Secondary school teachers all over the city are being asked to teach an extra class during their prep or professional period. If it is in a shortage area (see page 3 for list of shortage area licenses), teachers are compensated at a rate of $7,278 per semester. That is not horrible compensation for taking on an extra class. However, what if it is in a non-shortage area where a school has a class or two hanging and they won't open up more classes to hire a full-time teacher?
The principle of equal pay for equal work should kick in. The UFT saw to it that it would be equal pay for the same work back in 1998 when they and the Board of Education agreed on Circular 6R. This very innovative document actually put teachers in charge for the most part of their professional periods and required that teachers be paid if they were teaching during their professional time at the shortage area rate, whether it was in a shortage area or not.
Randi Weingarten in the infamous 2005 giveback laden Contract gave away much of C6R when she agreed to put teachers back on potty patrol instead of making the professional period self-directed for most teachers. Giving back to the principals much more power over teacher professional time was one of her major concessions that year. However, the rest of C6R survived; the UFT still posts it on its website (see link above). This is a part of page 8:
It says 1998-99 and thereafter for non-shortage area licenses to get paid the full 7O rate which I repeat is $7,278 per term.
But is the contractual article refered to here still part of the Contract? The answer is yes. Article 7A10j is now Article 7A6d. Here it is in its entirety:
d. Provided that these periods are used to supplement, not supplant the current school program, and subject to the specific provisions regarding it, secondary teachers may use this time for a sixth teaching period compensated in accordance with Article 70 of the Agreement (Shortage License Areas). The chapter’s concurrence to ensure that this is truly supplemental is necessary.
Please note that there is an identical provision (7B8d) for middle school teachers. The language of both is the same as the old Contract. I checked. (Yes, I still keep the old Contracts.)
What I cannot begin to understand is why teachers in non-shortage areas are not being compensated for taking a sixth class at the Article 7O rate. Circular 6R has not been altered when it comes to the provision that allows teachers to teach during the professional period.
It seems like it should be easy for the UFT to uphold this provision, but it has been brought to my attention that teachers are being given sixth classes for the term however they are only being offered coverage pay for filling in for an entire semester. That is an extreme ripoff and insult to teachers.
The coverage rate is $45.38 per class. If we multiply that daily rate by 85 days for a semester, the total is $3,857.30. That comes to $3,420.70 less than the $7,278 the teacher who happens to be in a shortage area receives for teaching the same amount of time.
What kind of union would let its members get ripped off like this? I hope not the UFT.
When my friend enquired to the UFT about this, the answer has been crickets from the Union. I was under the impression that the UFT stands by the principle of equal pay for equal work; that we are one union. I hope they take up the cause of teachers who teach a sixth class all being paid at the same rate.
If not, I have no idea why any Chapter Leader would ever approve of any sixth class as per Contractual Article 7A6d and wouldn't just tell the principal who is underpaying teachers in non-shortage areas that we are one union and we will not stand for two pay scales. There is no provision to cover vacancies in non-shortage areas in the Contract during prep time. If the principal argued back that it is a hanging class and it must be filled, my response as the Chapter Leader would be: "That's your problem. Hire more teachers and lower class sizes. No cut-rate teaching is going to be allowed here." I would then grieve if they continued to put in teachers but paid them at the coverage rate. If there were three classes, I would demand that they hire someone as that is a vacancy. I would be very hesitant about letting the shortage area work go on as well since the chapter has to concur that it is necessary.
We need a better Union, not to abandon it commenters.