This is from the NYSUT Weekly Leader Briefing:
Saturday, February 04, 2023
Thursday, February 02, 2023
Municipal unions are in contract negotiations as contracts for nearly all City workers have expired. The two largest unions, DC 37 and the UFT, are meeting separately with the City.
DC 37 appears to be ahead of the UFT. That is important as the first City worker union that settles establishes a pattern for salary increases. Every union that follows basically receives a financial package that must adhere to that pattern.
In this update, DC 37 writes about bargaining on raises and interestingly mentions maintaining premium free healthcare as part of their bargaining. We know the UFT is also in negotiations but they are secret. The UFT won't even admit that healthcare is a subject of negotiations.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew did say this to Gothamist:
“Right now, I don't think the city is prepared to actually give all city workers the raises they deserve,” said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents 120,000 workers currently employed by the Department of Education, during a phone interview on Tuesday.
“I think you're going to have to see some friction,” he added. The contract for the teachers’ union expired in September.
Your interpretation is welcome.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
We had a wonderful time on Sunday night along with I'm told 230 UFTers to pep everyone for the contract teach-ins on Monday. People from MORE, ICEUFT, New Action and even the ruling Unity Caucus were on the Zoom panel, including of course Ibeth Mejia (Chapter Leader Aviation HS) and me representing the Independent Community of Educators.
The video on YouTube from Educators of NYC:
City and State covered the Teach-ins.
Heard around town
By Sahalie Donaldson
Teachers at hundreds of New York City public schools laid the groundwork for a contract bargaining process with a series of “teach-ins” across the city today. Members of the United Federation of Teachers gathered before and after school and during their lunch breaks to chart their priorities, make signs and bring attention to educators' plight. Educators came to school wearing the union’s trademark blue. Someone brought a cake with the words “fair contract now” to an East Village elementary school. It was an expansive effort – underscoring the union’s attitude amid the first time that public school teachers will negotiate raises and benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People at this moment are paying attention to the world around them and we see a lot of workers in motion,” said Amy Arundell, UFT borough representative for Queens and an organizer for Monday’s teach-ins. “People are saying I want to be in motion too, I want to participate in my own survival as a worker and as an educator and make things better for myself and for my students.”
UFT leaders began the bargaining process with the city in October, although neither has submitted their list of demands yet. The vast majority of the city’s 300,000 employees, including teachers, are working under an expired collective bargaining agreement.
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Friday, January 27, 2023
The UFT in 2023 is confusing if nothing else. I can't understand why an organization that usually encourages as little involvement from its members in confronting management is now suddenly promoting contract teach-ins for Monday, January 30. NYC Educator is not excited. Is he right? His conclusion:
A teach-in could be a great thing. But it's based on the premise that leadership is actually interested in what we think. I am not persuaded that's true. I therefore do not believe this teach-in, however genuine the sentiments of its creators may be, is done in good faith. I believe, and the evidence bears out, that leadership goes behind our back to make stupid deals that benefit no one in rank and file.
I believe, therefore, that leadership needs to be replaced. And if by any chance I should get a voice in any teach-in, that will be my message to my union brothers and sisters.
As a 28-year dissident in this Union, I agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments. NYC Educator uses the recent retiree healthcare debacle to support his case that UFT leaders don't want to hear from us. President Michael Mulgrew, as one of the two main voices in the Municipal Labor Committee (Umbrella group of City Unions where the UFT has an outsized role because of weighted voting), tried to force retirees to accept a privatized Medicare Advantage Plan (Mulgrewcare) instead of public Medicare combined with a GHI Medigap supplemental plan. Mulgrew attempted, and may still be attempting, to force retirees into Mulgrewcare or stick them with copays or premiums but he has been stopped in court and by the City Council. We need to be skeptical about what the UFT is planning as active and non-Medicare-eligible retirees' healthcare is being negotiated behind closed doors by the MLC and City. In that atmosphere, we have Monday's Teach-ins at the schools.
If you want to teach something at the UFT Teach-in in your school, how about an honest discussion? Share with the teachers and other UFTers how we need to go in with our eyes wide open. If Michael Mulgrew says again there are no givebacks, be skeptical. He said that in 2014 and 2018 but we know there were major healthcare givebacks, some that Mulgrew is still paying off now.
Honesty and openness are not usually strong traits at the UFT. When the UFT put out its slides and they said healthcare isn't a subject of UFT negotiations, I scratched my head and said, WTF?
Here is a look at the UFT's two slides on what is on the table in contract negotiations and what is not:
- Salary increases are negotiable but any raise is subject to pattern bargaining. When one City municipal union settles a contract for a round of collective bargaining, it sets a pattern and all of the other unions then follow that pattern and receive basically the same wage increase. DC 37 is negotiating with the City as of this writing as is the UFT. DC 37's last contract expired in 2021 and is long overdue. They set the last pattern in 2018 of around a little over 2% per year that the UFT and every other union pretty much adhered to. The UFT set the previous pattern of 10% total over 7 years in the 2014 round. That Agreement was extended twice but that is a whole different posting. You have to go back to 2008 when DC 37 set a 4%+4% pattern to find a decent one that today still wouldn't come close to keeping up with inflation. Do you think maybe we should talk about some other union like the PBA going first this time to set the pattern? NYPD officers start at $42,500. They never settled their last round of bargaining. City police make less than cops in surrounding areas and they want to catch up. Another idea you probably won't see in UFT literature would be to bargain financial terms as a coalition of City unions since we all get the same increases basically anyway. Should we push for cost of living adjustments like Social Security gives (5.9% 2022, 8.7% 2023; UFT's last increase was in 2021). Members should be openly talking about these salary issues.
- Working conditions are negotiable. The UFT made numerous gains in its first 40 years (class size limits, duty-free lunch periods, prep periods, etc.) but has been on the defensive mostly since mayoral control in 2002. In 2005, the UFT made major concessions. The Union gave away the right to grieve inaccurate/unfair letters in the file in 2005 and the right to have a separate grievance at the superintendent's level if a grievance was not resolved at the principal's level. We also surrendered the right to preferred placement if a school was closed or redesigned, the right to a position if excessed, and the right to have a real professional assignment where the Chapter Committee had to agree on a professional menu to pick from. We can negotiate here and should.
- Teacher evaluation and observations are in the Contract but they are subject to state law which governs teacher evaluation. We can negotiate within the state guidelines.
- Contract enforcement is subject to negotiation for sure as we could get a better grievance process. The UFT won changes to expedite the grievance process in some instances in 2018 but it was a small gain. It is up to the UFT, not an individual grievant, whether a grievance proceeds to the Chancellor's level or an arbitrator. It should be at least up to a grievant to challenge a principal's judgment somewhere beyond the school. Furthermore, there are some provisions of the Contract the UFT does not bother to enforce. For example, it was agreed to go to a biweekly payroll as opposed to semi-monthly in 1996 in Article 3L:
- Career Ladder positions are negotiable. Honestly, are you really so worried about this that it gets a prominent place in what can be negotiated?
- The configuration of the workday has been renegotiated on numerous occasions since 2002 when extended time was first negotiated into the Contract. It is up to the members to get rid of marathon Mondays (sometimes called teacher detention) if you want to.
- Pension changes are subject to state law but they can still be a big part of contract negotiations between the UFT and the City. If the Union and City agree, both sides can go up to Albany and seek pension changes and it often ends up in the Contract. For example, 25 years of service-55-year-old retirement was put in the Contract in Article 4C:
C. Pension Legislation
The parties have agreed to jointly support pension legislation as set forth in the letter attached as Appendix K.
For those who want some specifics on 25-55 pension in the Contract:
APPENDIX K PENSION LEGISLATION
October 17, 2007
Dear Ms. Weingarten:
This letter will confirm certain mutual understandings and agreements of the parties. The parties agree to jointly support legislation to amend current pension provisions that will contain the following elements in order to implement an optional "25/55" retirement program for current employees in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the below listed UFT-represented members in the Board of Education Retirement Systems (BERS) and to provide a revised retirement paradigm for newly-hired employees in TRS and newly-hired UFT-represented members in BERS listed below.
There is more in this letter but you get the idea. Early retirement incentives in 1991 and 1996 were agreed to in the Contract and then Albany approved them. On the downside, the reduction of the TDA fixed interest for UFTers from 8.25% to 7% was agreed to at the City-UFT level and then approved in Albany in 2009. Why aren't we demanding that the City go with us to Albany to end Tier VI and get 25-55 for all?
- Tenure is also a state law but Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-teacher Chancellor Joel Klein made denying tenure a crusade in the late 2000s and hired hundreds of lawyers in part to help deny tenure. The UFT, had it chosen to, could have demanded contractual provisions to limit observations and otherwise limit principal power so tenure would be less onerous to achieve.
- Student Discipline. What is the UFT talking about that this is not negotiable?
Let's start by reading Article 9 and part of Appendix B of the Contract. Student discipline is there and subject to negotiation.
- DOE allocations of school funds are in the Contract too. This is another one where the slides are just patently wrong. Read Contractual Article 8C:
- Healthcare: Here again, the people who wrote these slides need to be schooled on the Contract they are supposed to be enforcing.
Monday, January 23, 2023
EXEC BD REPORT: HEALTHCARE UPDATE; CHARTER COLOCATIONS WITHDRAWN; UNITY TABLES MOTION FOR NO PREMIUMS FOR GHI
This is from Educators of NYC from tonight's Executive Board meeting:
On healthcare, the UFT is still licking its wounds from retirees winning in court to stop UFT endorsed Senior Care copays and the UFT losing with the City Council, who are not changing 12-126. A change would have permitted the City and unions to legally charge more copays and premiums.
However, when it comes to charter schools, it looks like a big victory in that Eva Moskowitz is not getting her way on new Success Academy colocations inside NYC public schools. The UFT is confirming the reports that proposals to colocate Success Academies in a number of public schools have been withdrawn. The Union is praising the community collaborations.
Back to healthcare, Unity tabled (didn't act upon) a motion that the United for Change High School reps made to fight any premiums for GHI.
For a full report from Nick Bacon, head on over to New Action.
Sunday, January 22, 2023
This is from the City's official site:
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
President Michael Mulgrew begins by stating how the school year is at half-time in January.
Governor Hochul has proposed a 13% increase in school funding. Push for Career and Technical Education. Federal, they want college preparation. Data shows CTE has closed the achievement gap and students are more likely to graduate. Governor believes in CTE. Good proposal for budget out of Albany. The budget comes out in February. Then Assembly and Senate put out one house bills. Then there are discussions, fights. Some little things we don't like but mostly it is good. Big lobby day in March. This is not like what happened under the previous governor (charter schools, extension of tenure).
It is the opposite of the state. $80 million increase. Everything else is flat. State giving historic increase in funding. How can the city be flat? $8.3 billion surplus is growing. Mayor talking about city falling off a financial cliff.
Debt ceiling crisis. Wall Street will react in a negative way and the mayor will say this is the financial cliff. This will get settled eventually. We are negotiating a contract under these circumstances.
We must take care of Albany which looks positive. Then, we need to work to get City budget to where it should be. This is focus of the work along with getting a contract. We also have special ed, principal and migrant issues.
400 trained in teach-in yesterday. Members don't really understand what goes into getting a contract. We are training people on what goes into getting a contract. Costing, value, and pattern bargaining need to be understood. Mayor saying City is broke. We have to make members understand there are record surpluses. We must understand the rules of the game. Members of the UFT tend to be reasonable people, unlike what is going on in DC. Teach-ins to drive our own narrative of what we do. Some think we just sit in a chair and kids learn. Not true. We do more than we have ever done before. We want to take care of our families, live somewhat close to where we work, and not be harassed. We'd like support too. The public will not disagree with us. Good schools and challenging schools. Some schools are mismanaged. We are doing a damn good job.
Someone thinking of quitting because they can't help a migrant child. We are on the front line doing this work and need the public to back us up so we have the teach-in.
Negotiating committee coming in February 1. We are moving into the serious stages of negotiating.
Who signed up? We have over 5,000 completely enrolled. There are no technology problems, unlike the DOE. Basic info is in the member hub.
We brought it to consultation with DOE. Thank Michael Sill and his team for getting 70 people pushed through. We are going to get 600 more. DOE principal didn't call sub-central so we can't get nominees through. If a school is uncomfortable with sub-central, that shouldn't stop hiring to aleviete sub shortage. We have many absences and vacancies. If everyone works an extra period, people burn out much quicker and get more tired. We are going to get nominees through.
Eva Moskowitz schools getting through. Three coming up for a PEP vote. Every politician and CEC has told the DOE not to do this. There is no space in these three buildings. We knew when Eric became mayor that this could be a problem. If they jam these schools through, we know there will be problems. Documented problems with Eva not taking challenging kids and then forcing someone who becomes a challenge out.
Early Childhood Educators
Chancellor's been great about early childhood sites. He is talking to the people who do this work.
Staff Director's Report
Chapter leader training late January, trailblazer awards Feb 3, CTE awards on Feb 4, something else coming up that date, migrant first book event on Feb 4, nomination for Academic HS awards up to Jan 30, Black History Film Series Feb2, 9, 16, and March 2. Happy Lunar New Year. Feb 15 is the next DA.
Mulgrew Report continues:
Healthcare: Many on the active healthcare committee. RFP moving right along for in-service people. The goal is premium free, high quality healthcare. Retirees, we have been negotiating with Aetna. The arbitrator said the possibility of in service premiums with Aetna. At this moment, we don't think we are going to get a contract with Aetna. Mulgrew doesn't do well with regressive bargaining. Doesn't believe we are going to get there with Aetna. We must protect each other. Healthcare is out of control. Federal program known as Medicare Advantage gives us a chance to get a good plan but we need the right partner. We are moving forward on the in-service RFP. We have been straight up throughout. We are going to keep premium free high-quality healthcare for actives and retirees. We are going to dig in and fight to get what we need.
Question: If it doesn't work with Aetna, can we renegotiate with Emblem?
Mulgrew answer: We need a new RFP to go back to Emblem that has to have significant changes but it can be done.
Question: D75 person is overwhelmed with work and there is no time in the day. Work two hours at school and then bringing work home? Why?
Mulgrew: Get a list of everything they are doing in D 75 and we will bring it to consultation with chancellor on Monday.
Question: D79 teacher has no substitute teacher so the school puts pressure to cover absences. Many teachers absent and students have to take care of two or three students. How to compensate teachers?
Answer: We have to figure out the substitute problem. In terms of additional work, we are in negotiations on stuff like this. We will find out from District Rep the specific issues and move ahead.
Question: When do resolutions expire? Union takes opposing policy?
Answer: Resolutions don't expire.
Point of order: You stated that resolutions won't unilaterally be opposed but you opposed the NY Healthcare Act.
Mulgrew: Resolutions can become moot. The issue may be resolved. Saying someone unilaterally opposes you is really saying they don't agree with you. This is harming democratic process. This is degrading society.
Question from Nick Bacon: Arbitrator's decision not binding, in what situations would we have to pay premiums when 12-126 protects us up to HIP rate?
Answer: We have saved money and added benefits. HIP rate protected. Vast majority is in GHI which is at risk.
Question: Tottenville teacher asks about the contract negotiation process. Members looking for a timeline?
Answer: We don't have a timeline but we would like to have it done as soon as possible. You should be part of teach-in training.
Motions to the agenda
Motion to move Resolution 7 up to 1 for timeliness (colocation resolution opposing Success Academy colocations.)
It needs a 2/3 vote. Online 743 Yes to 59 No. In the room, 216 Yes to 7 no. 959 Yes to 66 No. 94% yes so it is moved to top of the agenda.
Resolution for next month to support NY Public Library.
Libraries are vital to our communities. Thriving community centers. Actual books are still a vital part of our well-being. Library offers City ID, passports and more. Mayor proposing $13.6 million in cuts. All NY residents will be harmed. Join with City Council to keep libraries open. Libraries are for everyone. It is one of few safe spaces.
Nobody wants to speak against it.
Online 752 Yes to 24 No
Live 230 Yes to 5 No
Total 97% yes so it is placed on the agenda for next month.
Resolution in support of Amazon workers in Kentucky for next month. Amazon Labor Union won recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. Northern Kentucky hub doing a union drive. We know of horrific conditions for Amazone workers. KCBG looking for $30 an hour and better working conditions. Inflation eroding everybody's pay. November 16, UFT supported Amazon and Starbucks unions. Resolution ask to help this organizing union expansion.
Nobody wants to speak against.
Online 673 Yes to 66 No
Live 210 Yes to 14 No
Total Mulgrew doesn't give numbers (883-80 by my math). It is on the agenda for next month and Mulgrew will speak to the AFT if this passes.
Special Orders of Business
Resolution to oppose Success Academy colocations. D 28 Chapter Leader says schools have had strong opposition to Success Academy colocations. School communities oppose them in multiple districts. DOE underestimates building utilizations. Schools need more space with the lower class size law. New programs will be cut. UFT has supported schools opposing charter expansion. This resolution expands that.
Amy Arundell follows speaking in favor. Queens and Bronx and other communities are galvanized by this fight. Eva Moskowitz is saying there is space in these schools. Success wants to take classrooms. Our schools will have no clubs, meeting space, etc. Email the PEP to show how our schools are utilized. PEP members will vote on this.
Matt Driscoll amendment: The UFT will mobilize members and parents to show up at the PEP. Mulgrew says that is already there so this is moot. Matt says this is only in the whereas, but not in the Resolved clause. Matt says that we should specifically add in the resolution to flood the PEP. Someone says we don't need this amendment. We don't do this alone. All of us includes not just the members and parents. We are in the community.
Another amendment: Support these schools by lobbying at all levels including the PEP members.
Point of information: Could these be considered friendly amendments?
Mulgrew says there is no such thing as a friendly amendment.
Martina rises to support amendment one. She goes to every PEP meeting. We need to show up and speak against. It would be really powerful if we had our whole force to counteract the Success people who will talk for hours at the PEP.
Someone calls the question on all matters before the house.
Vote on closing debate:
Online Yes 596 to 23 No
Live 194 Yes to 13 No
Total Debate is closed but numbers not announced.
Vote on the Second amendment on lobbying PEP members
Online 561 Yes to 38 No
Live205 Yes to 13 No
Total 766 Yes to 51 No
Second amendment passes.
First amendment to mobilize members and parents to be at the PEP
Online Yes 537 to 43 No
Live 137 Yes to 71 No
Total 674 yes to 114 No
Vote on Resolution as amended twice
Online 594 Yes to 22 No
Live 204 Yes to 3 No
Total 798 Yes to 25 No; Resolution carries
Resolution to support Iranian protestors. This is about women, life, and freedom. Women should not be stripped of rights because of religion. Women repressed. As a union we need to condemn what is happening in Iran. We stand for women and freedom. Quotes MLK on silence of good people being bad.
Nobody wants to speak further.
Online 510 Yes to 47 No
Live 184 Yes to 9 No
Total 694 Yes to 56 No
Tom Brown reports that the next resolution is moot because DOE pension system is already being investigated and audited.
Next resolution is to hold the DOE accountable for not meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English language learners. Our most vulnerable students are not getting the services that are mandated. Resolution calls for the City Council to get involved to help the students in need.
A District 3 Chapter Leader supports the resolution and speaks in favor of helping our most vulnerable students. She adds that these are legal requirements and the Chancellor pledged to help these students when he took the job and yet nothing has been done.
Nobody else wants to speak.
Online 565 Yes to 7 No
Live in the room the numbers were not announced.
Total 774 yes to 7 No. Resolution carries.
Janella Hinds speaks in favor of the newly arrived Dominican teachers exploited by the DOE. Teachers need to be treated with respect and the salary and benefits they deserve.
Nobody else wants to speak on the resolution.
Online 514 Yes to 18 No
Live 201 Yes to 1 No
Total 715 Yes to 19 No. Resolution passes.
Resolution opposing blood donations not being allowed from LGBTQIA+ community. Rashad Brown gives history of people not being allowed to give blood. COVID rules changed things from 1 year down to 3 months for homosexual men. Only 3% of eligible people give blood. These policies are discriminatory. World Aids day celebrated on December 1. Past policies and present policies are all wrong. Demand FDA stop this discriminatory policy.
Nobody wants to speak in favor or against.
Online 383 Yes to 84 No
Live 190 Yes to 13 No
Total 473 Yes to 87 No. Resolution passes.
The latest from Marianne on Facebook is good news: No City Council vote tomorrow on amending 12-126.
It may only be a matter of hours before Michael Mulgrew attempts to pull defeat out of the jaws of this major victory. Does he threaten us or on the other hand, maybe he takes credit.
Good Morning/ Good Afternoon
My name is ________________________and I am a retiree. The purpose of my call is to “Thank” the City Council Member for not supporting the passage of Intro bill 0874 from the Civil Service and Labor Committee. By having this bill laid aside, you have restored some of our faith in the system. We appreciate that your member heard our message to not listen to the Mayor and that retirees should not bear the burden of the city's budgetary issues. The Medicare Advantage Plan will not provide us with proper healthcare coverage and we should not have to pay more to receive less care. We discovered there are several funding programs totaling over 300 million dollars that can be used to help balance the budget. There will be a bill introduced soon that will protect the status of our future healthcare, and we hope that your member will continue to stand with us and support it.
Thank you for hearing my statement, and being the voice for retirees. Thank you for listening.
(Your name), retiree # year
List of City Council Members on the Civil Service and Labor to be called: (CALL BOTH NUMBERS)
28 Speaker Adrienne E. Adams Legislative Office: 212-788-6850 District Office: 718-206-2068
10 Hon. Carmen De La Rosa Legislative Office: 212-788-7053 District Office: 917-521-2616
3 Hon. Erik Bottcher District Office: 212-564-7757
5 Hon. Julie Menin Legislative Office: 212-788-6865
11 Hon. Eric Dinowitz Legislative Office: (212) 788-7080 District Office: (718) 549-7300
15 Hon. Oswald Feliz Legislative Office:212-788-6966 District Office: 718-842-8100
21 Hon. Francisco P. Moya 212-788-6862 District Office: 718-651-1917
22 Hon. Tiffany Caban 718-274-4500
37 Hon. Sandy Nurse Legislative Office: 212-788-7284 District Office: 718-642-8664
40 Hon. Rita Joseph Legislative Office: 212-788-7352 District Office:718-287-8762
49 Hon. Kamillah Hanks Legislative Office: 212-788-6972 District Office: 718-556-7370
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