Monday, August 17, 2009

ICE Called it Right as 4%+4% Pattern Raises for Next UFT Contract are in the City Budget

Our Contract expires on October 31, 2009. Negotiations are about to start for a new one but in reality there might not be much to discuss unless the UFT is willing to push to get back the seniority and other rights we gave away in 2005. (highly unlikely)

The NY Post, of all places, has exposed that the city has budgeted 4% raises for UFT members into its budget for the next two years because of pattern bargaining.

Pattern bargaining is when one city labor union settles with the city on a financial package for a round of collective bargaining and that sets a pattern so other city unions can go in and say, "Me too."

It's the way muncipal labor contracts have been negotiated for decades. New UFT President Michael Mulgrew will claim a great victory if we get the 4%+4% pattern that every other union has already received. ICE-TJC can go in and get the pattern too, as could a Kindergarten kid.

This blog talked about the pattern for our next Contract already being set as far back as 2007 and last year we emphasized how events have not changed in terms of the pattern even with the financial crisis.




The UFT was unable to beat pattern bargaining in the nineties and earlier this decade when our salaries fell way behind what teachers in surrounding districts earn. We were able to bridge the gap with the suburbs a little only by agreeing to major contractual concessions such as the longer day and other givebacks that robbed us of much of our professional dignity in 2005.

In Monday's Post the Mayor provided some clarification about our probable 8% increases: "It would be irresponsible when all of the other unions have gotten [similar raises] for us not to put the pattern into the budget," he said.

"Things are going to be different down the road as we continue to talk to the UFT."

What that means is anyone's guess but I would surmise that since other unions aren't conceding givebacks now, then the UFT won't either. That is unless we want something other than the pattern.

However, the next Contract will expire in 2011 and Bloomberg could be reelected by then and Mulgrew could be established as well. At that time, look out folks. The city's financial situation might not be much better than it is today.

2011 has the potential to be a repeat of the 2005 givebacks. All the more reason why we need to be able to stand up as a real labor union.

Now is the time to go back to union basics and organize for the inevitable difficult battle that lies ahead.


Anonymous said...

The sky is falling!

8 track is back!

Betamax-we cn rebuild it, we have the technology!

I want my MTV!!

Anonymous said...

4% and 4% is hardly the sky is falling.

Anonymous said...

Wow, on the job for only a couple of weeks and Mulgrew got us the pattern! He deserves being appointed, he was destined to the job!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you called it!

You must have been following the news and watching other NYC unions just like the rest of us.

Try not to pull your rotator cuffs patting yourselves on the back soooooooo much!

Anonymous said...

No, ICE is not claiming to be brilliant. We just don't want to hear how tough it will be to negotiate a contract in these tough economic times. Anybody can get the pattern.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Mulgrew in his letter saying how it will be pretty easy to get the pattern.

Julie W said...

Anon 7:27:
What will it take for people to understand that what the prez of the UFT says, whether it's RW or MM, is not to be taken at face value? They write from the political heart of this union, not from where the rest of us are.

Their first goal is to stay in power, which means they need to keep the membership fairly docile and not expecting much. After that, they don't fight for much more than salary and benefits. (And they spend a fair amount of energy expanding the membership for more dues dollars and political considerations.)

It's so clear that all the rest is just wampum — from teacher autonomy, to high-stakes testing, class size, administrator abuse, seniority rights, merit pay, the grievance/arbitration process, etc.

When these serious issues are reduced to bargaining chips instead of hardline necessities of the job, the profession self destructs and in many cases children are harmed. If the union cared about any of them, we would have seen some lines in the sand by now.

If you are talking about Mulgrew's recent letter to new teachers, I'd like to look at that for a minute, if only to highlight the claptrap:

MM: "Remember that the union is here to help you do your job." — If anything, they've actually made our jobs infinitely harder, and with the teaching of the 37 min., longer.

MM: "Too many young, promising teachers get discouraged and leave the system, and that’s bad for the profession and bad for kids." — He doesn't dare mention that it only gets worse: Way too many vets leave the system also, people who are fully certified and have long years in the classroom. They too have been prevented from doing their job and intimidated. That's worse for the profession and for the kids.

MM: "The members of this union are always there to help each other." — A bold distortion of the truth, since RW gave up the right to defend U-rated probationers (they can be fired at will) and allowed an immasculated grievance system that can't possibly deal with volume of contract violations. In fact, new teachers shouldn't even think of grieving anything before they get tenure.

MM: As for "fighting for your right to teach and not just 'teach to the test' ” — Hardly. The merit pay plan RW allowed into the contract is based on these tests, and she's crowed publicly whenever there's a hint of improvement. When you buy into high stakes testing as this union does, you buy into all the prep that goes along with it.

I'd be surprised if Mulgrew actually wrote this letter. The only thing they've changed in here is the signature.

Anonymous said...

Great point about only the signature being different.

CapoisLaMort said...

I am willing to bet this letter was written by rw before she fled the mess she's leaving behind.

Anonymous said...

The letter does read as if Randi could have written it.

Anonymous said...

I am not a member of unity, I have written before. Having once been the "opposition" are realize how easy it is to attack, sentences, words, letters, having changed the focus of my political work and attempted although difficult to infiltrate, I find myself more effective and in touch with our members.

Please accept my apologies, any of us that are engaged in the "debate" are doing it for a variety of reasons...and most of them good reasons. When we realize that fundamentally we are mostly, I say mostly, aligned on the issues, it is the strategies that differ.

Let's say we draw a line in the sand, who in your school will follow you out on a picket line? Do you have your ear to the ground on what the new teachers feel about their jobs, salaries, paperwok, etc.

Again, please accept my apologies...just have had a dose of reality having been an organizer my entire life. thanks for listening

Anonymous said...

To Anon above, well said.

Which teachers in any given school would risk jumping on a picket line? Not many! And that's for a multitude of reasons.

When you say "that fundamentally we are mostly...aligned on the issues" that is also correct. That's why when GEM's Seung Ok infiltrated a DA he was not invited to, nor was he supposed to be at, he was wrong and made a novice mistake that should not be celebrated. He interrupted Randi's farewell speech in a disrespsctful fashion with press in the room. Regardless of differences within UFT bodies, it's important that we stand together united in situations where teh press is watching.

Anonymous said...

why not propose a multipartisan group of caucuses (small and evenly represented) to have a agree what we agree upon and discuss what we disagree. I am not a member of any caucus...but my life lessons have taught me that infiltrate influences. If this is appealing, I know that it can happen.

Anonymous said...

Should a caucus like ICE that represnts less than 1% of membership have an equal say with other groups?

Anonymous said...

Fanatics representing an extreme minority should not have as much say.

Anonymous said...

You prefer those who make over $1/4 million to have most of the say. I'll take rank and file educators any day.

Unitymustgo! said...

I guess under the above viewpoint all political parties other than the Democrats & Republicans might as well fold up their tents. No room for alternative voices in that person's world.