Saturday, May 3, 2014

How Unity is Selling the Contract and A Response from a Rank and Filer Who is Not Buying

What was the union's dream contract?  What were our demands?  How can anyone but the mayor declare this a victory?... High School teacher responding to email from UFT organizer
You know something is shaking when people I haven't heard from in years start sending me letters they are writing saying they will vote NO. These are not the activist MOREistas who spend a hell of a lot of time on union stuff, but rank and file people who very rarely get involved.

Below is a response to a Queen UFT/Unity operative who sent out an email selling the contract and announcing school visits (read it below the teacher's response). I'm keeping the names out of it.
Hello ------,
I will vote no.  I will encourage my fellow teachers to vote no.

This is not a well negotiated contract.  This contract seems like a good starting point for the MAYOR.  If these are the agreed upon conditions, where did the mayor start?  Did he suggest 0% for nine years with immediate termination of ATRs along with major healthcare concessions?

What was the union's dream contract?  What were our demands?  How can anyone but the mayor declare this a victory?

Use the link below to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to see that the Consumer Price Index shows a 23% increase in consumer prices over the past 9 years.  Our contract gives us an 18% raise over the same time period.  This means that at the end of 9 years, we will be 5% poorer.  To drastically compound the matter, this contract is absurdly backloaded.  For the majority of these 9 years our salaries were even further below the adjusted consumer price index.

Previous contracts went through fact-finding and arbitration.  No such process occured here.  Nothing occured here.  I feel more betrayed by my union than I have ever felt by my administration.


Sincerely,
---------
Email from Queen UFT Organizing Committee


Please note:
       Because of the proposed contract, the schedule below is highly tentative.
May 5                                  John Bowne
May 6                                  Bayside
May 7                                  HSAB
May 7                                  Delegate Assembly
May 9                                  Townsend Harris

May 13                                UFT Organizing
May 13                                Queens HS Chapter Leaders
May 14                                Gateway
May 15                                Queens Vocational



Contract
                  What needs to happen now is for your Chapter Leader and Delegates to attend this Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly-that’s what you elected them for.
                        Then there need to be Chapter meetings at which the provisions of the proposed contract are explained and questions answered.  I hope to participate in many such discussions over the coming days.
                        It is essential that folks respond to the actual Memorandum of Agreement when it is available and not rely upon blogs and newspapers for their information.  To that end I will not myself be publishing any details of the proposed contract until after Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly, except for the Union’s press release:

UFT Contract Highlights 2014
May 2, 2014
On May 1, the UFT and DOE announced that they had come to a tentative agreement on a contract. Here are some highlights of the proposed contract.
Teacher Pay
The proposed contract includes a total package of 18 percent in raises, including all retroactive pay, plus a $1,000 cash bonus. 
For the current round, the annual percentages are:
1 percent — 1 percent —$1,000 cash — 1 percent — 1.5 percent —2.5 percent — 3 percent
Teachers can expect the $1,000 cash bonus as soon as the contract is ratified and a 2 percent increase later this year. Other annual raises will be paid in May of each year.
The retroactive payments for the 4 percent and 4 percent that UFT members missed from the previous round — and the associated annual rate increases — will be phased in beginning in 2015 and ending in 2020.
Teacher Evaluation
The new contract clarifies and simplifies the evaluation process. Evaluations will now be focused on eight components instead of the current 22.
Under the current system, teachers in grades or subjects not covered by tests can be evaluated in part on schoolwide measures that include results for many students they do not teach.  Under the new contract, teachers in non-tested subjects or grades will have the option to be evaluated on the results of students they actually teach.
The union and the DOE will work to expand the available assessments.
ATRs
Under the new contract, the DOE is obliged after Oct. 15 to send an ATR to any school in the district/borough with a vacancy in the teacher’s license area. The principal retains the discretion to keep the teacher or return him or her to the ATR pool.
Additional Professional Time
The union's 2005 contract lengthened the school day by 2.5 hours each week, or 150 minutes. 
The proposed contract reconfigures the 2.5 hours added to the week in 2005, and recovers an additional 80 minutes each month by eliminating a number of faculty meetings and conferences.
Under the new contact — unless a school votes for an alternative — an 80-minute block of time on Mondays will be devoted to school-based professional development and a 35-minute period every Tuesday for professional work, such as collaboration between teachers across subjects or grades. The remainder of the repurposed time will be used for parent contact (see below).
Additional Parent Voice
The agreement creates a 40-minute period every Tuesday for teachers to reach out to parents by email, letter, telephone or face-to-face meetings. Teachers can also use this time to create newsletters, school or class websites or other strategies to increase contact between parents and teachers.

It increases the length of the parent-teacher conferences from 2.5 to three hours and doubles the number of evening parent-teacher conferences from two to four each school year. Evening conference will be held in September, November, March and May.
New Flexibility for Selected Schools
The new contract provides a mechanism for schools to innovate by seeking exemptions to certain Chancellor’s Regulations or UFT contract provisions that could result in initiatives such as a different school day and year; greater teacher voice in hiring decisions; or wider variations in how a school day is laid out.
A joint DOE-UFT panel will review proposals and select up to 200 schools for the program.  For a school to participate, the principal and 65 percent of UFT staff in the building must agree to the proposal.
Curriculum vs. Paperwork
The agreement obligates the Department of Education to provide all educators in core subjects with appropriate curriculum.
It also includes new rules to reduce excessive paperwork, including the creation of duplicative and unnecessary electronic records.
Teacher Leadership
The proposed contract includes leadership positions that will allow teachers to remain connected to the classroom while still expanding their reach. “Model teachers” will be empowered to work with teachers in their own school to improve instruction by opening up their classrooms to their colleagues. “Teacher ambassadors” will be paired with a sister school for a year to share and develop best academic practices. Both posts pay $7,500 a year on top of salary.
“Master teachers” will be responsible for sharing best practices in their school and reviewing its impact on student achievement. The post pays $20,000 a year on top of salary.
Background — Wage Deferrals
New York City has previously entered into collective bargaining agreements with municipal unions that deferred wages for multi-year periods.
“In fiscal year 1976 certain employees deferred portions of negotiated wage increases and other items. In conjunction with a September 1982 collective bargaining settlement, an agreement was reached whereby the deferred wages plus accrued interest would be paid over a seven-year period commencing July 1, 1984.” (New York City Comptroller’s 1985 CAFR — Comprehensive Annual Financial Report).
According to the Comptroller’s 1994 CAFR: “In fiscal year 1991, the Board of Education entered into an agreement whereby teachers would defer a portion of their fiscal year 1991 salary. The City will repay the deferred wages of $46.7 million in two installments: (i) one-half to be repaid on September 1, 1995; and (ii) the second half plus interest at 9% per annum on the unpaid balance from September 1, 1995 to be repaid on September 1, 1996.”
Role of Fact Finders
The UFT contract expired October 31, 2009. In February, 2010, PERB appointed a mediator. After mediation failed, PERB appointed a fact-finding panel — Martin Sheinman, Howard Edelman, and Marc Grossman — in the fall of 2012.
The fact-finders have been part of the recent negotiations and played an important role in helping the parties reach a fair contract.

8 comments:

  1. I just read this on Chaz's blog and would like to share it here.

    "As far as I know, from a labor attorney (not ours, Francesco ForEducation Portelos), a collective bargaining agreement takes precedence over any federal or state law, meaning if the CBA is ratified, then THAT becomes the determining document, and not the state or federal labor law. I found this out when a friend of mine told me that she couldn't get FMLA leave for having a baby and that she only had 6wk disability. Turned out her CBA from her school district (Clarkstown) opted out of FMLA, so no teachers there were entitled to it. Sucks. If this pig is ratified, we are all screwed."

    When you meet with your DR, ask about the UFT's special 3020a and how that will affect the NYSED edlaw 3020a.

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    Replies
    1. Asking questions of a DR is fine but unless we already know the answer we won't know if we are being lied to. When they send a unity shill to my school I usually ask questions when I already know the answers. My questions are usually designed so the other people in the room become informed of what I already know and if the answer is untruthful---I can call them on it. There are a couple of informed people in my school who always help spread the truth. That's how teachers can be effective in their schools. Pick some point people to attend each meeting over the lunch periods who can counter the bullshit thrown at us. Last time a contract was shoved down our throats I was able to rebut the bullshit for members to hear and I followed up with a letter with counterpoints to what said at the meeting. I'm not an optimist but it won;t take much effort for me to do that again so I will and maybe---just maybe there's a spark of hope. Norm, you strike me as a realist. What are your thoughts on getting this voted down? Roseanne McCosh PS 8x

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  2. So we shouldn't rely on blogs or newspapers for info. We should rely on him, and on the MOE, which he doesn't have, and which the Contract Committee voted for sight unseen. Interesting logic.

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  3. Vote NO to the contract. In 2016 Vote a HELL NO for Mulgrew for UFT President! He doesn't speak for the weakest members, then he doesn't speak for ALL members!

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  4. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:57:00 PM EDT

    Funny, these are all of the same schools that show up in Gene Mann's "Organizer". These are clearly Unity strongholds and they do not seem to be interested in (or already know) what the other staffs have to say. This contract is not worth the paper (wherever it is) it's printed on. And they know it. They are just hoping.

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  5. Vote "NO"on the contract....poor pay raises, and the ATRs will be buried. Remember, even if you are not an ATR today, you will be one soon....more schools will be closing despite BeBlasios promises.....its about money, not education.

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  6. When will the MOA become available? Will it be posted by the UFT?

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  7. Fifty years ago, we had a comparable system in which our group, those licensed centrally and appointed professorially from headquarters only once every five to ten years, did the higher level additonal work possibly assigned in the proposed contract to master teacher and model teachers. The school staff and admiinistration did not have final say in our selection and employment fifty years ago. The proposed contract suggests those not the small number of master and model teachers be summarily reduced to constantly revaluated hence easy to transfer or remove :"adjunct types" which constituted a plurality of the city staff fifty years ago, but it is the school staff who sets up and the school Principal who privately, case by case, selects the proposed master and model teachers.

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