Blogger Chaz says UFT members were"snookered" by this deal and we agree with him. On the other side is UFT Executive Board member NYC Educator who says that UFT members are better off because of this deal. That is debatable as maybe no deal is better than a raw deal.
To further add to the debate, I want to go back to NYC Educator's Minutes of the June Delegate Assembly where he reported UFT President Michael Mulgrew saying this about the cost of the Paid Parental Leave deal:
PPR—We said we would not let city fleece us. We have done our job quite well on that one. What will be required is nothing in next round of bargaining. One time requirement will be extension of 73 days—that’s it. Equals 30 million dollars and city will pay 51 million a year. We did our jobs well.
Let's go over this statement in detail. First Mulgrew says that we extended the contract by 73 days. If we examine the actual Memorandum of Agreement, we see that the contract is extended by "two months and 13 days." The last time I looked, December and January have 31 days in them so that adds up to 62 days. 62 plus 13 = 75 so it seems like it is 75 days unless December and January were shortened and I didn't know about that. Maybe a month is defined differently in DOE-UFT terms. Those extra two days, if they are in the deal, add up to over a million extra dollars for the city from UFTers. 75 days of delayed raises or 73 for that matter is not a one time requirement as Mulgrew states since all future raises will now start two months and 13 days later. City saves by delaying them for all time.
Mulgrew says our share of the cost is a one time payment of $30 million but that statement does not hold up. The city's Independent Budget Office did an analysis and they concluded the cost to UFT members will be more like $60.3 million.
How did they come up with that number?
First they added up the savings to the city from extending the contract. They used the new higher figures from the June DC 37 raises in their calculation. The DC37 increase is about 2% a year for their new contract which because of pattern bargaining (one city union settles on a raise with the city and other unions are then stuck with the same percentage increases), the IBO assumes the UFT will get the same raises. Mulgrew and the city worked with lower numbers from our pathetic 2014 contract when calculating the cost of Paid Parental Leave.
UFT apologists say Mulgrew had no way of knowing what the DC 37 raises would be. This is very hard to believe as the UFT along with the other unions in the Municipal Labor Committee had to agree to healthcare givebacks for the next round of collective bargaining before DC 37 could get to their contract settlement. The UFT is a major player in the MLC. Since the DC 37 contract was announced a week after the UFT Paid Parental Leave deal, I think we can safely conclude Mulgrew had a pretty good idea what DC 37's raises would be.
In addition, Mulgrew in his remarks on the cost of Paid Parental Leave does not count an additional $14.8 million in pension savings to the $45.5 million cost of deferred raises that the city also factors in as part of their savings. Parents on leave will not be accruing time toward their pension or Cumulative Absence Reserve days. That saves the city money. Adding up the savings means we are paying $60.3 million according to IBO, nowhere near the $30 million Mulgrew told Delegates. Dividing that $60.3 million by 100,000 UFT members (approximate number of UFTers working in schools: teachers, paras, etc...) means each member is paying roughly $603 for Paid Parental Leave. To summarize, Mulgrew undersold the cost by $30 million. The cost is double what he claimed and it recurs. If we divide that number by the approximately 100,000 UFTers working in schools, his undercount comes to about $300 a member. That is significant money.
Mulgrew is accurate in saying the city is paying $51 million ($50.8 million to be precise) to the UFT Welfare Fund, who will administer the Parental Leave benefit. IBO figured that the city would only need to pay UFT members $45.6 million for the benefit because it is quite restrictive. The city and Welfare Fund will only need $45.6 million but they are collecting $60.3 million from UFT members.
Therefore, the city pockets an extra $9.5 million (about $95 per UFT member) and the UFT Welfare Fund will have a surplus of $5.2 million (about $52 per member) according to IBO. I gave the Welfare Fund a pass in last week's analysis because even at my most cynical, I could not believe the UFT would suddenly find that they need an extra $5.2 million to administer Paid Parental Leave so surely they would give the money back to the members. Others aren't so sure the UFT will return the money to the members and have told me so.
To put it all very simply, if the IBO's analysis is accurate, and I have no reason to believe it is way off, UFT members are paying around $603 per member for Paid Parental Leave and that is an overpayment of about $147 per person.
I hope our elected non-Unity Caucus High School Executive Board representatives in September will ask about what happens to this projected surplus.
Here is the cost breakdown summary from IBO:
$45.5 million to the city from UFTers from deferred raises.
$14.8 million from UFTers to the city in pension savings.
$60.3 million total from UFTers for the cost of the Paid Parental Leave program.
$45.6 million needed to go from the city to the UFT Welfare Fund to parents to pay for Paid Parental Leave.
$50.8 million is what is actually going to the UFT Welfare Fund to pay for PPL.
$9.5 million city surplus
$5.2 million UFT Welfare Fund Surplus
Mulgrew told the Delegates according to NYC Educator that "we would not let the city fleece us." The numbers are in from an independent source and yes we got fleeced.
What I cannot get a grip around is how DC 37 got the much more expansive Paid Family Leave Benefit that was part of the state law in the private sector at a much lower cost per member than what the UFT negotiated. Yes they are only receiving 50% of salary and only up to a certain level for their benefit whereas the UFT Welfare Fund is paying 100% of salary for Paid Parental Leave (however no pension, CAR accumulation or time accumulation). DC 37's benefit will go up to 67% in three years and the benefit can be used for 8 weeks now, not just six, and that will expand to 12 weeks by 2021. I couldn't find a requirement that they have to return to work for a year or have to pay the money back like the UFT has either.
More importantly, DC 37's Paid Family Leave can be used not just for parenting but also to take care of a sick relative or if a relative is deployed in the military. The cost is a small payroll deduction of a maximum of $85 per year which comes out to less than $2 a week. I think there are approximately 125,000 active DC 37 members so if we multiply that number by $85, it equals a total of $10,625,000. That is much, much, much less than our $60.3 million. Multiply theirs by 5 and you won't get $60.3 million and that assumes they all make maximum which isn't the case. IBO estimates DC 37 will be cost neutral for the city. How is that possible if UFT members are paying so much more for what seems like a benefit that is limited to fewer possible people? Perhaps they are assuming many more teachers or paras are going to get pregnant or adopt a baby because of our new benefit.
This blog is only partially Monday morning quarterbacking here with 20-20 hindsight since we had a plan to win the state's Paid Family Leave plan back in February that UFT obviously didn't use. We also have to point out again the city's financial picture has never been better.
I also don't believe the DC 37 Paid Family Leave is nearly as good as the UUP (SUNY teachers) deal where they boast that it is free to the membership and included in their contract from the more financially challenged New York State government along with annual 2% raises. The UFT should address Paid Family Leave/Paid Parental Leave in bargaining now as our contract is due in February. Then again, with Mulgrew at the helm, he might come up with something where we pay even more and then misinform us that we are paying next to nothing.
I agree with our critics who say Paid Family Leave should be a universal benefit. In the real world, however, UFTers are now paying for a limited Paid Parental Leave benefit and in addition we are giving the city a tip/tax for the benefit. I just do not feel UFT members should give the city even one extra dime for providing a Paid Parental Leave or Paid Family Leave benefit we all should have.