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?