Friday, September 23, 2022

CHAPTER LEADER WEEKLY UPDATE: CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS START OCT 13; AVIATION HS SIXTH PERIOD PAY GRIEVANCE WIN; UFT TRYING TO PRESERVE HEALTHCARE CHOICE NOT PREMIUM FREE HEALTHCARE CHOICE

Three stories in this week's Chapter Leader Update caught my eye. The first was on contract negotiations.  The UFT Contract expired on September 13.

Contract Negotiations

The city has agreed to sit down with the UFT for the first negotiating session on Thursday, Oct. 13. Under state law governing public employees, the terms of an expired agreement remain in effect until a new one is reached. Salary steps and differentials remain in effect, but we need a new contract to secure the across-the-board pay increases we deserve. The current DOE-UFT contract expired on Sept. 13. The union’s 500-member negotiating committee is meeting on Sept. 28 to prepare for the start of bargaining. The results of our all-member survey will direct their discussions. 

Aviation HS Sixth Period Grievance Win

For over twenty years, shop teachers and other non-shortage area teachers at Aviation HS were teaching an extra class all term but were being ripped off by getting paid at a lower daily coverage rate instead of the higher special per session rate. The UFT did nothing to stop the cheating until 2021 when new Chapter Leader Ibeth Mejia did the research on why this practice was improper and then mobilized the shop teachers to fight back. One of those teachers won a precedent-setting grievance arbitration case this summer. 20 others grieved. The DOE is still fighting but soon the teachers et.al. case will go to arbitration and the teachers should be getting back pay.

The UFT has won an arbitration decision confirming that the Department of Education must pay the shortage rate — not the coverage rate — to any teacher asked to teach an extra period every day as part of their program. While the practice is not widespread, we now have a precedent-setting decision that providing coverage pay for teachers who teach a sixth-period class on a regular basis is a violation of the DOE-UFT contract. A principal may offer a sixth class to a teacher only if they get approval from the schools chancellor and pay the shortage rate. The arbitration began as a grievance filed by an Aviation HS teacher with an aviation mechanics license who taught a sixth-period class every day and received coverage pay. The DOE argued that since the aviation mechanics license is not on its list of shortage areas, the principal had the discretion to offer a sixth class to aviation mechanics teachers at the coverage rate. The arbitrator sustained the grievance, stating that the DOE-UFT contract is clear that the coverage rate is for covering a class on a day when the regular teacher of the class is not available and a substitute teacher could not be hired. The shortage rate is the only rate available in the contract for teaching a sixth class, regardless of whether the class is in a shortage area or not.

UFT says the practice of principals shortchanging teachers who teach an extra class is not widespread. Are they right?

Oppose any Healthcare Givebacks

The Municipal Labor Committee (an umbrella group of over 100 city government unions) is working with the city to try to get the City Council to change the Administrative Code (city law) on city employee healthcare benefits. 

The UFT Contract entitles UFTers to a choice of premium free healthcare plans (see Article 3G1). The change in the law would make it only a choice of health plans. This is part of a checklist on what the UFT is currently doing that is part of the Chapter Leader Update:

Lobbying the New York City Council to amend the administrative code to state explicitly that the city must negotiate with the Municipal Labor Committee on all employee health care plans and must allow that city unions may negotiate for employees to have health care plan choices.

Notice they don't say choice of free healthcare plans.  A judge threw out the city-MLC's attempt to move Medicare-eligible retirees into a Medicare Advantage Plan (privatized healthcare or what we termed Mulgrewcare) or pay premiums for what they have now. 

The city is trying to change the law so they can easily end choices for premium-free coverage and impose the inferior Mulgrewcare. They could then charge around $400 a month for couples to keep traditional Medicare-Seniorcare that today costs $0 in premiums. Unions like the Professional Staff Congress are opposing the change. The city and MLC will be able to end premium-free healthcare choices for active UFTers and non Medicare retirees if the change passes in the City Council.

Go to the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY union) page for more information and to get involved in the fight to oppose healthcare givebacks. 

United for Change (opposition group in the UFT) had a resolution for the UFT to draw a line in the sand and oppose healthcare givebacks for UFTers. It had 49% support at the Delegate Assembly last year. Let's bring it up again and move it over to majority status to make it UFT policy.

55 comments:

  1. Let's be clear: every post is not going to lead to a bunch of comments about Democrats vs Republicans. That has been discussed and debated to the point of overkill. I will try to do a posting on the Governor's race to give folks a chance on the Democrats vs Republicans but there is so much here in this posting to comment on and City Council elections are not this year so let us deal with issues we have now in the posting which are contract negotiations, proper pay for teaching an extra class, and healthcare givebacks.

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  2. What is so much? Everything here is bad. We are already behind on a contract. We’ve had all bad raises except for the 2007 deal, which was only for 2 years. Not sure what your point is other than we are getting screwed by the people we pay.

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  3. 40-year high inflation, a crushing labor shortage, & supply chain disruptions..and no raise...after tiny raises.

    But Mulgrew is fighting for us. For teachers, you guys aren't very smart.

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  4. I’ve been very skeptical of the “Long COVID” narrative, but I’m now convinced I too have it.

    Major symptoms:

    My net worth is effectively about 25% less

    My 4th grader is about 50% of where she should be in school

    My confidence in the UFT is gone

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  5. Mulgrew reminds me of one of those confidence men running a Three-card Monte game. I listened to the retiree townhall meeting the other day which was mostly about the healthcare issue. I definitely did not get the impression that the UFT/MLC was going to fight too hard to get the city to keep providing premium free healthcare options for retirees OR in-service people. It is important to actually listen for what he DOES NOT say when he speaks. Additionally, it seemed once again that every question he was asked was basically a softball one that could be answered to make him/UFT look good. Very aggravating to say the least.

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  6. On the issue of healthcare—as a retiree -$250 is already deducted my pension and listed as G-CBP-EMPE and $5.66 is also deducted and listed as G-CBP/BC EMPE on a monthly basis. Are these deductions already done as monthly premiums for healthcare—or will there be an additional healthcare premium if I should decide to stay with the current Medicare/SeniorCare.
    If anyone can explain or advise. Thank you.
    Also, do current members have free healthcare—or have healthcare premiums deducted from their pay checks ??

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  7. Did the union supporters mention we are at a 2020 number in the stock market and we have no raise for almost 2 years now?

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  8. Question:
    If we do not budge on healthcare, what do we think the DOE's giveback demand would be for a substantial fair raise?

    Regards to all.

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    Replies
    1. Keeping in mind the unpredictable rampant inflation, we are better off with the solid healthcare, tether than monetary raises.

      Delete
  9. Neither the UFT Leadership nor the membership has a strategy for stopping nyc from ruining our health coverage. But meh comments on politics are verboten. Strategy involves politics, James. We’re negotiating with politicians. Do the same politics, get the same shit results. But let’s not talk about it.

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  10. James, our union is not working in our best interests. This is the icing on the cake.

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  11. Remember, the Eternos, you were voted "in" to not let Mildew to screw us over again: ANY kind of a medical treatment must NOT be part of tchrs ' contract. Consider it the ONE job you have to do.

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  12. There is only only way to change this dire situation: the workers must act. Right now we are still wallowing in and debating about concession bargaining. But concession bargaining is anti-union, anti-labor, anti-worker. It is the opposite of what we should be talking about, and what we need to do. We should be talking about, we should be engaging in collective bargaining. While a 500 worker committee looks democratic, it is a travesty of the collective bargaining we are paying Unity to do. In concession bargaining the employers (the City, the State) take actions, makes demands, and the workers react with give-backs. This is the very opposite of collective bargaining.

    Under the current dispensation, the City or State, the Employers simply say they don't have the money and begin the concession bargaining and the "union" our UFT reacts by putting 500 odd people in a committee (s) to discuss and debate how and why they must screw themselves and each other.

    The City/State has no credibility. If we were in a City/State that we broke, bankrupt, we would still need to fight, to act to prevent our union from selling us out, but this is not and has not been the case in our City/State. So why are they engaging in selling us out?

    They are not a union. They don't know how to organize or defend us, how to collectively bargain for us.

    All Unity can do is stand it's ground on job security. You have a job. Shut up. Be quiet. Bend over.

    BTW, my reading of the uft victory at Aviation is that a real labor person got elect CL there and made this happen even as the UFT and the bosses tried to cripple her efforts. She is clearly a target now of both and needs support from those of us who know what real union work is and what a champion the CL there is.

    As CL you must fight the union and the bosses and a good percentage of the members (sometimes the majority). Tough job. If you have a real CL like the one at Aviation you should support them tooth and nail.

    Shelley

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    Replies
    1. Ibeth Mejia is the Chapter Leader at Aviation. She worked at Jamaica HS earlier in her teaching career. She might have picked up a point or two from how our Chapter worked.

      The UFT let the sixth period pay issue go for two decades at Aviation until Ibeth was elected CL in 2021. Ibeth did the research on the contract. She then used her organizing skills to convince 20 teachers to grieve on this issue. In all fairness, the UFT then jumped in with real support. The Grievance Department worked diligently and VP Janella Hinds testified on the difference between a coverage and teaching an extra class for the entire term. A VP testifying shows the case is important to the Union.

      If the members in a school are with you, you can make a difference.

      Delete
  13. We were voted in? Where? Camille is an elected Delegate with one vote out of 3,000 in the Delegate Assembly. I am a retiree with a blog.

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  14. Yes, once you know how to use the Agreement to force the UFT to support you, you may get support from people up the Pyramid Scheme, and eventually full support as the Unity-UFT sees that now cutting off their Pinocchio noses to spite their two faces is inevitable.

    They will then claim victory and take all the credit, like a rooster takes credit for the dawn.


    But they will make it difficult not easy.

    The 6th class is, first of all, anti-worker and is not something a union should allow. But the people around the bosses like the extra money so they hush it up and it is endemic system wide. This will expand if the class size reductions ever come to fruition.





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  15. The ignorance of members is astonishing. How could they not know that unity opposition people have little to no power to do anything.

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    Replies
    1. That is NOT a reason to continue doing nothing!
      Water grinds stones.

      Delete
    2. 10:07, your ignorance and desire to justify silence on the opposition's side is what's astonishing. What do you think the purpose of an opposition is?
      They need to speak up. They need to stand for opposing points of view/perspectives. They need to work on cultivating "their" point of view.
      Right now they are treating their seats as a "convenient feeding station" with an honorable label of "opposition ". And we are fools for thinking they are smth else.

      Delete
  16. Lol. The uft worked hard after they let it go two decades. You can’t be serious.

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  17. At Aviation, my understanding is sixth classes are somewhat necessary because FAA certified teachers are not easy to find but the DOE license is shop which overall is not a shortage area. You can't stick out of license teachers in FAA sanctioned classes.

    According to Leroy Barr, sixth classes in non shortage areas being paid coverage rate is not widespread. This is a local issue he claims. I know it happens in other schools even in shortage areas.

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  18. Nothing against the people of Puerto Rico and the devastation caused by the recent hurricane. But yet, the city claims its going broke and must make cuts from all city agencies. Yet, Adams is jetting off to Puerto Rico -along with other city officials -for nothing more than a photo op. Unless the federal government is going reimburse the cost—city money for trips doesn't grow on trees.

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  19. How much is the shortage rate? I am taking on a sixth class

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  20. This part of what we wrote in the summer.

    https://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2022/07/uft-wins-arbitration-affirming-right-of.html?m=1

    "We have followed the case all year of the Aviation High School shop teachers standing up for special per session sixth-period pay of $7,278 per semester for teaching an extra class each day instead of settling for cut-rate coverage pay of $45.38 per class multiplied by 85 days for a semester which comes to $3,857.30. The math clearly shows that many teachers have been getting cheated out of over $3,400 per semester because principals refuse to follow the contractual rules and pay teachers what they are entitled to for teaching a sixth class in secondary schools. We believed it was a no-brainer grievance as the right to receive sixth-period teaching pay for agreeing to teach a sixth class in secondary schools has been in the Contract since 1998, whether it was for a shortage area or non-shortage area class."

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  21. Email us at iceuft@gmail.com and we will get in touch with the right people if you are being shortchanged.

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  22. So much for the thriving middle class. An on time raise would be nice from the strongest union in the country.

    According to CBS News, food banks are in greater demand now than during the pandemic because of the current economy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But they passed 6 trillion worth of good stuff.

      Delete
  23. Answer this. Why did they eliminate student standards and why did they pretty much eliminate suspensions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duh, they wanted to equalize blacks and Hispanics to whites and Asians.

      Delete
  24. Billions to Ukraine - not a peep - but ask for medicare coverage for eyes, ears and teeth and both Dems and Rep cry about money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. America should take care of its own citizens we could really use some help

      Delete
    2. America first? Sounds reasonable to take care of union workers first

      Delete
    3. 66 billion to Ukraine but nothing for union workers

      Delete
  25. Was anything mentioned about the teachers who were fired due to the vaccine mandate? There was no support from the UFT that’s for sure. Firing of all these qualified teachers during a teacher shortage is unacceptable. Mulgrew doesn’t even want to touch on this issue.

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  26. 1:44. When their policies resulted in student academic failures they had to disguise failure by lowering standards. When their policies resulted in more and more violent and disruptive students they had to disguise it by eliminating suspensions. NYC voters will vote candidates with the same failing policies into office every single time there is an election. So buck up and get used to it.

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  27. 11:28 how do you know they were qualified? You don't know anything about them. You're just randomly saying they were qualified. Mulgrew should focus on getting us a good contract. The vaccine issue is going to be heard by the Supreme Court. There is no way Adams is going to change anything before then. If they side with the city that's it.

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    Replies
    1. First they came for the unvaccinated and I said nothing, in fact I agreed they should be fired because they wouldnt take the shot and they probably supported an opposing political party
      Next they came for the people who wouldn’t go along with? You know the rest. Dangerous times for union workers

      Delete
  28. 11:37 can you be any more offensive?

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    Replies
    1. Is it not the truth? Just look at grad numbers and suspension numbers.

      Delete
    2. The truth is sometimes offensive

      Delete
    3. Enough with this "offensive " bull.
      Enough hiding your head in the sand.
      Lying and pretending does NOT serve any kind of a student well, and is detrimental to our country. So, Yeh, 11:37, that is the reason. And that approach was chosen by incompetent useful idiots placed in charge.

      Delete
  29. Maybe they should try separating good teachers from bad teachers and get rid of blanket seniority.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your kids are going to "bad teachers"?
      Are the bad ones those that refuse to teach woke nonsense?
      Oh, yeh. It is coming, if nothing is changed. It is called "prosecution ", "cancellation ", "shunning ".
      VOTE IN PERSON,ppl.

      Delete
  30. Im curious as to what people think would be a win here in terms of raises in the new contract. I know people are gonna be like welllll inflation is X% so X%+ per year is a win. But I think even if we were to mobilize and strike we aren't getting that much per year. What is the number we can reasonably push for and get? BTW please don't do the troll move where you tell me that not expecting inflation makes me part of the problem blah blah blah.

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  31. It is amazing how quickly city government and Mulgrew no longer refer to any municipal workers as "essential." If they kept referring to us as "essential" they would be able to guilt the city into a good contract. I feel Mulgrew could care less. He's got another term to continue to sell us out

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  32. Union workers deserve better. Stocks down below 29,000 our 401ks are down 35-40% when is help arriving?
    Watching the news and all they talk about is Jan6th. We need economic relief,our union should fight for 24% over 3 yrs. Nothing less should be acceptable to any of us. Just took a part time online tutoring job to help pay for the anticipated spike that’s coming. I’m almost 60 and was looking forward to my retirement. Guess that’s going to be delayed thanks to whoever’s policies made this happen.

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  33. I'm the original 144 PM.

    I asked the question.

    I'm a first year teacher.

    I'm shocked at what's going on and I'm not sure I'm going to last the term.

    The union told me nothing about teachers choice, rotating schedules, sick days, tda/457/roth, pension etc. I can't even get into payroll portal.

    At my school I was told the expectation is about 50% attendance and that is just fine.

    I'm pretty disgusted.

    I was lucky to have someone in my department explain that stuff to me.

    This is not the career I was promised.

    This is not education.

    Pass students just because we can't fail everyone?

    If this is what's going on at most schools, and from what I've read it is, I'll find something else to do in life.



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  34. 7:00: Good idea do some research and look for parts of the country where they need teachers, but make sure its unionized. If you are able to relocate, do it. Don't stay in the DOE too long or you'll be held hostage. I have 25 years in and still have almost 6 more to go to reach retirement, so I'm being held hostage. This is the system that will break you. It's done it to many and will keep doing it. Don't worry about the kids. There are kids in other parts of the country that need good teachers too.

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  35. James wrote: "According to Leroy Barr, sixth classes in non shortage areas being paid coverage rate is not widespread. This is a local issue he claims. I know it happens in other schools even in shortage areas."

    While it's true that Aviation has a unique problem of FAA staff shortage, Unity-UFT, including the the Unity chapter leaders at Aviation, were not doing their jobs and workers were being ripped off. Is this endemic or only in one school, Aviation, because of their unique needs FAA shop staff? Barr says it's not happening in school system wide. I beg to differ and I say, show me the numbers. Why aren't these kinds of numbers available to members so we can do more than merely accept Barr's dubious claim?

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  36. See Steven above…seems like problems are widespread.

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  37. I'm teaching a 6th class this year and am just seeing it pop up in my paycheck on the 1st of October.

    If we are supposed to get about $7,200 a semester, how much should we see per paycheck? I only ask because I can't make sense of the number I am seeing in addition to my usual amount.

    Thanks.

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  38. Why were standards dropped? Check the single parent numbers and crime numbers. That is the answer.

    ReplyDelete

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