Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Roseanne McCosh: Why I Am Voting No to the UFT Contract

Roseanne has been in touch for a number of years - she follows issues very closely and shares them with her staff at PS 8 in the Bronx. She was chapter leader for a number of years before passing it on to the next gen. She shared this with teachers in her school. She has never been to a MORE meeting. So Roseanne represents rank and file teachers. So when Unity attacks the opponents of the contract as being just malcontents who will oppose everything Unity does, Roseanne is clearly an example that the opposition to the contract goes way beyond the usual suspects.

By the way, Roseanne emailed me that she agrees with me that an overemphasis on the money issue results in ignoring all the other crap not being dealt with regarding working conditions, which are not addressed -- other than - possibly- the paperwork issue -- and we'll see how that works out. But Roseanne also points out that the money  issue is what people are talking about. So here she focuses on that.
In the last few contracts we gave up seniority rights, the right to grieve letters in the file and agreed to additional time twice (The 100 minutes that Randi sold as time for paperwork quickly became 150 minutes of teaching).  And despite what the UFT is saying, there are givebacks in this contract too.  And the money is not as good as they’re selling it to be. This is a complicated contract to explain with respect to the money.  But for those who look at the money as a deciding factor, stick with me---I will discuss the money as well---and you will probably have to read it a few times to fully grasp it.

  • The suspension of all union rules in some schools:  Unity/UFT will sell this as an SBO which is in the hands of the staff to vote upon.  It’s a dangerous precedent for a union to agree to allow some members to subvert our contract.  In the long run it makes it easier for NYC to chip away at out contract yet again in a subsequent contract.  Am I the only one among us who thinks it is completely inappropriate for a UNION LEADER to advocate for the elimination of a union contract in some of our schools as part of a new contract? I have to believe there are many like minded colleagues who see this as a dangerous, slippery slope to eliminating our rights right here at PS 8 in the future.  This is all I need to vote NO---but there’s more.
  • ATRs are being sold out:  It will be easier for the DOE and principals to conspire to fire them.  If our school burned down tomorrow, we’d all be ATRs.  If budget cuts caused excessing, some of us would be ATRs.  Whether an ATR is a good or bad teacher is irrelevant.  This system has always had the opportunity to document incompetent teachers and fire them as long as the system exercised due process.  Lazy administrators not willing to do the leg work to document true incompetence is the root of the problem but yet the media blames the union.  My point is that in order to protect the good teachers we must also protect the bad.  The same rights that protect the bad also protect the good.  Should we throw out the right to a jury trial in this country just because some criminals go free at times? 
  • Evening parent conferences have been doubled and extended to 3 hours.  Sure the grade and faculty conferences are gone but they were NOT held at night.  Now we get to come to work even more exhausted than usual another 2 days.
  • TIME SWAP:  The 150 min after school tutorial is gone and replaced with 80 minutes of PD every Monday and an additional 70 minutes on Tuesdays as follows:  parent meetings, phone calls (40 min) and 30 minutes of a meeting of some kind.  I call this a giveback.  Here’s why:  When we first agreed to additional time Randi (past UFT president) sold it as time for us to do paperwork and an opportunity for a big raise that will finally put NYC on par with suburban salaries.  So until we actually get to use the time for paperwork and our salaries are truly comparable with the suburbs, it’s a damn giveback.  
  • The Teacher Evaluation Changes are more beneficial to administrators than to teachers.  Speak to me if you want details, I’m writing too much as is.
  • Health Care Concessions:  They won’t tell us what it is other than NYC wants 3 Billion in savings.  Seriously.  No one knows what they are going to cut.  Reporters asked for details.   No one answered.  What does that tell you? 
  • Delay of Retro and Pay Increases with 0% interest.  The last time the City did this we were paid 9% interest.  This time 0% interest.  I call that a giveback.
The $$$:
The headlines read 18% with full retro.  This misled all of us until we started to read the details.  I bet when you read that headline you thought what I thought:  8% for 2009-2011 that other union got and then some other equally distributed percentages that would lead us up to 18%....Plus retro from the start.  WE WERE WRONG!!!!!!!
  • Fall 2014:  We will get a $1000 one time bribe to vote this crap contract in. We will get 1% for 2013 (May 2013 thru April 2014) and another 1% for 2014 starting in May 2014.  For me, at top salary, that means BEFORE taxes I will have about $83 in my paycheck.  For those earning 60-70 thousand, you’ll be lucky if you see an additional $40 in your paycheck after taxes and pension deductions if they come out of your paycheck (including TDA).
  • While NYC refused to give us an 8% raise in 2010 or 2011, they gave other NYC unions 8%.  The UFT is trying to convince us that they won because they got that 8% as retro.  The initial email sent to us didn’t include any details so I did some digging and discovered why they withheld the details: 
    • That 8% will not be fully included in our paychecks until 2018.  Not the retro---but the actual increase that should have been in our paychecks from 2011 to the present will not be seen in full until May 2018. They will dole the 8% out in 2% increments in May of the following years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.  Now I will address the retro for that 8%:
      • The retro we are owed on the 8% will be doled out in 5 increments starting in October 2015 and ending in October 2020.  By the start of the school year in 2018 we will only have seen 1/4 of that retro.  By October 2019, 3/4 of the retro will have been paid to us and the final piece of the crap pie will be served to us in October 2020.  Other unions will have had that money in their pocket for almost 10 years by the time we get it and the UFT calls that a win.
So what are all the pay increases that we can expect and when can we expect them?  When will retro for pay increases be paid? I created a table on the next page. 
Lingering Questions:  What exactly are the 3 Billion $$$ in health care concessions?  How screwed are the people who are looking to retire between 2015 and 2018?  The delay in payment increases and retro has to affect your final average salary and pension in some negative way.  But you will have to calculate that yourselves.  For me---I am retiring before the final retro payment and before the new top salary becomes my final average salary because no money in the world can keep me from suffering under this dysfunctional system for one more day than I have to.   I don’t care if I get gypped---I’ll be free! And because my past brothers and sisters in this union were strong and fought hard, I will retire with an income I can live on.  I’m sorry for those of you who will not reap the same rewards. But if you vote yes to this contract, you kind of deserve to continue to get screwed. At what point will you say “No, I’m not eating another crap sandwich being served up by our own union leadership?” Take a stand NOW.  Vote NO

Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X.

Roseanne produced this table:

The UFT Has Declared This A Victory????????
Basic math and common sense proves they are poor judges of what it means to be victorious. 

Year and % of Increase
Year/Month Money Increase Will Be Seen in Our Paychecks
Year/Month Retro On This $$$ Will Be Paid
2009-2010 = 4%
Between May 2015 and May 2018 (a 6-9 year wait from the date we earned the money.)
Between October 2015 and October 2020 (1/8 in Oct 2015, another 1/8 in Oct 2017.  Also, 1/4 in Oct 2018, another 1/4 in Oct 2019 and the final 1/4  in October 2020)
2010-2011 = 4%
Between May 2015 and May 2018 (a 5-8) year wait from the date we earned the money)
Between October 2015 and October 2020 (see details above)
2011-2012 = 0%
We get NOTHING for this time period
No retro to be had on ZERO%
Nov 2012-Apr 2013 = 0%
We get NOTHING for this time period
No retro to be had on ZERO%
May 2013 = 1 %
Fall 2014
The UFT timeline is unclear but sometime before January 2015 we will get the retro on the lousy 1%.
May 2014 = 1 %
Fall 2014
The UFT timeline is unclear but sometime before January 2015 we will get the retro on this lousy 1%.
May 2015 = 1 %
May 2015
Retro not necessary
May 2016 = 1.5 %
May 2016
Retro not necessary
May 2017 = 2.5 %
May 2017
Retro not necessary
May 2018 = 3%
May 2018
Retro not necessary
In the past the UFT and NYC had delayed pay and or retro and we received juicy interest payments and got February break added because of it.  We didn’t give something for nothing.  To put it simply, THIS DEAL SUCKS! If they can’t afford to pay us, then give us something that doesn’t cost them a dime---like the elimination of the 150 minutes of extended time!

While the UFT wants us to settle for these scraps, the transit workers union got a better deal:  They already got their 4%+ 4% with full retro and while we get 0% for 2011 and 2012, they got another 4%.  And for 2013 and 2014 they get 3% while we get 2%.  They got full pay and retro immediately!  FDNY and NYPD will hold out for more.  They have already panned what the teachers are being offered. 

No comments: