Sunday, May 28, 2023

Our New Annual Pay If The Pattern Holds By Year

As we approach the end of the school year, it's a pretty good time to remind you that the union and the city both want a new teacher contract in place by the end of the school year. As we wait, there has been a lot of published misinformation about the possible pay from this soon-to-be-agreed upon contract (and way too much commentary). 

As it stands, it's probably a good bet that we won't receive any pay from this deal until just beyond September.  This is because some folks would have you believe that if you don't VOTE NO on the contract, your medical insurance will run out and you won't be able to visit a doctor. But it is also because others will soon soon be running across the whole city trying to get you to believe that if you don't VOTE YES on the contract, your medical insurance will run out and you won't be able to visit a doctor). 

They're both nuts. 

Yes we're getting screwed. And yes, we're also getting a raise. And we need to know how much it looks like we're going to recieve. 

Here at doenuts, I subscribe to an insanely old theory that teachers are highly educated and can make up their own minds for themselves.  So I took a minute and calculated how our raises may look if we get the same patterned deal that DC37 received. That deal includes:

  • A $3000 check if we vote yes.
  • 3% for 2023
  • 3% for 2024 
  • 3.5% for 2025 
Here is what DC 37 received (don't forget,  their first two years of raises were from the city's previous pattern. We have already received that pattern raise so I added an annotation so it makes more sense). 

 This data comes from the DC37 website and I added the annotations after. Here's the link

So how would these raises look in our paychecks? I used this old tool (called math) to figure it all out and, want to share it with you here. You all have lives and families and we can all use at least an idea of what the new pay will be.  See below. 

(Karen Disclaimer: While there may be a mistake here and there, these numbers are fairly accurate calculations and should give you an idea of how your new check will look.  But if you do catch a math error, just let me know in the comments and I'll adjust (if you're correct. If you're one of those sanctimonious folks and you're wrong, I'll just make fun of you here for as long as I care to and send you a box of day old doenuts).


Saturday, February 4, 2023

The UFT Teach-in. Part 3: A Briliant Stroke

This has been adapted from a thread I wrote on Twitter.  You can read that by clicking here and tapping 'show thread' 

In order to more fully describe the flex, I should probably explain why this teach-in was such a smart move…

🍩👇Part 3. A brilliant stroke 👇🍩

Of course what happened was a teach-in. But beneath the surface, what occurred wasn’t about a teach-in at all. The Labor Movement in America has long been on a terrible decline. In New York, those who have worked toward its resurgence have been slowed by laws, decisions, contracts or cultures that have prevented unions from ever reaching step 1 (I talk about the three steps here). 

One example about being slowed by skewed law is Sam Amato, a unionist who was fired from Starbucks. His firing was legal here in New York State. Had his colleagues not staged a walk-out in support of him, we wouldn't know his name today. 

Here is an example about how culture slows hopes of a resurgent union movement; specifically how Amazon tried to discredit Chris Smalls, hoping to discourage unionism there (I would have broke. Chris Smalls is a superhero).  

NY Teachers have their own law: The Taylor Law. It's better than the law they had before 1968, but it is so harsh that *any* service that would otherwise normally be performed cannot stop without it being against the law. This means that the UFT can’t even call for a work action where all teachers stop grading HW at night w/out it being illegal. This frustrates any notion of resurgence. Here is what the very radical Workers' World published about the Taylor Law's "Work to Rule" language:

The Taylor Law in New York State prohibits public employee unions from conducting strikes, or even job actions like “work to rule.” Violation of the law leads to fines, sanctions against the union and even jail for union leaders. But there is no pressure on employers to bargain fairly with employees.

Some folks may say "screw it, let's break the law" (and, let's be clear; my heart is with some folks!). But 
for the first time since Al Shanker ran it, the UFT found a way to hold a perfectly legal, powerful city-wide worksite-based job action.  This happened during the workday; at the work site and in hundreds of schools across the city. They threaded all of those needles.  To the trained eye, what I just described is next to impossible in New York. The whole system is designed to *prevent* union members from coming together at all. 

And even if they do, over a job action? At work? During the hours covering the general work day? This is next to impossible here. The powers that be have carefully crafted an entire apparatus that keeps teacher unions' hands tied. 

Yet UFT organizers found a way to do it anyway.  

If we had met to discuss a strike, this work action would be illegal. If we had discussed a sickout or other work stoppage, this would have been illegal. But, with the strategy of teachers teaching teachers during work, the  UFT organizers found a legal middle ground where they could stage a work-based action that *also* fulfilled its duties to the law. 

Management didn’t see that coming. 
Most of us didn’t. 
Some in oppo still don’t. 
But it happened.

This is a precedent. This is a brand new language of unionism. It isn't as harsh as some of us would like to act but it was legal, which means we (or any union) can do it again. No reasonable manager in any industry could stop something like this from happening.  Other locals in other industries are going to find ways to emulate this *perfectly legal and new strategy of finding (legal) ways to perform wide scale job actions (legally). 

But that’s only part of what actually happened on Monday … 

It’s said that when James Madison read the decision in Marbury vs. Madison in 1803, he paced up and down the president’s office growling “wrong wrong wrong, but the life of me, I can’t understand why”. Madison was a crankly, but brilliant person who wrote the constitution and most of the Federalist papers but the decision was so brilliant, even he didn't understand it at first. 

That's because the power of that decision lied in its consequences. 

In denying itself the power to issue a writ of Mandamus, the US Supreme Court was able to do something far more powerful: it got to be the one to tell Congress “No”. It was a brilliant stroke. 

Something somewhat similar has happened here.In performing the innocent and harmless act of a teach-in, more than 500 principals were informed by their staff that it was happening —and the teachers and their union were the ones informing them. (Again, this happened across all 5 boroughs. 73% of all UFT members out in Queens were part of it. 

This is subtle but it’s a profound shift in the dynamic between the UFT and the City of New York and the DOE. Literally all of the rules and laws and customs are designed to stop exactly that from happening city-wide. But it happened anyway. It was legal, professional, ethical and honorable.

Yes. Last Monday, tens of thousands of New York City’s Smartest freaked out their bosses by teaching each other; as a union thing. And it was cool💙). 

Generally, when you ask to do something, your will to do it is dependent on the will of another person to grant you permission to do it. But if you inform a person you're going to do something, well your will doesn't depend on theirs so much, does it?  Just as in Marbury, The flex was in the power of being the ones to say so.

Navigating the legalities of getting there was smart enough. But convincing tens of thousands of teachers to say “we *are* doing this” as well? That was a brilliant stroke. 

And somewhere between 17,500 and 34,000 thousand teachers teaching teachers, and the union brothers and sisters who love and support them, allowed Mike Mulgrew to toughen up his language and flex through the press. This headline you see here isn't power. It’s strength (step 3).