Tuesday, January 31, 2023


We had a wonderful time on Sunday night along with I'm told 230 UFTers to pep everyone for the contract teach-ins on Monday. People from MORE, ICEUFT, New Action and even the ruling Unity Caucus were on the Zoom panel, including of course Ibeth Mejia (Chapter Leader Aviation HS) and me representing the Independent Community of Educators.

The video on YouTube from Educators of NYC:

City and State covered the Teach-ins.

Heard around town

By Sahalie Donaldson

Teachers at hundreds of New York City public schools laid the groundwork for a contract bargaining process with a series of “teach-ins” across the city today. Members of the United Federation of Teachers gathered before and after school and during their lunch breaks to chart their priorities, make signs and bring attention to educators' plight. Educators came to school wearing the union’s trademark blue. Someone brought a cake with the words “fair contract now” to an East Village elementary school. It was an expansive effort – underscoring the union’s attitude amid the first time that public school teachers will negotiate raises and benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“People at this moment are paying attention to the world around them and we see a lot of workers in motion,” said Amy Arundell, UFT borough representative for Queens and an organizer for Monday’s teach-ins. “People are saying I want to be in motion too, I want to participate in my own survival as a worker and as an educator and make things better for myself and for my students.” 

UFT leaders began the bargaining process with the city in October, although neither has submitted their list of demands yet. The vast majority of the city’s 300,000 employees, including teachers, are working under an expired collective bargaining agreement.

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John Q. Teacher said...

Amy Arundell is a full time UFT employee. That means she gets her UFT salary AND her full DOE salary. She also gets TWO pensions, one from the UFT and one from the DOE. I find it annoying when she talks about teacher "struggles". A shitty new contract for the rest us would not impact her at all. The press should be interviewing rank and file teachers who are the ones who actually are struggling.

Bennett Fischer said...

The Contract Teach-In was terrific. Thank you, and thanks to all the panelists and to Daniel Alicea for organizing and moderating the event. The level of discourse was very high. (Better than a TED talk!) It made me very happy. It was a model of what internal UFT debate should look like. I recommend the YouTube recording to all readers of this blog.

Jeff said...

So we were asked if we would do a social media campaign or wear the same color. Wow, that should scare Adams.

I read Adams has budgeted 1.25% per year. Ok.

2 years at 1.25% per year.
TDA fixed to 8.25%, as everyone else gets.
Go back to 6 hour, 20 minute day.
Make the CAR 1 for 1 payout.
Throw us, say, $1Kish at signing.

I would say yes to that.

nerd said...

Amy's allegiance is questionable. Pick a side!

Fan of the Blog said...

Moose here...

September 13, 2022 and now it is February 1st, 2023.

4 Months, 18 Days, and counting for the amount of time working under our old contract. Back pay is going to be another bargaining chip brought to the table whenever this becomes sorted out.

Retirees won Healthcare (thankfully), a "Teach In" just occurred to help bring "issues" to the contract. Since when does Mulgrew take others opinions and bring them to the bargaining table? What a farce to let Union members think they have bargaining power. Give me a break. They haven't even had a sit down to negotiate in 4 1/2 months! Come on man. Hopefully by June (when I predict a new contract will be done) I can change my tune.

Unknown said...

Jeff, are you high??
You would be cool with a 1.25% raise per year for 2 years?? I hope that you're not a math teacher. The rate of inflation has been hovering around 10% since our last contract. It would take that for our salaries just to keep pace. Of course, we're not going to get 14% like the nursing union just bargained for- but that's unfortunately what it would take for any of us chumps to see a meager increase in spending power!!!
So sad that we have to beg. By the way, a $1,000 signing bonus is a joke.

Jeff said...

Yes, I'm high...Or maybe not. Let us examine.

You said..."we're not going to get 14% like the nursing union just bargained for" and "So sad that we have to beg."

Doubling the sick bank payout is about an increase from $65K to $130K for those who have a full bank.

The TDA going back to 8.25% is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra interest, if you choose to contribute.

Shortening the day is like a raise and reduces the workload everyone complains about.

$1K is an immediate bonus.

Yes, that plus 2.5% over 2 years is fine with me.

Of course, the uft will never get any of those things because WE are the ones who always give back. How was the last election and all of the contractual votes?

JA said...

I would vote yes to a contract that included Jeff's proposals. I would also include a yearly bonus for teachers with three or fewer days taken off during the school year; with a nice bonus for no days off. Hiring a substitute costs taxpayers $200-$300 a day!

Reducing the TDA return was a huge giveback. Right now my TDA is "reduced" by about $7,500 a year because of the loss of the 1.25%.

The elimination of the 150 minutes would save hundreds a month in childcare and would help to keep what sanity I have left.

The givebacks and tradeoffs made in previous contracts have been a crime. I am preparing for the newest round of givebacks to send me to an early retirement!

James Eterno said...

If you reduced the work day by an average of 30 minutes per day, the City would want a proportional reduction in salary. We don't negotiate with ourselves. The City and DOE are there too.

John Q. Teacher said...

James, reducing the time of the school day is paramount. If we get a 2% raise over say, 3 years, we are taking a pay cut as this does not match inflation. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars we "lost" when Bloomberg refused to negotiate with us for many years. We have been screwed by this city for too long. To myself, and most of my school staff, we are FED UP with the bullshit/extended time of the 2005 contract that still haunts us to this day. Getting rid of the extra time would not cost the city anything. Furthermore, parents won't care because it would not effect them. In other words, getting rid of the extended time is a fair and sane idea whose time has come, especially since the city is not going to pay us what we really need to survive during these uncertain times.

James Eterno said...

If the City took off 30 minutes from a teacher's day and did not reduce salary, every other City worker in NYC would demand a similar reduction in their hours. I don't see a shorter day happening.

Jeff said...

Great. Wow. People actually agree with me.


The point is that, in exchange for the WAY below inflation raise, they can shorten our workday.

I found ways to get a FAIR deal.

Or maybe I should just wear the button they gave me today.

Don't worry, Mulgrew has it covered.

James Eterno said...

Can you please address my point about the police or firefighters or any other City agency demanding a shorter workday with no reduction in pay if the teachers got it?

John Q. Teacher said...

James, we are not the same as other municipal unions. Uniformed unions get BIG pay for overtime. They also get a 75% disability pay and get to retire after 22 years of service. We get shitty "per session". Furthermore, the next contract could certainly allow us to do parent outreach before school if we want to. PD's could also be done asychronously on a sign up basis for when we get home from school or on the weekend if that's what teachers want to do instead of forcing us to stay in the buildings. We could also have a clause in the contract that principals have to honor any SBO's for how the extended time format could be used. As mentioned, parents won't care about this since it does not effect them. The other unions should also find ways to be able to work virtually. (Fill out police reports from home, etc) We are now living in an age where lots of work can be done remotely. Check the newspapers today talking about the mass retirements and folks quitting the NYPD. Civil service is not seen as an appealing career anymore. Look at the shortage of candidates entering teacher preparation programs. Heck, Mulgoon wants more dues paying teachers. How is he going to achieve that when nobody wants to be a teacher anymore, especially in the crappy DOE.

John Q. Teacher said...

Oh yeah, I have another idea: How about teachers who want a bigger raise get one as long as they work the extended time while others who don't want to work the extended time get a lower raise. (Or no raise, just add more salary steps above 22) As a teacher at top salary, I would be fine with a smaller raise or just an increase in salary steps after 22 if it meant I could go home at 2:20pm everyday. I'm sure that plenty of other veteran teachers would be ok with that choice as well. This would actually SAVE the city money and once again, parents won't care because it would not effect them.

Johnny Change said...

Is there a chance of returning to 8.25%?
Possible retirement incentives this year?
"CAR day one for one" is much too expensive, $126k for me alone on the spot. I don't think
the city has that kind of money.

James Eterno said...

Pattern bargaining: If one union gets something new financially, the others line up behind and say, "Me too." That is how it has worked for decades.

Educators are the only ones who get 7-8.25 % guaranteed fixed TDA. So we have something unique. We got two days added to summer to lower fixed interest on TDA to 7%

I don't see the City agreeing to a shorter day unless we give back the 7% we got to lengthen it. That said, bring up your proposals to someone on the negotiating committee. Maybe, they can try.

James Eterno said...

Going from 8.25% fixed to 7% for two days was a terrible deal by the way

Jeff said...

James, I will answer your question. YOU said we should get something like 14% over 2 years. I'm bypassing that in order to get the shorter day and the other stuff. Other unions can choose the shorter day or the 14%.

Our day is being made shorter to save the city money and accept the 1.25% Adams budgeted for us.

You can't have it your way. This isn't Burger King.

Oh wait, you are saying the UFT will get no raises and no givebacks from the city.

I'm trying to compromise.

That's pretty amazing and pathetic at the same time.

Now do your "strong union" and "dues are necessary" rant.

James Eterno said...

According to the IBO, it would cost the City $450,000,000 for each 1% increase City workers get. I don't envision us getting near an annual 7% increase without a huge unified battle that would be historic.

A 7% cut in hours would require a 7% cut in pay. I don't see too many going for that as an option.

I am trying to keep this discussion based on reality but bring it to the people who negotiate, not me.

Fan of the Blog said...

Gee willikers Batman! Thank Jeebus a lot of you are not on the 500 member panel negotiating committee. I might be selling Gatorade and Water on the side of the Van Wyck Expressway if some of you got your agendas put through.

We are not going to get any raises to match inflation. That's unfortunately not realistic. James tries to bring the conversation back to reality yet receives backlash for doing so. I don't understand it. If you think the 150 minutes of "extra time" is something that will satisfy you if taken away, you're borderline delusional. We already work a job where we don't work past 4pm on any given day.

Let's be realistic here. 3 percent a year for what used to be cost-of-living raises for a few years is what we'd get at BEST. The school day will stay the same. It boggles my mind how Adams cuts $250 Million plus from the Education Budget, yet doesn't have money for raises. BUT we can all get "Equity Training". Sounds about right. These Democrats are unreal.

Moose out!

Jeff said...


Not sure what you are arguing.

We can't get the raise you said we deserve, and what we should get ased on inflation...

The city won't agree to my compromises in order to give the 1.25% Adams budgeted for...

Are you just saying we should/will get nothing?

We don't get a 7% cut in pay because we are accepting the 7% cut in time with the below inflation raises, that is paying for the workday cut.

What is your proposal?

James Eterno said...

I am saying I don't think the teachers would agree to a 7% cut in pay or 7% less than we would get in exchange for a shorter day. The City is not going to shorten the day and reduce teacher hours of work unless we pay for it.

The only way teachers get anything like what teachers deserve is by fighting for it. Combining with other unions would certainly strengthen the UFTs hand. Expecting us to demand a raise that keeps up with inflation and get anything close to that seems unrealistic to me.

liberals=ccp2323 said...

Jeff, I do like your ideas. Even though it's not the raises people want or think we will receive, they are very important for our future.

We should also be advocating for 65 an hour per session. With the terrible times, we live in because of the many idiots on the blog, including James voting for Biden and the dems I wish you had outrage. Why don't you pretend it is Trump in office because this world is far more dangerous and insane expensive than the world I lived in with Trump.

Johnny Change said...

3% per year,
get 8.25% back for TDA fixed,
20 sick days per year(up from 10 sick days per year.).
Would this set be accepted?

James Eterno said...

CCP 2323, I agree that per session is woefully underpaid.
I don't know how you got the Biden stuff in there but we didn't do too well under Trump or Obama, or Bush for that matter. The last really good UFT contract was probably when Nixon was president for what that's worth. We didn't do too badly under JFK either.

Unknown said...

20 sick days per year would make teachers terminally absent.