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