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Testimony From the Trenches

Our proposed Contract is a landmark for the labor movement. Nationwide, in both public and private sectors, unions are under siege. It goes beyond tough stands by management. Unions’ basic right to exist is under sustained and potent attack. That is the cruel truth. It applies to every manufacturing and service industry. Every day there is breaking news about a catastrophic setback suffered by our brothers and sisters. In the airline and car industries they are fretting not about the loss of some Brooklyn-Queens holiday equivalent, but the explosive loss of their pensions and health benefits. Randi Weingarten has preserved not only the structural integrity of our Contract’s edifice, but raised it to new heights. We have come closer than any other union to scraping the skies.

We built a relative palace from the hovel of the fact-finders report. We thwarted the proposed “divine right of principals” doctrine, securing substantial immunity from their abuses. We led our new teachers away from the altar on which the City wanted to sacrifice them, as they had done to new police officers. We repelled the demand for a many hundreds of percent increase in coerced unpaid coverages. The City yielded an increase in our retroactive pay by nearly 65 per cent over the fact-finders report that most pundits expected would be, in effect, binding.

The UFT has frustrated the Chancellor’s death warrant against us.

Since June 2002, we have given the City 30 minutes and two days in exchange for a 33 per cent pay increase. For the surrender of half an hour, we got a windfall of 9 per cent. Even this sacrifice leaves us ahead of the game in terms of the length of the suburban school day.

Professional Detention has passed into history. No more Mondays of this collective root canal. We have lost the throbbing agony!

But what have we NOT lost?

We have not lost tenure. We have not lost health benefits or been made to pay higher premiums to match catapulting costs. We have not lost 6 of the 8 additional days of labor that the City had fiercely demanded. We have not lost our four-tier pension to a fifth tier that Oliver Twist would at the peak of his misery have rejected. In fact, the City has pledged to unite with us in political action to secure pension equity in Albany. That’s a first.

But what else has the UFT disallowed the City from wrenching lately?

We have not lost our buffers against forced transfers, class size and teaching period limits, personal days, sabbaticals, and the preponderance of our seniority rights. We have not succumbed to the 6th period clamor, but instead will be providing remedial help to a strictly limited number of kids. The UFT blew out of the water the DOE’s stubborn call to empower principals to excess teachers without regard to seniority and to force them to find their own jobs within a stipulated time or be fired.

We did not lose our argument that despite “pattern bargaining” being anchored deep in precedent, we would not be hogtied by the below-inflation DC 37 settlement that the City viewed as exemplary and inviolable. We did not abandon our core values as a union. That’s one thing that didn’t change.

A union’s reach should exceed its grasp. In today’s times, grasp and gains are defined in terms of lack of loss. How else have we thereby advanced?

Circular 6 suffered some superficial abrasions but is fighting fit. Elementary schools on 7 period days are not affected. Only an SBO approved by the chapter can change that, not a principal’s bull or fiat. Principals still must consult with the chapter about numbers and qualifications of positions. If they are being obstructionist or playing cute, the UFT can circumvent the DOE and appeal directly to the Office of Labor Relations.

Assignments can now be made to hall, yard, or cafeteria duty, but only if there are not enough volunteers, and they cannot be made for consecutive years. They must be made in reverse seniority order, thus blocking any principal’s wanton discretion. Most middle schools already have homerooms. If you have a homeroom you are exempt from a professional activity.

Space is short. Here are some other points of contention and revelations to soothe members of good will:

Grieving letters-in-file has long been a symbolic and largely futile act. Hearing officers have, to put it mildly, not been independent judges of merit. I still have letters in my file from the reign of Gerald Ford. Letters that do not lead to a bona-fide disciplinary case in three years will be tossed. The principal will have to get off the potty if he cannot deliver the product.

What other inroads have we made? Paraprofessionals will now be eligible for a much higher bachelor’s degree line of salary. We have found a way of instituting “lead teachers” while warding off the DOE’s cry for individual merit pay. There will be an open and fair selection process by personnel committees and a clean appeals process.

We have strengthened the grievance machinery by jettisoning the fluff of the past. Our new Contract provides an expedited means to file special “harassment” complaints. Micromanagement, which we all revile, has been targeted as a persistent outrage. Now it is codified into the Contract that funny stuff like bulletin boards and angles of furniture cannot be used to menace a teacher’s livelihood.

Increased discretion for principals does not necessarily translate into defeat for our members. Sometimes there are symbiotic relationships. Consider the areas of transfers and excessing.

Thanks to our new Contract, principals will have to declare all the vacancies in the school, not just a chunk of them. You will for the first time be able to apply for as many schools as you want from among those in the current transfer plans. For the first time, your principal’s permission will be irrelevant for transfers before August 7th. For the first time there will be no caps on the number or proportion of teachers who may successfully apply. And guess what? The existing seniority transfer plan was slated for extinction ten years ago, but the Livingston Street and Tweed never quite got round to it.

High anxiety and much confusion surround the new protocols regarding alleged commission of sexual misconduct and other felonies. A person can be suspended without pay, but only for three months and if “probable cause” has been shown. “Probable cause” is not mere suspicion and there are burdens of evidence that must satisfy the law.

The law is never perfect with regard to redress available to innocent defendants. But a close examination of the proposed Contract will clear the air and give proof that to the full extent of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, our members’ rights shall be guaranteed.

I am, by the way, an active teacher with years of service “in the trenches.” In Klein’s empire I’ve been in more of a tin-pot cell than an “ivory tower.” I have neither sought nor been given any perk or sweetheart deal in exchange for bought loyalty. That goes for both the DOE and the UFT. I need to be in the good graces of my conscience, which is why I strongly endorse the proposed new Contract.

The Union is the champion of us all.

Update by Kombiz This post was submitted by Ron Isaac to motivate informed discussion on the current tentative contract that is slated for a ratification vote beginning on Oct. 24th. I made a decision to post this using a pseudonym to encourage discussion. His piece is also posted at Education News where you can see other essays by Mr. Isaac.

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150 Comments:

  • 1 Teacher31231
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 6:21 pm

    Again, the union is working overtime, which I am paying for, to put positive stories up.

    The proposed contract sucks! We all know it! The union is so afraid of negative comments. They can’t take down posts or we would be up in arms.

    This site claims autonomy while any one with half a brain can see the puppet strings being pulled! Randi’s fingers must be bloody from all this work.

  • 2 Kombiz
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    I am working overtime here, mainly by keeping the blog running and the discussion going. If you have questions about the contract, feel free to shoot them to me (blog@uft.org) or post them. I’ve worked hard to get people’s questions answered. If the complaint is that we’re posting about the contract, I received several emails on Tuesday about how we had not said anything about the contract. When we posted about the contract, we’re accused of spin.

    These posts have allowed people who are unsure about the contract, for the contract, and against the contract, to discuss the different points in the contract.

    The blog isn’t widely visited enought that it’s going to have a real impact. It’s meant mostly as a place for discussion.

  • 3 Schoolgal
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 6:31 pm

    What a literate and persuasive piece of writing. It has voice and emotion. Did you conference this with Lucy Caulkins herself?? I’m giving it a “4”!

    LET US REJOICE IN THE DEATH OF SENIORITY RIGHTS!

    I cannot wait to read your next piece 4 years from now when you proclaim the loss of tenure.

    I am now voting, Oh God! YES! YES! YES!

    (now I have to go and light a cigarette)

  • 4 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:00 pm

    If the Union is afraid of negative comments, as you say, then you must admit that they’re coping with their alleged fear very well. Negotiating with the most cruel and stubborn foes in the modern history of labor relations produced a less than ideal result from our perspective, but thankfully also from the view of our adversaries.

    The Union knows that its members have strong convictions and that controversy over the Contract was likely. Instead of hiding from accountability and shielding itself from criticism, it created this uncensored, unfiltered, unedited forum. Can you “google” and find any other large organization that has done anything like it? And how has the union muddled with your “autonomy?”

    You are right about the union working overtime. This union works 24/7/365 (366 in leap years) to improve the quality of life and the standard of living of every single one of its members. Randi’s fingers are raw to the bone from crunching numbers, not bloody from pulling strings of her allies. The only thing she’s ever pulled is miracles.

    The Contract is not a miracle, but it is a great achievment. Let us unionists speak our minds and deny those who don’t wish us well the pleasure of seeing us in disarray or lose our civility.

  • 5 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    Check it out, Schoolgal: With regard to seniority rights, the new Contract has not broken the skin that protects us. There has been no devastation.

    I’d be flattered to count you among my readers four years from now, as you suggest, but I don’t want to get your expectations up: I will not be discussing the collapse of tenure. I will celebrate the newest progress that our union of professionals will have made on every front of the war for respect and prosperity.

    Your mention of Lucy Calkins plays into my hands, Schoolgal. Ms. Calkins is associated, rightly or wrongly, with certain of the concerns our members voiced about micromanagement. Have you noticed that our new Contract will put the kabosh on much of the enforcement of scripted and lockstep silliness?

    And Schoolgal: please cut down on those cigarettes. I want you around in four years to see that my optimism was justified.

  • 6 Chaz
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:18 pm

    Finally, a very persuasive article on why I should support the contract. I found your logic quite good and it has given me second thoughts about voting no on the contract. In particular I am quite impressed about your in-depth knowledge of what it is like to be a classroom teacher and how this proposed contract will affect you, unlike many of your fellow article writers.

    However, there comes a question of trusting a union that did not put the classroom teacher first. By the way were there any UFT members who still teach in the classroom on the negotiating team??? I think not.

    After dealing with unanswered questions and insults from non-classroom teachers it is quite refreshing to hear from a classroom teacher that understands the issues on how it affects the classroom.

    People like you and Kombiz (I do appreciate what you are doing) are reasonable and even if I don’t always agree with you, I do respect your opinion and your attempts to respond to the questions, unlike the bozos who think their always right and try to insult you rather than answer the question posed to them. Keep up the good work! Reasonable people can always disagree and be civil in doing it.

    Oh yes, I will still vote no for a contract that does not supply enough money and gives up precious time, protection, and professional duties.

    P.S. How come I used to pay $2 for a perscription drug and now I pay $40? Yes, Randi did a wonderful job protecting our drug benefit!

  • 7 Schoolgal
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:19 pm

    “We led our new teachers away from the altar on which the City wanted to sacrifice them, as they had done to new police officers…”

    I can’t help but wonder how you would have justified the contract 10 years ago when this union wanted to sacrifice our young?

    It was the rank and file that protected them when we voted that contract down.

  • 8 Teacher31231
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:33 pm

    This is like a tug of war, the winner gets a pile of doody. Yes you can put some carmel and cherries and sprinkles on the doody and make it look like a nice ice cream cone. The fact is once you are working under this contract you will realize that even with all the toppings you’ve won yourself a pile of doody to eat for the next 20-years. And you’ll share the doody with the “young” you’ve saved it for.

  • 9 Kombiz
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:51 pm

    Chaz,

    The negotiating team included Randi, union officers and teachers. There was also two prominent labor law firms that were there to work on the language. Yes I hope we can have an informed conversation about the MOA, and I hope this post has taken us further down that road.

  • 10 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks very much,Chaz. I’ve been in the classroom a long time, as you seem to have been also. There’s no substitute for the experience. No counsel or empathy can take its place.

    But you know the poem by Emily Dickinson in which she says that she knows what the sea must be like though she has never seen it? A person not currently in the foxholes is not necessarily impervious to the whizz of bullets.

    I do not know which negotiators are classroom teachers. What I do know is that I took the Union seriously at its word when it invited our input, and when I read the new Contract, I saw that the Union did not let us down.

    You talk about the drug benefits. Please inquire with the Welfare Fund, the UFT website, the New York Teacher. We were given a throughly convincing explanation. I’m not an expert, but I know that I was solidly impressed by how well we fared in this regard, given the soaring costs and the setbacks suffered by other workers, organized or not, in both the public and private sectors.

    May our solidarity always be non-negotiable. Even as we seem to be resisting eachother, let’s grow ever closer.

  • 11 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    “We led our new teachers away from the altar on which the City wanted to sacrifice them, as they had done to new police officers…”

    So they want us to believe…True, the new officers start at only $25,000 (while their training in the Academy).
    Six months later, their salary jumps to $32,000. Five and a half years later, their salary is just under $60,000 plus overtime. (Real overtime – not per session!) So, in 5 1/2 years their salary doubles – not bad!

    Now, I have no problem with that, believe me. But don’t argue that the NYPD union sacrificed their new recruits…

  • 12 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:01 pm

    Schoolgal: You can speculate how I would have responded to a situation ten years ago, but please concede that what was then an actual circumstance has become a hypothetical one now. Let Randi answer only for those calls taken since she ascended to the leadership.
    The “rank and file” are the Union’s glory. Always was. Is. Shall always be. And the leadership is thrilled by that.

  • 13 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Teacher 31231: I’m having a hard time with your tug of war, but I won’t let go until a fact finder gives me strawberry short cake. Tough images to swallow. Keep the faith!

  • 14 NYC Educator
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:18 pm

    “We have come closer than any other union to scraping the skies.”

    Nice prose, but personally, I’d say the corrections officers, with 10.25 over 27 months, along with 12-15,000 in retroactive pay got a lot closer than we did.

    How do you figure we did better than that?

    “The UFT has frustrated the Chancellor’s death warrant against us.”

    Perhaps they have, but the Chancellor is bound by our old contract until and unless we agree to another contract. This one, I’m afraid, will degrade and damage the profession severely.

    High school teachers, already working very hard under adverse circumstances, will have six classes.

    “Thanks to our new Contract, principals will have to declare all the vacancies in the school, not just a chunk of them.”

    And why shouldn’t they, since they’ll no longer be under any obligation to hire anyone applying for the position. It’s positively Orwellian that the UFT, which once boasted of the transfer plan, now boasts equally of its demise. And the worst part is you gave it away for nothing.

    “Sometimes there are symbiotic relationships.”

    Often there are not, particularly with career-obsessed, non-tenured principals beholden to Klein.

    “The Union is the champion of us all.”

    Not anymore.

  • 15 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:21 pm

    To Bklynteacher: A gap separates our pay from those of our suburban counterparts. An abyss separates that of NYC police officers from their suburban colleagues. The UFT has gotten closer to parity with our colleagues than has the police with their counterparts patrolling the boat basins of Long Island.

  • 16 NYC Educator
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:23 pm

    And I must ad this–if EdWize is interested in “Testimony from the Trenches,” an admirable undertaking, then it behooves EdWize to give equal time on its front page to both sides of this issue.

    We’re all in the union, you know.

  • 17 teacher for real
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:34 pm

    That’s all I know is that I watched Channel 2 News at 6PM and I saw Randi shaking in her boots. I would love to be at the delegate assembly to see what will happen there. Oh! I forgot I have to go to my 2nd job that I will still have if this contract gets ratified.

  • 18 R. Skibins
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    THE FUTURE IF THIS CONTRACT PASSES

    If this contract passes, it will continue the pattern of time-for-money, which I warned people about in 2002. Our rights will be further diminished, and the weakened UFT will be as powerless to stop it as it is powerless to stop the current micromanagement.

    Skip ahead two years…

    EXTENDED DAYS AND YEARS
    With the pattern set, Randi Weingarten will say “The two days before Labor Day worked out fine. Let’s make it a full week, plus another ten minutes a day.” Eventually, we will work from 8-5. Then Randi will allow principals to assign us to dinner duty, as the transformation of teachers into babysitters becomes complete. Are you ready to sweat in the summer heat as our school year extends from August 16 to July 15? Retiring soon? Don’t worry. When you drop dead from a heart attack in the heat, the city will just hire 2 fellows to replace you. Good. More dues money!

    And all the while, Randi will insist that the suburban teachers work longer than we do, even though they go from the beginning of September to only the third week of June, and work only 6 hours, 15 minutes a day!

    SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

    You just told Susie that her dress is pretty. Whoops! Now you are suspended for three months without pay as a sexual misconduct “investigation” by the DOE lingers on. After your house is repossessed, charges are dropped. But when you must take off to move into a new place, you are fired because you were absent too many times. Or, you are assigned to potty patrol. Little Joey tells mommy that the teacher was hanging out in the bathroom. Three months without pay, etc.
    Even though you were cleared, you were embarrassed because you were led out in handcuffs, so you wish to transfer. Sorry, pal, but seniority transfers were done away with. (See below)

    CIRCULAR 6’S DEATH
    Today you received a reprimand because you didn’t clean up little Johnny’s vomit in the lunchroom during breakfast duty, one of achievements in the 2007 contract that Randi called “A victory for all of us.” Then, while you were on potty patrol, little Joey flushed his Gameboy down the toilet. You went into the bathroom to see what all the screaming was about. (See SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, above)

    SENIORITY TRANSFER
    You commute from Long Island, and must drop your child off at daycare. But, with school beginning at 8AM (due to the fact that, since the new teachers attend college, school must end by 3PM), you are frequently late, especially when there is one drop of rain or snow, or when the rubberneckers are slowing down to look at the golfers along the Jackie Robinson Parkway. You cannot receive a seniority transfer because Randi surrendered it in 2005! You can’t receive a hardship transfer (next on Randi’s hit list) because you can only get one if it takes you two hours to get to school from the city line. With your latenesses, you are terminated.

    LETTERS IN THE FILE
    The principal is ticked off because she didn’t reach the superintendent’s monthly letter in the file quota, and since her weak union voted to give up tenure (Randi’s next victory?), she can’t say no. So you get a letter in the file for having messy hair. The next day, you get a letter in the file because your overweight appearance scares the kindergarten, even though you teach the 5th grade. Then, along with the letter for failing to clean up the vomit during breakfast duty (see above), you are terminated.

    Does all of the above seem far-fetched? Not at all. Remember, in 2002, who would have thought that we would be forced to place students on vermin-infested rigs? Who would have thought that we would get letters in the file for using the “wrong” marker, or failing to keep a notepad hanging from our necks (some schools in Region 4)?

    The answer is perfectly clear: Kill this proposed contract.

  • 19 R. Skibins
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    I mean “rugs” not “rigs.” Typo

  • 20 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 8:58 pm

    # >>>>

    I’m not going to get into a discussion as to why the City’s “Finest” deserves more money than the City’s “Brightest”.

    Suffice to say, that it would be nice for us all to be able to keep up with the cost of living AND have some money left over to send our own kids to a a decent college!

  • 21 Frank48
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:05 pm

    We also lose the right to grieve observation reports – which the guy “in the trenches” elects to omit.

  • 22 Schoolgal
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:21 pm

    LET’S SEE:

    Given your take on the Lord’s Prayer:

    Since Randi’s ascension (can I take it as an RO day?) I had to endure Detention Mondays both as a presenter and spectator.
    Now I have to endure extra days and an extra period. Big deal!

    Since Randi’s ascension, we have lost the UFT transfer plan. Thank God I was able to use it before she came along. But of course I can see you liking the DOE’s version of “The Apprentice” where the Trumps now make the final decision. (Why on earth did the UFT give in on that. It wasn’t broke, was it?)

    Since Randi’s ascension, we have Pataki as governor. So what was wrong with Carl?

    Since Randi’s ascension, we can all look foward to improving our letter writing and rebuttal skills. (Dear Mr. Terror: Regarding your letter…)

    Since Randi’s ascension, we can now keep watch on the lunchroom. Do we get to feed them too?

    Hey people, let’s convert to this new religion where Randi is exaulted and the rest of us bow.

    HAIL RANDI!!! FULL OF DISGRACE!!!

    AMEN!

  • 23 mshalo18
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    R.Skibins- First of all, I was happy to see that the NY Post had the- uh- guts to print your letter to the editor. Too bad it wasn’t part of a bigger, front page story titled, “NYC TEACHERS TO KLEINBERG: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY”.

    You’re posting tonight, while written tongue in cheek, will strike a nerve with teachers everywhere. I am somewhat hopeful that, as the word spreads, more and more of the rank and file are seeing this “contract” for what it really is- a sell-out by Randi of monumental proportions. NONE of the teachers I know- colleagues, friends, neighbors-are planning to vote for this proposal.

    Let’s keep spreading the word. Let’s keep the momentum going.

  • 24 Irukandji
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:32 pm

    NYC Educator: The UFT’s situation was unique. Weingarten converted it from a plight to a challenge. The City sought to dismantle, not amend, every shred of benefit afforded us by forty years of collective bargaining evolution. In the matter of other union contracts, the City argued only about salaries. In our face-to-face/toe-to-toe ordeal, the real trial was over our right to exist. Consider what we have won relative to what the powerful City presumed to seize from us and you will be open-mouthed with esteem for our UFT team. Yes, the Union is the champion of each of its members.

  • 25 gratemgl
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    Here Here RSkibins! Wonderfully done. I think that that post should be the front page of this Blog. Who picks who gets that right? Lets all have a turn!

    Good Job.

  • 26 Alum32K
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 9:41 pm

    I’ve been around over ten years.

    The 25/55 appeals to me.

    Have yet to hear much about the kids.

    My junior high homeroom teacher does not agree much with this contract (she teaches H.S. now-30 yrs under her belt), but it won’t change her dedication to students should it pass.

    Thank goodness for HOMEROOMS. She set the tone for the day back then, kept us in check, made us reflect. She made a difference.

    We needed homeroom then, our kids need it now. Wish I could have had afterschool tutoring, us “latchkey kids” did not have much to do back then.

    TUTORING would have helped me pass math regents, maybe it would have convinced me to take the physics regents (regents not required for graduation in vocational schools 20 years ago).

    Made it to college, Mr. Millstein insisted it be a four year college. Thank goodness for caring guidance counselors. Never heard him complaining about his contract.

    A special thank you to all those caring UFTeachers who made it their business to teach, check homework, grade exams, lecture, tutor, advise, and care.

    Some have passed, others retired, the rest still teach.

    They teach because they care.

    They teach from the trenches.

  • 27 paulrubin
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    So much argument, so little usefulness. This should have been in our hands already for a full blown vote by the membership. Since it’s not, unless it miraculously fails to pass the delegate assembly, our vote no longer matters politically. Nice move Randi. I’m basically resigned to going 4 more years under our current contract. The plus is that we thwart all the remaining evil Kleinberg plans for us. The negative is that we don’t get a small raise over 4.33 years. Let’s be realistic. This is all about the money in the raise since there’s little else of truly positive note. And what is the raise, really folks. At per session rates, we’re out at least $3000 and my time is worth more than per session but maybe I’m the only one who feels that way. For a teacher on max making $81K, they’re getting $9K in actual raise over 4.33 years or roughly 11%, a 2 point something percent raise only half retroactive. Whoopee. Now take a teacher in the middle making say $60K. His 15% is only worth about $9K minus 3K resulting in $6K or a 10% raise. Wow, a whole partially retroactive less than 2.5% a year. And then take our newbies making say $40K a year. Their $6K really means $3K in raise or 7.5% over more than 4 years. 1 point something percent a year. And talk about selling out our young. Factoring in the extra time, the starting salary is essentially a 4.33 year wage freeze. Do the math. That’s what our union is proposing we accept in exchange for no more grievances when the principal tries to hurt us, restrictions on seniority transfers, loss of pay if a kid accuses us of something, damage to Circular 6. The rest is fluff. Paras? Nurses? I’m a teacher. Lead Teacher? If I wanted to become the principal’s buffer in a lousy school for an extra $10K a year minus $3K in extra required time, I’d be interested. I’m not and nobody I know seems to be either. False promises about pensions? Come on. How about a real promise like X% of the upcoming billions will go to teacher salary immediately upon receipt, even mid-contract.

    The bottom line is (1) we’re not negotiating from the fact finding agreement, we’re negotiating from our existing contract. (2) There’s nowhere near enough real raise money in here to justify any givebacks at all. The real raise stinks even if the workrules stayed in place. I and my existing and retired colleagues gave up past raises to get those rules as compensation. They’re worth something.

    I’ll say it again. I’m not going on strike to achieve crap. I’ll gladly take the police deal. If our future colleagues get hurt, that’s the city’s problem, not mine. My problem is to make enough money to stay in teaching and service my students. It’s the city’s problem to recruit replacements, not the union’s. If we can’t get the police deal, then I’ll live without the 2 point something percent a year and send Bloomberg a real message, not a hug and a kiss. If you want to reform the schools according to YOUR vision, and YOU want REAL workrule changes, offer enough money to make it worthwhile and don’t insult my intelligence. My life doesn’t get better with this pittance of a raise. If so, why bother? That is afterall what this comes down to. Why bother?

  • 28 233288193
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    Retired in 7/03. For what Weingarten’s done to the Union, the next President may as well be Joel Klein. Every “raise” was accompanied by an increase in time worked. She can point to nothing that she has accomplished to improve working conditions or morale for teachers. This “principal-friendly” contract she is delighted with is further proof of just how isolated her controlled teaching experience under mentor Feldman was.

  • 29 firefly
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 10:40 pm

    I personally think that this article makes sense…a little “over the top” perhaps, Randi is not God and this isn’t the best contract ever at all, but it if cat is not the worst thing in the world either. I’m voting a resounding yes because I’m unwilling to go on without a contract for 4 more years and I’m also unwiling to go on strike (at this point…two months ago I felt differently).

    I could care less about retirement and the measly pension I’d get for scarificing my life to the DOE for 22-25 years. With this contract I’ll stay 3 more and make a break at 10 years. Without it, I’m aout after this June. Plain and simple. I’ve run my own business and still have to freelance at it. I’ll simple go back to it full time. I’ve loved teaching, but will no longer sacrifice so much for it. Most teachers don’t have another profession to fall back on and I’m sorry for you…but I really don’t think you have a fight in you, or there would’ve been one already. Go for the 15%. Yes!

  • 30 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 10, 2005 at 11:32 pm

    It is amazing to see how many of us want to believe everything we read in the newspaper, especially from the Daily News.

    It is interesting to see how those opposed to the contract proposal are blind to the political reality in NYC. EVERY other union except for 2 has given alot back for their meager increases. These same people just use the same bullying, lies (see ICE website of false Q& A by Jeff Kaufman that was e-mailed) and name calling tactics.

    If we vote down the contract proposal on Tues. at the DA what makes you think the city will want to negotiate now for a “better” deal for us? 2 ½ years and an 8-page insult isn’t enough of a sign of what they care or don’t care about? Why should the public support us after making a hard negotiated deal, which has problems, but still protects us in many ways (because Klein doesn’t know how his own department works)? All of our efforts and successes in the past year of having the majority of the public see us, the UFT, as part of the solution will be futile AND empower the mayor. Great idea!

    Rumor has it that those who oppose it plan to not allow a vote at the DA (it is even suggested in some responses here). How insulting is this for a democratic body. I know, why don’t we shout out people from debating or make motions of delay to not allow anything to occur. It wouldn’t be the first time that their lack of reasonable argument and support then grants them the right to stop evryone else’s right to vote.

    If we wait 7 ½ years for a better deal how desperate do you think our members are going to be then? What will we beg for then just to get a “better” deal? No, those who oppose it suggest THEN we go on strike. Isn’t that what is being said? If we vote down this proposal either at the DA or at the membership level, what other choice do we have but a strike? Perhaps not the day after or the next but at some point because the mayor has no incentive to negotiate in facthe already did.

    I swould encourage people to vote yes but at least I would let the members at the DA and at the schools vote!

  • 31 BklnMusician
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 12:03 am

    I agree with many points in this article, although it does have some rather grandiose statements that do sound like the writing of a shill.

    I will vote “yes” for this contract, even though I do not see it as “scraping the skies” or being a “relative palace from the hovel of the fact-finders report.” Randi Weingarten did manage to improve on the fact-finders report, but it is not a hovel-to-palace transformation.

    I am positively enthusiastic about the new transfer modus. Teachers can now apply to positions and be considered on their merits. Principals cannot lord their refusal to release a transferring teacher. Last year I transferred to another school, and I had to employ tactical antics over many days to obtain my release. The new contract ends this modern serfdom.

    Extended time: I would rather teach small groups than sit through “professional development.”

    Circular 6: This is a definite drawback to the new contract that really suffered more than just “abrasions.” At my old school there were daily fights in the cafeteria. I do not believe my presence in such a situation would be very useful since I could only call for security and blow a whistle. I certainly would not endanger myself by trying to break up a fight. The DOE might come to regret having an increased number of teachers collecting salary recovering from physical and/or mental on-the-job injuries that do not go against the teacher’s C.A.R.

    Letters in the File: I personally know several administrators who will definitely write more letters just because they can. The grievance procedure has certainly caused some administrators to think twice before they write. Even if the grievance was “a symbolic and largely futile act” it is an important deterrent. On the other hand, I do believe that good chapter leadership should include keeping “files” on power-obsessed administrators. All kinds of information and responses could go into this file. Information from this file could be used to help keep the administrator in line. Bad administrators might find their unofficial well-packed file becoming “leaky” as juicy portions end up winging their way up the chain of command or to the press.

    The money: After deducting the 4.2% time increase from the 15%, we are left with 10.8% over 4 years and 4 months. This does not completely keep up with inflation, but it is close. It is better than the 5% over three years that DC37 received, while worse than the 10.25% over 27 months the corrections officers received (although there were minor time givebacks in the COs’ deal). Teacher attrition will force relative pace with cost of living increases in the long run.

    All things considered, I will unenthusiastically vote “yes.” I think Ms. Weingarten did well under the circumstances.

  • 32 paulrubin
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 12:06 am

    I’m of the opinion that all offers should go to a vote. There’s been plenty of discussion and the sides are clearly defined. One side believes that you don’t give back on work rules unless there’s something substantial on the table in the way of real dollars. The other side believes this is the best we’re going to get because we’re dealing with an egotistical maniac who wants to take credit for everything from breast cancer to phony test scores. Like with every other argument the truth lies somewhere in between but it’s pretty clear that the value of the money in this deal is greatly exaggerated by both Weingarten and Bloomberg and the importance of losing the right to grieve file letters is being underplayed by Weingarten based on a phony statistic (that we rarely win when in fact the mere possibility that we might grieve keeps winnable letters from every coming into play). We might not get better. We might have to accept that 4 more years of no raise is a possibility. And clearly we need new leadership at the union that if nothing else has a better pulse of the membership if the union votes this down. That’s really where things will get interesting. Can union leadership propose deals more than once that the members want nothing to do with OR are the most vocal complainers out of touch with the current feelings of the membership. I’m vocal here. I’m not vocal at school. This for me is nothing more than an exercise in logic. I would never vote for a deal that contains both givebacks and a raise that is less than the rate of inflation. We’re not even close to something I could vote yes on regardless of the consequences. I have too much self respect and pride in what I do to knowingly sell myself so short. But I understand why others might vote yes.

  • 33 Schoolgal
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 12:53 am

    I would still like an explanation as to why the principal has final say over hiring? I was under the impression that the SBO plan was working well. SBO committees (even though I voted against it) were doing well under the old program of rating prospects. There was shared-decision making. Everyone had an equal vote. Teachers were empowered. Now that is gone. Why?

    As for the major gain in the contract– that teachers have more freedom to teach and structure their rooms–Carmen Farina, in an interview with PBS, stated that principals were overzealous with respect to the new programs, and this was being corrected. She went on to state that she personally didn’t believe a good teacher needs a rug in their classroom. The DOE was already going in this direction, so it really wasn’t the great bargaining point that so many make it out to be. Of course it’s always good to get it in writing.

    I still feel that the extra days and time were enough to justify this raise without giving up the right to grieve letters or our well-fought seniority rights.

    Administrators like the one just written about at Brooklyn Tech–once a top school in the city–are having a field day with letter writing campaigns against teachers.
    Also they will have final say over who will teach in their school.

    So why is this a good deal?

  • 34 Irukandji
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 5:52 am

    R. Skibens has a gift for satire, but it conveys more entertainment than informational value. Our schools were neither designed nor negotiated to be theaters of the absurd. Given the ludicrous reality that he envisions, there would be anarchy. The stage, in and out of school grounds, has always been ripe for chaos.But nobody desires, or could endure the kind of disorder you describe, including those who would cause it. It was never possible to legislate decency, whether among principals or anybody else. Sure, a cop could always give you a ticket for jaywalking to get out of the way of gangland crossfire.

    Bklynteacher: The Union is never going to serve you pauper’s pie! Our wages have gone up over thirty per cent in a few years. In private industry workers are aspiring to stagnation. Stagnation has taken on the status of pipe dream for them,because not only have they not kept up with the cost of living, but they’ve been concussed by savage pay cuts and slashed benefits.

    Frank48: In the heyday of Observation Report grievances, you had a better chance of guessing how many grains of sand there are on the Jersey shore than of prevailing against supervisors whose professional judgement could never be disputed regardless of how skimpy their knowledge or absent their fairness. The closest you could get to “bringing home the bacon” was getting a clause deleted once in a purple moon.

    The new Contract is our hero.Like all our past contracts, its power is fueled and delivered by a united chapter of loyal members whose adamant defense of each other creates a school climate that no administrator would dare to mess with.

  • 35 Irukandji
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 6:10 am

    Schoolgal: Where’s there’s sarcasm there’s life and where there is life there is hope and with hope all things are possible. Thanks for opening up the heavens. I’m not portraying Randi as a saint or a martyr. But spirituality defines itself in material terms and she has done, is doing, and we all devoutly hope will long continue to provide us many of the necessities that enable us to hunt for a fulfilling life ourselves and with our loved ones.

  • 36 Irukandji
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 6:43 am

    Thanks to Alum32K and everyone else, regardless of where they stand in the spectrum of opinion, who is making this blog the most dynamic of debating halls.

    “HS_teacher” rightly upholds the cornerstone value of our union: the chance and duty of active participation. That means voting. At today’s D.A. meeting, some folks will likely try to hijack the democratic process. Their view will be that the generel membership cannot be entrusted with making up their own minds over matters of gravity. Such a view is patronizing and paternalistic and, frankly, despotic. It is also ironic, as the indenturing of the general membership would be done in the name of liberating them.

    “BklynMusician” may or not be a person of charity but certainly is a pragmatist who gives credit where due, though in my judgement not in quite sufficient dosage.

    “Paul Rubin”: Do you really believe that the membership would have us wait more than four additional years for a new contract? The negotiating process has been enhausted.Members must be informed, just in case, what could very plausibly result if there were a strike. The reality wouldn’t need to be spun. The facts themselves would send our heads spinning and possibly our mortgages reeling.

    “Schoolgal”: Nobody is saying that the new Contract is corrective therapy for all the symptoms of every malaise in the workplace. But please continue to have your ears, eyes, and mind open. The Union is our immune system.

  • 37 Lucy2024
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 7:43 am

    Skibins–great piece.

    Anyone have an answer?
    I read somewhere that the school day is supposed to end by 3:45. My school begins at about 8:40 AM.

    Does this mean no more staff or grade conferences?

  • 38 outraged
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:03 am

    Guess what? You will have to come in early.

  • 39 outraged
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Would an increase in the number of charter schools affect the union in the future?

    What would it mean if they doubled?

    What would it mean if the cap was removed on the number?

    I’ll bet Bloomberg will lobby to the above before he does the 25/55.

  • 40 Frank48
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Yes, Kleinberg has PUBLICLY lobbied the state for MANY MORE charter schools in NYC.

    This is privatization and will result in destruction of teaching as you and I know it. This is what they want.

    This new contract will lead to the dismissal over time of many teachers currently employed. Believe this !

    They can get around the tenure rules by pelting certain people with letters and U observations ( which you can’t grieve either). Two consecutive U ratings can result in termination – even if you have 25 years as a tenured teacher. The opinion of the AP is sacrosant in these matters – if you “get on the wrong side” of someone in your place of work, you have a big problem with the new contract.

    Believe this – some of you will rue the day you lost these protections, because you will be gone because of a subjective decision by one or two superiors

    They want to have a steady stream of young people who work for peanuts and will jump through any hoop to get tenure -with many FEWER benefits to boot.

    Read what is going on at Brooklyn Tech – this mistreatment of staff is going on in more places than you can imagine – people are just afraid to publicise it !

    Take away the extra layers of grievance you now have, and you will be allowing a bloodletting into this profession which could rock your world.

    It’s not worth a very weak COLA increase – which is all we get out of this new deal.

    We can and WILL do better if we continue to bargain with Kleinberg.

  • 41 NYC Educator
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    Irukandji,

    You have addressed my concrete concerns with nebulous platitudes. I directly contradicted the statements you made above:

    We have come closer than any other union to scraping the skies.”

    Nice prose, but personally, I’d say the corrections officers, with 10.25 over 27 months, along with 12-15,000 in retroactive pay got a lot closer than we did.

    How do you figure we did better than that?

    “The UFT has frustrated the Chancellor’s death warrant against us.”

    Perhaps they have, but the Chancellor is bound by our old contract until and unless we agree to another contract. This one, I’m afraid, will degrade and damage the profession severely.

    High school teachers, already working very hard under adverse circumstances, will have six classes.

    “Thanks to our new Contract, principals will have to declare all the vacancies in the school, not just a chunk of them.”

    And why shouldn’t they, since they’ll no longer be under any obligation to hire anyone applying for the position. It’s positively Orwellian that the UFT, which once boasted of the transfer plan, now boasts equally of its demise. And the worst part is you gave it away for nothing.

    “Sometimes there are symbiotic relationships.”

    Often there are not, particularly with career-obsessed, non-tenured principals beholden to Klein.

    “The Union is the champion of us all.”

    Not anymore.

    and you responded thusly:

    “The UFT’s situation was unique.”

    But above, you said:

    We have come closer than any other union to scraping the skies.”

    There, you’re directly comparing us to other unions, several of which did much better than us.

    “Weingarten converted it from a plight to a challenge. The City sought to dismantle, not amend, every shred of benefit afforded us by forty years of collective bargaining evolution.”

    But they could do none of that without our cooperation. The terms of the old contract are binding until and unless we agree to another one.

    It’s extremely short-sighted of the UFT to offer givebacks for nothing, and today’s Daily News most certainly did not endorse this contract becasue it’s good for teachers.

    “In the matter of other union contracts, the City argued only about salaries.”

    That’s not true either. But several unions did much better than us, despite your blatantly false claims otherwise.

    “Weingarten converted it from a plight to a challenge. Consider what we have won relative to what the powerful City presumed to seize from us and you will be open-mouthed with esteem for our UFT team.”

    How dare you, or any other mouthpiece from the UFT, dictate to us how we should think or what we should say? While the UFT may wish we were a bunch of wind-up little tin ssoldiers, we still have the right to free speech and thought in this country. Even under GW Bush.

    “Yes, the Union is the champion of each of its members.”

    Once again, you’re wrong, and the clear evidence is the volume of people who disagree with you.

    Edwize is owned by the UFT, and I’m UFT just as much as you. There is no good reason why the thousands of teachers who share my view shouldn’t be represented on the front page of Edwize.

  • 42 Jack
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 3:49 pm

    I just hope that all those delegates and our own rank and file come to their senses and vote no on this piece of garbage that Randi is trying to sell us. She is pandering to her future political aspirations at our expense. We need to dump both her and UNITY. THIS CONTRACT IS A SCAM PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

  • 43 Teacher31231
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    Are you sure the “trench” that you supposedly speak from isn’t a metaphor for a grave? And this “landmark” you speak of must be what? A grave stone? Does the grave stone read “Here lies the UFT. The first mass assisted suicide, compliments of Randi.”

    My dear, you are in your grave and you don’t even know it. The trench is getting 6-feet deep and your pulling in the dirt untop of us all.

  • 44 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    As I expected, the delegates approved the contract this afternoon. Not to worry, the same thing happened in 1995,
    followed by a rejection of the contract by the rank and file.

    Keep the momentum going, talk to your colleagues, especially the newer teachers. We deserve better!

  • 45 mshalo18
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    Could someone who was actually a participant in the DA give some figures on the actual percentage of delegates voting in favor of this abomination?

  • 46 firefly
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 8:26 pm

    From where I was sitting, It seemed like a 60-65% yes,
    35 – 40% no. That was my take on it. Anyone else?

  • 47 firefly
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 8:37 pm

    I voted at the assembly today as a YES vote because that was what the vast majority of teachers at my school wanted…they wanted to have the right to an individual vote. And, as a UFT representative I think my responsiblity at school now is to let people know how and when the vote will happen and to urge them to read the memorandum fully and make up their own minds. This is, after all, now a people’s vote.

    I certainly don’t plan to sway anyone towards feeling the way that I do – especially “new” teachers because I personally think that’s a travesty of justice. I am only concerned that the teachers in my school know exactly what they’re voting for or against and aren’t swayed by misinformation, summaries, key points, or ridiculous articles in the Daily News or Post.

    It’s insulting that you would thry to sway people’s opinions. We are educated and decide for ourselves. The contract will either pas or not pass, but it will be the decision of the majority of the teachers.

  • 48 northbrooklyn
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 8:50 pm

    I was in the uft rubber room for the duration of tonight’s DA.The vote was called and the delegates held up their yellow cards on the yes or no. It was one of the oddest moments in democratic procedure I have ever seen.
    I think I want to sit in when the AAA counts the rank and file vote. It promises to be a truely unique experience.

  • 49 Kombiz
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 8:55 pm

    Firefly, I was at the front of the room standing up looking back, the second vote seemed overwhelming – I tried to take a picture with my camera phone – there didn’t seem to be anywhere near 30% of the votes against. It did seem like 15-20% at the most. Again the cards were in the air briefly, but there isn’t a dispute that the Yay’s were significant. The ballots go to the membership now.

  • 50 mvplab
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 8:57 pm

    I was there and it looked like 200-300 cards up in opposition. Let’s go with the larger number. There were about 2000 in attendance. Let’s knock out the retirees–I don’t know how many retirees attended. So let’s say 300 retirees deducted from 2000–that does sound like a lot. So 300 in opposition and 1500–1700 in support. So to round this off we’re talking about 80/20 or more conservatively 75/25 for the resolution. That was my take.

  • 51 Schoolgal
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:07 pm

    Am I to believe that Bloomberg will soon be fading into the sunset as stated on another site by Maise.

    BTW my principal would like to rotate lunch duty, and my Rep didn’t even blink an eye when I told her. So now the violations begin and the contract not even ratified.

    SBO: Having the power of veto is a powerful tool for any principal. Does he have to justify it and can the committee override the veto?? WHY WAS THE PRINCIPAL GIVEN THIS POWER If THE SBO WAS WORKING??????

    The more I think about it, the thought of having to work in August (do we still have to stay the additonal 37.5 minutes?)
    is starting not to sit well with me. At least when I report in August, I set the time I go in and leave.

    If this contract passes, it’s because of the money and nothing else.

  • 52 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:21 pm

    Firefly,

    You’ve got to be kidding. You find fault with experienced teachers talking to the newbies about such an important issue? I would think that an informed decision would include knowing past history and understanding fully what a Yes or a No vote could mean to them in the future. Who best to give them that information than colleagues who have lived through it.

  • 53 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:44 pm

    I agree, The 95 contract was the first contract I voted on. I appreciated the veterans telling me that it was “garbage.” They told me that the Union was lying when they said it is “the best we can do under the circumstances.” I feel I owe it to new teachers to let them know the consequences which they will have to live with every working day for the next 25 or 30 yrs if this contract is ratified. One year in the cafeteria alone is enough to vote this down. There are too many concessions in this contract to responsibly recommend ratification to anyone who has more than 15 yrs remaining before they are eligible to retire.

  • 54 Spock
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    No one can say this is the perfect contract, but it’s MUCH better than the fact finding and even better than striking. I for one will vote yes and recommend that all my staff votes the same.

    You want to wait 7 years for a raise? What will that look like? I think this is a reasonable contract considering that **%%@ Kleinberg. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about us as professionals. Let us stand together and make this contract a done deal!

  • 55 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    In the end, you may be right. We will probably not do any better if Bloomberg is reelected. But I’ll be d——, if I’m going to vote yes at this time and let him and the public think that we’re okay with this contract.

  • 56 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    I would GLADLY work 4 more years with the existing contract! YES! Even if that means no contractual increases. Four more years under the current conditions are MUCH MORE appealing than 15-20 yrs under this new proposal! Most of the people in my school feel the same way.

    A 15% increase in pay will NOT change my quality of life that much. It will NOT allow me to retire any earlier. It is certainly NOT worth 3 or 4 contracts worth of concessions in one contract.

  • 57 Schoolgal
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 11:08 pm

    Just read on UFT.org that “MORE THAN 80% VOTED YES”

    Even Firefly observed around 60%.

    Then Randi goes on to say that the anger teachers feel over this agreement is because of their mistrust for Klein.

    Sorry Randi, face up to the fact, it’s YOU we are angry at.

    If this contract goes through, it’s because of the money and only the money.
    I haven’t met one teacher saying YIPPEE!
    I can’t wait to work the extra time and do lunch duty! Yeah!

    And about bulletin boards, the Region can no longer tell us to post tasks, rubrics, standards and a post-it on each piece? Wow, how many minutes does that take compared to the extra time we now have to put in.

    Also, after reading about the AP at Brooklyn Tech, why wasn’t her anti-semetic remarks reported to the Anti-Defamation League? They would have held a major news conference. Look at what happened to the Fire Dept. chaplin for similar remarks.

    Instead I have to read about it in NY Teacher? This makes NO SENSE.

  • 58 nonpartisan
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 11:29 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog very carefully for a few weeks now, and I’ve finally decided to post.

    I’ve been teaching a lot of years, and I still have a lot to go. I’ve followed union issues for what seems like forever.

    In 1995 I voted against the contract twice because I didn’t like the idea of a five-year deal.

    In 2001(?) – the last round I voted against it because my money situation was pretty good, and I didn’t want to do the extra time if it would be controlled by the administrations.

    And this year, I’m voting for it, heart and soul.

    I’m voting for it because I’ve read the fine print.

    I’m voting for it because I’m glad material in file is dead on arrival (out in 3 years) and can be grieved if I get into hot water.

    I’m voting for it because under the current rules, a U observation has a greater chance of slipping through the eye of a needle than slipping out of a teacher’s file. Now it’s dead at three years.

    I’m voting for it because Seniority transfer has not been a right but an encumbrance.

    I’m voting for it because I they can’t pull me out of tutoring and into PD.

    I’m voting for it because if they can’t do much professional development, then they can’t do that much damage on my teaching skills (and they have less leverage to force me into silly teaching methods.

    I’m voting for it because I can leave my chairs in rows, with impunity. (no group work)

    I’m voting for it because the school day will actually shorten for most of us. Then the tutoring comes after, and I’m thinking I can finally sit in my room after school in peace with maybe a kid or two.

    And I’m voting for it because I could use the money.

    (More to come, I hope, I’m new to posting)

  • 59 nonpartisan
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 11:30 pm

    Uh oh, I have some typos up there.

    I hope that’s allowed.

  • 60 gratemgl
    · Oct 11, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    Its was the most disgusting scene I have ever seen. Randi steamrolls these meetings. They are biased from the get go.

    I have to say that there were a lot of people who voted who shouldn’t have even been there. Retirees!!! You are retired. Why were they voting or even there. This has to be stopped. They’re voting on Union Pres. needs to go. I bet Randi will be in FLA or Vegas sometime soon. Watch.

    That delegate meeting was the biggest sham I have ever been a party to. She makes her own rules. This meeting was over by 5:45pm. Not enough oppurtunity for debate.

    Where ever this contract goes to, and I hope in the garbage where it belongs, the next resolution is of no confidence in this President. Then this Union needs to be reshaped.

    Tell your collegues to vote no! This contract leads to the end.

  • 61 Persam1197
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 5:51 am

    I finally have arrived at my life-long dream: to be a high-paid washroom attendant. Are bowties mandatory and do I get a discount on cologne, combs, and hair gel?

  • 62 outraged
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 9:30 am

    Partisan, non?

    Letters in the file? What if you get some and the school you teach in is being phased out, how fast do you think you could, along with all others in that situation, remove these and get another position? Remember, with the increase in privatization through charter schools, student enrollment will shift and employment opportunities within the union schools will decrease. I’m sure the next contract will grant the execssing and termination of teachers who can’t find a new position. If you do not beleive this, then think of the effect the medical benefits would have on the availiable funds for teachers. Removing teachers from the payroll vs medical benefits.

    The city will always cry poverty, even with the $ 3 billion surplus. Didn’t Bloomgerg say he would like to pay the teachers more but doesn’t have the money? Make him honor those words.

  • 63 art-teacher
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 9:54 am

    Willmake30years?…15% will not help your quality of life, It will for me….as a current 10 year longivity due to go to 13 in September I will see more than a 15% raise not to mention the retro….IT’S A BIG HELP….I too voted for the first time on the ’95 contract and was pleased it went down in flames, but I really do believe that we will not get a better deal from this administration
    THAT SAID….
    I am not happy with all the aspects of the contract as proposed, especially the excessing rules….I am currently in excess and will lose my bumping rights. The fact that the DOE has not placed me under the current contract is what annoys me more than anything. It almost seems like, to me, the DOE was either waiting for a strike or this rule change. We are still working under the current contract and our rights under that contract should be and must be enforced….

  • 64 art-teacher
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 9:57 am

    plus..I agree with nonpartisan…in regards to why I too will be voting yes…

  • 65 ilvmykids
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    When I first read the proposed contract I thought we would stay ten minutes longer to replace the 50 minute Mondays. I was fine with that, I was planning a book series that we could read and do activities with. I was excited to spend the 50 minutes with my students. I now realize that it is at 3:27 we will leave. I do not think this has been properly explained by my union.
    Leaving at 3:27, I will not make my 4:00 graduate class on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I will now have to pay for a babysitter to drive my daughter to her dance lessons. The raise is not going to be enough to justify a babysitter to drive her twice a week.(I would have planned a different schedule for her if I had known in August)
    I will be voting NO due to staying and additional 27.5 minutes for a poorly planned tutoring program.

  • 66 mvplab
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 3:39 pm

    This is a no brainer! Vote yes, because even though labor/management relationships are on the downswing of the pendulum right now, it doesn’t make sense not to take the increase in salary.

    I’d rather take a percentage increase this time so the percentage in the next contract is based on a higher salary.

    In other words what’s more 10 per cent of $81,000 or 10 per cent of $93,000?

  • 67 Schoolgal
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 3:46 pm

    Myplad,

    Yes the next contract will have a higher salary, but at what price????????????????

  • 68 Jack
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    I sometimes wonder who writes this stuff? Irukandjii would have you believe Randi is so “rightly” please give me a break we all know this contract sucks! We gave back enough to save the PICA program and now pay co-payments for medication as high as 30 dollars a month or more! Who are you kidding? There is so much spin going on in here it is ridiculous, now Randi would have you believe we are angry at Klein and Bloomberg and we are, but guess what Randi they did’nt sell us this piece of garbage you did! You voted to make it tentative and send it to the DA last night. I wish I could run against you because I wouldn’t vote for you for dog catcher in the future. VOTE NO!

  • 69 NYC Educator
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    Anyone who can’t see the a full sixth class coming in the next contract is blind. And the same UFT hacks will be singing the same song.

    “It’s only ten minutes”

    “You were doing the small group instruction anyway.”

    “What’s another week in August?”

    “It’s the best we could do.”

    And you’ll read a bunch of self-righteous gobbledygook on Edwize promoting it.

    You’d think, with the dues we pay, they could at least find better quality propagandists.

  • 70 bronxenglish
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    i don’t know where to put this, but it is interesting that the DOE internet servers will not let me access reality-based educator’s blog–it has exceeded the amount of questionable content!!

  • 71 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 6:15 pm

    The sanitation people just got a 17 per cent raise spread over fewer months than our contract. The last time a checked a Master’s degree was not required.

  • 72 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 6:17 pm

    The 17 per cent sanitation deal is over just 51 months. Don’t just grab the money insignificant after taxes anyway vote no

  • 73 Kombiz
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 6:24 pm

    Shouldagonetomeds

    Despite the 17% increase the sanitation workers like every contract reached recently is consistent with the pattern. It includes huge trade offs that saved the city a great deal of money.

    It includes removing some overtime from workers. It reduces the crew size from two to one man crews while lengthening the route. Salaries for new sanitation worker’s (the unborn) get cut from 30k a year, to 26k a year. Bloomberg, like his predecessors has managed to impose a pattern on more hard pressed group of workers. The reality is that despite how much Bloomberg talks about education, he tried to keep teachers to the same pattern as the other unions in the city.

  • 74 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 7:55 pm

    Art-Teacher,

    Seven thousand dollars more per year, really isn’t going to change your quality of life. Not for the amount of concessions you are making in your professional work environment.

    I’m sorry that you are in excess. But I’m even more puzzled as to why you would vote for a contract which makes it more difficult for excessed teachers to find a position?

  • 75 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    I have to admit. I am iffy on the new contract.

    On the one hand, the 15% raise (yes, I know that it is 5% raise, plus the rest for givebacks) means a lot to me. I estimate that it will pay for my son’s pre-school and therefore make my wife (who has intermittent work) less antsy about expenses. This means a great deal to me.

    I like the idea that letters leave the files after three years. I have nothing serious on my record, but I have made some mistakes, and knowing that they won’t follow me forever is comforting.

    I am thrilled at the end of the PD boredom that was imposed on us monthly. Frankly, the time could have been better spent just letting us work together on ideas, brainstorming, than in formalized sessions. My AP let us do some of that, but not enough, and most others that I saw did less.

    I am not thrilled with the possibility of Cafeteria duty and other administrative duties. Hopefully smart administrators will see that this is still a waste of time for a teacher, when the job can be done better (and cheaper) by an aide who is paid less for the time.

    I am not thrilled with the extra days of PD, although I hope that at least some of them will involve more opportunities than have been given recently to get together with our brethren around the city. When I first started teaching in NYC, there were lots of such meetings, and I relished the ability to share ideas with other teachers. The past few years, these opportunities have been more limited. And I think we get far more by sharing ideas than from almost any meeting on the buzzword of the month.

    Seniority transfer going away, well I won’t cry about that. I saw too many good teachers get bounced out of a job because a more senior teacher showed up. I prefer the SBO transfer based primarily on merit to just a Principal’s decision, but either is preferable to a purely seniority route.

    And although my AP (and at the much dreaded Brooklyn Tech, no less) does not micromanage us in the classroom, I am very glad that there will no longer be the possiblity of getting written up for not following the core curricula to the letter. I have a tendancy towards flowing with the students and reacting to teachable moments and so would probably have been fired long ago if my AP wanted to get into the micromanagement thing.

    I have read the entire MOA as well as the positive and negative spin put out by people. My gut says that this is not a great contract (sorry, I am just new enough in the system not to have been around for 1995) but it is a workable one. I lean towards voting yes, but am still on the fence.

  • 76 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 8:03 pm

    I was at the DA last night, and I voted no! It was definitely not an 80% majority, more like 65-35. To say the the voting procedures were a farce is giving them credit. My impression was that overwhelmingly, people want to vote no on the contract, but the delegates want the rank and file to vote it down. I disagree with that logic, but hopefully trading rights for money will not prevail.

    It’s really quite remarkable that college educated people can actually consider voting yes on this contract. It will set a very scary precedent that we never again get a raise without adding more time to the school day / year. You know, the administration is there the full week before Labor day, I guess we will be too sometime in the near future if this gets through.

    I thought 25 / 55 was in the currently expired contract. Definitely not a good enough reason to vote yes. You should be putting money in your TDA.

    Anyone from District 75? Congratulations!! While your general ed colleagues are sitting in their rooms for 37.5 minutes, potentially without students, 4 days per week, you are buying yourself a 30 minute sixth period class complete with lesson plans and observable, 5 days a week. Speech teachers and OT / PT will be doing a 9th session every day, and 11 in the summer.

    People who can say that giving up our rights really doesn’t affect them because their principal is “nice,” really do not a grasp on reality. It may not affect you now, but who knows who your principal with be next year, or in 5 years. Randi vowed to revisit the issue in the next contract (2007) if letters in the file increase. Duh!! Good luck getting grievence rights back into that one.

    15% Can’t possibly be changing anyones lifestyle. It is not a high enough increase to throw away rights that were hard fought for. Remember, every right in the currently expired contract is there because the minutia of the details caused some teacher grief years ago, and they fought to ensure that it would not happen to you!

    Vote No! Next election, vote out Randi!

  • 77 mshalo18
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 9:50 pm

    The most disturbing thing that has come to light through all this is chapter leaders who either 1) did not do a straw poll in their school to determine how they should vote at the DA, and 2) chapter leaders “telling” their members how to vote. Our chapter leader (a nice lady, but hardly an union activist- the principal has to ask HER for consultation meetings) did everything by the book- including NOT expressing her personal views about the contract (she is dead set against it) to our staff. THAT’S the way is should be done.

    A brief story (sad, and very true): a student accused a teacher in my school of sexually abusing him. When pressed by guidance as to why he made the accusation, the child replied “I hate that teacher, and it said in the paper that teachers who do sexual stuff to kids will be fired”.

    Go ahead, all of you who think this contract is “the best we can do”- this is what life will become under this sham of a contract.

  • 78 Sande
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    gratemgl,

    I, too, was at the DA yesterday. However, my observations certainly don’t agree with yours.

    You say Randi “steamrolls” and “makes her own rules” implying that this is done for her benefit. I agree that Randi does make her own rules—she is far too flexible about Robert’s Rules of Order and gives rude & disruptive people too much latitude when they repeatedly interrupt proceedings. (These are the same Robert’s Rules of Order that the disruptive love to invoke.) If Randi were really following the rules, she’d have a Sargeant at Arms eject those persistently disruptive people for violating Robert’s Rules of Order. Yet, she does not eject them, and frequently grants those same people far too much time to rant.

    You said there was “not enough time for debate”–Did you notice that those who lined up at the microphones and had the opportunity to speak, especially those in opposition to the resolution, abused the opportunity by speaking far too long?

    I have to admit, I wonder about the motives of a group of people who want to deny other UFT members their rights to union democracy. Despite their efforts the MOA will be voted on by the rank and file, which is just as it should be.

    sande

  • 79 firefly
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks Sande, you said it well. I was at the DA as well for the first time last night and I have to tell you that I almost walked out three times. I couldn’t believe how rude and incredibly unprofessional many of the teachers were. I agree that Randi gave them too much latitude and was much too nice when she told them that she expected to be interrupted, heckled, etc. but that she didn’t appreciate it being done to other speakers. She doesn’t deserve it either…no matter what one thinks of her or her negotiating abilities. It made me understand why so many students think they can be rude…if these teachers are their role models.

    I was also appalled when a line of angry “no” voters screamed “Shame on You” as I left. It actually hurt my eardrum. They didn’t even know which way I had voted and were ready to condemn the lot of us. It made me proud and glad that I voted “YES” to give every member of the UFT a vote on this matter. Given what I saw at the DA, I don’t want some of those people deciding anything in my name. It also convinced me to vote YES to the contract, even though I personally intended to do that.

  • 80 R. Skibins
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    60-40 was more like it. And I agree that retirees had no business even being in the room. That is what should make the press.

  • 81 mvplab
    · Oct 12, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    RSkibins:
    Come on. You think more than 300 cards were raised against the agreement?

    There were around 2000 delegates in the room. 40 per cent translates to 800 cards raised in opposition. It wasn’t even close.

    I think you’re seeing more than double!

  • 82 Spedmus
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 12:51 am

    I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue with both veteran and new teachers in my school. I have read all the printed matierial I can find among daily news publications, the UFT sources and most recently, the organizations such as ICE and Teachers for a Just Contract. I have done the math. I have looked at losses and gains. I have re-evaluated the past popular Leadership Team phrase of consensus, which is, “…can you explain, support and live with ‘it. ‘”

    I am vigorously campaigning for an educated vote. I am reminding everyone that they HAVE a choice. So many people believe we have to take it.

    WRONG

    I believe the tact to take is to vote NO.

    Concurrently, we, the NO voters must conclude what the three most offensive issues are to the contract and put forth solutions/resolutions to those problems. To do anything LESS would be foolish, not to mention counter productive.

    Educate yourself. Look at the literature from Teachers for a Just Contract and ICE.

    With Ms. Weingarten,(whom I happen to like and respect) and the mayor being so amiable with one another, what BETTER time for them to sit down and have an “iron out” session less than a week before the Mayor election ?

    Timing is everything.
    It’s time that TEACHERS, the city brightest, take the lead.

  • 83 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 8:45 am

    Re: Sanitation Workers Contract
    From the Daily News this morning:

    “Some workers will go solo on trucks that boost and unload Dumpsters. Workers who take on that assignment can earn up to $16,000 extra annually…”.

    That sure beats out a “lead” teacher’s extra pay…and they don’t need 2 advanced degrees for that career. I’d say they did pretty well. The Mayor sure is a man’s man.

  • 84 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 8:47 am

    No offense to the female Sanitation Workers…

  • 85 xkaydet65
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 10:31 am

    Sanitation gets 17% over 4 years. Three years of it will be retro. They give back $4K for each new hire who redeem that in six months, the training and proby period. Pretty good deal. We worry about our as yet unhired teachers, as if staffing the schools was our responsibility. It’s not! It’s the City’s. You can bet the issue of lowering the entry step never came up because Bloomie knows the difficulty of hiring staff for the schools, even if he does not admit it. DoS will have five applications for each position on the new test regardless of the lower starting salary. Hey it’s a great blue collar job. My uncle did it for 25 years, but how many applicants do we get for each open position?

    The story here is not just that USA did a lot better than UFT, but that they could make a money saving concession, throw in a few potemkin givebacks and walk away with 4.25% a year because their job has a high demand while we could never make such a concession because we’d never fill our positions. Says a lot about the quality of life teaching in NYC schools.

  • 86 myopinion
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 10:31 am

    You are not getting a raise if you are working extra hours for it, you’re only getting paid for your time. As far as “give backs”, why would anybody vote to give something back that they have worked so hard in the past to earn?

  • 87 fromthemainland
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 10:42 am

    Besides the fact that there’s a lot of misinformation, misconceptions, and outright lies being spewed on this site by those who seek the defeat of the contracts, I am also greatly disturbed by the “ad hominem” insults that are aimed at Randi and various other bloggers. It betrays a grave lack of maturity.
    In addition, it reveals to me, in some instances, a level of prejudice that greatly disturbs me. For example, “schoolgal” did a piece on the “ascension of Randi” and makes the statement, “hail Randi, full of disgrace.” I have no idea about the religious or irreligious background of “schoolgal” but I do know that her attempt at satire offends me as a practicing Catholic. The only thing you succeeded in skewering was Catholic beliefs. But that kind of prejudice seems to be popular these days.

  • 88 mvplab
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:14 am

    Spedmus:
    Where I believe you’re wrong is that the mayor came to the table because the editorial boards finally said in their editiorials that he should seek a pact with teachers.(The Times, the News, etc.)It wasn’t a week after the Times editorial that the new round of negotiations began.

    I’m wondering about whether we could exert enough pressure again to get him back to the table if we reject this pact. Or do we wait to 2010? Or, do we have to strike?

    I’m just not sure what will happen. But one thing for certain, if we take this deal, we get the 15 percent increase, we have a jumping off place from which we renegotiate when this pact expires and we have several years to build a united front to help return this city to Democrats not billionaires.

  • 89 Educat
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:29 am

    our union leadership put us in a very bad position with the timing of this ratification vote. our leadership has also set bad precedent for future contracts. and worst of all, our leadership has significantly weakened our union.i am very dissapointed that they want us to swallow this cheese.

  • 90 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    If this contract is ratified it will only tell future mayors to make us wait 3 yrs without a raise, and we will accept anything. Ratification of this contract sets a horrible precedent.

    There are too may concessions in this contract. Last contract we gave up 20 extra minutes and we received a 16-22% increase in pay over 30 months with much more generous retroactive pay. This contract we gave up “the store” and received 15% over 52 months. This is NOT a good deal at all.

  • 91 mvplab
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 1:00 pm

    Here’s why willimake30yrs is wrong.

    To use his or her logic we got 16 percent for 20 minutes and now we get 15 percent for 10 minutes. Wow! That’s almost the same amount of money for half the time.That sounds like a good deal to me!

    15 percent brings us closer to the pay in the suburbs and the time is 6 hours and 57 1/2 minutes for 4 days and 6 hours and 20 minutes on Friday. That’s still less than the average school day in the suburbs.

    I’m supporting this contract! Vote yes!

  • 92 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Mvplab.

    The ONLY thing we gave back in the last contract was the 20 minutes. This contract we agreed to NOT only 10 minutes BUT:

    -Coming in 2 days earlier
    -Loss of Bkln/Queens day
    restrictions on seniority transfers now subject to a principal’s approval in the new school
    -Return to cafe duty, and hall patrol
    – Loss of the ability to grieve letters in the file. ( 3 yr. limit is no victory. A vindictive enough administrator can destroy a teacher before any letter is removed.)
    -Loss of due process as a person can now be suspended without pay for an ALLEGATION of sexual misconduct NOT a CONVICTION. (Receiving 3 months pay with interest once the accusation has been dropped does NOT help anyone pay the bills during the three months without pay. THAT IS A PUNISHMENT!)

    We will never be equal with the suburbs even if our pay equals the highest paid district on Long Island because our working conditions are so far below theirs.

    Mvplab for many of us its NOT a MONEY ISSUE. For all the people who want to vote yes for the MONEY. I believe you chose the wrong profession.

    Please stop trying to insult people’s intelligence.This contract is a monumental disaster.

  • 93 NYC Educator
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 1:57 pm

    “;;if we take this deal, we get the 15 percent increase, we have a jumping off place from which we renegotiate…”

    My biggest problem with that is that we’ve now have established the precedent, with two successive contracts, that we don’t get a raise unless we give time back.

    And a full sixth class in the next contract looks inevitable to me.

  • 94 Teacher31231
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 2:00 pm

    fromthemainland
    Your a teacher? and your that easily offended. Oh poor girl! Well let me call Randi the tuth, a two faced, digusting LIAR. And you can’t be unhappy about the truth! She said “No more time for money” after the last contract. She is a dirty, dirty liar. Liar, liar, liar!

  • 95 MichaelB
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 2:54 pm

    [I posted this on a different thread on this blog and then realized it was slightly off topic there]

    I have serious concern about the way this contract would affect newer teachers.

    Since there is no more “permanent” state certification, new and incoming teachers will need to renew their “professional” certification every five years. To do so they must show that they have engaged in 175(?) hours of professional development during that time. As I understand it, the current weekly PD we do at our schools satisfies this requirement. (does anyone know anything about this?)

    Since the proposed contract would take away weekly PD, newer teachers would now be forced to look outside the school for 35 hours of PD a year. This, of course, is a much more significant time commitment than staying late once a week, not to mention a big source of stress to have this new set of tasks on one’s “to-do” list.

    If I’m correct about this, the new contract will be a disaster for newer teachers and we need to get the word out to them about it. Can anyone clarify the situation?

  • 96 Chaz
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    I have just read that the sanitation employees will be getting 17.1% for 51 months compared to our “scrapping the sky” 15% for 54 months. I guess the sky rose. Yes, I’m aware there are differences but I can’t help but fell the we were had despite being the “brightest”.

    The more I read and look into the proposed contract, the more I question the wisdom of our leaders who agreed to this.

    First, if the real problem was retaining the experienced teacher from fleeing to the suburbs than why didn’t the greatest increase in the contract occur in the 3-10 year teacher schedule? Instead the largest raise will be given to the 20-30 year teacher who is not leaving the system to the burbs.

    Second, Why did the union agree to 6 month delay in retroactive pay? No other union has this clause in their contract. This agreement allows the city to negotiate future contracts at their leasure and then demand a delay in retroactive pay.

    Third, The average annual raise was 3.46% per year for the 54 month period which is about the same annual raise given to the suburbs. Since we are already 15-25% below the burbs, how is this contract closing the gap? I guess our leaders must be practicing the fuzzy math that Klein’s educrats are preaching.

    Fourth, the givebacks in time and protection is unprecedented since the Albert Shanker era and is put on the back of the classroom teacher. A tired and scared teacher is of little use to the students. In my experience the best teachers are those teachers who challenge and motivate their students. Such teaching techniques could now result in a Letter to the File or worse. If teaching in fear was an issue before now some teachers could have a 90 day unpaid suspension for their troubles.

    Finally, in my view, a close examination of the UFT leadership is in order. I bet you will find the following similarities of this group.

    A. Most of them are senior
    teachers (20-30+ years) who
    are no longer in the
    classroom.

    B. Many of them get a second
    paycheck & pension and I
    question their loyalty to the
    teachers they are supposed
    to represent. How else can
    this contract be explained?

    Yes, I will be getting the usual insults from the non-classroom teachers and UFT lackeys but I can only tell you that this response is heart-felt and where I was once a fence-sitter on the proposed contract, I cannot vote for this inferior document that treats classroom teachers like drones on an assembly line instead of the professionals we are.

  • 97 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 3:34 pm

    Chaz,

    I do not want to unsult you and I too will vote NO. but remeber DC 37 took a zero for one full year but got instead a lone $1,000 cash bonus largely non pensionable and not compoundable. The UFT wisely had no interest in that. Rather than take a zero for the whole first year like DC 37 did we took it for six months then adding 2 per cent to the contract for everyone which was fully pensionable as well.

    Both options are pretty crappy but ours slightly less so.

    I think we should try to help each other learn hear and not attack each other or Randi for that matter.

  • 98 redhog
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    For those of you who vehemently oppose the proposed Contract, I refer you to the following piece by Sol Stern, a man I much respect, but with whom I often disagree. He has identified himself as generally an implacable foe of our old Contract. That he takes the view he does certainly suggests that we traditionalists have won in a meaningful way. Here are some excerpts from his recent The New York Sun piece. I have not shown where the edited portions appear in his piece, but I am sure that the following is representative of the overall sum and substance of the article:

    When negotiations over a new labor contract between New York City and the United Federation of Teachers got under way last year, the schools chancellor, Joel Klein, went straight for the jugular. He proposed scrapping the existing 200-page contract, with all of its Byzantine and excellence-killing work rules, and proposed in its place a streamlined, eight-page agreement that would have given principals and administrators the power to assign experienced teachers to those schools and classrooms where they were most needed. He also campaigned to eliminate tenure and to make it easier to fire incompetent teachers. A few weeks ago, Mr. Klein stirred an education reform conference in Washington, D.C., by vowing to make a merit pay system for teachers his signature initiative.

    But even as Mr. Klein was promising radical reforms, his boss had decided that enough was enough. There was an election to be won. The last thing Mayor Bloomberg needed was 120,000 angry union members demonstrating in the streets and fouling up his campaign’s depiction of New York as one big happy city. So last week, Mr. Klein bit his lip and affixed his signature to yet another 200-page teachers contract — one containing the same lock-step pay schedule, based on seniority and useless education credits,he earlier promised to end.That wasn’t all he gave up.The new contract has no provisions for merit pay,and no differential pay for teachers in critical-needs areas or for those working in hardto-staff schools.Thus, the Ph.D. in mathematics who teaches college-level courses in high school is paid on the same salary line as the 7th-grade gym teacher who spends most of the school day rolling basketballs out on the court.

    The union had to make some concessions to achieve its money demands.Mr.Bloomberg and Mr. Klein are trumpeting as a major breakthrough the elimination of the contract’s “seniority transfer” provisions, which forced less senior teachers to stand in line behind more senior teachers when vacancies at other schools came open. While a good thing for the system, it’s hardly a breakthrough. New York is late jumping on to this bandwagon.Boston’s reformminded superintendent, Thomas Payzant, accomplished this 10 years ago. Since then, many other school districts have followed suit. Indeed, as a result of contract changes accomplished by previous education administrations, more than half of New York’s schools have already opted for an alternative hiring system, called School Based Options,which allows principals to get around the seniority rule. And while seniority transfer is finally out, seniority placement in the schools still stands. Principals continue to be required to follow seniority rules when assigning teachers to class schedules and to various other in-school positions.

    As for Mr. Klein’s promise to make it easier for the system to get rid of incompetent teachers,he can claim one slight improvement.In the new contract,teachers charged with unsatisfactory classroom performance can no longer file a separate grievance over every negative letter entered in their file by a principal.However,Mr. Klein’s big targets — the tenure system and a faulty and slow arbitration process after teachers are formally charged with incompetence — are still firmly in place.Thus it will still be very difficult, if not impossible, for the system to rid itself of truly incompetent teachers.

    The “give backs”that Mr.Bloomberg and Mr. Klein portray as giant steps toward reform look, upon closer inspection,to be no more than baby steps — with the occasional setback. For every work rule eliminated from the old contract, there seems to be another one or two in its place. One of the most bizarre of the new rules, inserted into the contract at the insistence of the UFT, states: “The following issues shall not be the basis for discipline of pedagogues: a) the format of bulletin boards; b) the arrangement of classroom furniture; and c) the exact duration of lesson units.”The new work rule is a direct slap at Mr.Klein and legitimizes the union’s complaints about the chancellor’s “pedagogical tyranny.”

    But the most significant aspect of this new contract is that it probably marks the last opportunity for Mr.Bloomberg to reform the city’s schools. That’s because the mayor inexplicably agreed to a 52-month deal that doesn’t expire until near the end of 2007. By that time, Mr. Bloomberg will have just two years until the next municipal election. The term-limited Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Klein, if he’s still around, will be lame ducks with no leverage to secure further concessions from the union.

  • 99 Chaz
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 4:00 pm

    shouldhavegonetomeds,

    You are right the DC37 contract was inferior and they received $1,000 instead of a raise the first year. However, I believed that Randi was no Lillian Roberts. That Randi, an experienced union leader would do her job. Therefore, my disappointment as I read more and more what was in the contract.

    I agree we should stand together but it is hard to shake the feeling of betrayal to the classroom teacher by the union higher-ups.

    Sorry, I just need to vent my frustrations about this contract.

  • 100 redhog
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    Chaz: Have you researched the Taylor Law and are you ready to absorb long-term the full impact of its severest penalties, for which ultimate scenario all prudent people must be prepared in case?
    I am being non-judgemental, Chaz, and do not intend this as a “loaded’ question.
    There is every reason to believe that a strike is our only option. The Contract eludes the horrors exacted on the other unions.

  • 101 NYC Educator
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 4:41 pm

    A strike is not our only option, Redhog, and would be ill-advised.

    We’re better off with no raise and the existing contract.

  • 102 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    People made the same argument back in 1995. “Do you want to strike? Do you know how much you’ll lose?”

    Well, guess what? We stood up in 1995 and voted NO. There was no strike and we got the contract changed. The two most offending pieces came out – no 25 year longevity and new teachers didn’t have to wait two years for a raise.

    Don’t underestimate our power. We are 80,000 strong. Parents don’t like unhappy teachers, especially when “test scores are going up!” We can make our case. We have very legitimate concerns. Trust the public to understand them and support us in getting the changes we want.

    We may not get everything we want but as they say a good deal is one where each party thinks they are losing out on something.

    Do you think Bloomberg and Klein think they lost anything with this contract.

  • 103 Chaz
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    Redhug,

    I disagree, a strike is a last resort and many of the teachers would probably not do it. However, no contract is better than a bad contract. Yes, it is possible (probable) that we will not get a contract for six years. However, it is best of two bad choices.

    I also am quite fearful that as a male teacher in a high school that Randi put a target on my back by agreeing to allow the DOE/OSI to determine probable cause (all teachers are guilty) and that false accusations are punished by reassigning the student from your class (maybe). I see these students shaking at the consequences of a false accusation.

    It will only take one student to make up an accusation because you failed her/him and have you suspended without pay for 90 days. No pay, smashed reputation, and teaching in fear no that is horrible.

  • 104 Chaz
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 5:11 pm

    Oops, sorry Redog:

  • 105 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    I read today that in all likelihood its the new teachers who will decide the outcome of this contract. Only 14% of teachers have over 20 years, and 43% have 5 years or less.

    Think this through carefully. The contract ends in Oct. 2007. Once you give up time you never get it back. If we approve this contract and Bloomberg is reelected, we probably won’t see another contract again until
    he’s out of office. Why should he negotiate with us any sooner?

    As NYCEducator said -the precedent has been set – no money without givebacks.

    The “letter in your file” issue is an important one, as is your right to a seniority transfer.

    Why should we settle for a 5.5% “raise” for the initial 29 months.
    Especially when other Unions settled for 10.25% for 27 months and can still
    negotiate bigger increases for the period following 4/2005.

    For those who say our Union protected our new teachers, think about that.
    We are ALL getting shafted instead.

    What an insult! 0% raise for 6 months,
    in effect, extending our previous contract’s final year’s raise to 18 months instead of 12 months.

    So don’t tell us that we did so well in the prior contract. We gave up 20 minutes for that “raise” and now we added another 6 months to it.

    Then we get only 2% for the next 12 months, and 3.5% for the next 11 months. Think about all the money we are all losing because of this small initial 29 month raise.

    I’ve read several times here that if it passes, it will be for the money.
    WHAT MONEY?!? Sure we’re getting a compounded 15%, but its over 4 years, 4 months and 12 days!

    We should be getting at least 15% for 36 months. Our Union argued in the Factfinders hearing that we deserved 18% over 36 months. How do we end up settling for so much less?

    We are not closing the gap with the suburbs. We won’t reach maximum until next year. By the end of this contract in 2007, where do you think the suburbs will be?

    Well, enough is enough. I’m closer to being out than in. New teachers – think about it carefully. Even 25 years (assuming that legislation passes which I doubt) is a long time…

  • 106 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 6:02 pm

    Chaz,

    I don’t like this contract, I am voting No!!! I have suggested we picket the stores at the holidays or leaflet them I guess urging shoppers to shop elsewhere while the city leaves its teachers without a contract, no Taylor law penalties, fun and safe.

    WE could make maps of the surrounding region with maximum negotiated salaries on them. We would be concomitantly teaching, Finance, geography, sociology, demographics, etc/

    There are so many things we could do. Meanwhile, yes, a false accusation, etc. is one of the worst features of this contract. Most of us would accept the money pennies that it may be.

  • 107 Chaz
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 6:15 pm

    Shouldhavegonetomeds,

    I really like your idea about giving out leaflets at major shopping centers with information about how little we make compared to the suburbs. We can include class sizes, teacher respect/satisfaction, as well as salaries. (picketing may be a little extreme).

    However, this can only be implemented after the contract is defeated. If not that might be a good idea in 7 years, when the next contract is finally negotiated.

  • 108 Teacher31231
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 10:38 pm

    Help!

    The contract will read exactly “Members may not grieve material in file.” What about observations? That means just not letters. We wont be able to grieve a U observation!

  • 109 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    Chaz,

    Yes, that’s why I plan to vote NO NO NO

  • 110 BklynMusician
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:24 pm

    I have a question:

    The exact text of the MOA concerning additional time reads:

    ——–

    A. School Day
    1. The school day for teachers serving in the schools shall be six hours and 20 minutes and such additional time as provided for below and in the by-laws. The gross annual salary of employees covered by this agreement will be increased in accordance with the salary schedules herein.
    2. The parties agree, effective February, 2006, to extend the teacher work day in “non Extended Time Schools” by an additional 37 _ minutes per day, Monday through Thursday following student dismissal. Friday’s work schedule will be 6 hours and 20 minutes. The 37 _ minutes of the extended four (4) days per week shall be used for tutorials, test preparation and/or small group instruction and will have a teacher student ratio of no more than one to ten. In single session schools, the day will start no earlier than 8:00am and end no later than 3:45pm.
    3. Multi-session schools that cannot utilize the additional time in this manner due to space or scheduling limitations will have a 6 hour 50 minute day.
    ——–

    Does this mean that during the months of November and December 2005, and January 2006 our school day will be shortened to “six hours and 20 minutes” until the extended time kicks in “effective February, 2006″?

    I would be interested to know if people either in the DOE or the UFT have noticed this little “mistake” in the wording. If the contract passes, which I hope it does, could the UFT negotiate some compensation from the DOE for not shortening the school day by 20 minutes for these three months?

  • 111 gratemgl
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:46 pm

    I think that people who were in opposition were disruptive because they had to be. Randi doesn’t steamroll and spin her agenda? Give me a break:

    1) Michelle Boden is the first to speak almost always. (Is she even in the classroom anymore?)
    2) If Robert’s Rules were followed more strictly a lot more would get done. Her Seargent at Arms would be escorting Ms. Weingarten out for her offenses.
    3) The spin faction had to be railed upon. The UNITY steers this Union and does not allow for other views. Look at this blog. Do you see anything in opposition being the first thing you see? No!

    No one seems to address the fact that there were people there at that meeting who shouldn’t have been!!!! Retirees, UFT office workers, etc. Whe was Roll Call done away with?

    The contract should have been killed on the Assembly floor. It wasn’t. The body now votes and many of them unfortuantely see just the 15%. Woe is to us all if the body passes this. Woe is to us all.

    Educate the teacher in your building. Kill this contract – we are handing over our rights.

  • 112 jd2718
    · Oct 13, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    Bklyn musician,

    while you are looking at mistakes in wording, check out the last sentence of 7C. (Additional Time/Work Year)

    “In no event however shatt the number of days worked in any school year under this work calendar be fewer than the number of days teachers would have worked had they reported, as before, on the Friday after Labor Day and worked through the last weekday in June.”

    I like that “as before” business. Did we ever have that?

  • 113 ChptrLdr
    · Oct 14, 2005 at 10:06 pm

    We give up our excessing rights and seniority transfers if the new contract passes. Only those who are near retirement or don’t want to remain working for the BOE benefit from this sell out.

  • 114 Islandgrl63
    · Oct 14, 2005 at 10:24 pm

    The money means nothing if you have to giveback so much-Al Shanker and Sandra Feldman must be turning over in their graves right now. These are things that they fought to get for us, it seems that we have been delegated to the roles of high-paid babysitters. I’m disappointed as well because no later than two months before the mayoral elections, the UFT usually endorses their candidate-which by the way they haven’t even done. What is our fearless leader waiting for?? I sure hope she’s not going to pin all her hopes and dreams on Mayor Mike-hmmm…I don’t know, her and Joel Klein looked pretty chummy in front of the cameras last week. Talk about a photo-op? You know, politics make strange bedfellows! There should be more solidarity and Randi should be backing up Freddy Ferrer, this year’s mayoral primaries were very dismal. Gee, small wonder, there’s not too much unity in the Democrat party and our own union didn’t even to bother to endorse a candidate. I don’t care if Randi Weingarten does a flipside and endorses Doomberg-I wouldn’t vote for him. Not after he made me and my collagues suffer through three years of his so-called “education reforms”.

  • 115 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 14, 2005 at 10:43 pm

    In tribute and very loving memory of Sandy Feldman who never gave back anything or at least almost nothing in contract negotiations let’s honor her mmeory by voting no!!!

  • 116 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 14, 2005 at 10:45 pm

    Think about it tens of thousands of us are going to vote NO on the contract and vote for Freddy! Who knows what could happen?

  • 117 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 2:30 am

    Yet one of the many reasons why the Mayor has taken so long to negotiate is no doubt the fact that we have backed every opponent to him, and hit a few of his initiatives hard in the ballot box.

    Is it wise to endorse his opponent, especially since Ferrer is down in the polls and dropping?

    Indeed, is it wise for the UFT to get involved in ANY political questions that do not directly relate to education?

  • 118 NYC Educator
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 9:13 am

    I think the UFT is right to support unionism and its spread, and to fight monstrosities like Wal-Mart. Better conditions for working people benefit all of us, particularly our students, our children, and ourselves.

  • 119 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 12:05 pm

    We endorsed everyone who oppposed Bloomberg in the last election because our leadership realized what it would be like dealing with Bloomberg once he was in office. In that they were right. The problem is our MEMBERSHIP is so naive/moronic they vote Republican. If they hadn’t Bloomberg could not be in office, (he won by very little, the really sick thing about this is that teachers’ votes put him in) Then again our teachers really loved and still do love Rudy Giulianni. He is the grandfather of all this anti teaching business and yet he was highly popular with all our teachers, particularly our white, male Catholic members, think Staten Island who voted for him in very large numbers. Now we all live with the miserable consequences of their follies. Oh yes the City is much better now. yeah right and teachers simply can’t afford it. so what good is it.

  • 120 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 12:52 pm

    So our endorsements (we backed the wrong horse in every election) didn’t help stop Bloomberg, and it got his ire.

    And we opposed all his initiatives (some of which WERE educationally significant, and we were right to oppose, but others had nothing to do with education.)

    And here we are, 2.5 years down the road with no contract passed and an iffy one in the pipeline.

    Glad our union was looking out for us politically.

    As to Wal-Mart, there is a simpler solution. Let them spend millions building a store and then don’t buy from them. If you don’t buy, they lose money. What more could you ask.

  • 121 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    I posted this on another thread but it seems that thread has disappeared.

    We will receive a prorated 15% increase if the contract is approved.

    The first 29 months we are receiving a total of 5.5%. The first 6 months we receive 0%, followed by 2% for the next 12 months, and 3.5% the next 11 months.

    This small initial increase results in
    us all losing a lot of money in back pay AND future money. The NYPD and Corrections Officers by contrast received a 10.5% increase for the same period (actually they did better – it was over 27 months for them).

    The UFT literature I received at home two days ago states that 4.2% of our 15% “raise” is being paid for with our givebacks.

    I read today that the inflation rate is up (surprise, surprise) yet with this contract we are already committed to a 3.5% increase for the period 10/2006-9/30/07. Why was it necessary to extend the contract another year with such a small percentage increase?
    I could see it if we locked in 5%-6%!

    Yes, I am upset about the rights issue and the LIF issue and the time issue.
    But I have to say that I am getting more and more concerned with the money issue with every visit to the gas station….

  • 122 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 2:16 pm

    Correction: The NYPD and Correction Officers only recived 10.25%, not the 10.5% I posted.

    Sure want my facts to be accurate.

  • 123 NYC Educator
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 6:20 pm

    The correction officers also got 12-25K in retro pay for 2 years, more than double waht we got for four.

  • 124 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 7:33 pm

    Once again, in the interest of accuracy, they got between 12K-15K in back pay.
    Our most senior teachers are getting 5,770 and everyone else, less. This is before taxes, of course.

    My colleague’s friend is a police officer. He already received a $10,000 check (net).

    What do you think we’ll get net?

  • 125 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    Continuing on my previous post regarding the financial issue:

    At the fact finders hearing, the UFT argued that teachers should receive 6% a year for 3 years (ie. 18% for 36 months) in order to come close to keeping up with the surrounding school districts.

    Now I understand you don’t always get what you want (sounds liike a Stones song :-) but in this case, we didn’t even get what we need!

    Instead of 36 months – 18%, we got
    52 months – 15% and only by giving them 4.2% of the 15% in givebacks.

    Let’s take off the last 11 months and the 3.5% shall we?
    Then it would have been a 41 month contract and a 11.5% increase.

    Are you beginning to see the picture
    a little clearer? Financially, this contract really “stinks” for us.

  • 126 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 9:20 pm

    Brooklyn teacher and everybody else:

    Speaking of inflation rate, anyone price anything at Home Depot lately? I own a 45 year old home in need of some major overhaul, every week my contractor tells me prices are just soaring there!! 15 per cent over 4.36 years is beyond lame. Then add the ineffable givebacks. Vote NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

  • 127 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 9:27 pm

    I am in my 29th year (Tier 3/4) I earn significant per session. My program is great. If it closed I wouldn’t want a transfer anyway. Everyone might think someone in my position should vote yes. But I can’t. I became a teacher to make the world a better place. If I were to get a separate annuity based on all the money I spent on the children over the years it would be very nice indeed. Everything is not just for oneself in life. This is a terrrble legacy to leave to posterity

  • 128 Schoolgal
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    Fromthemainland seems to believe I am irreverant, but said nothing of the fact that I was responding to Irukandji’s praise of Randi and his paraphasing of a prayer–as well as his use of the word “ascension.” (And if you read my posting to BrooklynTeacher, you would be able to guess my religion.)

    So it seems that it depends on what side of the contract one is on to cry prejudice.

    As for those who “praise” the fact that U-ratings will be removed after 3 years, I sincerely hope those ratings were not based on your inability to teach because that would be a sin.

    My Dear Irukandji,

    The teachers in my school have decided if this contract passes, we will only come in the last 2 days of August. And whatever gets done, gets done. As you know, we have always come in the last week of August and worked around the heat.

    This is a far cry from our wanting our room to be classroom ready the first day of school. We will do what the temperature and meetings allow on those last 2 days and hope for the best.

    As of now, our AIS students receive 6 hours of afterschool intervention a week–3 hours/2x a week.

    If 37.5 minutes, 4 times a week will best serve their needs, then so be it. I will do my best to review a document and DBQ in the allotted time.

    The first thing I will do in February is rip up the Standards, Tasks, Rubrics and post-it notes (especially the post-its) from the bulletin board.

    I will also hope that principals will work collaboratively and not VETO any teacher the SBO committee sees as an asset to their school.

    I also hope the principal, Region or Klein will not veto ANY SBOs approved by the staff.

    I always believed this contract would pass, but only because of the money. And my eyes will be open when I hear how much more my retirement benefit will be.

    See my dear jellyfish , I am being hopeful.

    Best wishes,

  • 129 steadyeddieg
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 10:26 pm

    Lillian Roberts of D.C.37 immediately announced that none of the aides will be terminated. They did cafeteria duty. What will they do now? Sit and drink coffee in the main office? Is this pay back for endorsing the mayor for reelection?
    Union Caucus has some nerve bringing this contract to the membership
    Why did I and others strike? We worked long and hard to try and improve working conditions. In one swoop, just about everything will be gone.
    We need to extend term limits to Unity Caucus. That crowd has been in far too long. They have rarely done any teaching and as a result, they don’t understand the rigors of classroom teaching.
    As far as seniority transfers, without them, it will be the old story of who your political contacts are. Without them, you will languish in the same school.
    Principals and assistants need to lead by example. Let them share the joy of cafeteria duty. Let them teach and give demonstration lessons. Instead, they hide out in their respective offices.
    Even though I am retired, this contract is a disgrace.
    You will never get back what you are about to forfeit.
    Don’t buy the usual Unity threats:
    1. It’s the best we can do.
    2. We can’t strike. YES, we can’t strike BUT we should hold out.
    Randi, Klein, Bloomy, Sol Stern and others should do cafeteria duty and then run from the basement to the 4th floor to meet your next class. The kids are already there. If Unity Caucus taught, they would realize this.

  • 130 Jack
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 11:01 pm

    WE ALL NEED TO VOTE NO!!!!

    NO CONTRACT AT ALL IS BETTER THAN A CONTRACT LOADED WITH A LOSS OF DUE PROCESS!! UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE ….

    THE MORE YOU GIVE BACK THE MORE THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO TAKE!!

  • 131 Chaz
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 11:08 pm

    Since the begining of my comments last month I have said that the proposed contract is anti classroom teacher, especially the secondary school teacher. Extra time, ungrievable LIF, circular 6 expansion into non-adminstrative duties (potty patrol, cafeteria duty, and hallway patrol), the potential for a 6th period, and the unforgivable 90 day suspension without pay.

    Now I just went over the contract agreement I noticed that between December 1, 2004 and September 31 2006 the per session and coverage rates don’t increase! Why? Is this another insult to the classroom teacher? The UFT bigwigs don’t get per session and coverages, this is mostly given to the classroom teachers for tutoring, sports, clubs, and covering other classes. Therefore, I must assume this is another case of the UFT negotiators not caring about the classroom teacher.

    I would like one of you pro contract people to explain to the classroom teachers why the per session and coverage rates were frozen for 22 months????

  • 132 TFL
    · Oct 15, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    I want to know also. Why is Per Session frozen at $37.96 for 22 months? I think we should have received at least a 2-3% increase. Another reason to vote NO on this piece of garbage.

  • 133 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 12:59 am

    There is no 15 per cent increase in per session because there is nothing there to give back. Remember good and gentle people the 15 per cent isn’t a real 15 per cent at all, it is funded in good part by givebacks. Since you can’t extend per session per se, no pun intended you don’t get the full 15 per cent there such as it is because there is nothing to give back.

    I hope this helps convince you to just vote NO as well.

  • 134 Spock
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 10:16 am

    Once again, people misunderstand both due process and the LIF issues. We have not lost due process which has to do with tenure. If it were up to Kleinberg, tenure would be have been elminated.

    The grievance of an observation is so rarely sustained it almost absurd, since supevisors are paid to evaluate. LIF? The best we could hope for in the great majority of cases is that some of the language would be amended (they take out a word or rewrite a sentence) but then the letter stays with you for the life of your file. At least now, the letter, if not used for disciplnary actions, will be removed after three years. They can’t write the stupid letters about the pads around your neck, the bulletin boards or the arrangement of your classroom. Randi has obtained from the city the assurance (I believe in writing) that if the LIF is abused, it will be renegotiated.

    Randi and company did not negotiate with themselves. They are dealing with Klein, whose claim to fame is the break up of Microsoft and Bloomberg whose businesses are not unionized. They hate unions and want to do away with them. They want to break up the union in anyway they can. Does anyone remember the 8 page contract they offered?

    Considering the climate we are negotiating in, the intelligent thing to do is VOTE YES!

  • 135 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 10:36 am

    If they are so bad, then don’t negotiate with them! The Taylor law keeps provisions from the old contract in place. Learn to stand up for your principles. You should be willing to sacrifice a few dollars, for a few more years.

    If people are that “hard pressed” financially, they should inquire about “per session opportunities.” A lot of after school programs, and professional development seminars are being offered right now.

    This contract proposal gives up too much for too little! The old contract provisions are a much better deal.. Vote NO!

  • 136 Chaz
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 4:44 pm

    Spock,

    You must be kidding? The intelligent think to do is vote yes? I guess you have been on Vulcan too long or maybe you mind-melded with Randi. With a contract that the UFT is offering us the classroom teacher will not “live long and prosper”!

    Get off the Enterprise and beam yourself back into the classroom if you think this contract is good.

    Vote No! is the human thing to do.

  • 137 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 5:04 pm

    Spock

    Why do you think our Mayor stalled these contract talks for so long by making ridiculous demands? Because he figured the longer he was able to hold out, the sooner we’d “cave-in” when he made a “reasonable” offer. Never mind that we lose rights and time. Let’s just get that money (even if its a lot less money than we deserve)!

    Prove him wrong. Don’t cave-in.
    Vote NO!

  • 138 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 7:18 pm

    Spock:

    Intelligent to vote Yes. Sanitation gets 17 per cent for 51 months NO MASTERS DEGREES REQUIRED! Social Security gets 4.1 if you are sitting home in your own waste with Alzheimer’s! and teachers get 3.44 per year financed partially be givebacks while inflation for so many items is skyrocketing and yet it would be intelligent to vote yes? Have you looked at skyrocketing prices at Home Depot recently just for home repair.

  • 139 Spock
    · Oct 16, 2005 at 11:26 pm

    Am I not human? Attack me as much as you like, although in a civil discussion you attack issues, not people.

    I think you are the one that lacks reality. Sanitation gets layoffs, single man trucks and longer routes. Your remark about Alzheimer’s is really quite insensitive. If you know what social security gives people, you would know NO ONE can really live on it. What’s 4.1% of 1300? You do the math.

    Don’t negotiate with them? How unrealistic is that? How DO you propose to get a contract?

    Please don’t tell me about the cost of living. I know what things cost. If you do, then why don’t you want a raise?

    Most of what you said makes little to no sense. But then again, what would I know, according to you I live on another planet!

    VOTE YES YES YES YES!!

  • 140 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 12:36 am

    Spock,

    You seem to have lumped all your adversaries together. I never attacked your personally. I am far too adroit to do that.

    Sanitiation got a raise that is more 13 per cent larger than ours as anyone who is vertiably nimble with figures will deduce. They do not have to invest in Master’s degrees. It’s pretty hard to argue your way around that one. The one person trucks are for additional compensation and will be doled out on the basis of seniority as all good assignments should be in a union, something our new contract forgets. Layoffs are not a major concern for most teachers right now.
    As a writer like Pinter or Mamet(if those men are part of your ken) might use it the Alzheimer comment is meant to be dramatic and shocking. Of course, I know that is tragic.Unfortunately, 80 per cent of all seniors get all or most of their money from Social Security. That is a matter of public record.

    Ultimately, though you can’t run a society where those who have to get up get groomed, washed and dressed, commute goodly distances and work ever longer days receive less in compensation or even raises than someone staying home for whatever reason. That too should just be common sense. I am one of the biggest left wing liberals and I love the Social Security program. I was appalled when teachers started voting in these Republicans because I was savvy enough decades ago to know they would spell trouble for us down the road. Yet, even I have trouble reconciling that I am getting less for going to work than someone staying home. One does not need an MBA from MIT to realize 4.1 for staying home is more valuable than 4.1 for someone who has to go to work for it.

    Why negotiate anything if you are ultimately going to get less or worse? The principals gave up tenure and the bulk of them just had to leave their jobs. What good was that contract? There are cases where no contract is better. Many of the principals didn’t really have their hearts in those retirements. And the raise you are talking about here is veritably much ado about nothing. Frankly, until now I had never heard of contracts with fewer than 3.5 per cent annual raises giving something up to pay for them. That is just moronic. After taxes it isn’t going to buy you much of anything anyway.

    As the prostitute said to the bishop “keep it till it grows Up”

  • 141 Teacher31231
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 7:38 pm

    Randi is a dummy and the contract is bad. If you didn’t think so before just look in the post and see that she is already talking about renegotiating the “letter” part of it, before we even pass it because it will be a major point of abuse. She will “review” this after the contract is signed, so we have to suffer, and she knows this NOW!

    God how bad will this thing have to get for our members to wake up!

  • 142 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Spock,
    no offense intended, but anyone who can vote yes on this contract has indeed lost their mind. It was bad enough in 2002 that we added the 100 minutes. Let’s forget a minute about some precious rights that we will lose which were hard fought for by teachers looking out for future teachers…Do we really want to set the precedent that we will never again get a raise unless we work more time? How does working the full week before Labor Day sound to you? Vote “yes” now, and how long will it take for the leadership to get that perk into a contract for us? With people like you voting, I guess not long. Don’t sell your soul for a phony 15% increase. Ever hear this phrase..” If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Don’t be intimidated by a billionaire. Let him see that we are not afraid. Force all sides back to the negotiating table, vote NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

  • 143 HS_ teacher
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    “shouldhavegonetomeds” & “fed up speechteacher”, wonderful argument but again, what do you expect us to do if we do vote “No” or just not negotiate as you imply? Just wait here until the mayor finds the kindness in his heart out of political pressure to give us a better deal. No we’ll wait him out! I suppose we won’t be so desperate in 7 years of no contract he’ll just have to give us something better then. (Hey by the way do the math -I’m not a math teacher. How much of a raise will we need after seven years just to keep up with inflation from 2003 to 2009-compunded remember?)

    No let us not say that the only other alternative of voting “no” is a strike. Because then we will be labeled by ICE people as being _ _ _ _ (you pick the label).

    Continue the dialogue and be honest about real alternatives. But I suggest vote yes on the contract proposal.

    PS- Brilliant argument “Teacher3123″!

  • 144 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 10:43 pm

    BTW I’m wondering why this thread was removed from the main page. Does anyone know? It was difficult to find it. Maybe that’s why.

    Please read the DOE’s take on the tentative contract:

    http://www.nycenet.edu/Administration/mediarelations/PressReleases/2005-2006/10032005.htmP

    What do you think of the “At the discretion of the Chancellor part.. regarding the extra 4 “periods”?

  • 145 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 10:47 pm

    While you’re at it, what do you think of this part:

    “Furthermore, teachers who are excessed from their school for budgetary reasons or due to a school’s closing and are unable to secure a position will be offered substitute positions in their former school or District. They will not, however, be able to displace more junior teachers.”

    This is why we should not give us our seniority transfer rights.

  • 146 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 17, 2005 at 10:53 pm

    Correction:
    This is why we should not give UP our seniority rights.

  • 147 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 18, 2005 at 7:35 am

    I do not imply not negotiating. If we vote no, the mayor is obligated to come back to the negotiating table, or as per the Taylor Law, he is not bargaining in good faith. Sadly, there are no penalties in that law for him. But to say it’s the best we can get is not a good enough reason to vote it in and lose all of your rights. You know, the NYPD captains gave up some overtime pay rights for “comp time.” It was reported in all the papers last week that the city is now questioning comptime requests, pulling time that was previously approved, and turning requests down. The city plays dirty. Give them an inch and they take a mile. I am not a strike monger, but I would not vote no, if it eventually came to that. You should not so easily be willing to give up your rights. Vote in this contract, and why do we even need a union? We will have already conceded our rights and the union which is already weak, will have no power.
    Unbelievable.

  • 148 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 18, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    There are a number of threads here and elsewhere noting the terrible times. Funny because because the highly popular mayor and his great friend President Bush to whom he donates millions run on platforms of prosperity and good times. Indeed that’s how they win. In bad times you vote the incumbent out very often.

    Yet,even accepting the bad times arguement consider nurses, who asks them to give back anything even in this environment? Their admittedly very hard earned and very deserved salaries are rising rather steadily with no real end in sight at the country faces a serious shortage of nurses. Why would teachers give back when nurses, the other female dominated pick collar profession is not doing the same?

    Frankly too these givebacks are not being demanded of teachers in the surrounding burbs even now. They are largely a NYC creation right now.

    Don’t cow to the billionaire bastard. I suspect even if he wins his popularity will be as long lasting as his buddy George W.!!! Don’t think either of the sorry kismet of every blue collar worker. Think instead of nurses, teachers in nearby locales, etc. We are more analagous to them them to GM retirees as the moment.

    No one has responded to my points about nurses. Perhaps because my arguements are too inarguable.?

  • 149 ChptrLdr
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    Why is Unity sending out ill informed VP’s and district reps? My school was told that the 1975 strike directly resulted in layoffs, and this could happen again. They were also told that a no vote would definitely lead to a strike. We were also told that the “no” vote 2 contracts ago gained us nothing,and grievances of letters in file are rarely won. The most interesting remark from the stong armer who graced us with his presence was, “You people were told not to vote for Bloomberg, but you did. Now you get what you deserve.” Huh?

  • 150 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 10:23 pm

    Well teachers did vote for Bloomberg, but their really buddy (sic) was the truly lovely Mr. Giulianni!!! I never understood how people with Master’s degrees and families to support did not realize Giulilanni was their mortal, mortal enemy. Maybe they finally are waking up.

    I myself voted NO of course. If i needed extra $$$$$ that badly I would drive a taxi or tend bar before I’d accept that piece of crap.