Friday, August 03, 2018


Yesterday we reported on how the PBA will have a very difficult time in contract negotiations because of pattern bargaining.  Pattern bargaining is when one government union settles on a raise with the government and that sets a pattern that other unions are basically stuck with. Arbitrators have upheld pattern bargaining many times.

Last evening a Professional Staff Congress (CUNY Teachers) member sent me a bargaining update from their President Barbara Bowen and her bargaining team. They make a strong case that CUNY Professors and Lecturers are under paid and need a major salary increase.

Here is a key part of the update:

Management responded that any targeted increases for CLTs and Lecturers (including Doctoral Lecturers) would have to be discussed as part of an overall economic package. They stressed that the "collective bargaining pattern" for public-sector workers in New York City and State in this round of bargaining includes limited raises of just 2% per year.

 CUNY-and PSC members-have needs that exceed this austerity approach. While the bargaining team is fully versed on the current limited economic "pattern," we will continue to demand a contract with both economic and non-economic gains that meet our members'needs.

I think it is great that PSC sends members periodic updates on negotiations. UFT negotiates in secret but we can pretty much figure out what is going on based on past practice and what we hear from other unions.

On the specifics, PSC leadership has no plan to break pattern bargaining. How does PSC intend to beat the pattern? Osmosis? Prayer? Visit the Wizard of Oz? I don't see a strike. Perhaps PSC leaders are talking big on salary so they can get some non-economic gains and declare victory.

Teachers who want two observations a year should encourage UFT negotiators to emphasize how we got 10% over 7 years plus 3.5 months and have to wait 11 years to get back all the money we earned in 2009 and 2010 but only if we literally survive and don't quit or get terminated. The current contract was a very poor deal.

The city is not budging on the pattern for us but if we scream loud enough, there could be real gains in non-economic areas like fewer observations, bringing back grieving letters in the file, getting teachers out of involuntary cafeteria duty, restoring hiring committees with teacher majorities for transfers, placing Absent Teacher Reserves where they wish to teach and more.

Oh wait, it's Unity-Mulgrew negotiating. Regardless, I'll try to stay optimistic. At least the PSC tries to tell their members what's going on.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Give ATRs a choice in what school they are placed!!!

Michael Fiorillo said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't two observations the legal state benchmark/minimum, with NYC being an outlier in demanding more?

That being the case, the union should take a very tough position on it, because it requires no legislative changes, and is the wish of the poor schlubs on the ground -teachers and admins - who suffer under it. If the law permits it, CSA doesn't oppose it and it doesn't cost the city a cent (in fact we all know it would save money), then the UFT should use whatever influence it has with De Blasio to get two observations.

It would have an immediate positive impact on the quality of teacher's work lives. For many it could mean the difference between staying in the schools or leaving, or impact their mental and/or physical health.

Over the years, teachers who ask the union leadership why it doesn't fright for smaller class sizes are always told the expense of doing so would preclude raises in salary and benefits. But that's clearly not the case here; the practice could be changed very simply and inexpensively.

That union should fight hard for two observations, and refuse to give up anything in exchange.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Return Fixed TDA account to 8.25%

James Eterno said...

Returning the fixed TDA to 8.25% would cost money and require state legislature approval.

Again a reminder to please stay on topic. It takes a while sometimes but the rule is no hijacking posts to talk about your personal views on things that have nothing to do with the posting. We will delete those comments and not feel guilty about limiting the free exchange of ideas here.

Anonymous said...

When talking about the contract and pattern bargaining the 8.25% is fundamental. I’ve got 500k in fixed, I am losing $6,250 a year forever! We might not be able to break the pattern, but we can negotiate around the edges. I can’t pay this union to screw me anymore! We lost on the last pattern, getting pain through 2020. I really can’t take paying for this! Yes it would’ve worse without a union, but there’s no reason people in the union-former teachers should make a dime more than a top teacher. I also get very little help or response from the union.

I come to this blog for the conversation and to read the comments.

As for the future contract coming...waiting until 2020 for money from 2009 is a crime! Plus all the members who were sold out and never get it!

To be honest I already asked the NYC DOE to stop taking dues from my check, in writing. I sent out emails and letters. They have not responded. I’m starting at a new school in September. If I see a strong union I will pay, but I have undergone years of abuse without help. I watched coworkers leave and die- losing their retro. The UFT is at a crossroads, as am I.

And don’t comment that it will be worse with a weakened union! I often hope and dream of being either we get a better union or I say F-it all and walk away! I’m not paying for this. Linking back to the article: we won’t break the pattern either, but help around the edges would get me in!

James Eterno said...

Thank you for your views. I respect your opinion. Telling you it obviously would be worse with an even weaker union is not persuading you but unless people like you step up and convince others to step up, we have had it. Our strength is in our numbers.

If we got the 8.25% back, we would pay for it with a smaller raise, longer contract or longer day or year. That is how it works as we are weak.

Anonymous said...

I would start 2 days earlier for 8.25%

Anonymous said...


The UFT was not so weak 30 years ago and, with each contract, the UFT has slowly been making concessions. We must also remember that we, as teachers, must accept some blame for voting for "Yes" for these contracts. I am willing to step up at my school and at least inform people about what is going on with the new contract. Our CL is a nice man but not very informed.

James Eterno said...

Great 6:31. We need your help.