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.
NEW PATTERN FOR OUR NEXT CONTRACT POSSIBLE ALREADY
DESPITE THE TIMES, CIVILIAN PATTERN PROBABLY SET. PARAMETERS FOR NEXT CONTRACT MOST LIKELY IN PLACE
DELEGATE ASSEMBLY REPORT; CONTRACT GOALS DISCUSSION ON GRIEVANCE PROCESS SHOWS JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
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.