Wednesday, June 27, 2018

DC 37 Sets A Pattern - And UFT Members Will Probably Be Screwed

So, Yes, Virginia, there is a pattern set for the next contract and expect things to run along fairly smoothly from now on.

DC 37 did it again. Here is the Daily News link:

The pattern has not worked very well for teachers over the years even when we set the pattern, as we did I believe in 2014. What has happened with contract negotiations is that if we want to improve working conditions or get more benefits we have to pay for it. I don't have the brain power to do much analysis. I'm sure Eterno will take on that job on the ICEUFT blog.

The city will save money on health care changes - newbies must join HIP for the first year - also known as UGH! You see, my wife dealt with these insurance groups at Maimonides hospital for over 30 years and said HIP was the worst -- and it seems to be the cheapest for the city -- DUHHH!

And for certain illnesses - not described - you have to go to some chop shop clinic before a hospital. Minor issues like Ebola.

This response from one of the leaders of MORE gets into more depth on the effect on UFT contract negotiations.
This is very, very bad news for our contract negotiations. In exchange for raises that basically match inflation forecasts, the public sector union movement in the city has agreed to continue its strategy on giving up money in health care. The health care concessions are the same way that they funded our retro raises (and what led to our recent health care copay increases at ER's and Urgent Care facilities).  The details are not included here but I have heard they include a requirement that new employees have to join an HMO for the first year of employment - the first time we've had two-tier health care in NYC. The problem is that DC37's deal (note the family leave provision, paid for by employee contributions) sets the pattern for all other contract.  This, combined with Mulgrew's comment at the DA emphasizing that the Negotiating committee will meet over the summer, indicates to me that we are looking at an early contract settlement, wasting the 6 months that we have in the next school year that could be used for mobilizing members and seriously negotiating. The UFT is a major member of the MLC (Municipal Labor Coalition), and doubtlessly played a lead role in these negotiations.
If there is a quick contract it is also not great news for MORE, which had set its eyes on a major organizing campaign around the Contract  over the coming school year and even considered not running in the UFT elections in order to focus on that campaign. (I will be doing a deep dive on the upcoming UFT elections next year in an upcoming blog.)
Arthur Goldstein has an interesting take on the DC 37 contract at
First Day of Summer Brings Contract to DC 37 
NYC Educator rates this pattern as Not Terrible, particularly given the draconian and insulting offers de Blasio has been offering the cops. I do not wish to do better, and I'll tell you why. Historically, improving on money has entailed givebacks. I don't think we've got anything to really give back anymore. My personal contract asks are unrelated to money.
I think the UFT has the biggest gap between highest and lowest salaries so money may mean a lot to people not on the high end. I personally never worried about money in the contract (but I had no kids and my wife made good money so I am not typical). I was interested in other issues like making my work place liveable.

There are some downsides to adding percentage increases. And regressive. One percent at the top is almost 2 grand while at the bottom it might be around $5-800. (Someone check my math).

Thus, the money gap grows and that makes high end teacher un-hireable  and makes low end salaried teachers attractive. Of course ending the fair school funding formula would address this.

I maintain both the city and the UFT have a common interest in keeping fair school funding and dumping high salaried people. The DOE gets 2 for 1 and so does the UFT. One high salaried teacher pays $1400 a year to the UFT and two newbies each pay $1400. Post Janus we may see some erosion by newer members once they get the sticker shock.

Basically, UFT contracts have come down to how much of a raise you will get and nothing much else, other than some givebacks. From my first day on the job in 1967 it was clear that while the UFT at the top had influence and power (much diminished over the decades), teachers in the classrooms were fairly powerless. But we did seem to have some control over our classrooms -- though I will say that the principal who took over my school in 1978 (it was a coup) imposed her "test practice all the time" rules on most teachers. I saw the handwriting on the wall.

Under Bloomberg, principals became kings and the power of the UFT over the system was severely eroded - no longer partners. If I were teaching I would want more control and less power for the principal. But I also knew lots of teachers who preferred to be told what to do -- even work from scripted lessons -- less work in planning.

The health care squeeze is treading into dangerous areas --  like you have to go to some health chop shop for certain conditions before you to a hospital.

Yesterday morning, I had my first cataract eye surgery at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital (Next one due in 2 weeks) and the level of service was wonderful - just that I am doing this blog 24 hours after eye surgery.

As it was when I had my prostate surgery at Mt. Sinai last October and my wrist surgery at Maimonides in 2011 and my hand surgery at NYU in 2015, and my pic lines from NYU when I had a bad infection last summer  -- boy just think of what I've been costing the system as I age.

But will people get a getup like the one I had yesterday before my surgery at chop shop clinics?



  1. I am one of the few lucky teachers who is almost at top salary. At this state in my career money is not the issue. Working conditions are what matter to me. I want 2 observations so I can teach in peace like the rest of the teachers in NYS. Get this done UFT!

  2. You did the analysis very well Norm. I've been waiting for Janus so I almost missed this. Healthcare givebacks are already done by MLC. They will be part of our contract which for all intents and purposes is done except for educational issues.

    Note DC 37 got the expansive paid family leave paid for by tiny deductions. This is the same to the city as extendig a contract.

    As for math: 1% of $120,000 =$1,200 and 1% of $60,000= $600.

    We predicted a few months ago the city would settle with UFT or DC 37 to ensure the PBA didn't establish the pattern. I am not surprised at this.


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