Friday, November 10, 2006

The Contract: What Lies Beneath

We have been besieged by questions: After all the rancor and viciousness of BloomKlein where did all this sweetness and love come from? What are the real givebacks?

With fall-out from the phony promises and massive sell-job and threats that a “No” vote would result in dire consequences still echoing from the dreadful 2005 contract, these questions are a signal from many people who have been beaten and battered by recent contracts and have lost faith in the union leadership to negotiate anything that is truly favorable to the members. So, what gives this time? Should we lift the hood even a bit to see what monsters might be lurking beneath?

A clue in the NY Times?
“This time the city extracted no productivity increases or other concessions, which seemed to be part of a larger strategy by the Bloomberg administration to pave the way for separate talks aimed at achieving crucial savings on health care and pension costs, which have climbed sharply in recent years... But negotiations over health benefits are to be conducted separately in talks with the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group for the city’s unions, and since Ms. Weingarten is the committee chairwoman, her good will is essential if headway is to be made on insurance issues.”

A follow-up headline proclaimed: “With Teacher Pact at Hand, City Looks at Health Costs.”

Will higher co-pays be the price?

Does this contract basically waive the right of our union to bargain about health benefits by giving this power to the Municipal Labor Committee, in effect removing member rights in perpetuity to vote on any loss of valuable medical benefits? Does the contract assign to the Municipal Labor Committee a “blank check” to negotiate cost containment initiatives and program modifications to City Health Benefits Program that are not subject to our approval? If MLC agrees with Mayor, will UFT members get to vote on potential mandatory health care contributions? (Transit workers were able to vote on whether or not to contribute 1.5% of their salary for health benefits.) If a flat rate percentage is tacked on in the future, what is the real raise, especially for the newer lower-salaried people?

And let’s not forgot the possible quid quo pro in exchange for supporting (or not opposing) mayoral control, which if continued will continue to be an unmitigated disaster for the teachers, students and parents in NYC. Can you get somethin’ for nuthin’ with Unity in charge?

Is the love back?

It feels like April! It’s only November
The teachers in my school are so angry about the current contract. We don’t even have time to use the bathroom during the day. When passing colleagues in the hall, the constant comment is, “It feels like April! It’s only early November.” The weight of the workload and schedule are crushing. We are very angry about the current conditions, and the fact that we can’t do much to complain since most of our rights to grieve and to participate in the decision-making processes of the school are gone. The older teachers are afraid — under the current system they can suddenly become “senile” and unable to teach. The younger teachers don’t understand. Whole classes are guinea pigs as large numbers of new teachers “experiment” with what works. Fed-up, on the ICE blog

With only TJC and ICE members voting in opposition, the negotiation committee did not address any of the issues raised by Fed-up when it agreed to a tentative deal with the DOE . The contract extension contains no take backs of any of the givebacks of the 2005 contract: letters in the files still can’t be grieved at step 2; 37 minutes and a thinly disguised 6th teaching period; loss of Circular 6 and reinstatement of potty patrol; loss of seniority transfers; erosion of workplace rights; inability to question administrative decisions; teachers standing at the mercy of anti-union principals who control through intimidation.


  1. There's a better picture of Bloomgarten kissing at the last press conference.

  2. Sounds like a pattern. Randi's good at following patterns.

    It would be nice to have a proactive leader. I wonder what that might be like.

  3. Norm you have way too much time on your hands. Enjoy retirement.

  4. Do you tell that to all the New Action retirees working at the UFT?

  5. Norm's only accuracy is in his mind and in his own paranoia.

  6. Wanna bet your pension mayoral control will be continued and the UFT will play no role behind the scenes to stop it?

  7. Wanna bet your retired a** will still be retired when I vote for theis and the next few contracts and that you should have nothing to say about?


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