The school based members of the 300 person UFT Negotiating Committee have all been released from school today for what is being called a "crucial meeting" at 9:00 A.M. Since the UFT negotiates in secret behind closed doors, we really don't know what is being discussed but we can gather that the Department of Education is not going to release people from their teaching assignments if things weren't really serious. As negotiations heat up for a new UFT contract, we should keep in mind that the City of New York has never been in a better position financially. I received a report in the mail from Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Here is a part of it:
Our office recently found that New York City unemployment dropped to a historically low 4.2% in the second quarter of 2018, and our economy expanded 2.7%, keeping pace with the same rate as the first quarter.
In another part of his report he noted:
Preserving the strength and stability of pensions for more than 700,000 current and retired New York City employees is one of my top responsibilities as Comptroller. We've got to ensure that our investments generate solid, elable returns, because after years of service to this City you deserve that security and peace of mind.
The Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) in our office has worked hard to make this a reality, producing a portfolio return of 7.43% since we took office on January 1, 2014 -- a rate that exceeds the 7.0% actuarial assumed rate of return, as well as the 6.4% return that would have been earned for a comparable index fund during the same period.
That excess money should be given back to us in the form of larger raises.
The economy is doing well but salary increases from the pattern setting contract DC 37 set in June for municipal unions of 2% annually won't nearly keep up with inflation now running at 2.7%. In addition, we are looking at healthcare givebacks.
I very much doubt the UFT has any chance of beating the DC 37 pattern but I am hopeful that the Union can still make non-monetary gains in the contract. For example, two observations per year with no strings attached. I can think of plenty of others. Also, please remember that any proposal has to be voted on by the membership, not the people who opt out of the union.