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Archive for the ‘Contract’ Category

Mulgrew on “Road to City Hall”

On Dec. 9, UFT President Michael Mulgrew was interviewed on NY1′s “Road to City Hall.” He discussed the national math test scores, UFT’s stalled contract negotiations, and school closings.

Part 2 after the jump. More »

Chicago’s First Unionized Charter Schools Ratify First Contract

From the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS):

Teachers and staff at three Civitas charter schools overwhelmingly ratified their first contract today, crediting a collaborative negotiations process for achieving the breakthrough agreement.

The three-year collective bargaining agreement at Civitas’ Ralph Ellison Campus, Northtown Academy and Wrightwood Campus is the first of its kind for charter schools in Chicago. The Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff is the union that represents nearly 140 teachers at the three schools.

“This contract puts students first, gives teachers a voice and a seat at the table, and makes parents and the community partners in education,” said Emily Mueller, a high school Spanish teacher at Northtown Academy and chair of the negotiations.

Read the entire press release here.

UFT, Green Dot Sign Pioneering Contract For NYC Charter School

Proud to be Charter & UnionToday, the nation’s preeminent charter school organization, Green Dot Public Schools, and its largest teacher union local, the United Federation of Teachers, signed an innovative and pioneering collective bargaining agreement for Green Dot’s New York City charter school. The contract was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Green Dot school on Monday, and was ratified by the UFT Chapter today.

The 29 page agreement breaks vital new ground, and not simply because it brings together leading forces in the ranks of the charter school movement and teacher unionism. Just as importantly, the contract embodies a new model of labor relations in education, based on a disarmingly simple proposition: that a school which respects, nurtures and supports teacher professionalism in all of its work will provide the best education for students. More »

UFT and City Reach Agreement On Pension, Ending Two Days Before Labor Day

The UFT and New York City have reached a tentative agreement that will secure pension benefits and end the two days of work before Labor Day, while providing needed savings to the City. The actual agreement, which will be submitted to the Delegate Assembly for its approval, can be read here.

Under this agreement, the pension and health benefits of all UFT members — in service and retiree — remain completely intact. In particular, the agreement preserves the hard-won age 55 retirement pension. After completing ten years of service, future members will pay an additional contribution for these benefits. Effective September 2009, UFT members will no longer have to work the two days before the Labor Day weekend.

“This agreement is a win for everyone,” said UFT President Randi Weingarten. “We are all very concerned about the heavy losses our pension system has incurred during this economic crisis and the looming cuts for schools. No only does this deal help shore up the city budget with new savings, which will hopefully be used for schools, it also maintains the age 55 retirement benefit that we fought many years to achieve and returns us to the tradition of teachers and students starting school after Labor Day, something that our members, particularly those with families, very much wanted.” More »

DOE Lays Down the Law to Microbes and Broken Bones

If you are an appointed teacher and get sick, the contract allows you to be absent from school for a total of 10 days during the school year. If you have days in your “bank” of unused sick days accumulated from past years, you may take those days off for verifiable illness beyond those 10 days. There is also a provision for “borrowing” sick days if necessary. Of course nobody should apply for any benefit under false pretenses.

This “sick day” allowance is realistic and makes common sense. It is fair though not generous. More »

Scratch a dinosaur, find a dinosaur

Just when it seemed the Fordham Foundation might be shifting ever so slightly from its staunchly conservative views (its president, Chester Finn, recently questioned the effectiveness of vouchers) the influential group has swung hard to the right in promoting a laughably reactionary tract on labor union contracts in public education.

It’s not worth reading but it’s worth seeing the cover of the The Leadership Limbo, which has a caricature of UFT Prez Randi Weingarten, dressed as a union thug, forcing former NYC Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew to dance low and backward under a limbo stick. It’s probably actionable. It’s certainly nasty. More »

Teacher Bonuses — How to Do it Right

[Editor’s note: This originally appeared in the New York Times.]

Whether it’s called pay-for-performance, merit pay, or incentive pay, the idea that the way all kids will achieve is to pay one or two “great” teachers a lot more than everyone else in the school is rapidly gaining favor. But in New York City last month, the United Federation of Teachers and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a different approach: a groundbreaking, voluntary school-wide bonus program designed to raise student achievement in schools serving our most needy children.

Attempts to change the teacher compensation system are not new. Earlier efforts failed largely because they were imposed on teachers rather than designed with them, and they often used quotas and subjective evaluations to identify deserving recipients. Plans that paid more to individual teachers bred suspicion, secrecy and unhealthy competition in a profession that succeeds when educators share best practices and engage in collective problem solving. More »

Refocusing the Incentive/Bonus Debate

[Editor’s note: Peter Goodman blogs at Ed in the Apple, where this post originally appeared.]

Joe Torre reached the post season playoffs the last twelve years . . . for Yankee management it wasn’t good enough. Steinbrenner and company offered him a contract with a substantial pay cut with performance incentives for reaching the post season.

Torre turned it down!

He especially objected to the incentives – the assumption that somehow he could coach better in the playoffs for monetary incentives. Incentives were an insult.

Torre has a lot in common with teachers – will teachers teach “better” when offered incentives? More »

55/25 And Voluntary School-Wide Bonuses: Reaction

We’re rounding up reaction to the agreement between the UFT and the city on mechanisms to implement an option for educators who have 25 years or more of service to be able to retire at age 55 without a reduction in benefits and a pilot program establishing voluntary school-wide bonuses in a number of New York City’s highest need schools. Look for more reaction to come.

Brian Lehrer at WNYC interviews UFT President Randi Weingarten.

More »

Applauding Big Thinking

[Editor's note: Julia Boyd is a grandparent and parent of 3 public school children and chair of the ACORN education committee.]

The agreement announced on Wednesday by the UFT and Mayor Bloomberg will mean more money for New York’s neediest schools and real incentives to help educators succeed. Kudos to UFT President Randi Weingarten for her willingness to think big and develop just the kind of innovative approach that might actually help retain our best teachers in some of our toughest schools.

The plan isn’t merit pay. It’s $20 million for 200 of New York’s lowest performing schools. The money will go to the entire school – not just individual teachers. A team, made up of teachers and administrators, will decide how best to allocate the money at their local school to continue to boost performance. It’s an incentive for an entire school’s staff – teachers and principals – to come together and improve student achievement. And it recognizes that talented professionals who choose to work in some of New York’s toughest schools need and deserve support for the work that they do. More »

Landmark Agreement For Pension Benefits And School-Wide Bonuses Bring Professional Gains To NYC Public School Educators

At 12 Noon today, the UFT, New York City and the NYC Department of Education agreed on mechanisms to implement two of the outstanding provisions of the 2005 collective bargaining agreement. The agreements create positive, pro-active programs that address two major issues which face our schools: attracting and retaining quality educators in our schools, and creating collaborative learning environments where teachers have real voice.

First, current New York City educators who have 25 years or more of service will be able to retire at age 55 without a reduction in benefits. Second, a voluntary school wide bonus program will be established on a pilot basis in a number of New York City’s highest need schools. Finally, building on the victory of making ‘per session’ pay pensionable, this agreement makes coverage pay pensionable. More »

The Green Dot Los Angeles Contract

What follows are highlights of the Green Dot contract in Los Angeles that may be of interest to Edwize readers. The contract itself can be read here.

Commitment to Teacher Leadership: Article 34 states that the school and union “agree to establish a teacher led school environment, where teacher talents will be utilized to their fullest potential, offering perspectives in administrative, curricular and extra-curricular decision-making.”

Commitment to Meaningful Union Involvement: Article 34 also states that the teachers union shall have “representation on all leadership bodies.” More »

Transfers and Seniority: The Evidence [Updated]

From time to time, one finds comments posted here with a common ‘urban myth’ — the notion that senior teachers’ ability to transfer to another school was harmed by the changes in the transfer system adopted in the Fall 2005 collective bargaining agreement.

In the interests of having such discussions informed by actual evidence, I took the raw data from last year’s 2006 transfers, the first under the new system, and the data from the previous year’s 2005 transfers, the last under the old system, and organized each year by seniority levels. The results are in the below table.


2006 open market transfer

Total 2005 transfer

2005 seniority transfer

2005 SBO transfer

Less than 3 years





3 and 4 years





5 through 9 years





10 through 14 years





15 through 20 years





More than 20 years










The results are quite powerful. In general, UFT members were able to obtain many more transfers in 2006, under the new system, than they did under the old system — more than three times as many transfers in general, and more than six times as many seniority transfers. What is more, the numbers of transfers increased at every level of seniority: every seniority class of member, from the most novice through the middle years to the most senior, had significantly more transfers under the new system than the old.


‘Urban myths’ die hard, as the comments section illustrates.

One can parse the above evidence however one pleases, but the numbers are undeniable: every class of teacher did better under the new system, from the novices to the most senior. Moreover, more than three times as many teachers were able to obtain transfers, and more than eight times as many teachers transferred as under the seniority transfer system. For an union dedicated to principles of solidarity, that is as easy a choice as one could face. The suggestion that it was a mistake to give up the seniority transfer system that produced far less for all teachers defies common sense.

Given that NYC public schools now have a teaching force where nearly 1 in every 2 teachers have five years or less of seniority, it makes perfect sense that they would have similar portions in a transfer system open to all teachers. In fact, one would reasonably expect an even greater rate of transfer in the earlier years, greater than that evinced last year. The longer a teacher has been in the system, and the more opportunities she or he has had to move to a school where they want to teach, the less likely that they would seek another transfer. Teachers are not likely to transfer once they find a position in a school where they feel professionally fulfilled.

New Contract Documents

The full text of the Memorandum of Agreement for the proposed contract can be accessed here.

The salary schedules of the proposed contract can be accessed here.

Delegate Assembly Approves Contract

This afternoon, the UFT’s Delegate Assembly approved the proposed contract, sending it on to the general membership for ratification. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of sending the agreement to the membership: less than 50 of the Assembly’s delegates voted in opposition, while more than 1450 delegates in attendance voted in support.