Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trouble in a UFT Charter - Bronx Charter School Says F-U to UFT Teachers

The contract for members of the school's staff who belong to the United Federation of Teachers expired in June, and although tax forms show that the academy's net assets increased from about $1.4 million in 2011 to $3.2 million in 2013, the board is still trying to reduce the annual increase that teachers get for experience, union members said.
Dave Zimmerman, a fourth grade teacher at the Bronx Academy of Promise charter school who has also been there for six years, said that he knew teachers at the academy could not expect their pay scale to match the Department of Education's but still viewed the potential new contract as insulting.

The board wants to reduce the teachers' annual salary increase from roughly 3.5 percent a year to 2 percent a year, and until the new contract is approved, teachers will not receive raises and continue to earn what they did during the 2014-15 school year, according to the union.
Charters present a much greater threat to teacher unions than Friedrichs. I will keep saying this time and again. Yet we hear a lot of hang wringing over the impact of Friedrichs as the death of the union. Non-union charters will kill the union in the long run. And as the story below shows, even UFT unionized charters can spit in the face of the union at will.

We see how the charter industry is so excited at more giveaways.

The UFT response is to organize teachers at charters.

Even if they managed to organize every charter we would still have each school on its own bargaining individually with no real power for mass action which was what won things for us at the very beginning.

The story below at DNA Info about a UFT organized charter and illustrates how they can spit in the face of the UFT despite a "contract."


Teachers at Bronx Charter School Locked in Controversial Contract Dispute

HIGHBRIDGE — Teachers at the Bronx Academy of Promise charter school are locked in a bitter contract dispute with the school that they say indicates the board's total disregard for experienced educators.

The contract for members of the school's staff who belong to the United Federation of Teachers expired in June, and although tax forms show that the academy's net assets increased from about $1.4 million in 2011 to $3.2 million in 2013, the board is still trying to reduce the annual increase that teachers get for experience, union members said.

"They do have the money," said Jane Chien, who teaches kindergarten and has been at the school since 2008, "but for some strange reason, they don't want to pay."

The board wants to reduce the teachers' annual salary increase from roughly 3.5 percent a year to 2 percent a year, and until the new contract is approved, teachers will not receive raises and continue to earn what they did during the 2014-15 school year, according to the union.

Ardis Strong, the school's art teacher who has been there for six years, said this demonstrated that the board does not place a high value on having an experienced teaching staff.

"I’m not sure they want to keep experienced teachers," she said. "I don’t think that’s something that’s important to them. I think they are OK with having, maybe not first year teachers, but people with two or three years experience come in. They don’t have to pay them as much."

Dave Zimmerman, a fourth grade teacher at the school who has also been there for six years, said that he knew teachers at the academy could not expect their pay scale to match the Department of Education's but still viewed the potential new contract as insulting.

"We’re not looking for apples to apples. We know we can’t even approach that. We get that," he said. "But to offer us 2 percent is so belittling."
"The Board is committed to reaching a final resolution with a fair salary increase for teachers, just as we have done every other year," Rev. Michael Carrion said on behalf of the school's board.

He declined to comment further on the salary negotiations.
The UFT maintains that contract issues are causing people to leave Bronx Academy of Promise. The school saw a huge amount of turnover this summer when 25 people left, which represents about half of the staff, according to Zimmerman.

"The turnover rate has been so drastic," said Chien. "The kids are not benefiting from this, and if you really want a great school, you need to try to retain experienced teachers because they can bring more out of kids."

Zimmerman predicted that turnover would continue to be an issue at Bronx Academy of Promise if the school did not start treating its teachers better.
"Ultimately, if they don't pay the teachers a living wage...this cycle of people getting two, three, four years under their belt and leaving is just going to continue," he said, "and it’s demoralizing to the kids."

Carrion said that retaining quality teachers was not a problem at the school.
"The BAOP has consistently retained its very best teaching talent, in no small part due to our excellent academic standing, collaborative working environment, and wonderful students and parents," he said in an email.

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