Saturday, September 01, 2018


When looking at a potential new UFT Contract, I am sort of surprised that there is talk of an early contract as the current 9 year-3.5 month contract does not expire until February of 2019. Surely, things are not so harmonious between NYC teachers, other UFT titles and the Department of Education/City of New York that we should be even be entertaining a possibility of wrapping up any kind of contract without a huge fight like the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is having with the mayor. However, I see no evidence of any animosity between the UFT and the DOE/city as UFT members return to school.

We don't need inside information to know what would be in a new contract in terms of financial parameters because of pattern bargaining. One municipal union settles on a financial package with the city and that sets a pattern that all of the other city public employee unions are stuck with. Pattern bargaining has been upheld over and over by arbitration panels.

DC 37 agreed to a pattern setting deal in June that 98% of their members who voted (a minority of their membership) ratified recently. It is for three years and eight months (44 months) and includes a total of 7.25% raises. Here is the breakdown:

September 26, 2017: 2% 

September 26, 2018: 2.25%

October 26, 2019: 3%

October 26, 2020: 0%

Contract ends May 25, 2021. 

If, (no I should say when) the UFT accepts the DC 37 pattern and we add on the 3.5 months of extensions to our current contract that we have already agreed to, we will have just about a full year of  zero percent raises thanks to 8 months of zeros in the DC 37 settlement added to our two contract extensions. One extension was to pay 2009-2014 retiree lump sum payments for the last contract that the rest of us are waiting until 2020 to receive in full if we survive, don't quit and aren't terminated. The second contract extension was for Paid Parental Leave. The new pattern increase averages around 2% a year.

Adding this financial package to the last city pattern UFT President Michael Mulgrew negotiated will make the last two patterns applied to the UFT virtually 11 years (10 years, 11 months, 13 days to be exact) for increases of 17.25% (a little more when compounded). Unfortunately for UFT members, inflation is running at an annual 2.9% rate. We're not even coming close to keeping up with the cost of living nor making up much ground from the last round when Mulgrew falsely claimed that the city's cupboard was bare.

In addition, let us not forget that we will be funding part of these paltry raises ourselves because the Municipal Labor Committee (umbrella group of city public employee unions that the UFT is in) agreed to another round of healthcare givebacks. ICEUFTblog has pointed out how forcing new UFT members into HIP managed care in their first year (limited choice of doctors) is a significant contract concession on the part of the UFT and other city unions as is restricting certain medical procedures to non-hospital settings.

We've already thoroughly addressed some of the concerns with Paid Parental Leave at this blog which should be Paid Family Leave. Hopefully, the UFT will fix this through negotiations.

To summarize, we are looking at very modest salary increases that don't keep up with inflation that we are paying for partially with healthcare givebacks at a time when the city's financial picture has never been better. In any normal era this would be cause for a rank and file uprising and a call for action to achieve more. At least the PBA is out there telling the truth that Mayor Bill de Blasio is no friend of labor.

From a recent ad in Wisconsin as they follow de Blasio around the country:

Mayor de Blasio: 



The UFT, on the other hand, is complacent as complacent can be even while the national mood among teachers is to fight back hard. Look at Los Angeles teachers for the latest example. Their contract dispute seems to be mostly about teaching and learning conditions. I don't know if behind closed doors the UFT is demanding complete overhaul of the toxic work environment that exists in so many NYC schools but they should be screaming in private and public about it.

When we examine the non-financial parts of the contract, there is pretty much universal agreement here that there will be an actual revolt if the UFT cannot convince the Department of Education to agree to two observations per year for NYC teachers. Two observations a year is what is mandated under state law and just about every district except NYC already has two in their collective bargaining agreements. I am fairly confident the UFT will actually achieve this goal but will it be with strings attached such as two observations but you have to do something else like run professional development? Will DOE demand a pound of non-monetary flesh from us to get teachers to two observations per year?

How are the negotiators addressing the widespread abusive supervisors that even Mulgrew agreed existed in May? This is from a summary of Mulgrew's May DA Report"Basis of (evaluation) law is about supporting work of people in classrooms. If professional admin perverts and twists it to lord over and beat people, they shouldn't be allowed near children." What is the UFT doing about that in negotiations?

What is the UFT attempting to do on the Absent Teacher Reserves? How about demanding permanent placement in one of six schools that the ATR selects? That is how it was done in closing schools before 2005 when the UFT gave so many of our rights away.

Even if the UFT wins Paid Family Leave and gets us down to two observations per year without strings attached, our best case scenario is a contract with raises that don't come close to keeping up with inflation, some of which we would be funding through healthcare givebacks. We don't exactly have great expectations.

I predict there will only be minimal improvements to working conditions unless we overhaul this union, not abandon a union.

The final words here go to a commenter from our last post. These thoughts should be required reading for every UFT member, new and veteran alike:

I'd like to personally thank the UFT for agreeing to the 2005 contract that eliminated seniority based transfers. Speaking of seniority based transfers, when I mention seniority based transfers to the newbie teachers at my school they can't believe that it once existed. I also mention how 99% of teachers got tenure by estoppel after 3 years with no portfolios and their jaws drop. Then I mention how we used to get rated "S" or "U" with only 1 or 2 observations a year and they think I am speaking of some kind of sorcery. Lastly, I try to tell them that the UFT used to actually send district reps into schools when admins were abusing the contract and they think I have lost my mind. What the hell happened???


Anonymous said...

Heres the thing about the 2 observations: There are pretty much only two scenarios here. One is that the UFT/DOE can agree to 2 observations by the start of the school year. Two is that the UFT/DOE can agree to 2 observations in the next contract. However, if that is the case, we will not have 2 observations until the 2019-2020 school year. I am correct in my above statement?

Anonymous said...

Going back as an ATR for another year is of course troublesome. I just got the email that we’re here until 11/11. That’s ok, but last year we spent the rest of the year in one school. We were sent notices that the assignment lasted until 1/31 then 4/13 then 6/28. Each time I called Sill he confirmed the ending dates and I spent the entire year at the same school. The school I was sent to was beyond horrible. Sill would say, it’s just till 1/31 then 4/13. The guy should be called u-Sill-less. We need some say in where we’re going to be if we’re placed for a semester or more. Otherwise put us back to a weekly or monthly rotation.

Anonymous said...

Nothing we can do. Conditions will only get worse. The raise will be what it will be. This is just a bad job.

Anonymous said...

I would rather be in the atr pool.

Anonymous said...

As your pay steps accrue you’ll be there before you know it.

Anonymous said...

This is why I'm optring out.

Anonymous said...

Nah, im quitting. Not worth spending my life like this. Only live once, im wasting my life.

Anonymous said...

The FATCATS are complacent because they are well fed. And the writer of this blog suggests we just keep feeding them. I'm giving myself a raise and you suckers can keep paying for nothing, and you'll just keep getting exactly that.

James Eterno said...

Not if we combine and fix or change the union. We have the power and just don't use it. If we speak up en masse, we can improve our working conditions. If we simply pay and demand nothing, then you are correct that we will get nothing. Just saying I'm not paying is a bigger problem than Mulgrew in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Yeah sure. We have no say and nothing will improve. Been doing this long enough to know. Kids and admin certainly wont improve, actually getting worse.

Anonymous said...

Do you even know what a union is and how it operates?

Anonymous said...

We dont have one

Anonymous said...

We don't have one because the members don't demand a real union. Wake up and it will be a real one again.

Anonymous said...

The selfish will just pull dues and say fuck you to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

You can't even vote no and convince a few others to vote no. Instead you quit and complain. You are the problem.

Anonymous said...

HOW do we speak up en masse?? What do we do?? Where do we begin??

Anonymous said...

Legitimate question. I’ve never seen a real answer. How is an individual supposed to demand change en masse? The UFT doesn’t really care if a few hundred or even a few thousand leave.

Anonymous said...

I just feel that the young ones don’t care about unions.

Colleges which are run by politicians all talk poorly of unions. My cousin’s kid is in college and she said to me,’why are you in a union? They don’t care about good education and you can’t speak for yourself.’ This is what is taught today.

So then they’ll always vote for more money without reading details.

As a 40 year old, I know that I have 15 years to go. I just need to get through it and get out and leave NY and find a cheaper state to live and work part time at age 55

Going on year 16, I can honestly state that I don’t give one iota about colleagues. I could give a rat’s you know what if a kid learns anything this year. Oh, and administration? They can go f themselves.

I’ll smile. I will pretend like I know the names of the kids. Every day, I will say good morning to colleagues that I get the names mixed up.

All the while, I’ll be living from vacation to vacation.

Oh, and my kid in 6th grade you ask. She knows that if she goes to college for teaching that I won’t pay a dime for college bc this is a horrible profession.

Tier 6 people won’t get paroled for at least 40 years. Convicted murderers so less time.

Ps, we start the year with no full weeks for a while. And no Monday PDs for a few weeks.

This Tuesday, I already have my excuse set up of why I can’t attend my holiday party. ‘My wife’s great aunt will be in town’

Anonymous said...

What a sad picture. It doesn't take much to talk to people in your school about social media or this blog or any place that can see that we can do something.

Anonymous said...

We act this way because many of us are beaten to a pulp every day, get no help and are 100% sure it wont get better.

Anonymous said...

Battered staff syndrome. You need help. How about at least a support group?

Anonymous said...

Turn on CBS, The Hempstead Crisis. Schools with gangs, principals forcing changed grades, high school students cant read. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

A Board member, black, who is a convicted level 3 sex offender and convicted of welfare abuse...Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

But they are all good kids. When we stop believing that, we may gain some ground. We are too foolish to even understand the real problems.

Anonymous said...

You cant shine shit. It doesnt matter what teacher stands there, these kids cabt or wont do the work, cant or wont behave.

Anonymous said...

Please explain what this has to do with our contract? There are poorer minority districts where kids don't excel and teachers are not usually blamed. Try NYC in 80's.

Anonymous said...

We are blamed. Does the uft help us in this terrible struggle. It has everything to do with our contract and representation. How low can expectations go was the title of the post. When students "sign" a name, see how many actually "sign." We are abused daily based on a failing culture, I expect uft to help with discipline, grade fraud, low salaries, they do none of that.

Anonymous said...

If we graded honestly, NY would be competing for worst in the country.

Anonymous said...

The city college ready rate is 30%, what else needs to be said?

Anonymous said...

I’m 20 years in. You can’t make chicken salad from chicken shit.

Bottom line. Mayor, city hall, principals are all out to get paid.

So am I.

I remember being burnt out my 2nd year. Worst feeling ever. At that moment I was 24 and I stopped caring.

Now I have a lot in my tda, I’m at top salary and I pass everyone.

And you know what? No stress.

I’m a terrible teacher but a good employee.

That’s what the doe wants

Anonymous said...

If you were 24 and burnt out, why in the hell didn't you get a different job? Surely if you are on maximum now, 18 years ago there had to be something out there that didn't pay as bad as second year teachers made back then?

Anonymous said...

And you could get a transfer back then too.

Anonymous said...


You’re right. I should have gotten another job.

Everyone told me to stay. And I did.

Biggest regret ever. I like my life, but hate teaching.

However, I can play the game so to speak.

I wear the shirt and tie, shave every day and never show up late.

I’ll do what is asked but hide when I can.

Trust me, I’m not alone in how I act. I just admit it.

Anonymous said...


You are also right.

I was young and dumb. Like I said, I was burnt out. Basically a functioning alcoholic on the weekends bc of the job.

I actually did get excessed and placed elsewhere. Like I said, that new mentality of doing less helped me.

I’m wasting my work life. I know it.

But I go in, do the minimum and work out every night.

Oh, and I’m now in better shape and weigh less than I did in my 20’s.

I know this system and I hate it.

This system punished those who try.

It’s wrong that it happens but I have accepted it.

And when I get paid max salary and get per session and look at my tda statements it seems ok.

Anonymous said...

No matter what job I got I was going to do it halfassed. Teaching pays well, lots of days off and good benefits. I’m not there to make the kids feel bad, I’m there to build them up. I’m not their parent, I’m their teacher. I pass them all, make them all feel good, and I like all the kids. I spend hours writing lesson plans that are 5 pages long, I never actually use unless observed, but always highly effective. I go out of my way to be friendly and a good worker. I teach 5 periods of the same thing, have them working in groups and like is good and easy. Stop the bitching and make it work.

Go back with a smile, cookies and bagels to share, and enjoy. I am certainly not teaching the way I once did until my brain felt like exploding, but they get what they want and I get my 120k, 800k TDA, 26 years in, and will work till I die or get fired.

There was a fight where I got pushed over two years ago, I looked at it positively, by taking 2 paid months to do some physical therapy. Just keep on trucking! And smile.

Anonymous said...

Cant smile. Its torture.

Anonymous said...

Form a union. Works better than being a coward. Read some history. Have some balls.

Anonymous said...

How many get shot at parade tomorrow? Nah, nothing to do with culture.

Anonymous said...

Some of these commenters on this site are a disgrace to the profession. These losers couldnt make it anywhere except in a job where a union protects their ass. How do they look into the mirror?

Anonymous said...

I understand that many administrations are making the job hard, but if you hate it, you have to walk away.

Anonymous said...

No, work together and go union.

Anonymous said...

u a loser

Anonymous said...

Nah, 18k to tda, 18k to 457b, 5500 to roth ira, plus retro, but will leave soon

Anonymous said...

Disgrace to the profession?

This job isn’t a profession. It’s a racket.

Fake it until you make it. Smile and nod is easier than fighting.

Cash the check, contribute to TDA, use benefits.

Then at age 55, get the f out and let the millennials try to change the world.

TJL said...

9:29, I don't blame them. The DOE does not reward good teaching. When you're in a system that rewards brown-nosing, parroting political BS, and following the latest useless Ed School fad such as "group work", "differentiated instruction", etc., it is very easy to get disillusioned.

The DOE doesn't care about actually educating the City's children and some people instead of fighting an uphill battle eventually give in. Like my cop friends say, "F U, pay me".

Personally I elect to channel my disgust a different way. I do what I want mostly, and actually teach my students. If you stand up for yourself and stop being a doormat, the admin will move on to someone else. Once in a while I give in to admin demands, and when the Supes are on their asses I help out the best I can because at least in my school they are actually halfway decent people who are under siege like us. In return, I get paid twice a month way better than I used to, put money into TDA and my kids' 529, and family health benefits (not that I like GHI, but it's better dollar-for-dollar than what you get in the private sector).

Anonymous said...

The swine running the union couldn’t even handle that. They don’t protect anyone but themselves. Double salaries, double pensions; jobs for wives, girlfriends, family and friends. They’ll be marching at the parade like they have actually done something to deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Right. With my great record i cant get a job in any school i want. Not worth the struggle to be in a place i hate. I will be quitting shortly.

Anonymous said...

Michael Mulgrew
Welcome back! Teaching and supporting New York City public school students is rewarding work, but it demands a lot from us. I hope you had a chance to rest and recharge over the summer break.

We ended the previous school year on a high note. After a lengthy campaign by thousands of UFT members, UFT-represented employees secured the right to six weeks of paid parental leave. In the first eight days after the application went live in August, 430 people had filed for this new benefit. This campaign is a concrete example of what we can accomplish when we stand together in a powerful union.

Ironically, the same week that we won this historic fight, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case that has made our circumstances tougher but may just make us stronger.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure the UFT remains a formidable force, but we have reason to be optimistic.

Approval ratings for labor unions are higher than they’ve been in a long time. People are getting wise to the disadvantages of the so-called gig economy, where pay is low, benefits are few and job security is nonexistent. This summer, New York City became the first city to cap ride-share services such as Uber and to set a minimum pay rate for drivers. A new generation of workers in digital media, many in their 20s and 30s, are unionizing for the first time as well.

Polls also have shown a majority of Americans supported the teachers who walked out last spring in places like West Virginia, Arizona and Kentucky. The job actions by teachers who had nothing left to lose shone a spotlight on the gross underfunding of public schools in these states that resulted in decaying facilities, outdated textbooks and teacher shortages.

The walkouts put education funding on the political agenda in those states. They also awakened a new generation of activists among public school educators and inspired more teachers to run for office this November — on both party lines — than ever before. The AFT alone counts 300 of its members who are candidates for office this year.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Workers and their unions are under attack by billionaires who are playing a long game. They will do anything to weaken worker rights and benefits in this country. Many public sector union members in New York State received phone calls and emails immediately after the Janus decision, urging them to drop out of their unions.

The Koch brothers, Betsy DeVos and her family and other members of the wealthiest 1 percent in this country are investing a lot in this fight because they realize the true value of union membership, which gives working people a fighting chance against their unchecked power.

The wealthy elite has the support of the Trump administration, which is blatantly hostile to worker rights. The U.S. Labor Department rescinded an Obama-era rule that required companies to disclose if they hired consultants to counter union-organizing activities. The administration sought to debilitate federal employee unions, though a federal judge recently put the brakes on the attempt. And Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is an appeals court judge with a record of anti-worker rulings.

We are fortunate to be members of a strong union. Our victory in the paid parental leave campaign demonstrated the power of an informed and engaged membership taking collective action.

But we can’t take anything for granted given the enemies we face. This is not the time to stand on the sidelines. Your future well-being depends more than ever on your involvement in your union.

Here’s to a great school year.

Anonymous said...

We won a fight? We ended last year on a high note? We are fortunate to be members of a strong union?

Anonymous said...

Great fiction from our president.

Anonymous said...

How dare he say anything about what we won or high notes. Im sick to my stomach.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is useless and corrupt.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad to see the negative energy. Teaching is a pleasure with unconditional rewards. Teacghers need to go back to teachers taught in 1980's. Administration needs to be concerned about the safety and well being of students. School is a community of learners who love to come to school. It sickens me to read these negative comments and I truly worry as to why most feel the same way. @ observations are enough!

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me the difference between the free ghi plan that me and my family currently enjoy, and the hip plan? Is it actually a giveback? I’m in my first year at the doe - will my plan change in February because of this?