Saturday, October 13, 2018

Vote Yes

Something crazy happened on the way to the teacher contract negotiations: My union stopped acting like a monolith top-down structure and showed sincere signs of being member-driven. It answered member concerns by listening to their suggestions, advocating for them in negotiations and winning many in a contract. 

The big takeaway from the 2018 contract is not what is in it but how it came to be. This may be the year that the UFT became an actual union again.


No contract is perfect. Not at all. However, virtually every single item I see in the new proposed teachers contract originated from some teacher or union activist who cares about students. I have never seen that happen in nearly two decades of being here. 

And a brief word about the money: I would like more as well. Yet while many point out that 2% is not enough to keep up with inflation, those very same people ignore the step/differential increase that are already built into our pay system. Those increases already ensure that any teacher experiences anywhere between 2% and 10% raise over any three  year period (the life of this contract) at any point in their career. 

The naysayers are dishonest to not mention this and you shouldn't listen to them. 

Over the next three years, the life of this contract, I stand to make $21,000 more than I do right now. That's a $21,000 raise to me. And while I would have liked to seen more than a 2% base increase, $21,000 is $21,000. I know I am not the only teacher who will experiencing an increase of that amount during this contract. Those who are pretending to be "cerebral" or "well informed" about the contract and about pay structure are either well informed and ignore these obvious facts or are so ill informed that they shouldn't speak. (They also ignore that our benefits are not reductions from our pay like the rest of the United States of America. Our healthcare is in addition to this money. You can't say that about any other type of worker expect a NYC employee. So we should all add as much as $20,000 to our checks for healthcare. Many of us should add $10,000 more for the tier IV retirement we will be receiving. Those folks who claim to be "wise" about this won't do that.) They don't think they have to play by the same rules of honesty as the rest of us. They think they're special. 

But they're not.

My opinion: There will come a time, when the political winds in this city shift and the union tries to work with an anti teacher mayor, that the UFT will sell out its members in order to maintain its political seat at the table. 2018 is not that time. 

There will be a time when a teachers contract sells out its members for the sake of the union's power. 2018 is not that contract. 

Virtually every single item I see in the new proposed teachers contract originated from someone teacher union activist who cares about students.  When you consider the protections, when you consider the process of listening to members and when you consider the pay, voting yes to this one is a no brainer. I have learned a little about city teacher contracts before. This is the best deal since 1965. 

Vote yes

18 comments:

  1. Raises below the inflation rate.

    No significant changes for ATRs

    Health care "givebacks".

    No class size redutions.

    Vote no!

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    1. Have to say I disagree. ATR has one location again. Givebacks are not for us and they're not bad at all. (Honestly? Free healthcare is a giveback? lol. Come on Chaz). Class size is a state thing and they do have new protections. I choose yes on this one.

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  2. I suppose money is your biggest concern? For many of us it isn’t. It’s about respect and being able to teach. It’s also about feeling somewhat secure as we become more experienced and better paid. Nothing in this contract takes the target off our back. Fair Student Funding was ignored. The CSA and it’s rank and file are given further protections. Observations are still gotcha hits. ATRs are still treated as non-entities. They should be placed the first day of July if there are vacancies in their license, not the first day of September after all non-suicidal positions have been filled. This contract was done behind closed doors and I don’t know anyone that gave any input. The UFT did not become born again; it is still a corrupt racket that needs a complete overhaul by the FBI. I’ll be voting no.

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  3. I could care less about the money, I would give up any raise for an end to the extra time on Monday and Tuesday. Also, give us our seniority transfer rights back, end the ATR pool, end fair student funding, end circular six assignments for teachers, and put our schools back together. The motto should be one building equals one school and the children can go to school to the school that is closest to them.

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  4. If one would get those step and longeveity increases anyway, they are not raises. Even if we accept the ridiculous premise, there was no need to rush this through as everyone would be getting the step increases anyway.

    Oh yeah and if you are on maximum, only the pathetic salary raises Mulgrew got us. Nothing mentioned about the senior teachers in this post. Screw you senior teacher, DOE NUTS got his. VOTE NO!

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    1. Mmhmm. So .. an increase in your pay isn't a raise. Mhmm. Go ahead now. Expkain some more to me.

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  5. Technically, it all depends on how you define a raise. I call the salary steps increments and not raises. I don't think I am being dishonest. You are climbing a fixed scale and getting more education on the lateral scale.Those are increments, not raises.

    Let me ask you this one my learned friend, when we work an extra half hour compared to 2000 at the same rate of pay, is the extra money we make a raise? To me, the answer is no.

    If I started in 1996, I only get contractual raises now. You did not address my point that I won't see a penny except for contractual raise as a senior teacher. Doenuts got his so screw the senior teachers. You fit in perfectly with DOEUFT.


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  6. Couldn't agree more. This contract is not perfect - but it would seem that some people do not realize what they have.

    I worked for years, in other jobs and as a teacher, in many jobs that didn't include any salary steps, no retirement plan, and in many cases paid over $350 a pay check (almost $800 a month) for health care for my family. You might as well just add that money right on top of your salary. This is the reality for most working people.

    Would I prefer a higher percentage? Sure, but I think the critiques of this contract are basically looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    The only thing I'm skeptical/worried about is this new screening process for new teachers. It's already hard enough for teachers to get into the profession given the number of for-profit exams and lack of options for people who need to work while they shift careers (i.e. - I spent 4 years working at terrible charter schools because there was no way I could student teach for free). But these new "screening tests" haven't been developed just yet - so I guess we'll have to wait and see. Thoughts out there on that?

    Finally - I have seem some people up in arms about the fact that the new contract has first year teachers (starting in 2019) on HIP instead of GHI. I realize this is less of a choice for new teachers, but it's still free health care... which again, is basically unheard of in our country and our economy. Thoughts out there on whether this is actually the "giveback" that people claim it to be?

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  7. Screw your senior teacher at max making 120k a year with 2% added on. And summers off plus 3 more vacation weeks at least. No wonder regular working people hate teachers.

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  8. DOENUTS, I have the ultimate respect for you and always have your back. But IMHO you dropped the ball.

    As an ATR I can’t vote for this contract. The pay raise. Eh. Yeah I’ll be making about $9k more by the end of it, but I should have made more.

    As for other contract points there seems to be to much ambiguity. Nothing seems “set in stone.”

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  9. It's funny. For a year, I read anonymous comments saying get us two observations. So UFT gets two observations for the overwhelming majority of working teachers, and now it's, the raise sucks.

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    1. You read none of those comments here. I feel 4 is better for us in the long run. I don't think many members of the CSA need MORE time on their hands. Then again, I am a veteran of the war against teachers and I remember what them having "extra time" meant for good teachers. Maybe I'm wrong this time. I have read those comments, too and many come from people I respect. So maybe it will be different.

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  10. Surprised to see this. Union is about all of us. Paras making $36,000 look to be making a few more peanuts after the raises and that is still BELOW minimum wage.

    If I cared only about myself and my wife teacher I would vote yes as well. But the many probationary teachers who are kicked out of the system are not supported by this contract. The many paras who have to work two or three jobs are not helped by this contract. The due process addition is nice and helpful, but that won't pay the bills.

    Close, but not good enough for a majority of our members. No.

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    1. I completely disagree with at least some of what you're implying here. This contract gives extended power to chapters. It also gives something that you could have used years ago -the specific protection against retaliation. If I cared only about myself and my wife, I may vote no to this. It doesn't give a very big raise at all. One reason I'm in favor of this is precisely because it supports union.

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  11. Just wantds to apooogize to everyone for the delayed publishing. I plum loat forgot to check the comments. I'm ok with the differrnce of opinions.I'm less ok with the reaching. Facts are facts. I wanted to keep the observstions bc I wanted my APs busy. But I also like that folks advicated for two andso the union pushed for two. I like a union that does that.

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  12. I'm curious if there is an update to your position as new elements of this contract continue to come to light.

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    1. The elements I think you're speaking of were publicly known before hand. That's another reason why I'm in favor this one; there are no surprises.

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  13. After listening to Mulgrew’s podcast, it sounds like both observations are unannounced. How in the world is that better? At least with one formal you have some control and you can have a full planning/observation/review cycle. But, drive bys are just chaos.

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