Friday, January 15, 2010

Contract Negotiations Have Reached An Impasse. Why We Should Be Concerned That PERB Will Resolve It By Recommending Massive Givebacks.

I congratulate Michael Mulgrew and the negotiating committee who resisted the City's unreasonable demands for getting the "City Pattern" of two 4% raises (minus the 0.58% that we owe the City for the two days before Labor Day). However, the union has now declared an impasse and that is scary. I am concerned that after the usual mediation process, the contract will go to the "fact finding" phase. By allowing the three member PERB "fact finders" to determine the conditions of a new contract is very disturbing. In this difficult economic environment it will be too easy for the PERB "fact finders" to allow for "givebacks" and to further destroy teacher rights.

While it is true that the PERB recommendations are non-binding, it will be very difficult for either side to resist these recommendations. Therefore, the union is taking a big risk in agreeing to PERB intervention. I hope our union leadership knows what it is doing since I and many other knowledgeable teachers rather have no contract than a contract with significant givebacks.

Remember, after too many years of Randi Weingarten's policy of appeasement and horrible "givebacks" (remember the 2005 contract) for a wage increase that didn't even keep up with inflation and the fact that her lackeys are still in power makes me very nervous and it should you too. Yes, I am pessimistic since this is the same old failed leadership that has made teaching a much more difficult profession in the last decade. I can only hope I am wrong as time goes on.


reality-based educator said...

Yeah, this could get ugly. I can see the PERB board come back with a 6% raise (3%/3%) for extra time, extra days (back before Labor Day again), firing the ATR's, and teacher evaluations tied to test scores.

And what scares me even more is that the union leadership might think that is a good deal ("This is the best we'll get!!!") and sell it to the membership. And given that the membership hasn't rejected a contract in a long time and voted 80%-20% or so for the odious '05 contract, that kind of thing could get voted in.

Hope I'm wrong, Chaz, but like you, I'm pessimistic that Mikey and the UFT know what they're doing and even more pessimistic that the PERB recommendations won't suck really really badly. And I'm really pessimistic about the membership. Whenever the ATR's come up, a lot of the younger teachers in my building say reflexively "Yeah, they should be fired!", not realizing that they themselves, if they stick around long enough, could be saddled in that same group.

BTW, did you see that Randi gave a speech on Tuesday raving about using test scores to evaluate teachers? Uncle Arne gushed over the speech and called her "brave".


Michael Fiorillo said...

A cynic, unlike myself, would suggest that going to PERB might be a way to simultaneously sound militant while giving yourself an out to accept givebacks.

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Chaz said...


You must be one of those lackeys I wrote about. You never speak the same language as the rest of us.

NYC Educator said...

As a matter of fact, it was not 80-20 in 05. Teachers voted it up 60-40, and the overall number was a little higher but I don't remember what it was. I do agree, though, that going to PERB is a big risk, and I also hope they know what they are doing.

History, unfortunately, suggests otherwise.

Anonymous said...

it is too much to expect a new interim UFT president hand-picked by Weingarten to deviate from years of policy of appeasement and collaboration to BloomKlein.
Yes, Mulgrew talks his own talk, and walks the Weingarten's walk.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are a group of spoiled brats, and deserve the treatment they are getting. What is teaching? teaching is nothing but a simulation of a real world, a taste of real world is not always pleasant.

Anonymous said...

I just read this in the NYC Public School Parents' blog.

"“Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education,” Gov. Perry said. “If Washington were truly concerned about funding education with solutions that match local challenges, they would make the money available to states with no strings attached.”
- Rick Perry, Governor

Race to the Top is the first step in federalizing our Texas school systems and imposing a national high-stakes test on our children and teachers. This is not acceptable. We support Governor Perry in his refusal to sell our schools to Washington for less than $75 per student.”
-Gayle Fallon, president, Houston Federation of Teachers"

**We MUST follow their lead!**

Moreover, the union and other stakeholders filed a lawsuit that the CFE was based on the city to receive additional billions of dollars to reduce class size. Since the beginning of 2007 when it was announced that the CFE would be called contract for excellence (C4E), schools would receive an infusion of extra money. Unfortunately, it was NOT used for reduction of class size and now the city is demanding budget cuts.

Since the schools are being affected by these budget cuts, which I truly feel it was a set-up, the chancellor and the mayor are telling politicians, who have a very short memory, that we must apply for the RttT money in order to avoid these purported budget cuts.

But we, the NYC school system, were short-changed, and the C4E money never reached NYC and when it did, the DoE used it in other questionable means. Therefore, the tactics used to delude the city to think that we are in this economic downturn of cutting essential services to our children is malarkey!

The governor, the legislators, and the mayor with the chancellor planned it carefully to do a three-card Monte of "where's the money".

Why aren't the DoE's financial books being audited? Why aren't the agencies, who are in charge of ensuring the allocation of fundings follow the guidelines set in the C4E agreement, questioned about the C4E?

Why are we not seeing the bold decision that the Texas governor did and how the Texas' Teachers Union is supporting the governor's decision?

Why is the union president saying in public that he has to read the application first before making a decision when it is the SAME application that the Texas governor read?

There's no decision to make: Say "NO" to RttT and give the public schools all the C4E money that we deserved.

chaz said...

To all:

My only question is will Michael Mulgrew sell us out like Randi did in 2003 and 2005?

While he talks a good game he is still surrounded by Randi's lackeys and that is a real problem.

Will he hide behind the PERB "fact finders" decision if they recommend significant givebacks? Scary.

NYC Educator said...

There is a significant difference right now in that the pattern is favorable. That's unusual, and I don't remember the last time that was the case.

When the pattern is crap, they insist we take it, and that we give the earth, the moon and the stars if we wish to deviate even the slightest bit.

Now that it looks good, however, despite Weingarten's remarkable support of Bloomberg, they wish to deny it. So the big question is--will PERB stand by its assertions that the pattern is a good thing that needs to be respected? Or will it say this is a special circumstance and allow Mayor Mike to weasel out of it?

Does anyone at the UFT know? It's a big chance to take.

Anonymous said...

What is the percentage of newbies as UFT members? If there are UFT members with less than 5 years in the system, a raise of less than 7% for a 2-year contract will seem reasonable to them because they never experienced the 0-0%, 5 year contract that the veterans suffered.

I wonder about that!

If over 80% of the members have over 15 years in the system, then we have a fighting chance of rejecting a low-ball raise, where the raise is reasonable and breaks the pattern bargaining, and there are no givebacks.

However, the TFAs are not here to stay in this system. There 2-year stint affects the vote of either getting a good contract or not. What are the % of TFAs in the system? How many TFs are ready to leave the system by June and will not vote for our next contract? How many UFT members, whether or not they're TFAs or TFs, are planning to become administrators by February or June 2010? What about the members who plan to retire this or next year?

All of the above can truly affect the voting decision on our next contract.

The path of least resistance is MONEY!

Anonymous said...

I think we should wait for the next mayor. I know we all need money, but we're not going to get a fair contract with this mayor. So let's sit tight and wait.

Anonymous said...

If you think 2005 contract is bad, any future contract will be a worse, much worse. Just stay with the current one, and let the good time roll.

Anonymous said...

As a long time educator and leftist, go to impasse, negotiate, don't negotiate...uft says white you say black...

omg, the rhetoric is outrageous...that is the problem with "the opposition" all critque no suggestions.

Chaz said...

We need to let the union know that there can be no "givebacks". Not on ATRs, discipline, or tenure.

Anonymous said...

Here's a suggestion: vote out Unity.

Anonymous said...

It has been puzzling me for some time why UFT leadership has been so anxious to buy into whatever lies and traps BloomKlein put out to them?

Chaz said...

Because it does not affect them. Further, they have not been in the classroom for years and people like Leo Casey, for decades.

Anonymous said...

I've heard from reliable sources that certain principals were informed by Tweed in the last few weeks that massive budget cuts are in the works, resulting in layoffs by July.

Has anyone else heard this?

What's the dealio?

Anonymous said...

Weingarten acts and talks just like Klein, they are all puffed up big shots,they all look down upon teachers, they all have lapdogs and lackeys, they all play blame games, they all live off the blood and sweat of teachers. they all know in their hearts that they are immoral low lives.

Anonymous said...


"Teachers are a group of spoiled brats, and deserve the treatment they are getting."

e. YOU ENJOY, "THE TREATMENT", because you like to punish those you are jealous of.

Anonymous said...

To Fred:

Surprise, surprise, not only I taught for over 20 yrs, I am in the rubber room now, and having a federal lawsuit against DOE, principal and A.P.

A teacher is a victim partly because they deserve to be one. The survival of the fittest still works during the night, if not in the daytime.

Anonymous said...

Fred, you forgot the following:


Anonymous said...

"This is the best we'll get with this mayor!" I remember those exact words from the Union Rep sent over to my school last time. I still voted no. This time, I will vote no AND TELL THEM WHERE TO GO.

Chaz said...

xcuse me. The reason we have overcrowded "rubber rooms" is twofold and it is not about teachers allowing the administrators to charge them.

First, we have an anti-teacher regime at Tweed and they have given the principals unlimited power to do as they please.

Second, the fair student funding formula puts pressure on the principals to remove highly-paid teachers from their budget and since a removed teacher is only on the budget for sixty days, the principals are encouraged to do just that.

Anonymous said...

To Chaz:

You are half right as you are most of the time.

The rubber room exists because DoE benefits from its existence. DoE never meets much challenge from UFT as well as from the rubber room inmates.

Everyone in the rubber room is so quick and so scared to settle in the flurry of mirrors and smokes, OSI, SCI, principals do even have to worry about their illegal acts ever being challenged, if and when most teachers choose to go to hearing, these wrongdoers will likely think a little bit more, if not twice.

Everyone in this land of the brave is so scared, criminals in the offices of OSI, SCI, principals are taking over.

If a teacher does not respect him or herself, no wonder the budget cuts fall into the places with least resistance.

There are overcrowded rubber rooms in NYC because it is the right place to build them, to warehouse the timid, and to confuse the dimwitted.

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