Thursday, June 03, 2010


Contract negotiations between the UFT and the city are at impasse and a state mediator is attempting to bridge differences. In the midst of this process, Mayor Bloomberg on his own decided yesterday that in order to plug part of the Department of Education’s budget gap that he would be imposing a two year wage freeze on teachers. To me this is merely an accounting trick that will have little bearing on actual contract negotiations. With the so called savings, however, Mayor Bloomberg has decided that there will be no need for layoffs of teachers at this time. Other cuts to education will still go into effect unless we can restore funding from Albany and DC. Step and longevity increases will continue; these are not raises.

A close look at the city’s budget the last three years shows that two years ago the city set aside money for UFT raises for 2009 and 2010 of four percent each year since other city unions had already been awarded those same increases. The city did this based on pattern bargaining where one city union settles on a raise with the city and that sets a pattern for other city workers.

The pattern of two years worth of four percent increases was set by DC 37 in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Last year the city lowered the projected increase for UFT members in its spending plan to annual raises of two percent and now they are decreasing the projection to zero. Can they get away with this? For now the answer is yes as we have no recourse other than to go to fact finding arbitration which is non binding and did not serve us well in 2005. Sadly, our union is not strong enough to have the leverage to stop the mayor. On the other hand, the city has argued for years that pattern bargaining should prevail as the best way to settle labor contracts so they seem to be completely abandoning their traditional bargaining position. This will play out over the long haul so nothing here is set in stone.

In terms of the publicity campaign, the Department of Education for now has backed off their threat to lay off senior people but they still put out a deceptive statement with their no layoff decree. The DOE stated that since step, longevity and education increases are still in effect, teachers will still get salary increases that will average 3%. Talk about misleading information. I have never heard other city agencies that have experience steps, such as the police, talk about advancing up steps as raises. Also, since the steps and longevity increments for teachers only go to 22 years, anyone who is more senior, like me, is truly frozen. There are thousands of us that fit this category and we are once again being treated with disrespect by our employer.

In the end, we are relieved that there won’t be layoffs but UFT members have not had a real salary increase since May 19, 2008 (the date our last contractual raise went into effect) so we have already had a two year wage freeze. We will keep you posted as more details emerge.


Anonymous said...

Since the hiring freeze is still in effect, yes, LAYOFFS ARE happening. Approximately 2-2,500 layoffs through attrition/retirement are occurring.

This is ONE-THIRD of the layoffs the Mayor originally projected.

These are jobs lost,period.

Amazing how both the UFT "leadership" and the Mayor are both only talking the "4,000 jobs saved" lingo rather than the original "6,500 jobs lost through layoff and attrition"

Anonymous said...

As usual, the mayor is two steps ahead of the UFT. Klein and the Mayor will be back after senior people again soon.

Anonymous said...

So basically, all of Kleinberg's breast beating about layoffs, layoffs, LAYOFFS, was pure bullshit. It was a trick to screw us out of a few more pennies.

Either Mulgrew is their partner, or he is a stupid shop teacher from Brooklyn.

I'd say the former. He's getting a "piece of the action" just like Randi did/does, to complete the act-the complete extermination of a large swath of middle class workers.

Anonymous said...

(cont) . . . and now Kleinberg says that there might be layoffs in today's Daily News . . . we are considred annoying rodents/pests to this Dictator . . . he hates us more than that mosquito who bites you in the middle of the night . . . but we should hate the UFT more . . . they should be considered scum by the rank and file. Mulgrew has destroyed us since he took office.

Anonymous said...

I think that Mulgrew is just plain stupid. He always get outfoxed by BloomKlein.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Mulgrew and the rest of the UFT leadership are not that bright. I don't think they are that smart to be in on all of this. They inherited the structure of the UFT from Shanker and it just stays in motion.

ed notes online said...

I heard a report on channel 13 about randi and the AFT and how they are willing to give so much because they see the new teachers is the future and they don't care about those issues. The older teachers are a problem for the union and they just as the DOE want them to go away. THey are looking to appeal to TFA's.

The report compared the AFT to the NEA which is fighting the more traditional battle. How ironic.
The AFT convention in Seattle July 7 with us paying for 800 unity people to go will be very interesting if Chicago delegates with CORE win the election next Friday. These are younger teachers too and are opposed to many Randi policies. Note how the election is ignored.

ed notes online said...

I forgot read the article I posted about Randi on Norms Notes blog - and also that article on Cleveland - and nationwide attacks on seniority - led by the New Teacehr project of course.

Anonymous said...

That makes sense for them to abandon the dinosuar teachers . . . a lot less work for them, and the same, and more union dues from the younger teachers, who'll be completely undemanding and be led around by their noses for years. The more the union heads are in bed with the government, the better it will be for THEM.

Anonymous said...

Senior teachers are such a bother to the DOE. They want a decent salary and they wo't work as personal servants to principals. Oh yeah, and they tell the truth.