Monday, June 22, 2009
Is Randi Wiengarten's Farewell Present A New Contract?
There are persistent rumors that Randi Weingarten has made a deal with Mayor Bloomberg on our next contract that starts on November 1, 2009. If the rumors are correct, the contract will include two 4% raises for the two year length of the contract. Furthermore, there will not be any givebacks or unfortunately, takebacks as well. The pattern has been set by both DC37 and the Police Sergeants union and once the pattern is set look for other City unions to fall into line, with minor variations.
The real question is why would Micheal Bloomberg give us 8% for two years when the City is scrounging for money? Simple, its the pattern stupid! However, it really isn't as simple as it seems. There appears to some political considerations that go with the contract agreement. First, look for the UFT to remain neutral in the mayoral race despite the overwhelming support for Thompson from the teachers. Second, Randi's apparent turnaround on the Mayoral control issue. Finally, look for the union to continue to be passive as Tweed continues to erode teacher due process rights and classroom discretion. Bloomberg can easily handle the expected criticism from the tabloids for two days as his popularity with them will limit any political damage.This contract agreement is expected to be signed during the summer when schools are closed and the media is less likely to concentrate on education issues.
My spies seem to think that there is also a good chance that we will see the resignation of Chancellor Klein once a deal is announced as he objects to the lack of givebacks, especially the ATR time limit he so desperately wants. While Mayor Bloomberg will not force him out, he won't be unhappy if Chancellor Klein resigns since he is universally disliked by parents, politicians, and teachers. Moreover, if Chancellor Klein indeed resigns look for Mayor Mike to put another pseudo reform non-educator into office. This new Chancellor will be more politically astute and pretend to listen to parents and teachers. However, don't look for any real classroom improvements to occur.
What happens after our next contract is over and Mayor Bloomberg is a lame duck? Any contract that would be proposed by the Mayor will be on the lines of the infamous and disgusting 2005 contract. Look for Tweed to demand tenure reductions such as an ATR time limit and unpaid suspensions of "rubber room" teachers. In addition, look for more school time, and for the secondary schools a sixth period of teaching. With a Randi lackey Michael Mulgrew in charge and with little political and negotiating experience I shutter at the thought of the year 2012 and beyond. By then I expect to retire, I hope .
Update - Late last night the first part of the contract has been put in place with the tentative agreement between the City and the UFT on pension and health benefits.