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A landmark contract that moves New York City schools and educators forward

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The United Federation of Teachers and New York City leaders on May 1 announced a historic proposed nine-year contract that they said demonstrates the extraordinary progress possible in public schools when a city works in partnership with its educators.

At a City Hall press conference, UFT President Michael Mulgrew called the proposed agreement the “contract for education.”

Mulgrew said that the agreement, which must be ratified by the membership, gives educators the opportunity to do their jobs the way they always wanted to do them. “The solution to great education exists in each and every school right now,” he said. “We just needed to create a platform and an environment that allows them to do what they have dedicated their lives to do, which is helping children learn.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the negotiations represented “a rare opportunity to re-imagine what our schools should look like.”

Under the deal, the more than 100,000 teachers, guidance counselors, nurses and other UFT members in the schools would get an 18 percent pay increase that includes two retroactive increases of 4 percent that have already been paid to other city unions. They will receive a 1 percent pay increase every May for three years beginning in May 2013. In May 2016, they will receive a 1.5 percent raise, followed by 2.5 percent in May 2017 and 3 percent in May 2018. Members would also receive a $1,000 bonus upon ratification.

The proposed agreement covers the period from Nov. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2018.

The city and the UFT have identified a menu of potential significant ways to cut costs on health care while maintaining benefits for city employees. These measures, such as more efficient purchasing of health care services, must be approved by the Municipal Labor Committee.

The tentative agreement addresses two critical priorities for UFT educators: addressing the problems with the teacher evaluation system and reducing unnecessary paperwork.

Teacher evaluations will become simpler and fairer. Evaluations will now be focused on eight of the 22 components of the Danielson Framework for Teaching. The system for rating teachers in non-tested subjects will be fairer. Teacher artifacts will be eliminated from the evaluation process. And, moving forward, fellow educators — rather than third parties — will review the work of a teacher rated ineffective.

Up to 200 schools with a track record of collaboration may be granted flexibility with DOE rules and the UFT contract in order to try new school strategies.

“We have hundreds of great schools all over this city,” Mulgrew said. “We’re telling them it’s okay to experiment, to do things differently.”

The agreement gives educators at each school options to reconfigure their workday — without adding a minute — to create time for meeting with parents, engaging in professional development and doing other professional work.

“It’s not about adding time, but how do you use the time that you have more effectively?” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

New teacher leadership positions paying between $7,500 and $20,000 more per year will give teachers the opportunity to share effective classroom strategies with colleagues.

Fariña said she was most excited about the contract’s emphasis on peer-to-peer professional development and the flexibility that will allow schools and teachers to innovate.

The agreement also fosters parent involvement by carving out time in the work day for educators to engage with parents and increasing the number of parent-teacher conferences.

“In this agreement, parents are treated as the crucial partners they need to be,” de Blasio said.

Mulgrew and city leaders said the contract signals the start of a new era in public education in the nation’s largest city.

After the union’s last contract expired on Oct. 31, 2009, then-Mayor Bloomberg insisted on a pay freeze for teachers and later tried to lay off thousands of educators. Negotiations for a new contract never got off the ground.

“The last five years engendered such frustration — a logjam that seemed so often intractable and so wrong and so unnecessary, with so much rancor, and one that I know the members of the UFT deeply wanted to move past,” the mayor said.

“The teachers and educators in New York City have gone a long time without getting any proper respect,” Mulgrew said. No more, he said. “Teachers now have a fair deal.”

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35 Comments:

  • 1 dspez
    · May 2, 2014 at 7:58 am

    The announcements so far create more questions than answers. Retroactive pay to be “restructured and paid from 2015-20″-huh? Is it a 4% bonus or an increase in the pay scale? When does a new salary schedule that reflects the raises actually go into effect? Are we basically agreeing to give the City a 0% interest loan for the money we are owed for the last 5 years?–as I said more questions than answers.

  • 2 dspez
    · May 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

    2nd —why are ATR’s not first choice for September not second choice in October? The 200 schools with new rules are they new schools, Izone schools, lottery,what?

  • 3 Braudelina Herrera
    · May 2, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Thanks to: Deblasio and Mulgrow for excellent work. 👏🙏

  • 4 Dan Leopold
    · May 2, 2014 at 9:06 am

    My concerns are
    1-that we will be given this retro over 9 years with no consideration to cost of living expenses so in fact we will not be getting anything at all

    2-That the ability for “certain school” to be exempt from the UFT contract is the corporate reformers agenda having influence over this contract to break the union.

    3-That we are selling ourselves short just because Bloomberg did not give us anything so we are jumping at the first bite we have had in 5 years for the price of 1000 dollars before taxes.

    4-That our health care structure will change for the worse even though we are still paying the same amount.

    5-Contract ladder sounds suspiciously like. Merit Pay rebranded.

    6-Our uneducated members who are primarily concerned with how this affects them right here and right now, will just blindly say yes or give into UNITY intimidation tactics and as a result we will have a much weaker union than ever before.

  • 5 Robert Dehaney
    · May 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Great job!

  • 6 Norma velazquez-vera
    · May 2, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Does this affect retired teachers in any way?

  • 7 Norma velazquez-vera
    · May 2, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Congrats to UFT – does this affect retired teachers?

  • 8 Glenn Citrin
    · May 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    1- Will the retroactive pay be pensionable?
    2- The 80 minutes for PD and the 40 minutes for parent related activities are very unclear.
    3. What happens with the extended days from the last contract?
    4- The $1000 bonus is a big joke. I find it demeaning!

  • 9 joanne
    · May 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    1% raise sometime this year. That is disguisting.

  • 10 N1jello
    · May 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    This contract is the worst!!!

  • 11 Carol Genauer
    · May 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    What about retroactive pay for retired teachers the contract ended in 2009and I retired September 2010

  • 12 Judith
    · May 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    It sounds like the DOE will now have an easier time firing ATRs who try to do what is best for students instead of following the latest educational fad.

  • 13 Bruce sherman
    · May 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

    The article above says retroactive increases of 4% that have already been given to other city unions.
    Huh??? That is completely incorrect. The contract seems to pay that money in the future. Which means we got scammed. The other Unions got the pay increase years ago and have gotten paid all of the years afterward at an increase pay scale. We have gotten nothing over all these years. And will now get a lump sum pay mention of 4% at May 2015. Wake up everybody. We got shafted. There is no way I would vote for this.

  • 14 Bruce sherman
    · May 3, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Sorry the above is should read…..limp sum payment. Not pay mention.

  • 15 Mike
    · May 3, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Can someone answer dspez’s question? I thought we were getting our back pay later. Now, in the Daily News, Mulgrew is saying we will get our 4% raises later.

    A very simple question: Putting aside back pay, when does my salary go up 9% (4+4+0+1)?

  • 16 Jeff Harris
    · May 3, 2014 at 6:13 am

    I’m nervous about a couple of the suggestions supposedly under discussion for how to cut health costs. Press statements emphasized no increase in premiums, but the suggestion for “health centers” could lead to mandatory HMO style coverage rather than the option to go out of network that GHI now gives us. I’d consider that far worse than a small premium.

  • 17 Carolyn Krinsky-Adinolfi
    · May 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I am concerned about something I read on a site that is pushing to not ratify the contract. I don’t know if it is valid or not. It said that we have to go to walk-in health clinics. Can anyone explain what this means? Are we still going to be covered for seeing our current doctors?

  • 18 Paul Rubin
    · May 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I cannot retire til April 2016. I sort of expected to retire in June 2017 or later. I read something very negative about teachers who retire after July 2015. Can I get some concrete info on how I’d be impacted if I retire in 2017 since our annual pay won’t reflect the full 4-4 til 2017 (tier 4) and the vast bulk of retroactive money is in 2018-2020. Will I simply get those 3 lump sums AFTER I retire?

  • 19 Paul Rubin
    · May 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Has anyone on the negotiating committee given serious thought about the long term implications of this deal. It’s bad enough it goes until just after the next election so politically we can exercise no influence on the next contract for 4 years (deja vu). But of more concern to young and middle career teachers (my wife for example is younger than I am) have we not set ourselves up for a disaster since NYC now how to scramble to pay us billions in 2018-2019-2020 when we are in the early and mainstream stages of negotiating our next contract. In other words, have we not set ourselves up for precisely the same mess again 4.5 years from now.

  • 20 Luisa Villavicencio
    · May 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Are paraprofessionals receiving the same benefits, and retroactive salary as teachers?
    Thank you

    May 3, 2014

  • 21 chaz
    · May 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Michael Bloomberg would be proud of this contract.

  • 22 Martin Mckeown
    · May 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I think this contract is a win for our members. There will be more imput for each chapter with regards to professional development. A career ladder for teachers so that we can retain talented educators. Yes we are getting retroactive pay, something that many of our members were not expecting because Bloomberg gave us zero, zero, Zero, and Zero. This is what some people are choosing to forget.

  • 23 Marty
    · May 4, 2014 at 1:23 am

    What people fail to remember is that Bloomberg gave us was zero,zero,zero ,zero. This contract is a big win for our members, more time for collaboration, a voice in our school with regards to professional development , an 18 percent raise after the contract expires!! Retroactive pay is huge!! Many of my members never even thought we would get retroactive pay!! This is a win for our members.

  • 24 Deborah Kalloo
    · May 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    De Blasio a good not greedy mayor may you continue to be blessed with these qualities that
    Billions cannot buy!

  • 25 Gladys M Sotomayor
    · May 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    This is a terrible contract proposal. I am so disappointed in the Mayor, Mr. Mulgrew the contract negotiating team and Mrs. Farina.
    Please read carefully this proposal. It should not be accepted as its written. I bet if Mrs. Farina and Mr. Mulgrew were back in the teaching or ATR trenches s/he would not accept this contract for themselves.

  • 26 arod
    · May 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    How will our questions be answered before votes? Teachers already feel vulnerable and are leaving for greener pastures. New teachers turnover quickly. Not enough teachers for mentoring. Small schools dont have budgets for veteran teachers. Stigma still there on ATR teachers. How has this helped?

  • 27 gsten
    · May 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

    They really need to release the proposed contract with explanations asap. I am planning to retire at the end of June, but until I know what the new contract will offer I am holding off filing the paperwork and notifying my principal. Based on what has been released, there will be some question as to whether the contract will be approved. Most prospective retirees will likely hold off until there is a new contract approved. This could be a disaster.

  • 28 Sean Ahern
    · May 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    10% Now! Vote No to Deferred Increases.

    Go Back to the Bargaining Table

    After 6 years without an increase in the salary schedule the tentative agreement leaves NYC teachers with:

    The highest class size in NY State

    The lowest median salary in the NYC metropolitan area

    The lowest rate of retention in NY state

    Free public space for hedge fund charters
    while public schools students are crammed into decrepit trailers

    All this in the richest city in the nation!

    The tentative agreement is the “Tale of Two Cities” in contract form

    Vote No and send UFT representatives back to the bargaining table.

    Smiley faces at City Hall and Tweed don’t pay the rent!

  • 29 john smith
    · May 6, 2014 at 8:57 am

    May 6th and still no written details on this “landmark contract”.

  • 30 LHR
    · May 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Better working conditions, less mindless meetings, and more a pretty damn nice salary scale that was just put out…. No agreement is perfect – waiting for $ sucks but how can you possibly vote no? NYC would go bankrupt if all the $ was paid out ASAP.

  • 31 dspez
    · May 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    this contract reminds me of a popeye cartoon character called Wimpie–remember “I will gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today!”
    Might as well call it the “WIMPIE CONTRACT”

  • 32 Rosemary Phelan
    · May 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

    The UFT needs to go back to the bargaining table. This is NOT A GOOD DEAL As for the Unity platform, we work as one and that includes ATR’s. They are all being labeled under one umbrella and that is not fair.
    For all those who are singing its praises, start reading up on what the deal actually entails. We are the losers in this if it passes. We will be UFT ZEROS.

  • 33 Phyllis C.Murray
    · May 14, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    The improvements in our UFT members’ benefits, salaries, and working conditions were won in the past…one strike at a time. Today, our recent contract is the result of the tireless efforts of our leaders who helped hammer out a fair and equitable contract after incalculable hours of negotiation with our current Mayor. Ron Issac is correct. This contract is monumental because it is “built on common sense, enlightened analysis, and mutual responsiblity.” Hopefully, the reign of error in city government is over.

  • 34 JB
    · May 15, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Is it true that if you die or resign prior to 2010 you forfeit all retroactive money? How can the union agree to this? Seems unlawful to refuse back pay to someone who worked the same hours as others but dies or must resign for personal/family situation, such as family relocating or spouse’s job transfer. I am not in the pension system and am 68 . I would like to retire next year……technically I was told by the union today that I would be “resigning” not “retiring” and will forfeit $47,000.00 back pay. Told I must work to 2020….I’ll be 74!! And to deny this money due to death….How could UFT agree to this?

  • 35 flip flop
    · May 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    hhhmmmm…

    http://www.uft.org/press-releases/uft-delegate-assembly-rejects-bloomberg-merit-pay-plan