Here is an excerpt:
Indeed, it’s hard to understand what the union was thinking in negotiating the new deal. After Janus v. AFSCME, where the U.S. Supreme Court barred compulsory public union agency fees for non-member employees, it was important for the UFT – a national symbol of public unions’ strength – to demonstrate its worth so that dues-paying membership would be promoted. Instead, President Mulgrew posed for a back-slapping photo-op with the Mayor and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who called Mulgrew his “brother from another mother.”
At almost every turn, the contract benefits the Department of Education and does little to improve the lot of the vast majority of union members. Salaries are at best stable with raises unlikely to meet increases in the cost of living. More importantly, the city undercut a decades-long union policy that, except for seniority and educational attainment, would not allow the DOE to pay some teachers more than others. Under the Bronx Plan, STEM teachers in certain schools will make more than their citywide colleagues. It is hard to imagine the rank-and-file submitting to such inequity, undermining the very idea of union solidarity. As detailed in a recent City Limits story, teacher supply varies enormously. Are elementary school teachers to be paid less than high school teachers? Will science teachers be paid more than those in the arts and humanities? Will teachers in Harlem, an area of high teacher turnover, be paid more than those in Staten Island, the district with lowest attrition? What was Mulgrew thinking?
Provisions like expedited class size protocols and greater consultation roles do little to improve the day-to-day lot of teachers. Most won’t even notice these changes. And even new teacher leader positions help just a few. Increased distance learning poses an existential threat to teacher jobs and is of dubious instructional worth. Course-specific professional development stipends may target the DOE’s instructional needs but limit teachers’ choice. The contract continues to protect educators in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool, those who lost jobs as a result of school closures and the like, but these are an infinitesimal segment of its 185,000 members. What was Mulgrew thinking?
What was Mulgrew thinking?
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