Last week New York City and the Police Union started contract negotiations and this appears to be the time for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to start formalizing their own contract position. Yes, we have a 350 member negotiating committee. However, when the actual negotiations with the City & DOE start, it will be led by the same old people who have little interest in what is important to the classroom teacher. Therefore, it is time to put my union on notice that as a classroom teacher, this is what I expect of them.
There will be no givebacks, none whatsoever! This is a non-negotiable issue and even if we are to be without a contract for years, so be it. Any union official who accepts talk of a giveback should be fired, or at least suspended for 90 days without pay for union misconduct. I would only be too happy to be on that board.
We should have learned our lesson by now. PERB does not take into account the unique differences between unions. Therefore, pattern bargining is used as the basis for any contract. No accepting the pattern and no PERB!
The next contract should include the provision that the NYC teacher salary, from top to bottom, reflect the Metropolitan Area teacher salary. In particular, the adjoining counties of Nassau & Westchester. This cannot be done? They did this in Yonkers in the 90's because of teacher retention problems and Yonkers was in worse financial shape than NYC.
Make the salary steps more fair for the 5 to 10 year teacher. The lack of a step increase for this group is a significant factor in teacher retention.
City/DOE Match In The TDA
The UFT should demand a minimum of a 3% employer match for teacher contributions in the 403b plan. This is a reasonable demand as many large employers provide matching funds to encourage employee participation.
School Year Limits
The UFT must demand a limit of 183 days as do many school districts have. Our union must stop buying into the City's position that the schools are a baby sitting service. I'm sick and tired of hearing our Union leaders whine how they have no control of the schedule. Bullshit! Having a 183 day school year limit solves that problem.
This is the area that we most fight to the death if necessary. It is time that the Union demand the following takebacks:
1. Eliminate the two days before Labor Day. This was a sellout by our leadership and should be eliminated in the next and all future contracts.
2. The right to grieve. This giveback by the Union was wrongheaded and needs to be reversed.
3. The elimination of the 90-day unpaid suspension for non-felony charges and legal action as well as the removal of students who make false accusations.
4. Teacher control of their classroom. No more micromanagement.
5. Rollback the the 37.5 minutes into teacher-directed activities. Be it tutoring, clubs, professional development, consuling, etc.
6. Eliminate cafeteria, hallway, and bathroom duties in the 6R. No teacher should be subject to these insulting, non-professional tasks.
An increase in coaching hours and per session pay. The per session pay should equal the pay of the mid-salary teacher, not the beginning teacher.
Enforceable student discipline codes with penalties when administrators don't take action.
A narrowing of the Corporal Punishment laws by eliminating the statement "and any other action as determined by the administratior".