Friday, December 23, 2016


I sometimes can still be a little surprised by the extent to which the UFT was taken to the cleaners by the city and the Department of Education in the last contract in 2014. A reader wrote to the Independent Budget Office to find out how much our lump sum payments would cost the city.

This is the money we worked for between 2009 and 2011 that we essentially loaned to the city. NYC is paying us back with no interest in installments. The first payment was on 2015. We get nothing this year but the remainder of the loan will be paid back in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

How much will this cost the city?

The IBO expert estimated the maximum our loan will cost the city is $560 million but said it would be less because of all the UFT members who will resign or be terminated by 2020 and so won't be paid back in full.

Overall, the city is planning to spend $82 billion in this fiscal year. Paying back our loan will not even cost the city anywhere close to 1% of the budget. Add the large reserves the city has and there is little doubt that we are being ripped off big time by the 2014 contract.

I do not expect the city to feel sorry for us and give us our money back early but how could teachers not be angry about being ripped off so badly compared to other city employees who had this money years ago? We still only have half of the salary increases other city employees received from 2008-2010 added to our regular checks. The full amount won't be added until May 2018. 

From the Independent Budget Office:
I am replying to your email sent to Ronnie Lowenstein regarding the “bonus” payments to be made to members of the UFT as per the collective bargaining agreement of 2014.  I assume in referring to bonus payments you are in fact referring to the retroactive lump sums to be paid out on October 1st of 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

While IBO does not have an exact cost for how large these retroactive lump sums will be, because they are directly linked to the number of union members who will be employed on the days the payments are scheduled to be made, we can estimate the maximum cost of these lump sums based upon the total PS costs for pedagogical employees in 2009-2011.  Based upon the total PS costs from those years we estimate that the entire lump sum payment would be a maximum of $560 million if every member were to remain employed by the DOE through 10/1/20

This total would translate to a maximum of $70 million paid out in 2017 and $140 million paid out in 2018 – 2020.  These funds, if not already accounted for in DOE’s financial plan, would increase the city-funds portion of DOE’s budget by less than one percent in 2017 and around one percent in each subsequent year.   

IBO has not made any estimates about what the final cost of this portion of UFT’s collective bargaining agreement would be although we assume, as a result of attrition and other separations, that it will somewhat less than the $560 million.   

While I can’t say for certain, and I am looking into it further, I do believe that these costs are included in DOE’s financial plan.  As you surmised there likely is no breakdown of PS funding which would allow you to see the budget for regular salary segregated from these lump sums.  If I am able to find any more clarity on this issue I will keep you informed.

Thank you for reaching out, if you have any furthers questions or concerns feel free to contact me.

Enjoy the vacation everyone. We earned it for sure.


  1. We earned it and also paid for it!

  2. And keep paying with the undefined health care costs. I voted NO to the 2014 contract and there are still teachers arguing with me that we got a great contract.

  3. Those teachers are either on the union payroll or are as dumb as dirt.

  4. Just wait, a lot more "healthcare savings" are going to be announced next early next year!

  5. The City will save even more because how many retirees will pass before a retro payment is due. The UFT/City/TRS arranged for people who retired after 7/1/14 to have their pensions based on the higher salaries - as if they got the two 4% retro raises from 2009 - 2011, but the City is still making retirees wait for their lump sum retro payments in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The City knows by 2020 a lot of retirees might pass saving the City a lot of money.

    With the surplus the City should give anyone that retires all their retro. Since the City and DOE wants senior teachers (Tier IV) to leave the lump sum retro can be used as an incentive.

  6. 11:29,
    There are a tremendous amount, 78%, of teachers that are as dumb as dirt. The UFT will not survive and the city would love to see the end of the DOE - privatize it all, no more pensions,healthcare, salaries or anything. It's all an end game now.

  7. Unfortunately this does not mean we will be getting the lump sum payments any earlier.

  8. No it confirms our union is in bed with de Blasio.

  9. 2018 headline... UFT agrees to new contract with immediate lump sum payment and substantial give backs...

  10. The amount is so small in contrast to the city budget, there's only one reason they wanted us to's NOT RETRO, IT'S A RETENTION BONUS! They are forcing us to stay and struggle through their BS!

  11. But at the same time they are trying to make life miserable for many teachers so they don't make it to 2020.

  12. How much is the City making on our loan? In other words, how much interest should they be paying us?


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