Yesterday, Michael Mulgrew was interviewed by Anna Sale of NPR on the Brian Lehrer Show. Mr. Mulgrew caused quite a stir in the media when he admitted that "retroactive raises" are very important. What I don't get is that Mr. Mulgrew only stated what everybody knew to be true, that "retroactive raises" are extremely important. In fact, now that the De Blasio Administration has agreed to the previous "City Pattern" including full retroactive raises for the 200 Environmental Officers it makes it very difficult for Arbitrators not to give the Teachers and Nurses Unions the two 4% raises, including "retroactive raises" for the established "City Pattern" during the 2009-2010 budget years. However, how the next three years of a contract play out is highly uncertain.
The "City Pattern":
There is broad consensus that the two arbitration boards will uphold the "City Pattern" for the teachers and nurses. Therefore, the question is will the "retroactive raises" be paid upfront or stretched out over the next three budgets? Both the City and UFT would like to stretch it out but it might not be possible if the State takes the side of the Bloomberg Administration's claim that under "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" a Municipal budget cannot account for deferred raises by pushing it into future budgets. The State has not ruled on the Bloomberg Administration's claim.
Regardless how this plays out, look for the UFT and NYSNA to get the "City Pattern" and "retroactive raises" How the "retroactive raises" will be handled will depend on the State's decision on the Bloomberg Administration's attempt to force the City to pay it out of this year's budget or stretch it out over three budgets..
The next three years for all the Municipal employees including the UFT, CSA, and NYSNA will probably not be negotiated until the City has finalized agreements with the teachers , supervisors, and nurses. Once these contracts are completed, Bob Linn, the Chief negotiator for the City will have a better idea of the City finances and will negotiate from a "zero raise floor". Bob Linn under the Ed Koch Administration was known to do just that. Therefore, it's not surprising that this will be the City's position in negotiations. Of course, the Municipal unions will want raises at least equal to the City inflation rate for the three year period, averaging 2.31% yearly. The negotiated number will probably be between 1% and 2% annually with "retroactive raises" that may be deferred to future years if the State rules against the Bloomberg Administration's claim. Otherwise, a more creative solution will be implemented including bonuses.
I look for negotiations to be completed by June of this year and will include our two 4% raises, minus 0.58% that we owe the City for the two days before Labor Day. The "retroactive raises" will be stretched out for three years and might include bonuses for the "retroactive raises" owed to us for the final three years. To save money the City will require the DOE to impose a "hiring freeze" and save $160 million dollars yearly by placing ATRs in the classrooms. This will have the added benefit of reducing class sizes as well. I also see the City telling the DOE to eliminate many of the managers, lawyers, and accountability experts and to severely limit the many and unnecessary consultant contracts. This will save the DOE three billion dollars or more and by eliminating the useless "Children First Networks" and giving Central the school staffing responsibility. That will allow the schools to hire the "quality teachers" they desperately needs while freeing the school to use their budget on resources to the classroom.
While I am not a psychic, the final contract should be very similar to what I proposed and we should see a "pot of gold" at the end.
NotE: If one wants to know how much "back pay" we are getting for the two year (2009-10) "City pattern" use the back pay calculator that is on the Urban Ed blog as a good estimate. Remember you need to add all your gross pay between the two dates to the present (first year, approximately 4.5 years and second year, approximately 3.5 years) to put the right value in the calculator.