An Independent Voice That Advocates For The Classroom Educator Without The Corrupting Politics Tied To Our Union And DOE Leadership.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Is Our Union Agreeing To An Inferior Contract?
In yesterday's New York Daily News the paper published an articlethat claimed that the City and UFT are closing in on a seven year contract that apparently will include the two 4% raises and the "retroactivity" that goes along with it. According to the article the contract runs from 2009 to 2015 or seven years and includes raises totaling 15% (4%,4%,0%,1%,2%,2%,2%). However, excluding the two 4% increases from the last "City pattern", the final five years will total 7% and quite probably establish a new "City pattern" for all the Municipal unions.
If the Daily News article is to be believed then the new "City pattern" will be 7% for five years and is totally inadequate when compared to other recently negotiated settlements in the Metropolitan area. For example the TWU/MTA agreement gives the members 8.25% for five years and also includes significant benefit enhancements that amount to another 2% annually. While the SEIU 32BJ (doormen and handymen) settled for a 11.3% increase for four years!. Finally a federal mediation board recommended a 17.3% raise for six years for Long Island Railroad workers. All of these contracts are significantly better than the proposed coontract between the City and the UFT. Below is the breakdown of the raises for the various contracts.
Note, the TWU contract includes significant benefit enhancements such as a universal pass for all MTA transportation facilities, improved death benefits, optical and eyeglass coverage and paid maternity leave that is estimated as about 2% annually.
I could understand a 7% increase for five years if there was zero inflation and if the City was in dire economic straights but that's not the case. First, inflation in the New York City Metropolitan area has averaged 2.2% for the last three years(2011-13). According to the proposed contract, we would get raises of 0%, 1%, and 2% in those three years for an average raise of 1%. Moreover, the City has been seeing major surpluses as the economic environment has continued to improve. In fact, Economist James Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute found that the City can afford to give "full retroactive raises" and modest raises for the new "City pattern". This is because the City's has experienced a large jump in tourism, stock market gains (30% last year), increased tax receipts, higher real estate prices, and lower unemployment. Mr Parrott's analysis correlates with Mel Levy's breakdown of the City's budgetand shows the City's has surpluses that allow for adequate raises for Municipal employees as well as full "retroactive raises".
Hopefully, the union realizes that the City is hiding much larger surpluses than they claim and that the City's ever improving economic condition allows for raises that at least equals the inflation rate as well as full "retroactive pay". How will the retroactive pay be handled? The "devil will be in the details" but I suspect it will be stretched out to the end of the new contract, Finally, I hope the union is not trading Time for money That is totally unacceptable.
Update: The new York Times has reported that the City and the UFT has agreed to a 9 year contract and will be announced on Thursday, Here. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ATR rotation will be eliminated as well Here.