The negotiations between the UFT and the Bloomberg administration is on the fast track and it appears that the takebacks are being left behind. Why? Well, let's investigate.
First, lets look at the contract that the UFT is negotiating with the Bloomberg administration. On the surface it looks pretty good with a 13% increase for 32 months which averages 4.88% per year, almost the rate of inflation with no identifiable givebacks! However, I am confused why the Bloomberg administration is willing to give us an almost 7% increase for the last 14 months of the contract? Remember the DC37 pattern is 6% for the first 18 months (20 months if the UFT needs it's welfare fund replenished). Hopefully, this is not UFT wishful thinking and that part of the contract looks like a real winner, if it is true.
Unfortuantely, the proposed contract does not include the takebacks that devastated the soul of many classroom teachers for a salary increase less than the "cost of living" . While all the takebacks are important, the following takebacks are a priority in the proposed contract.
Prority #1: The bringing back the seniority transfer system that required that all excessed teachers to be placed in their specialty area before DOE can hire new teachers. Thanks to our union's poor understanding of the consequences of their actions we now have a 1000+ ATR's without a classroom while inexperienced teachers are given a classroom. Talking about children last!
Priority #2: Giving back the two days before Labor Day. I don't know of any school-based teacher who thinks this was a wise move by our union. If it wasn't for the ATR disaster, this would be the top priority of the union. What possessed our union to do this to us is unbelievable and shows a serious disconnect with the classroom teachers.
Priority #3: The reinstatement of the grievance process. No matter how our union spins it, the lack of a grievance procedure has empowered the principals to write more and more Letters-To-The-File (LIF) without the teacher challenging it through the grievance procedure system.
Priority #4: The revision of circular six to eliminate many of the distasteful administrative duties such as cafeteria patrol, hallway policing, and bathroom supervision.
Priority #5: The elimination of the 90-day unpaid suspension based upon an OSI acceptance of a student accusation due to sexual abuse, harassment, and physical corporal punishment (the OSI almost always find the teacher guilty until proven innocent) and except for Leo Casey and his lap dog, this unfair part of the contract has already caused much anguish to the classroom teacher.
There are, of course, many other takebacks but these are the ones we must demand if we are to regain our soul and self-respect. Failure by the union to fight for these takebacks brings into question their dedication to the very people they claim they represent, the classroom teacher.
Negotiators, just a reminder, make sure retention not recruitment is emphasised in the contract negotiations.
I will most certainly try to get more details on the contract negotiations and will report on what our final contract should include.