Friday, February 21, 2014


We have been talking for a while about UFT members catching up with other city unions who almost all received two 4% salary increases in the last round of bargaining with the city.  We recently found out that there is a union that is a contract behind the UFT.

The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (they guard the watershed upstate) recently came to a retroactive agreement on a contract with the city. They had not had a contract in nine years so they never received the increases other unions got back in 2005.

Now we have further details from Reuters about the arrears:

Last Thursday the city negotiated a contract with 200 police officers in the Department of Environmental Protection for the period from 2005-2008 in a package worth an average of $53,000 to $55,000 per officer, according to a spokesman for the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA).

Although a small group of workers compared to the mammoth teacher and healthcare unions, the settlement indicates a willingness on the part of de Blasio to meet at least part of workers' demands.

How will the money be paid?  We have the answer from LEEBA via Reuters:

The payment will be made in three installments over the next three years, according to a LEEBA spokesman.

This isn't a pattern but it is an important precedent.  De Blasio is respecting the pattern set long ago for that particular round of bargaining.  (Pattern bargaining: one city union settles on a salary increase [or lack thereof] for a round of bargaining and then all of the other city unions get the same financial terms basically.)

It would be shocking if the mayor didn't respect the 4% +4% pattern that DC 37 set long ago for the 2008 round of bargaining that the UFT never received.

(Please note that .58% could be forfeited due to a pension agreement from 2009 that created Tier 5 but I maintain we paid for that already by later having to swallow a vastly inferior Tier 6 for new teachers. Also, interest went down from 8.25% to 7% on UFT members' fixed TDA's. TRS members who are principals, assistant principals and CUNY teachers still receive 8.25%.  How much have UFT members saved the city already as the stock market has recovered and then some?)

Senior teachers can expect close to $30,000 paid out in three installments if the LEEBA precedent and the DC 37 pattern for that time period hold. This arrears is money the city owes us; we will get it without any interest.

The UFT and other unions are talking to the city according to Reuters:

Arthur Cheliotes, president of the Communications Workers of America, which represents around 8,500 city workers, said he had a meeting with Robert Linn, de Blasio's new director of labor relations on February 11.

"He (Linn) indicated that he is getting the older contracts that have been expired the longest dealt with, especially the teachers and principals," said Cheliotes, who said the last raises given to the city's CWA workers were in October 2009.

A spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers said preliminary talks had begun with Linn but said proper negotiations were still to get underway.
Is there money for decent raises in the next round (2011-present for teachers, longer for others)?

WBAI, in covering the mayor's budget, noted how he set aside some money.  They reported that he plans to "restore $1 billion to the city's Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund.  As well, he put $600 million into general reserve funds over the coming years.  These funds could be used to deal with the city's open labor contracts."  Does that include our arrears for 2009-2011 and also the new round from 2011 to the present?

It is fairly clear the mayor's team has a number on what they will pay for in the next round but obviously will not let that go public.

The blogger Chaz is speculating on increases for the next round (from 2011-2014) for us.  I will not agree or disagree with him because there is no pattern yet but it does start a conversation.

I would not be surprised if the UFT settles both contracts simultaneously to set the pattern for the current round that other city unions would have to follow.




Anonymous said...

I've been searching for paperwork on LEEBA agreement. How is retroactive being handled re: pension? The years that it's being paid, retroactive to when it was "earned", or not pensionable at all.

James Eterno said...

As soon as we hear something, we will post. Good question.

Sean Ahern said...

Why focus on a small minority of teachers at top pay? The UFT leadership has been dividing up the membership for years with the salary schedule. There is no reason from a labor or a pedagogical standpoint why one teacher should be paid 2x what another is paid for doing the same job. $30,000 in back pay for teachers who had 22 years of service in 2009 is a grand slam in the Unity playbook but it does nothing to build solidarity. Its a payoff for those who have suffered long under the Unity leadership and made it to the finish line. What does the senior teacher say to the junior teacher? 'I paid my dues, now its your turn.' There in a nutshell is the result of Unity's divide and rule strategy. No surprise that retirees constitute the largest voting block in UFT elections. The challenge for the rest of us is to engage the active members in the determination of Union policies, not to tell them 'pay your dues,' 'wait your turn.' I think that every member should receive the same in retro pay regardless of their step or differential status. It means less for the senior teacher and more for the new teacher. For the median salaried it would pretty much be unchanged around $18-19,000. Going forward, whatever $ is on the table for salary increases should be divided not on a % basis but as a flat rate to further compress the gap between top and bottom.

Anonymous said...

Sean, I must disagree with you. The most basic aspect of civil service employment is the longer you are on the job, the more you get paid. This fact, keeps people on the job as they have something to strive for as they progress through their career. If this aspect of the job was not present, teachers would be like McDonald's workers. Unless you are a manager, those fry cooks get paid the same amount of pay regardless of how long they have been working there. And yes, it is about "paying your dues". When I started teaching 20 years ago, I looked up to and respected the veteran teachers because I knew how much time, effort, and blood sweat and tears they put into the job. I knew that one day, I will have walked in the trenches like them and that the light at the end of the tunnel is more pay. The ed-deformers would love nothing more than to destroy the teaching CAREER. If more pay for more time on the job is eliminated, you will not see anybody sticking on the job for more than a few years.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it(to anom 1154), that is exactly what they want.

James Eterno said...

Sean-I focus on senior teachers in these postings because it is the easiest to figure out. Before people reach twenty-two years, one has to figure out what they would have made in each year and then do calculations for how much someone would be making in that year of the contract as a base and then add it on for the subsequent years with the percentage increase added on. It gets a little complicated and I am no math teacher.

People at the bottom of the scale will get plenty of back pay as will people in mid career if we get the 4% +4%. (Yes I figured it out the potential back pay for my wife too who is in the middle.)

As for the substance of your argument, where in NYS is there a salary schedule where teachers reach top pay in less than fifteen years? Civil longevity is an accepted pay practice.

I don't think NYC teachers reached top pay at Step 8B in decades.

Anonymous said...

The war on senior teachers continues with the comment here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sometimes I really wonder where this guy is coming from. Seems to have as much animosity toward senior teachers as much as the Bloomberg reformer crowd.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Hope this anti senior teacher outlook does not represent MORE.

Chaz said...


Show me any NYS civil service union that does what you ask for? There is none.

Rather than go over the other commenter answers to why, I must ask you if you are a member of E4E? That is what that ed deformer organization would propose.

Anonymous said...

So are we looking at 4-4-0-0-0?
If so, then how long might a new contract be going forward and would it have raises. Two kids, mortgage- help!

Anonymous said...

Where does it say we are going to get 0,0,0 after the 4+4? I don't see it anywhere in there.

Anonymous said...

I have often stated that I am a better pedagogue than some of my colleagues who have more time in the system, but I truly understand UNIONISM and SOLIDARITY. In order not to divide our power, we must allow those that fought longer than us to get their just rewards. Also, retroactive pay needs to be PENSIONABLE so as not to betray the RETIRED whose help we constantly covet. When the middle class subsides substantially, then anarchy is tasteful. That said, pay the UNION middle class what they have earned and breath a sigh of relief. Thank you, Dr. John Marvul

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:49, you are spot on correct. Any newbie or a person with only a few years on the job is being extremely short sighted when they start complaining about the younger members getting less on retro and other things. The reason being is that unless you are planning to leave the system before you retire someday, you will reap the benefits of what senior members are reaping now. If you are complaining that you deserve more percentage of the retro, you're dead wrong. We worked and earned that money while you were still partying on some college campus. Reconfiguring the whole step chart to benefit the younger teachers plays right into the hands of the kinds of people who damaged and mismanaged this system for the last 12 years. If you stay with the system, and pay your dues, your whole way of thinking will change. Trust me. I've been where you were, and for a short time thought like you, but now that I'm about 8 or 9 years away from retirement, I feel I've earned my place in the pecking order. You'll get there some day too. This is how civil service and government work is. If you don't like it, get a law degree or an MBA and go work in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the system no longer values seniority. Compressing pay scale would be just one more blow to senior people, many who roam the system as ATRs.

Anonymous said...

If politicians love new teachers so much they ought to put their money where there mouth is. The truth is that municipalities make money from hanging the carrot out to many of those who will not make it to full salary. We need to encourage mechanisms that ensure that principals are punished for low retention rates and we need to increase entry level salaries so that so that principals will not be motivated to hire new and fire old. Call the bluff and listen to the sounds of silence. Everyone deserves their retro and a big salary increase.

Anonymous said...

It is so incredibly counter intuitive to ever say or believe that people with less experience on the job are better than the ones who have been doing it for many years. It's totally absurd for those who ran this system into the ground the last 12 years, to even attempt to convince the public with half baked propaganda that the so called newbies bring more to the table than the veterans. There is simply no substitute for veteran experience, ESPECIALLY in the NYC CLASSROOM OF ALL PLACES!! I've seen newbies come and go on the job, and there is a reason most of them don't survive past five years. The data obsessed non-educator Tweedy bureaucrats tried for over a decade to convince the public that these "bright eyed, bushy tailed" TFA's or Teaching Fellows knew more than the people in the trenches who knew how to set the tone in a classroom, and manage misbehavior. Cheaper was better, thus the newbies fit like a glove in the new "business model" of the mayoral controlled DOE. There is no other profession in the world that buys into the concept of younger, cheaper, and less experienced is better. Not if you want the best product or performance. Like anything else in this world, you get what you pay for.