Thursday, October 12, 2006
The Next Contract - Should We Settle For 6% For 18 Months?
As we enter the final year of our contract with a 3.15% increase and for the average teacher salary of $48,000 this equals $58.15 per paycheck, before taxes (about $35.00 after taxes). It is time to look forward to contract negotiations with the Bloomberg Administration.
Due to pattern bargining the teachers will receive 6% for the first 18 months of any future contract. However, any lengthening of the contract will mean givebacks for any extra raises. What are the givebacks that the Bloomberg & Klein want? Well it's not hard to guess.
First, look for the Administration to try to put a time limit on teachers excessed from the schools and placed on the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) list. They will probably demand that after 18 months if a teacher on the ATR list does not land a classroom teaching position, that teacher will be fired as is presently done in Chicago. Look for our union to resist such a proposal as an attack on teacher tenure and is probably doomed to fail despite a DOE media bliz and newspapers demanding an end to lifetime tenure for ATR's.
Second, the administration has not been shy about adding a sixth teaching period to the secondary schools and will try to achieve it by using the extra time won in past contracts and adding any time gained in this contract negotiation. This is another non-starter since the union is on record not to exchange anymore time for money. Further, a sixth teaching period has always been a "no" issue for the UFT.
Third, Klein wants the right to move the better teachers into schools that need them without compensating them for it. Good luck trying to convince the union to buy into that.
Finally, look for the Bloomberg Administration to ask for concessions in the health and pension areas that go beyond our contract negotiations and are probably a way to open up the entire city workforce to a Tier V pension and more restricive and costly health benefits in the future. However, the UFT will probably defer these concessions to the MLC For future discussions.
Obviously, the administration will ask for other outragious items. Reduced sick days, more unpaid suspensions, weaken or eliminate due process etc. However, that is part of the negotiation dance and should not be taken seriously.
The real question should we even bother to negotiate a contract longer than 18 months? An 18 month contract, with no givebacks, thanks to pattern bargining, wil end April 2009 and the Bloomberg Administration will be gone in January 2010. Therefore, we can then negotiate with a more reasonable Administration for a better contract with very little givebacks.
My vote is an 18 month contract with a 6% raise and "no givebacks"! If we can get it.