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.