Monday, February 20, 2023

NYC TEACHER WRITES TO CITY COUNCIL OUT OF FRUSTRATION WITH UFT AND DOE

 This came our way today. We print it with permission of its author.


I am a NYCDOE teacher that has been employed with the department for close to 20 years.  I am writing because I am appalled at the substandard pay and working conditions that city teachers face.  And, with pattern bargaining looming,  I am absolutely devastated at the prospect of 3% per year raises that our  DC-37 union counterparts are negotiating.

We teachers get in early; this year I am getting in close to an hour and a half before my students enter the building and many of my colleagues do as well.  We work during our lunch period, with a bite here and there because we are so busy.  One prep period per day for elementary school teachers is woefully inadequate and often consumed with meetings of one kind or another.  Weekends and weekday nights are also consumed with planning for our students.

Don't get me wrong; we love our students.  The call to nurture these young people and to help them to be happy and successful in their chosen paths brought us to this profession and sustains teachers to remain in this, our calling.   Sadly,  I  can't tell you how many colleagues have shared how unhappy, stressed and profoundly exhausted they themselves are.

As blurry-eyed as we are, we can still register the disrespect that is broadcast to us-DAILY.  Assaults on retiree healthcare, micromanagement that has been enabled by the Danielson Rubric and a weak contract with many loopholes laying the groundwork for administrative overreach, and NOW- the promise of pattern bargaining that pretty much enshrines that teachers will see the same 3% raises per year that our union brother and sisters from DC-37 are negotiating.  For shame!!! And people like me- who toil through the nights and early mornings in a profession that is INTEGRAL in building an informed citizentry for generations to come- is staring at the REALITY that I myself can no longer afford to pay the mortgage on my one bedroom apartment anymore, my credit card bills are mounting with grocery and gas bills that I couldn't afford to pay outright, and the rest of my humble living expenses in one of the most expensive metro areas in the country certainly will not be covered on my NYCDOE salary.  I now know that after almost 20 years as a teacher, I will most certainly need to sell the only and most valuable asset that I have sweated for in all these years--my home--because I cannot afford it anymore. 

I am sorry to say this, and it is with heartache that I utter this, but I can pledge that I have NO CONFIDENCE that the United Federation of Teachers is willing to lead the charge to help their own members fight for a better tomorrow.  Therefore, I am calling on the City Council to put forth legislation that will call for salary increases IN LINE with current inflation that will allow teachers to put food on the table and to pay their housing bills, having an automobile, gas bills, and savings for retirement that will not necessitate public assistance.  Protect our healthcare from substandard care that will come with Medicare Privatization.  Lest we forget, we are the direct line to the next generation of citizens.  The future of our society depends, on large part, on our working jointly with our respective communities. Respect teachers, give us the salary that we TRULY deserve; stop with the micromanagement. Nourish the teachers, give us the respect that we deserve, and the roots of the future will be truly strong. 

Sincerely,

NYCDOE teacher

15 comments:

Johnny Change said...

Some good effort. But we need to put pressure on the UFT leadership to get more from the city.
I doubt the city will yield on the 3% pattern because UFT salaries are higher and even more expensive for the city to offer higher percentage increase. DC37 agreement goes to their delegates for approval on Feb. 28. In the weeks following, every DC37 member in good standing will receive a ballot in the mail with an outline of the agreed-upon demands.
The link: https://dc37blog.net/2023/02/17/update-on-collective-bargaining-we-have-an-agreement/

Try to get 8.25% fixed TDA back.

JR said...

No confidence in your own union?

JR said...

And Mulgrew keeps losing negotiations to these fools…

Over $200 million in ventilators and other equipment purchased by New York City as part of the response to COVID has been auctioned off for just $500k.
https://thecity.nyc/2023/2/21/23607913/covid-bridge-vent-ppe-auction

liberals=ccp2323 said...

You can feel the pain, and I can deeply sense the frustrations. Your heart certainly goes out.

The counter to this is.... they will say we have salary steps which are raises. Maybe make 20 years instead of 22, where you get the max payout.

Everything goes back to our leaders; everyone is a democrat, missing 600 million here, want to become a sanctuary city, and another 1-2 billion gone. We should have 15-20 billion in surplus with the tourism taxes etc. That would help secure 6-10% increases in pay. When these shitty leaders spend money for nothing and do not put the people's interests first, they get screwed.

If we cannot secure any good raise, we should get 65 plus per session, 1 to 1 in CAR days for retirement, and 8.25% for TDA to at least build our future.

Holden said...

Powerful words and well written but doubtful that it will be effective. Those of us at Max salary can't get a huge raise because we will be pushed into a higher tax bracket.

BxT said...

I don't have the trees to worry about the incremental increase in tax for the highest step, but US tax is tiered. Only $ above the threshold is taxed at the applicable rate. That's the reason many people pay no tax, despite having (crappy) jobs.

Fed https://www.forbes.com/advisor/taxes/taxes-federal-income-tax-bracket/
NY https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/taxes/new-york-state-tax

James Eterno said...

Thanks for sending this info out.

nerd said...

So much for being essential workers...

Unknown said...

Moose here:

I can't imagine someone 20 years into a profession who hasn't delegated their income to save money for their biggest asset in which they have accumulated. Sorry chief, but I don't feel for you because everyone is in the same situation. Manage your funds better or you should have managed them better. You're in your 40's making pretty good money.

3 percent raises are WAY better than the last contract. You know; the one where it took until 2020 to get back-pay raises from 2009-2011. We are not getting raises that keep up with inflation. 3 percent a year is what used to be the "standard" and I would be content with that as a starting point.

We are at 5 months and 9 days now without a Contract. Be prepared for the "signing bonus" that is taxed at 40 percent, with some type of attempt at Healthcare givebacks, and some type of attempt to come after our TDA/Pension as well.

3 percent for the next few years adds up....If you make 100K and got 3 percent raises for the next four years, you'd be making $112,550. But you are making more because your salary step and longevity would increase. I'd sign up for a 12.5 percent raise over 4 years. Wake up people!

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree w Johnny C and liberals... Bring bk the 8.25%fixed back... It will add up to hundreds of thousands over your lifetime. CAR days should be 1:1 or at least 1.5:1 upon retirement.
To my letter writing colleague... I agree w you about our hard work and working conditions and YES we should get paid more but if you're almost 20 yrs in the system it means that you make between $111-$122k not counting any per session... Don't know how you manage your money or if it a case of keeping up with the Joneses but definitely not a good look telling the world that you can't afford a living w your salary... You make more than 99% of New Yorkers.. I have a house, car, 2 kids, 2 dogs and manage to pay for it all plus max my TDA by myself... Yes I make top salary but always was able to easily pay for my expenses.. Not sure if this letter will sit well for people making alot less than us... Public sentiment is at a all time low, I don't think this will help any.

Dr_Dru said...

James,

I am unnerved by this column and some of the responses.

“We teachers get in early; this year I am getting in close to an hour and a half before my students enter the building and many of my colleagues do as well. We work during our lunch period, with a bite here and there because we are so busy. One prep period per day for elementary school teachers is woefully inadequate and often consumed with meetings of one kind or another. Weekends and weekday nights are also consumed with planning for our students.”

Why do we as teachers, buy into the model of giving back our time with no compensation.
Even our illustrious, fearless leader talks about all our unpaid hours. It is almost a badge of honor to work for free!?!?

As a member and chapter leader who constantly speaks with all the staff at my school; I remind them when our school day begins and ends, to work smarter and not harder, and NOBODY in admin cares that you are working for free, except that you are keeping up the fa├žade that working for free is necessary and those of us who work our contractual hours are somehow, “slackers.”


I think Moose is not a math teacher, “3 percent for the next few years adds up....If you make 100K and got 3 percent raises for the next four years, you'd be making $112,550. But you are making more because your salary step and longevity would increase. I'd sign up for a 12.5 percent raise over 4 years. Wake up people!”

If the CPI goes up at a rate faster than my salary increase, IT IS NOT A RAISE!

Think of it like being at the beach and the tide is coming in. You can move back to higher ground, but the tide is rising faster than you can move back.

Basically as Walt Kelly’s Pogo says, “We have met the enemy and he is us”

JR said...

You are missing the most important point about a raise…The expectation is nothing. That’s what the wonderful uft has done to us. That’s why many see 3K plus 15.25 % as a win. Some have gotten used 1.3% per year. And teachers just aren’t that smart.

Unknown said...

JR is spot on! The expectation is nothing. How do some of you think that the UFT is going to negotiate for raises that keep up with inflation when we haven't even been able to get a "3 percent standard/cost of living raise"? 3 percent a year is a victory considering where we have been.

At the end of the day, no givebacks and getting 3 percent a year will work for me. It would have worked for a lot of you pre-CoVid. Outrageous demands for raises that match the current state of the times don't make any sense. The City would claim they'd be broke.

Thank you JR. Moose lurks.

Dr_Dru said...

Our rallying cry is, "please don't screw us too much"

Why even bother with contract teach ins, negotiating committees and all the other crap.

NEVER beating inflation has never worked for me! and no givebacks does not mean getting rid of the givebacks we already gave.

Calling 3% a victory is a disservice to all of us.

Ask any competent high school student if the numbers and "benefits" work out in our favor.

Unknown said...

Adams is looking at charter school salaries and trying to compare