Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BILLION DOLLAR DAYS OFF

Close analysis of the agreement between the city and the UFT creating a new pension tier shows that the city has once again taken the UFT to the cleaners. While this is nothing new, it is still depressing when it happens over and over again.

The sad details show that we are giving the city back $2 billion over twenty years. My source for this is the Mayor's office. On top of this, add the health care savings that the Municipal Labor Committee just gave back that amounted to $550 million over the next few years. What do we win in exchange for billions in savings for the city? The two weekdays before Labor Day will be added to summer vacation.

These professional development days were useless and it's fine to get them added back to our summer break. The agreement also says we may return to work in September the same day that the kids come back which is ridiculous. By working it in this way, the city can correctly say we haven't shortened the school year. However, this potentially absurd situation is not the worst part of this deal.

The two added vacation days won't cost the city a dime as they are not giving us any additional money. However, in yet another indignity, we will be forced to pay for our two days off at a rate of 1.08% in additional funding according to the agreement. .5% will come from lowering the interest rate on the fixed TDA from 8.25% to 7% and raising the amount of years future teachers must work before they can retire with health benefits from ten to fifteen. The other .58%, according to the agreement, will "be addressed in the upcoming round of collective bargaining for the successor agreement to the current agreement which expires October 31, 2009." Translation, our raise will be lowered. What about the new pension tier savings? Won't that money be applied to pay for the added vacation days? The answer is no.

The new Tier V, where yet to be hired teachers will have to pay 4.85% in pension contributions for 27 years, is a free gift to the city from the UFT that we get nothing back for accepting.

When you are enjoying those extra days off on September 3 and 4, just call them the billion dollar days. That's roughly the amount that each day will end up costing us in the long run. For that kind of gift, couldn't we get back just a little bit more of our professional dignity?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The amazing thing here is that the UFT hails this as a victory when, in fact, any teacher worth their salt is coming in on those 2 days to set up their classrooms and become involved in their workplace (community). In essence, the DOE gave up the two days that most people come in for anyways when teachers were getting paid. Clearly, the most beneficial solution to all would have been to eliminate Election Day and June 28 (THAT'S RIGHT, THE DAY AFTER THE LAST DAY FOR STUDENTS THAT TEACHERS ARE NOW REQUIRED TO SHOW UP FOR). PATHETIC! Let's hope that people come to their senses here and allow at least one day for set-up, meetings, etc. before school starts.

Anonymous said...

Let it fall apart. Don't let them guilt you into coming back. If there's nothing for the kids to do on day one and there is chaos, don't worry be happy.

Anonymous said...

Chaos on day one is not our problem.

Julie W said...

To Anon. 9:43 - each teacher has to follow his gut.

But, as I said over at EdNotes on this same issue.

The union is only as strong as we are willing to make it. When it is patently so misguided at management level, members have to start thinking politically and strategically for themselves.

Grumbling to each other when we come into school on our own time before Labor Day won't do a damn thing. The effect of chaos would be much louder.

But, the real work will not be setting up our rooms in the hours before school starts. It'll be how to prevent the press from seeing that chaos as the fault of teachers.

Arthur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NYC Educator said...

I take exception to the assertion that any teacher worth his salt is coming in two days early. I'm not. Let them pay me if they think my salt is worth something.

Of course, I haven't had my own classroom in maybe 20 years, so decorating is out of the question anyway.

Were I an elementary school teacher, I think I'd get the kids to help, and let them see what could be done with a blank slate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with NYC Educator.

Anonymous said...

Our principal threatened us. Told us our classrooms better be ready at 8:02 September 8th. What are we to do?

Anonymous said...

Stand up and file a grievance.

17 (really 15) more years said...

We banded together and decided that we will not come back early. Our rooms are papered and as neat as we can make them for now. We kept items we need for the first day of school handy. We will have the kids put the furniture in place during homeroom.

If we come back early, the DOE will turn around and say "See? We gave them the days and they came in anyway".

Anonymous said...

That's a fantastic way to fight this nonsense.

NYC Educator said...

James,

Could you please explain what the .58% figure signifies? .58% of what?

Unitymustgo! said...

???What do we do when we return to school that Tuesday and the Principal has crammed 2 days of PD into 1 and has scheduled at best less than an hour to work on classroom set up, if any time at all??? That is the situation I already know I'm heading back to in Sept. My Principal held a meeting yesterday to explain the date changes and how she now only has 1 day to cram in PD. She did not sound like she understood that Tuesday was to be used "first and foremost for preparation of the classroom..." Just speculation on my part but I'll guess most Principals across the city will miss this as well.

Unitymustgo!

JamesEternoIn!

James Eterno said...

.58% is coming from the money that could be used to pay for a salary increase in the next contract. It's pretty simple actually.

James Eterno said...

Unity must go your chapter should show the agreement to the principal. We just linked to it so you have the whole letter.