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Friday, May 2, 2014

ICEUFT and Perdido Street Weigh in on the New Agreement

Two informative views on the new agreement:

Peridio Street School
At First Glance, A Disastrous Contract Deal Made By Michael Mulgrew, UFT
A few years of zeroes, they threw the ATR's under the bus, they just enshrined merit pay and they are set to allow 200 schools to operate without UFT contractual rules, allowing for longer schools days/years and other "innovations":

The new contract would begin, retroactively, on November 1, 2009, and provide retroactive four percent pay raises for 2009 and 2010–comparable to the increases granted to many of the city’s other workers under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Teachers will then receive a 10 percent raise over seven years, plus a $1,000 bonus, beginning in May 2013 and extending through October 31, 2018, with workers receiving an added 1 percent in 2013, 2014 and 2015, 1.5 percent in 2016, 2.5 percent in May 2017 and 3 percent in 2018. The terms must still be approved by the union’s full membership.

The retroactive portion of the raises will amount to at least $3.4 billion, including pension costs, according to Doug Turetsky of the city’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office.

In exchange, the union has agreed to more than $1 billion in health care savings, according to the administration. The savings would be achieved not through increased contributions, however, but through measures including an audit to make sure only those eligible are receiving benefits and centralized drug purchases. If the same reforms were extended across the workforce, the city claims they would yield $3.4 billion in savings–”effectively bending the curve of rising healthcare costs for the first time.”

The deal also includes reforms to various rules, including changes to the “Absent Teacher Reserve pool,” where teachers are sent if they can’t find work in city classrooms. The new contract will include rules that allow the city to permanently fire teachers if, for instance, they are twice returning to the pool for poor performance by principals. The rules also expand the definition of sexual misconduct, which will make it easier for the city to fire teachers for actions like inappropriate touching or texting, officials said.

The new rules also pave the way for merit pay for high quality teachers, creating new categories of “Ambassador” ” Model” and “Master” teachers, who will earn between $7,000 and $20,000 more a year. A new “Hard to Staff School Differential” would also pay teachers at the city’s 150 toughest schools an extra $5,000 a year.

As part of the deal, the UFT has also agreed to allow 200 schools to operate outside of existing DOE regulations and union rules, allowing the city to experiment with a longer school year and school day, among other changes.

The deal also requires twice as many parent-teacher conferences each year, and changes to teacher evaluations.
I don't see much to like here - who gets to be the "innovative" schools with the longer school days/years?

Is there more pay for that gig?

We know many principals want nothing to do with veteran ATR's, certainly because they cost more, but also because they're not as easy to control as younger teachers.

By giving ATR's two shots at a permanent gig or subjecting them to termination, they have essentially thrown most of them under the bus.

And what exactly will this merit pay proposal be based on, the one that pays up to $20K for being a "Master"?

Will this be based on the current evaluation system, which is a @#$%ing mess?
No wonder the other unions were reported to be pissed about Mulgrew's dealings - the UFT took zeroes after the old pattern (which is the 8% for 2009 and 2010) and didn't get another salary increase until May 2013.

That means little retro for the other unions, since most of the years they went without a contract will become zeroes in the pattern set by the UFT.

Wow - I will look some more at this deal, but what I see in the details so far is an absolute disaster.
No wonder the PBA declared an impasse with the city today - they didn't want to take the same shit deal Mulgrew is hailing.

Alas, it seems the UFT will set the pattern and all the other unions will get shit deals too.

I often say if you're a betting person, it pays to bet the worst possible outcome when Mulgarten and the Unity crew are handling things.

It looks like even with a fairly friendly mayor on the other side of the negotiation table, Mulgarten and the Unity crew screwed us - and the other unions in the city too.

That's why other union leaders are distancing themselves from this deal:

“I was surprised at how well the administration’s negotiators did considering the hand they were dealt,” said one labor source, who said the city had won “an incredible amount of leverage to win work rule reform, more healthcare givebacks, a change in pension payments, whatever’s on their agenda” with other unions.

And some were already trying to distance themselves by pushing against a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Every union’s members have different needs,” said Al O’Leary, a spokesman for police union chief Patrick Lynch, asserting that a deal “that satisfies one union’s needs may not satisfy the needs of other unions.”
I'm thinking it's time for a new UFT slogan:



Four members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) sat through a propaganda love fest this afternoon as UFT Chief Financial Officer Dave Hickey, Staff Director Leroy Barr and then President Michael Mulgrew explained our new contract to rousing applause from the Unity/New Action faithful on the negotiating committee. Now that the contract is done there is no need to be confidential.

I asked the President to show us a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement but there was none. However, the UFT machine is spinning faster than any Wascomat washing machine.

UFT members in the new contract will get the 4 % + 4% salary increases that other city workers unions received back in 2009 and 2010, but we won't see the money until 2015-2020.

For the seven years from 2011 to 2018, where the UFT will set the pattern for raises that other city unions will now follow, we will be getting a total of 10% in raises for seven years plus a $1,000 signing bonus. That works out to less than 1.5% per year.

Specifically, this is how the CFO crunched the numbers:

2009-2010 = 4% raise
2010-2011 = 4% raise
2011-2012 = 0% raise but we will get a $1,000 signing bonus if we ratify the contract.
Nov 2012- April 2013 = 0% raise
May 1, 2013 = 1% raise
May 1, 2014 = 1% raise
May 1, 2015 = 1% raise
May 1, 2016 = 1% raise
May 1, 2017 = 2.5% raise
May 1, 2018 = 3.0% raise
Total: 18% (compounded it will be a little more)

For those of you expecting to go back in the fall and at least have the 4%+4% added to your pay, forget it.

The 4 % + 4% that other unions received in 2009-10 will not be added to our salary schedules until the increases kick in one year at a time starting in 2015. Here is how the 8% will be added in:

May 1, 2015 = 2%
May 1, 2016 = 2%
May 1, 2017 = 2%
May 1, 2018 = 2%

All we get added to our salaries now if we ratify is 1% for 2013 followed by 1% for 2014 and the $1,000 bonus.

The 8% won't be added to our salary schedule fully until 2018 and the retroactive money the city owes us since 2009 won't be coming soon either. Here is the schedule for the retroactive payments:

October 1, 2015- 12.5% lump sum
October 1, 2016 - Nothing
October 1, 2017 - 12.5% lump sum
October 1, 2018 - 25% lump sum
October 1, 2019 - 25% lump sum
October 1, 2020 - 25% lump sum

We will not be made "whole" for Bloomberg denying us the raises that other city unions got 5 years ago until 2020.

Retro delayed is really Retro denied!

Anyone who Retires Before July 1, 2015 Wins Big
The winners in this deal are anyone who retired from 2009 through now and anyone else who retires between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. They will get all of their retro pay calculated and get it at once. People who already retired will have their pensions recalculated as well as receiving retro payments for the time they worked.

Anyone who retires July 1, 2015 or after will get the deferred payments the same way as active personnel and will be waiting until 2020 to be made "whole".

Only people who resigned or were terminated won't get retro.

Top salary now $100,049 will crawl up to $119,565 by May of 2018.

President Mulgrew arrived at around 5:20 pm after hanging around at the mayor's press conference and here are some of the other details he let out.

Some union had to settle first and it was us.

Here is a breakdown of some of the non-economic issues.

We will go down from being rated on 22 Danielson components to 8. (No word on the number of observations.) Artifacts are out.

On Measures of Students Learning if we want, we will only be graded based on students we teach.

The DOE and UFT agreed to set up (yet another) Committee on excessive paperwork. This one will be half UFT and half DOE with a mediator. Cases can also be taken to arbitration.

Extended Time
No additional time added to the day. The extended time, faculty, grade/department conferences, open school night time will be reconfigured. We will work two extra open school evenings which will go from 2.5 to 3 hours.

There will be a default schedule on how to use the extended time each week and preapproved School Based Options.

Multi session, District 75 and 79 schools will keep their current time schedules.

Each core subject will have a curriculum that we must use. Unit plans will be no longer than a page.

Merit Pay
There will be a career ladder i.e. merit pay.
Ambassador teachers will earn $7,500 more to visit other schools.
Model teachers will earn $7,500 more to be model teachers at their own schools.
Master teachers will earn $20,000 to help other teachers.

PROSE Innovative Schools
Schools can opt in with a 65% vote to cancel major parts of the contract. This can be up to 200 schools.

Absent Teacher Reserves must show up for interviews. ATRs will sent to vacancies in schools. There will be no termination for time in the ATR pool but there is an offer of a severance package.

If two principals document unprofessional behavior, the documentation can be used for a special 3020A process just for ATRS. This will not be for performance and it will be a one day hearing which could lead to termination.

Schools will be forgiven for ATR salaries.

$5,000 will go to teachers who go to a hard to staff school.

There is a healthcare cost savings plan from the Municipal Labor Committee that must be approved. (We don't know how the cost savings will be achieved but we will keep our basic plans for free.)

For teachers rated ineffective, the validators sent in the second year to validate an ineffective rating will now be educators: teachers and administrators.

Where is the Memorandum of Agreement?
I asked the president when we would be seeing the full Memorandum of Agreement in writing. He said he didn't know but Staff Director Leroy Barr said it would be out soon. Mulgrew asked for a motion to recommend the contract for approval. I abstained as I would never vote on something I haven't seen. The Unity faithful followed their caucus obligatons and all voted in the affirmative while the New Action people went along with Unity too. The other MORE members abstained silently during the vote but I screamed out for my abstention to be counted.

I leave it to you to decide what we should do. I tried to keep the adjectives to a minimum in this piece and just report what was said.

We couldn't lose on the 4% + 4% because of pattern bargaining (one city union settles on a percentage salary increase and all the unions follow that pattern) but allowing the city stretch it out so that money we were owed since 2009 won't be fully paid back until 2020 really lets the city off the hook.

As for setting the pattern of 10% over 7 years, this is an abysmally low pattern to establish (we did better monetarily under the anti union Mayors Bloomberg and Guilliani). I can understand why other labor unions in the city are angry with Mulgrew, particularly when it is considered how much surplus revenue the city has. We should have been able to achieve non monetary gains for loaning the city our money and setting a very low pattern but instead we surrendered as usual.

The devil will be in the details on the ATR agreement but I see this contract as a real missed opportunity. Here's hoping the members will ignore the Unity spin cycle and see through it.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In today's anti-labor, anti-union, anti-teacher atmosphere I think it's a great contract. Full retroactive raises( I prefer it being payed out in smaller chunks so less taxes are taken out) solid wage increases going forward, a mechanism to grieve excessive paperwork, more professional development, a plan to get ATR's back into the classroom where they belong and no givebacks whatsoever. What is not to like? Anyone voting no has needs to have their head examined.