Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is The UFT Going To Sell Us Out On Retroactive Raises?

I am very disturbed by the Reuters article published by the ICEUFT blog that the union is trying to convince the State that bonuses negotiated in a contract can be stretched over multiple years.  The Bloomberg Administration takes the opposite view that all bonuses must be "booked" in the year the contract is negotiated in and must be included in that year's budget, making full retroactive raises a dead issue.  While at first glance, the union's position appears most reasonable since it allows for a flexible approach to finalizing a long-delayed contract.  However, I then recalled an article by long-term union member and close friend to the leadership,  the retired Peter Goodman in his "Ed the Apple" blog that actually mentioned bonuses as an alternative to retroactive raises.  Is there a connection and that the union is negotiating for a bonus rather than retroactive raises?  The Ed the Apple article can be found Here.  In his blog Peter stated the following:

"Both the unions and the mayor want to remove a sharp thorn that will press deeply in the flesh until it is removed. How do you find a path to both a percentage increase, four years of retroactive dollars, sharply accelerating city health plan costs and the myriad details of contracts? While I have absolutely no participation in the negotiations in the past retroactive dollars were paid as “non-pensionable” cash payouts and spread out over a couple of budgets". 

Furthermore, here is how Peter responded to my objections about non-pensionable raises.

  1. I must object to one of your suggestions, especially the non-pensionable retroactive raises. While its true this has happened in the past under Randi Weingarten, she is no longer in charge to sell us out. I hope Michael Mulgrew insists on pensionable retroactive raises that Michael Bloomberg refused to give us.

  2. Chaz
    Whether the retroactive rate is 2, 3 or4% the retro dollars could range from 4-8 billion, a sum well beyond the cities ability to pay in a single budget. With de Blasio attackers accusing him of bankrupting the city even before he is sworn in retro pay will require a nimble solution. Employee health plans costs are increasing at more than 10% a year – I believe Mulgrew has a narrow window to negotiate key non-fiscal matters for some creative solutions to fiscal issues

    If I am putting Peter Goodman's blog and his response to my comments together with the Reuters article on the ICEUFT blog, I am extremely worried that our union will be negotiating bonuses rather than retroactive raises.   Here is why replacing retroactive raises with bonuses its unfair to the members.

    1. Bonuses are not pensionable.
    2. Salary schedule remains unchanged rather than adjusted like other unions.
    3. Ignores the "City pattern" and sets a precedent for further abuses in the future..
    4. Mayor Bloomberg can claim victory as UFT members are shortchanged with a grossly inferior contract and a loss of substaintial salary going forward.

    While I can understand that our union must show some flexibility and spreading out the retroactive raises through a two or even a three year period is understandable, there is no way our union can capitulate by getting an inferior contract that further harms the members.  According to Ronnie Lowenstein of the Independent Budget Office who has hinted that the "balanced budget" that Mayor Bloomberg is using is based on under reporting revenues and that her office will be issuing a report showing a surplus which means that the de Blasio Administration  will have more funds to pay the long delayed retroactive raises.
    To me there is no reason for our union to settle for less than the "City pattern".


Anonymous said...

Chaz, I and the other teachers at my school are confused over this idea and how it works. Is the city/UFT preposing to give a "bonus" of say 3 or 4 % over 3 years? What happens after 3 years? The salary schedule would revert back to what it is today? Is that 3 or 4% of a particular teachers salary? In other words, teachers higher up on the pay scale would see a larger "bonus" than newer teachers? Lastly, our contract has been in PERB and is set to be released in January. What if they go along with the UFT and state that we deserve a true/permanent raise along with retro pay as is the pattern bargaining that takes place in NYC? Your help and clarification would be greatly appreciated by the teachers who read this great blog.

Anonymous said...

sometimes - a lot of times- I am more concerned with all of the rights that we have given up and a lot less about the money - we gave up seniority rights - we gave up many grievances - all of this matters a lot to people whose rights are being trampled on on a daily basis - we have c6 garbage and added time in every contract - why don't we hold on to some of our dignity sometimes - mostly because the newbies and retirees will sell us out every time

Chaz said...

Anon 6:40

How the bonus would work is not clear, except it looks like it will be stretched out for two or three years. I cannot even tell you if there is interest involved.

As for PERB? It will probably be the "City pattern" and if the nurses get the double 4's, it will be hard for the union to convince its members that a bonus is the best they can do.

Ms. Tsouris said...

As a retiree, I am concerned that we get blamed for selling out the rank and file. I've NEVER voted for Unity, ever, as a teacher and now a retiree. I'm closer to what MORE stands for. I actually don't think retirees should be voting on anything rank and file does, but that's the way Unity tips their scales. I don't believe that any "raises" will be retroactive; that might mean recalculating the pensions of thousands of recent retirees. This proposed bonus is such garbage, but Unity will push this crap and not give real raises to working teachers. I believe the city has money for what it wants, which does not include a better salary for teachers. The UFT is the silent partner of any Dickensian (interpret at will) offer the city makes, and will not support its members, who are paying millions a year in dues. That enables the union to support losers like Thompson and to throw good money after bad.

Anonymous said...

When a mere 20% of active UFT members bother to vote in the UFT election, is it really difficult to understand why Mulgrew doesn't take our concerns seriously? We did this to ourselves when we were too lazy to fill out the ballot and walk it to our mailbox.

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