UFT President, Michael Mulgrew has hinted to the civil service newspaper the Chief, in this week's edition, that the union is negotiating with the City on a new contract. Yeah right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell. However, on the very slim chance that the union is really negotiating a new contract with the Emperor, oops I mean the Mayor, here is what I expect the union to push for:
Salary: At a minimum, the union should accept no less than the "City pattern" the first two years which are two 4% raises minus the 0.55% we owe the City for getting back the two days before Labor Day. The next two years should include raises at least equal to the rate of inflation in the City which averages 3% annually. That means that teachers should receive a minimum raise of 13.45% raise for the four year contract that would end in October 2013. The fact that the Mayor claims there will be no "retroactive raises" makes any contract negotiations with the City highly unlikely unless the union caves in to the Mayor.
Fair Student Funding: A prime negotiating point should be the elimination of the unfair "fair student funding formula" that forces schools to hire the most inexpensive teacher rather than the "best teachers" due to budget constraints. This legacy of the Joel Klein Chancellorship needs to be eliminated and allow the schools to really implement "children first" policies. It is time to bring back the long practiced and successful making teachers units. Under the unit method the salary of the teacher would no longer be a factor for principals and they can hire the "best teachers" not the cheapest for their students.
Absent Teacher Reserve: The elimination of the "fair student funding formula" will greatly reduce the ATR crises and I would be shocked if there were more than 500 ATRs floating around. Moreover, the union must insist that the DOE require principals to hire excessed teachers, certified in the subject area, in their District before they can hire outside teachers. The combination of the two options would eliminate the ATR problem entirely. At a minimum, the union must get the DOE to reintroduce the November 2009 ATR proposal that encouraged principals to hire ATRs at school salaries the are the same as a "newbie teacher" with Tweed paying the difference. Under no circumstances should the union agree to an ATR time limit, remember what happened in Chicago?
While I do not think there will be a new contract until Mayor Bloomberg is gone. However, if there is one, the union better not cave in to the Mayor as they did in 2005. Better to wait for a new City Administration than surrender to the Mayor and his hostile anti-teacher cronies at Tweed.