty, getting rid of school in August, etc... If the money is settled, we could even ask for lower class sizes as we could battle with the Board of Ed and the issue would not be salary increases so we could easily garner public support. Imagine a contract fight that was not about money. We will be bargaining for better learning conditions for the students.

Unfortunately, the Unity bait and switch strategy may get us to a finished Contract before we know it and that would be a disaster for all of us. Forcing educators and students to endure two or three more years with this Contract's awful working conditions may be the death knell for many NYC schools. By the time the Contract ends, the UFT will be more of a dues collecting organization than a union and tens of thousands of educators may just give up all hope.

Finally, for those who say that we have to settle the Contract now or Mayor Bloomberg may pull the money, this is non sense. The DC 37 pattern 6% over 20 months without givebacks will be there for us. There are 30 years of precedent that says when one union sets a pattern for a settlement, then other unions are guaranteed that same pattern. We could send a kindergarten student in to negotiate and all he/she would have to do is present the DC 37 deal to the city and say, "Me too." We don't need to pay Randi and her team to do that.


Anonymous said...

Will the teachers ever wake up and see that their union leaders are taking the easy road to a contract so they can go to sleep and not worry as people in the schools continue to work in terrible surroundings.

Anonymous said...

It's fortunate that we have the wonderful forum of Edwize to discuss such matters.

Anonymous said...

Edwize has been on vacation for almost 2 weeks--and probably until the next contract vote.

At our "contract" meeting we were told LIF is a dead issue--along with all of our other dead issues.
The new contract will focus on safety and less paper work and of course more money. This is what the rank and file want most according to those surveys that were sent back.

So we can scream all we want, but once again this next contract is a

Anonymous said...

I thought that pension preservation was #1 on the list. I wonder if Randi still will prevent a motion in the DA prohibiting negotiating away our pensions and healthcare benefits.

Anonymous said...

All of these issues will be dead issues unless rank and file members urge the union to fight for us. The sense of resignation astounds me.

Anonymous said...

Resignation?? Did you not read the comments on Edwize last year??
I know my school voted the contract down, and teachers I meet tell me they did too. So either the vote was rigged or the Randi spin was better at selling us down the river.

Randi doesn't want takebacks because that would mean she was wrong to begin with, and that's not the spin from Edwize. Every giveback was an act of kindness according to them.

If teachers are fed up with the last contract, then they should vote Unity out!

Anonymous said...

The new contract is Randi's final gift to the Mayor! If she is voted out of office, she will become the Mayor's new right hand in education matters. And, she should be! Who helped him get what he wanted more than she has? It's time for her to move on and start working publicly for Kleinberg instead of behind the scenes as she has been.

Fed-up said...

The teachers in my school are so angry about the current contract. We don't even have time to use the bathroom during the day. When passing colleagues in the hall, the constant comment is, "It feels like April!" It's only early November. The weight of the workload and schedule are crushing. We are very angry about the current conditions, and the fact that we can't do much to complain since most of our rights to grieve and to participate in the decision-making processes of the school are gone. The older teachers are afraid- under the current system they can suddenly become "senile" and unable to teach. The younger teachers don't understand. Many don't care to- the job's not that bad for a year or two. The constant revolving door prevents the students from learning. Whole classes are guinea pigs as large numbers of new teachers "experiment" with what works. Is Randi so foolish as to believe she can negotiate a new contract and make us "feel better" so that our minds change and we caste our vote for her? People already feel locked in. A few dollars will not tke that trapped feeling away. She should be ashamed of herself. Once again the membership is getting screwed.

first time blogger said...

I'm a first-time blogger. I have been wanting to thank you for all the work you do. Recently, in an ICE Blog about the elections at Forest Hills HS, Randi was compared to the infamous Katherine Harris. Ms. Harris played a pivital role in stealing the 2000 Presidential Election. She has done well for herself in the last six years. Now, she cannot win the Senate seat she wants so desperately because even her friends can't spin her record. Now, it's time to compare Randi to Ms. Harris once again. She's done well for herself since the last Contract. But now, even her friends will not be able to spin her record with the new Contract she is about to negotiate. Leaving us stand with all the give-backs in place will not help Randi in her re-election bid. Randi, while on an all-expense paid trip to Florida to visit the retirees, stop in and have coffee with Katherine.

Anonymous said...

The Dems and her good friend Hillary will always have a place for her.

Anonymous said...

Told ya it was a DONE DEAL!!!!!!!!!

I've been in this system too long not to know how Randi operates.

Now it's up to the vote, and I predict the new teachers will carry this travesty too along with future retirees.

For too long I've been asking the opposition to take a proactive stand and start a public relations campagin against Randi with any funds they could raise.

Instead we got stupid jokes. Well the joke is on all of us.

Anonymous said...

I can hear the ICE fleas scurrying around to find an issue. Sad! We should see a new headline here, "Unity Hacks Outflank ICE lice."

F*CK UNITY! said...

Randi's "done deal" really sucks. Instead of having one more year of this shitty contract, we now have three more! That means three more years of LIF with no grievance rights, no placement for veteran teachers forced into the reserve pool, extended days, extended years, hallway and potty patrol, lunch duty, micromanagement up the wazoo, loss of seniority rights, and the probable re-election of that psychotic witch!

Anonymous said...

It looks okay for the anti-union piece of shit Fellowes!

Anonymous said...

When will the rank and file have a union?
I know, I know the rank and file had their chance during the summer vacation to fill out an oddly worded survey. It would have been nice to have time to discuss some of the issues the survey raised with other members. It would have been nice to have time to think about, maybe even learn about, those issues. It would have been nice to have had a say in whether the rank and file wanted to or should join the "coalition”.
It would be nice to have a voice that is heard by the people we vote for to represent “us”. It would be nice if we could get back some of the givebacks from the past contracts. It would be nice if the retirees did not have a say in present contracts.
It will be nice when the rank and file stops voting for people to think for them and starts thinking for themselves. It will be nice when the rank and file starts telling their representatives in our union what they expect from them and what they will not tolerate from them.
It will be great when the rank and file has a union.