The UFT and the union-friendly progressive Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio agreed to a nine year contract on Thursday and while the "devil is in the details" as there is no Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), it appears that our union leadership did a poor job in negotiating a fair and just contract for its members. The new contract is short on money which will not even cover the inflation rate of the last three years in New York City, defers many of the raises and "retroactive pay" to future years, weakens "due process rights" of ATRs, allows for "merit pay" and allows some schools to be run like "charter schools".
The UFT managed to get from the City the two 4% raises we were entitled to from the previous "City pattern" and with full retroactivity. However, it comes at a cost. The two 4% raises were chopped into four 2% increases starting in May of 2015 and ending in May of 2018. The "retroactive pay" will also be separated into four parts with the first 12.5% of the lump sum payout being handed out in October 2015 and the last one being given to us in October 2020. For some reason there is no lump sum payout in October of 2016. The table can be found Here. The remainder of the contract works out to be a 10% raise for seven years or a 1.43% annual raise for the life of the contract, less that the New York City inflation rate of 2.2% in the last three years. Finally, all members will be getting a $1,000 bonus after approving the contract that covers the one and a half years where there were "zero raises" (2011 and 2012) . The total contract value, assuming one lasts to 2020, will be 18% for nine years and after compounding 19.5%, with "full "retroactive pay".
Interestingly, teachers who resigned (not retired) or were terminated between 2009-11 will not get any of the money, while those who resign or get terminated after 2011 will only get the raises entitled to them up to the date of resignation/termination and that goes for the lump sum "retroactive pay" as well. To encourage veteran teachers to retire, the contract allows for paying the retiring member all of the "retroactive raise" and lump sum payments at the time of retirement as long as the member retires by June 30th of 2015. Members who retire after that date will get the the "retroactive raises" and lump sum payouts at the time active members do.
ATR "Due Process Rights":
The contract addresses the ATR problem by allowing the DOE to pick off the weakest members of the ATR pool. The new contract allows the DOE to initiate an "expedited 3020-a hearing" that includes a one day trial in front of an arbitrator, after two separate principals find that the teacher committed unprofessional behavior. This could be "time and attendance" misconduct, or insubordination. This also includes failure to show up for job interviews and a refusal to take a job offer. The problem here is how will "unprofessional behavior" be defined? Lot's of potential abuse without it explicitly spelled out. Definitely a weakling of "due process rights".
The contract also states that all ATRs will fill all school vacancies after October 15th. In other words the ATRs get "sloppy seconds" and usually in schools where teachers quit because of the school environment. The DOE has promised that schools will pick up the ATR salaries over the "average teacher salary" of the school to encourage Principal hiring of the ATRs. Finally, there is to be a severance package for ATRs to leave, possibly up to a year of salary.
The union agreed to two forms of "merit pay"they are a new “career ladder” compensation system, where high-performing teachers can earn yearly bonuses of $7,500 or $20,000 for allowing colleagues to observe their work or sharing best practices. Teachers who work at certain schools in low-income areas will be paid a $5,000 bonus. Low-rated teachers won’t receive the bonus, the city said.
Expanding Sexual Misconduct:
The new contract will allow the DOE to terminate teachers under the "sexual misconduct" provision for sexually charged texting and for inappropriate touching. I guess Campbell Brown's crusade was partially successful. The problem lies with how they define "inappropriate touching"? I see real abuse here, especially with the corrupt SCI and OSI investigation process.
There will be no extra time and for single session schools the existing 37.5 minute extra time will be used for professional development and parent calls/meeting. Multi-session schools have an option
but since many of the schools went to a 4-1 Science schedule, they really cannot reduce class time without violating New York State Education Law due to minimum classroom time requirements There will be four parent teacher conferences instead of two. However, the time period extends from 2.5 to 3 hours for parent teacher conference days and evenings.
The components under Danielson will go from 22 to 8 and no artifacts. The DOE will work with the UFT to make more changes, going forward. The unfair termination procedures and number of observations remain unchanged.
A joint committee, with a mediator, will be formed to determine if current paperwork is necessary. Disagreements will go to an arbitrator if an impasse is declared.
200 Schools With No Contract:
There will be 200 schools selected where the UFT/DOE contract and provisions will not apply. In other words, a charter school with extended days, extra duties, and tenure restrictions..
Let's see if this contract met the Michael Bloomberg smell test.
- Raises less than the inflation rate? Yes.
- Retroactive pay and raises deferred up to six years? Yes.
- Eliminating teachers who resign or are terminated from those raises? Yes
- Weakening ATR "due process rights"? Yes
- Merit pay? Yes.
- Expanding acts subject to sexual misconduct and termination? Yes.
- Reduce components in Danielson? Yes
- Termination requirements under the Teacher Evaluation System stays the same? Yes.
- Did the newspapers praise it? Yes.