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The Red Riding Hood Syndrome OR Watch Out for the Wolf in the Nightgown

The Red Riding Hood Syndrome
(OR Watch out for the wolf in the nightgown!)

As a default position, it sounds fairly benign. Say No to the contract and send the leadership back to try to do better. What can we lose?

Coming from those activists who used to call for a strike every time talks hit a snag, it even sounds like a safe, reasonable middle-of-the-road stance.

Don’t let them fool you. It’s a trap to get us right where they wanted us in the first place. (I can just picture them sitting around one September evening wondering why they’ve attracted so few supporters. Suddenly a light bulb goes on. “I know,” beams one of their brightest. “We’re scaring people with all this strike talk. We sound too militant. Let’s just advocate a No vote. Then they can’t blame us if we end up on strike. And we can blame the union leadership.”)

The idea that voting No will bring the city back to the table eager to appease an angry membership with a better deal is the most dangerous of all the deceits about this proposed contract currently being circulated. It’s a wolf in Grandma’s nightie, and members should not be taken in by its harmless appearance.

Let’s be real. What’s our leverage after Nov. 8? Instead of sweetening the pot, isn’t it much more likely that Bloomberg, after winning the election by a landslide, would just get tougher with us? Talk about having nothing to lose, he’s the one in that position then! The only thing he’s left to worry about is those out-year budget deficits.

And this time we wouldn’t even have the state to fall back on. Their job is finished. We reject and we’re on our own. And by then, will there be another union that hasn’t already made its peace with Bloomberg left to stand with us?

We could lose not only the 15% and the retro, but a lot more. Think about all Bloomberg and Klein wanted but didn’t get. And we’d be handing them a golden second opportunity!

Worried about seniority transfers? Say hello to forced transfers.
Worried about easier dismissal for sexual misconduct? Say hello to the end of tenure and dismissal on the principal’s word.
Worried about 55/25? Say hello to the end of retiree health benefits a la GM.

What’s to lose? Plenty.

It’s easy to see how this scenario leads us straight to the picket line. And with no re-election to worry about, Bloomberg couldn’t care less.

And Klein? He’d be ecstatic! Say hello to our next Secretary of Education if the Republicans stay in the White House.

Of course, we could just play it safe, sit tight and wait. My friends, that means you’re looking at another 4 or 5 years without a raise – a total of 7 or 8 years. No city budget can fund 7 or 8 years of retroactive pay. If we thought two zeros were unacceptable back in 1995, try swallowing 7 or 8 of them. No matter how generous the next mayor, we’d be so deep in the hole we’d never make up that many years of lost raises.

So next time someone suggests we “Vote No and send Randi back to the table,” ask that person to let you see his/her canines. This is not your sweet, harmless Granny talking.



  • 1 Maestro
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    I think it’s really rich that you’re accusing others of trying to fool us by not mentioning a strike (which is untrue), while the UFT reps visiting our schools try to scare members into a yes vote by threatening a strike. Isn’t a strike supposed to be about scaring management?

    Randi talked about a strike vote over a year ago. If she had no intention of using that as a bargaining tactic, why did she bring it up at all? Didn’t she weaken ANY position of ours by threatening something she couldn’t back up?

    And speaking of teeth, it’s something the current UFT brass could use. The negotiations could have used a little bite in them. Instead, the MOA looks like it was forged by my granny’s gums.

  • 2 paulrubin
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 5:46 pm

    The only real concern that has me even remotely thinking about a Yes vote isn’t a strike. We’ll never get the membership to strike over this contract offer. We all know that somewhere between 40 and 80% of the membership will vote yes. Try to get a strike vote and better yet actually have these 40% stay out of strike. Not happening so fast.And then that leaves my preferred choice which is to do nothing and wait 4 years. But my concern there has always been 7 years of retroactive money will be gone because the city’s not going to bank billions of dollars to fund it. Not even a pro-teacher Mayor will do that. We’ll end up with a deal like 0-0-0-0-0-0-24. No thanks.

    By the way, I don’t want the UFT to look at this as justification for our current position. Under no circumstances, unless our union is close to a settlement and we’re in fine tuning mode, should we EVER go more than a few days without striking at the conclusion of a contract. If anything ever drove that point home to me (and I’ve always known it), it was the loss of thousands of retroactive monies that should be ours. Shame on our leadership for consistently committing this cardinal sin of contract negotiations.

  • 3 jesse
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 6:30 pm

    For everyone that thinks that unions work inside a vacuum, read the NYTimes this morning.

  • 4 Teacher31231
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    I hate that this site only puts up positive articles. I hate that my union is like a crack dealer, pointing out the high(salary) and ignoring everything else. I hate, hate, hate the union leadership right now.

    I went to a meeting today with a district Rep. about the contract and he blamed everyone else. He tried to scare us by saying “High School teachers will have you out there on the picket line.” I hate that they do that. Are us lower school teachers the drones?

    It isn’t easy deciding what to do. My biggest fear which WILL come to fruition is that the 37 1/2 minutes wont work out and it will be divided up in a less advantageous way…if that is possible. The union has scr*wed us on the time before and will again. The small group instruction wont work. My kids will walk out that door very fast when they find out they don’t have to stay.

    The schools will be chaos. The kids wont leave who don’t go to 10-1 instruction. They’ll play in the building and out side.

    And please remember, I even caught the district rep. on this. It doesn’t say SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION, it give a requirement of 10-1. That puts 3 teachers and 30 kids in the room, a whole class. Yeah! 6th period?

    I still don’t know what I’ll do. I wish I knew the truth! I wish I could tell the future. Think about it, you know this 37 1/2 min. crap wont work. How will the time really be allotted a year or two from now?

  • 5 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 7:46 pm


    If we vote in this contract, do not worry about the 37 1/2 minutes a year or 2 from now. By the next contract, the UFT elite will see that it’s been a disaster, and negotiate the 2007 contract, and add 6 1/2 more minutes
    (of course, it will be at least 2009 ),officially increase the school day for all students, and then they will tell us that it’s the best we can do, and scare the foolish membership into voting “yes” for a pittance, and have us believing we are getting a great deal.

    Gimme a break!! How can anyone give up their rights and vote in this conract?

  • 6 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    Basically the union tells us take this or you”ll get worse. That’s how people with multiple graduate degrees are instructed. That is no choice. That is Hobson’s choice. It is insulting. Everything in our old contract remains until a new contract is negotiated; that is the law. The law does not say we have to accept this piece of crap The reality is the city can’t get $39K teachers for the next four years. The costs of housing increases every hour here it seems. Their retention rate is lower than a cellar. Meanwhile your neophyte teachers will be incessantly on their cell phones telling their even younger friends not to come here because you can’t afford it.

    Furthermore, Bloomberg likes to say he is the education mayor. He can’t go on for four years saying he made all these changes when in reality he can’t even negotiate a contract with his teachers. He knows nothing about education. It is all the emperor wore no clothes. One very legal and worthwhile thing the teachers’ union can do is call in an MIT or Stanford level statistician to explain to the public that those variations in test scores mean nothing. Anyone who knows regression analysis knows that. there are many ways teachers can make his life very unpleasant.

    Look at Bloomberg’s great buddy George Bush. The man Bloomberg totally supporta and give millions to in donations. Last year he sailed to re-election, greatly threatening our Social Security. This year is popularity is lower than a cellar. Bloomberg isn’t winning an election, he is buying an election. Any teacher should know that is a huge difference.

  • 7 fed up speechteacher
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 8:11 pm


    I LOVE your posts!! Your suggestions on another thread outlining legal actions we can take to make an impact on this city are brilliant. Let me know when you are organizing a movement, because I will be there with you.

    I do however have to disagree with your support of Randi. I once felt that way too. I go to all the “Meet Randi” events and have recently been going to the DA’s. When I listen to her, I really want to believe that she does her best for us, but this contract proposal leaves me flabbergasted, and many other adjectives come to mind. I think we have put too much faith in her. Come the next UFT election, I will have to look for another faction to support. I can’t morally supprt any contracts going in the direction of this one ( although I am still optimistic that the membership has not collectively lost it’s mind)!

  • 8 Chaz
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 8:31 pm

    I really am getting sick and tired of the pro contract propoganda that tries to show this terrible contract for classroom teachers as a win.

    Let’s see as a classroom teacher I will have to add a 37.5 minute class for tutoring. What will the UFT bigwigs do for the 37.5 minutes, tutor kids, yeah right!

    They froze per session pay for 22 months. Is it because the UFT bigwigs don’t get per session pay?

    Do UFT bigwigs get Letters to the File? I think not.

    Are the UFT bigwigs subject to accusations of sexual misconduct or corporal punishment and receive a 90 day unpaid suspension? Dream on.

    If a big school is divided into small schools how will an older, well-paid teacher compete with a younger less- paid teacher? They can’t since the principal rather have a teacher who will say how high? When asked to jump rather than why? By the older teacher. Further, there is the school budget to consider. Hell with what’s good for the students. Will the UFT bigwigs have to worry about their jobs? Of cause not.

    Finally, will the UFT bigwigs have to do potty patrol, cafeteria call, or hallway duty?? The answer is obvious.

    Oh yes, least we forget, there will be a 6 month delay in retroactivity which the UFT has said was a win. I guess the sanitation police, & corrections employees must have lost because those poor folks received full retroactive raises! Talk about reverse logic!!!!

  • 9 institutional memory
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 8:54 pm

    Why can’t the “vote no” contingent understand that a “no” vote plays right into the current Republican, anti-labor administration’s hands?

    I’m embarrassed that people with so weak a grasp of reality are among my “collegues.”

  • 10 redhog
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 8:56 pm

    Calm down and ease up, ladies and gentlemen! Arguments are arrayed on both sides of the battlements of debate and there is much dismay.There is beauty and wisdom in simplicity, whether it be a Mozart sonata or a decision on a new contract. We needlessly complicate life. Stop knocking yourselves out. VOTE “YES” because Redhog says to. That’s all you need to know. Now go on living!

  • 11 frogmugsy
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    Yes. I see it now. Your logic is undeniable. I must vote “Yes.”

  • 12 R. Skibins
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:11 pm

    Institutional Memory:

    I can’t believe that you can say that a “no” vote plays right into the current Republican, anti-labor administration’s hands, when the current piece if garbage that Randi “negotiated” played right into the current Republican, anti-labor administration’s hands.

    What I also can’t believe is that when the mayor and chancellor came up with their 8-page proposal, Randi blasted them because all contract negotiations must use the current contract as a basis for negotiating. Now she negotiated one using the factfinders’ report as the basis for negotiation. Technically, this proposed contract is a violation of the Taylor law and should be declared null and void.

  • 13 redhog
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:19 pm

    Make up your mind and don’t be greedy, Skibins: Do you mean “null” or do you mean “void?” Take your pick. Actually I think you’re more the “void” type, as in emptiness of the intellectual cavity.

  • 14 Persam1197
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    In 1995, we sent the UFT back to the table with Giuliani. Why can’t we do the same this time?

    If seniority rights and letters in the file are unimportant, why did the UFT fight so hard to get it in our current contract?

    If we want to gauge the cost of this contract, compare the CSA before and after they sold their souls. You can’t find any independent principals who are innovative and supportive of teachers as professionals; they’re mostly lackeys serving their masters. Is that what we’re aspiring for ourselves, as independent, experienced, and innovative teachers are replaced by lock-step workshop model instructors?

  • 15 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:30 pm

    That was an unnecessary low blow, Redhog.

  • 16 mshalo18
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    This is what happens if we take a wait and see attitude:

    Bloomberg won’t go back to the table. We won’t strike. Spring comes, and the standardized test scores are released. Bloomie and Klein, being the ego maniacs they are, can’t help but gloat how the scores have gone up under their administration. If Randi is smart, she moves in for the kill, Bloomie relents and we get an increase with no givebacks.

    BTW- I learned something today-
    You know all those medical right to privacy papers you sign every time you go to your physician? If you have excessive absences due to illness, the DOE CAN and WILL get your medical records from your physician- and you are POWERLESS to stop it, because guess what- now it’s contractual- you have given up your right to private medical records where the DOE is concerned.

  • 17 redhog
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:49 pm

    Bklynteacher: R. Skibins attacks Randi Weingarten in a very vicious and unwarranted way. She doesn’t need me to be her Walter Raleigh. But regardless of where one stands on the Contract, it is not merely bad sportsmanship, but truly ugly cutthroatism to abuse her as he does.

  • 18 Teacher31231
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 9:50 pm

    The medical clearly does not belong in our contract. I think that point has been looked over and squashed by the union by talking over it.

    All other city unions leave medical out and we negotiate as a whole…until the UFT added it to their contract…with this one…if we sign it!

  • 19 Yankee4Life493
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:03 pm

    Vote No Al Contrato!!!! No Es Bueno!!!

  • 20 Educat
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:06 pm

    citysue’s main point is that we are in a bad position and must swallow this cheese or else. well, who put us in this position?? it sure wasnt the mayor. our leadership agreed to stall the ratification vote so we have little choice but to open wide and swallow!! nice work.

  • 21 firebrand
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    I’m willing to wait four years. This raise after the givebacks is 3.2% The inflation rate is 4.1%.

    My chapter rep wasn’t willing to tout the tentative contract and neither were the other two delegates and I. So what does the district rep do…she sends someone in to tout it in our stead…

    of all the low down dirty things….

  • 22 NYC Educator
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    The article above is ridiculous. Bloomberg is bound by the old contract until and unless we agree to change it.

    “Say hello to the end of tenure”

    Only if we keep giving away the store for nothing, as you happily urge us.

    You folks have to be desperate to write such drivel.

  • 23 hypatiaNYC
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:15 pm


    In the past, when a teacher had an extended absence due to illness, the BOE (now the DOE) always asked for medical proof. This was called a doctor’s note. If the teacher claimed that the absence was due to an injury, say a broken leg, the Medical Division could ask for an x-ray as proof, in addition to the doctor’s note. The BOE then, and the DOE now, could not snoop around in employees’ medical records on a whim. It is not unreasonable for an employer to request proof of illness when an employee is absent with pay for an extended period of time. You may have learned something new today, but you clearly didn’t understand it.

  • 24 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:15 pm

    Remember as you vote no what a glorious deed you are really doing-

    In some small way you stand with all those throughout the ages who have spoken truth to power and refused to accept injustice when you vote no!!! How many heroes throughout the ages have done far more to make a point and accepted risk than simply voting no on a stupid UFT piece of Sxxx?. When you vote no on the contract Harriet Tubman is with you. When you vote no on the contract Susan Anthony is with you. When you vote no on the contract soldiers living and deceased that marched on Washington in the Bonus army are with you. When you vote no on the contract Jesus Christ is with you. When you vote no on the contract Martin Luther King is with you. When you vote no on the contract Oscar Schindler stands with you. When you vote no on the contract Leo Tolstoy stands with you. When you vote no on the contract all the impressive women and men who have been killed in South America while working for justice thanks to the United States’ evil School of the Americas will stand with you. When you vote no on the contract Medgar Evans will stand with you. When you vote no on the contract Harriet Beecher Stowe stands with you.

    So the choice is clear. Proudly and joyously vote no and stand gladly and happily with women and men who have stood for justice, even paying the ultimate price for justice over the centuries. Or vote yes and get your thirty pieces oops i mean 15 per cent raise spread out well over four years and accept demeaning and insulting work rule changes that could ultimately truncate your career or at least make your life exceedingly miserable.

    N. B. The author acknowledges the above comments do not necessarily apply to those who are only voting yes because they want to retire in the next year or two and are only thinking of themselves and their own interests.

  • 25 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    fed up speech teacher

    Thank you for such nice compliments. I still don’t think it helpful to attack Randi per se. Doesn’t mean you have to vote for her next time though. Also, I agree with everything else you say too. I thought Randi worked hard and was the real deal, but this contract is just beyond the pale. However, the other side and it is no small other side, is that teachers, and I make this point a lot too, voted in these Republican dirty rotten scoundrels!!

    thanks again for the compliments

  • 26 letter in the file
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 10:33 pm

    Reposted From the “Are ‘Letter In the File’ Grievances Effective Means of Defending the Rights of Members?” Thread

    Detailed Job Descriptions of Teachers

    I’ve been skimming through the existing contract, looking for sections which clearly describe the functions and responsibilities of teachers. I’m having trouble finding such sections. Can anyone direct me to the appropriate pages?

    Question for Leo: What’s Number 16 All About?

    Leo, I haven’t really seen any discussion anywhere about Number 16 from the Memorandum of Agreement. What are these improper practice charges all about? Can you please post the full text of the two charges in question, plus DOE’s responses? Thanks!


    The City and the Union shall withdraw the following Improper Practices with PERB: U-25999 and U-26027.

    (CitySue, feel free to respond to the question I asked Leo.)

  • 27 R. Skibins
    · Oct 19, 2005 at 11:12 pm

    You cannot defend this undefendable contract, so you must resort to attacks? That’s very Republican of you. Are you looking to replace Karl Rove?

    BTW, my attacks on Randi are not unwarranted, as her actions prove that she has earned them.

  • 28 redhog
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 3:44 am

    R. Skibins: Replacing Karl Rove ain’t my menu item. Defending this contract, by the way, is a vastly simpler task than defending your honor. You use “Republican” like an epithet. Look, when the FedEx guy, a barnacle from the “ROC”, or any other transient comes to my school, I greet him with “workers of the world unite.”

  • 29 institutional memory
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:17 am

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Like it or not, we are all members of the same union. The concept of brotherhood is central to our mission.

    Please, let’s attempt to keep our disagreements at a civil level! Nothing can be gained by insulting each other, whatever the seeming justification.

  • 30 outraged
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 9:25 am

    Nice scare tactics, but what if the contract is ratified, are you going to guarantee these things won’t happen in the future.

    It is apparent that the union is scared of a rejection. Send Randi back? The best to replace her and send someone who can deliver. The way she looks reminds me of Gov. Blanco, dazed and overwhelmed. Time for an executive change.

    PS if 55/25 gets through it will negatively affect future salary increases and will therefore reduce the final average salaries, which is the basis of the pension. Retire earlier with less.

  • 31 redhog
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    People of opposing views can still sometimes respect the motive,if not the premise,of contrary arguments, as long as those arguments are not frought with self-contradiction. Unfortunately, this thinly-veiled hypocrisy is relevant to our strife about the Contract.

    At the Delegate Assembly meeting, and in literature voluminious enough that, if it were shredded, it would provide more than enough ticker-tape to cover the Canyon of Heroes a thousand times over, Randi’s enemies ( yes, let’s not mince words or the truth!) have doggedly maintained that retirees should be excluded from decision-making.

    How is it, then, that some kingpins of ICE and other splinter cabals, are themselves retirees? Is there not an element of audacity to such ladies and gentlemen entering the voting fray, considering that their retirement pay checks shall be signed, sealed, and delivered unmolested by the confiscatory penalties of the Taylor Law?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • 32 CitySue
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    Dear Letter in the file:

    I think the PERB complaint referenced in #16 has something to do with the elimination of the ed evaluators position and their not bargaining its impact, but I am checking this with the lawyers. Stay tuned.

  • 33 artteach
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 7:01 pm

    Your all just mad because we are all VOTING NO and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!

  • 34 MichaelB
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:15 pm

    When I read the justifications for voting for the contract the tone seems to be “we should approve it because it’s not that bad and we’re in a weak bargaining position” instead of “we gave up X but we got Y, which we’ve always wanted, in return”.

    Is there anything in this contract that will make my life easier as a teacher? If so, I haven’t been made aware of it (though it seems the lead teacher program will be good for those mentored – but isn’t that just for elementary schools?).

    I currently teach three subjects and get paid the same as if I were doing one lesson plan a day. Why wasn’t that issue on the table? What other union allows management to add work like that for no extra pay? And why wasn’t the union fighting to make sure newer teachers aren’t overwhelmed. Couldn’t there at least be exceptions from cafeteria duty and the extra period for newer teachers and those with three preps?

    Was Randi fighting to make our jobs easier in any way? Does she have any idea how hard we work? Why does she give us an agreement that punishes the newest as well as the hardest working teachers, the ones in the toughest schools, the ones with nothing left to give, the ones for whom lunch duty or an extra period could be enough to push them over the edge? Is she starting to believe what she reads in the tabloids?

    Are we so desperate for money that we’ll give up so much for so little? It’s not like our spouses will be able to quit their jobs and live off our new salaries.

    I’m simply shocked that with all the givebacks in this agreement it doesn’t contain one positive change in working conditions. My family is not starving now and there’s no way I’m voting for something that’s going to make my life more difficult and stressful. And, frankly, I’ll be embarassed if this thing passes, because it makes us look bad. How hard can our jobs be if we willingly accept a longer, tougher workday for a little extra money?

  • 35 frogmugsy
    · Oct 20, 2005 at 10:58 pm


    Your post says it all! Beautiful!

  • 36 redhog
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 7:56 pm

    And my post’s chopped liver?

  • 37 Chaz
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:41 pm


    I have always respected your opinions, I find them well thought out and you don’t insult other people for not sharing your view. I am a UFT unity person (at least up to now) and I do agree that ICE & TJC may have some hypocritical comments. However, I do share with them that this contract is bad for the classroom teacher and many of the provisions are subject to abuse by the Principal and DOE,

    It is difficult for me to understand why you support this contract since the more I read the contract, the worse it looks.

  • 38 frogmugsy
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 8:46 pm

    Ok, ok, it’s pretty good. But that’s as far as I go!

  • 39 SRG
    · Oct 21, 2005 at 9:29 pm

    Let’s vote no and send them back to the negotiating table for as long as it takes.
    We don’t have to stike, we can just ‘slow down’ as the flight attendant call it.
    We arrive at 8:19 and leave at 2:51. We do not grade papers at home, plan at home, shop for classroom things on our weekends. Nothing will get done unless it fits into our prep time. All copies go through the copy room. No one uses their personal copiers, goes to Staples on Sat. or prints multiple copies from our printers.
    Once parents start complaining that their children’s tests and reports are not being returned in a timely manner, maybe the public will begin to realize how much personal time is spent working on classroom stuff. Let parents have to copy pages from textbooks for their childrens’ HW because we couldn’t get copies made in time. If this happens city-wide, the regions may take notice.
    When parents complain enough, things happen. I’ve seen it many time with the 3rd grade promotional standards. Any parent who went to the ROC to complain got their kid promoted. It was incredible, the power they have.

    So let the negotiating begin. And while they’re at it, put a clause in the new contract that abolishes Teacher’s College.

  • 40 mvplab
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 4:04 am

    Let see what do we get if we vote no! I will certainly need Jesus, Martin Luther King, Susan B Anthony, Harriet Tubman and the rest of spirits that shouldhavegonetomeds suggests would be invoked if we vote “no”

    How about this: What moral or legal obligation will the mayor have to sit down with us? Just tell me that! I don’t get it! Explain that to me and I’ll listen!

    Now I don’t want ICE’s Norm Scott, who as a retiree will continue to get his generous pension checks and COLA’s, to come in and tell me to stand firm and we will win. I want to hear from someone who’s unaffiliated, even if we can’t prove that on this blog, to come in and tell me what do we (read “I”) gain from voting “no” other than having an opportunity to voice our (read “my”) objections to everything that’s going on the world right now.

    Show me how it will help me to vote this contract down and don’t give me the spirit and pride crap! Show me the money!

  • 41 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 6:08 am


    Legally, the mayor has to bargain “in good faith” with us.

    There is no penalty, however, should he fail to do so.

    That, of course, is the big flaw in the Taylor Law. It forbids essential personnel from striking by penalizing them heavily for a strike, while at the same time putting no onus on the City or State to negotiate.

    I am still undecided on how to vote. There are definitely negatives to the contract, but we may get absolutely nothing until the next administration if we vote it down. And then, as we have already said, it is highly unlikely that we will get seven years back pay.

  • 42 frogmugsy
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 7:40 am

    I look at it this way. I guess in 2002, when we signed our last contract and added the extra time, most of us knew that whenever the next contract was going to come up, they were going to add more time to our day. And I guess we can all see that happening again in 2007, if this one is ratified. But where are they going with these givebacks? What more will they want in 2007? I would rather just stop the bleeding now. The money would always be helpful, but I would rather have job security throughout my career.

  • 43 NYC Educator
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 8:03 am

    “What more will they want in 2007?”

    Find out here:


  • 44 DJHarkavy
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 9:17 am


    I understand that. And I also am not happy with some of the givebacks. That is why I am still on the fence as far as my vote is concerned.

    But are we going to get anything better? Most of the non-teachers I know are talking about the wonderful 15% raise that we are getting. Will we have public support to get a better contract, or will the public instead consider us to have thrown it away and then we get a worse contract with even more givebacks.

    And despite all the people who were successful in 1995, the job market is is pretty bad shape. A good third of the country is looking for reasons to privatize school systems and teachers don’t get any respect from the general public, who just see summers off and short days. I don’t think we ARE going to get anything better, and we might end up with worse.

    As to 2007, that is a matter of letting the Union know that we will not accept more givebacks (which I think they are starting to get) and electing representatives and leadership who won’t accept givebacks. Randi and Unity were voted in with a pretty wide margin, IIRC. If you are not satisfied with the job that she does, then you need to vote for someone else, and convince everyone that you know to do the same.

  • 45 SRG
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 9:51 am

    Frogmugsy is right.
    Every contract we give a little more. If we don’t stop it now, just on principal, we’re done.
    Let’s not accept something just because we don’t think we’ll get something better. That’s like marrying the wrong person because you don’t think anyone better will come along.
    And just think, in that senario, you can always divorce the wrong person. Our contract is here to stay. We’ll never get any of the things back that we give up. Especially the Aug start date and the extended time.
    Money is definitely important but we can’t sell our souls for it.

  • 46 SRG
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 9:53 am

    It’s early, I meant principle.

  • 47 frogmugsy
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:16 am

    Besides my own misgivings about the contract, there are too many ominous signs to ignore (from my point of view and experiences).
    1. The Daily News liking this contract.
    2. A retiring teacher in my school telling me “I feel bad for you. You guys are getting so screwed with the contract. But I’m voting yes. I’m retiring early and they’re deducting 12 percent from my pension so I figure when this contract goes thru, I’m 3 percent ahead.”
    3. Lots of posts about job market in bad shape. (I would therefore think it’s a better reason to hold onto those givebacks)
    4. My UFT rep. telling us she has to vote yes but will do so with a clear conscience. But then telling me privately that she is retiring and doesn’t know why we have to give back so much.
    5. Klein’s kiss to Randi!

  • 48 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:18 am

    you’re right. I think that we should slow down in applying for per session jobs too…just for one year. Let’s just not apply to teach summer school, night school, after school programs, Saturday school and PM school.

    I am already quitting my night school post in January and refusing to apply to teach summer school.

    The Department of Ed just lost someone with three licenses, nine years of summer service and seven years of night school service…because I’ve been disrespected.

    If everyone (yeah yeah I know I have a mortgage, student loans and children too) did the same for just one year…we’d make one hell of a statement.

    We should have done it last summer and this fall and maybe then the mayor and Randi wouldn’t have “nailed out” such a crappy excuse for a contract.

    So he’d have to hire outside people…outside people who could never put up with the population (let’s face it the resistant learners and troubled kids) that floods night school and summer school.

    We might have brought the Department of ed to it’s knees…maybe we still could.

    By the way, can anyone out there explain to me why, even though it’s not required (yet) that we teach summer and night school it’s expected that we would apply and therefore a mass refusal to apply for either would be seen as a “job action”? If it’s voluntary why would mass refusal to apply for the positions be a job action and therefore in violation of the Taylor Law (as I was told by my chapter leader)?

    I can’t figure that one out…

  • 49 firebrand
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:20 am

    Chaz I am with you. I am also a Unity person but may jump ship. I am really having a hard time swallowing this contract and am really disillusioned…with Randi and the Unity folk.

    I freaked out when I got my latest piece of Unity mail yesterday. Oh God was I pissed at the crap that they put out in favor of this contract….

  • 50 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:41 am

    Just mailed my no vote. It felt great!!!

  • 51 newerteacher
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    shouldhavegonetomeds, I’ve been reading your posts, and I hear what you’re saying. However, your ridiculous stunts and insults to newer teachers, such as myself, who care every bit as much as you do that we get our just desserts is just disgusting. If someone handed me a flower and said “Rosebud” to me, I would give a blank look too. Sure, I know Citizen Kane, and all sorts of facts about this and that, since I went to college and actually read books, and spent time absorbing culture on 3 different continents. But that stunt would cause me to think of you as some old cook who can’t get past being old, who has nothing better to do than act like a weirdo.

    That said, I am undecided on my vote, because although I am horrified at the notion I will have to do lunch duty because of my low seniority status, and horrified at so many of the other givebacks, I don’t see a better alternative in waiting it out either. All of the teachers at my school are rightly angered. But where does it get us to go on about Jesus, MLK, Susan B and any number of other idealists when it comes down to reality? Did you notice you can name those people in a few short breaths because there are so few people capable of their deeds? You’re comparing them with an enormous number of people who are just trying to get through life.

    I took my job to teach and to do it well. My family consists of a number of teachers, all in unions. Some of them are preparing to strike even though they make 6 figures, simply because the union wants them to. We are a well off bunch. It’s people like you who make it sound like our lives are miserable. Invoke your Jesus, MLK, etc. when you describe how you approach each day, rather than ranting about a no vote. We aren’t losing everything.

    Think through your decision. You sound like an extremist.

    PS. any comment you may make about my status as a newer teacher or my young age makes your arguments sound more unintelligent.

  • 52 Chaz
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve just finished reading NYC Educator’s “2009 Unity visit to your school” and found it to be very funny. I would say it is a real work of fiction. However, based upon Randi and her stooges trying to sell a dangerous contract to the classroom teacher and insulting teachers who disagree with them, NYC Educator’s story is probably not to far from the truth.

    Maybe only the teachers in the classroom should have their votes count since the most dangerous of the givebacks affect us, not the Leo Caseys’ of the world.

  • 53 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    Newer teacher:

    If you get the reference rosebud you are among a minuscule minority of newer teachers who would. Congratulate yourself. I’ve met newer teachers who pride themselves on never having seen a black and white movie. To them “Birth of a Nation” has to do with signing the Declaration of Independence. Yesterday The Daily News had a cooking article entitled “Here’s Looking at You Squid”. I asked several newer teachers how they comprehended the headline; the answers were risible. When I want to be truly entertained I ask new teachers what Times Square was called before it was Times Square. The answers I get are so funny I should publish them. Never mind Times Square is famous all over the world. A licensed teacher, a college graduat in a New York City classroom in 2005 can’t tell you what it was in its prior incarnation. (Hint: it had a lot to do with prostitutes.) I’ve never met a new teacher who could tell me what RKO stands for, typically they can’t tell you whether “Uncle’s Tom Cabin” was published before, during or after the American Civil War. I’ve yet to find one who knows where the name Starbucks comes from-there has to be a new teacher out there who knows that, I just haven’t found them yet. Maybe if I find one of those Ivy League teaching fellows the DOE hires, who lasts a few months, they will know the answer. Frankly, I’d be glad if I found one who knew the dates of the American Civil War without having to check a textbook.

    BUT IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT!!! You see research shows what unions do best is work on benefits and pensions more than genuinely professional working conditions. Hence unions encourage buyouts and early retirements, 25/55, etc. NYU educational historian Diane Ravitch has noted the mean years of experience for teachers serving in New York City classrooms has never been lower than now. Ms. Ravitch is considered an excellent, independent educational evaluator as you should know if you come from a family of educators. In losing tens of thousands of seasoned veterans over one or two thousand days, if that, the city has been a bit like someone destroying a rain forest and then planting new seedlings hoping they will flower. They may of course but you just can’t replace a rain forest. Actually when teachers say things like “he is taller than me”, “just between the three of us” or “just between you and I” I love it. I know what the city did to destroy and demoralize the careers of so many seasoned educators and I relish when today their administrators, forget about the teachers, can’t tell you the origins of Brooklyn Queens Day. (No wonder we are losing that holiday!!) The city gets just what it deserves.

    My list isn’t that short, I mention among other things the brave members of the Bonus Army. Do you know what that was? Or are you a newer teacher who believes that’s when the Republicans pay city kids to enlist for Iraq so they can avoid reinstating the draft?

    Voting no isn’t any big deal. You are not being given anything anyway and you are giving a lot away for a raise that is less than retirees received on Social Security. In fact,thinking of younger teachers how many of you waitress, bartend, cater, lifeguard over the summer, etc? By ending your vacations early not only this year but every year, you could conceivably lose more in after tax dollars than you will earn in this chintzy contract. Someone bartending at the Jersey shore could well garner a grand cash on Labor Day weekend, a lot easier to deal with if you are not running back to school in August.

    Meanwhile, while I decry the loss of knowledge among tyro teachers as does Ms. Ravitch, I do not attack them personally. Yet, your sarcastic tone would never fly if you were in a genuine profession. Imagine if you were a fellow at Sloan Kettering, attacking one of their wizened highly experienced, renowned oncologists? Imagine if you were a recent hire at Cravath, Swaine and Moore, if you even know what that is and referred to one of their partners as you have referred to me? You would be out the door very quickly. In real professions you would need to acknowledge that long term experienced professsionals do know and should know more- substantially more at that- than you neophytes. You wouldn’t dare tell professionals with decades of experience that they are unintelligent.

    But you are not in a profession. You are at the Departmenr of Education. You are being offered a contract that is the beginning of the end. 12 years of Republican mayors voted in in no small part by teachers who on some level just weren’t too bright, is now leading to fruition, You vote yes for that piece of crap and see what happens to your career over the next decade. I can go to a somewhat decent retirement. You will be going to potty patrol.

  • 54 R. Skibins
    · Oct 22, 2005 at 11:14 pm

    Excellent, Meds!

    To the new teachers:

    This “contract” does not have the no-layoff provision of the past two contracts. Just remember that before you vote.

  • 55 firebrand
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 1:22 am

    spot on meds!

  • 56 newerteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:08 am

    I understand all of that shouldhavegone to meds. I’ve grown up with unions and those out to destroy them. I agree with nearly everything you said in regards to the contract.

    What I don’t agree with, and find disdainful, are your unnecessary attacks on younger teachers. I know the answers to your history and trivial pursuit questions, including the Times Square bit (I even know why the city of Shanghi called a section of THEIR city Times Square), but where does that get me if nowhere when it comes to this contract?

    I respect and listen to the older teachers in my school because they have always taken time to help me become a better teacher, they are worthy of my respect because of their respect and concern for me and other younger teachers. They have not once approached me with the venom you obviously go after the new teachers at your school with. Condescension never got anyone anywhere. Regardless of where I have worked, I have always treated everyone with the same respect they’ve given me, older or not. And trust me, I’ve worked my way through my short life successfully, without handouts and without help.

    Shouldhavegone, if you think this contract is bad enough to vote no and risk losing a great deal financially, that’s fine. But your recycled arguments in each post you write aren’t convicing enough to so many others. I don’t know how easy your life has been, but I will tell you this: this contract is a cakewalk compared to the life I was dealt. I’ve had to fight for everything. If you can understand that, perhaps it’s your perspective you need to change.

    To all: think through your vote and what you can do. This vote is about all of us individually too. The union isn’t going to change, no matter who takes Randi’s place. Teachers with unions are stuck in a never-ending cycle. And, if all of the older teachers simply come here to complain on this board instead of working their ways into the upper echelons of the union where they could actually make a change, well, I say let the rainforest die then, because it won’t be the younger ones’ faults. We don’t know why Times Square is called Times Square! Wait, what country fought the Civil War? Was that when the White House burned down?

    Shouldhavegone, enjoy your retirement walking away from the situation completely.

  • 57 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:53 am


    On the contrary! Most of the older teachers I know are very happy with this contract. They will be retired in 2 or 3 years with a huge boost to their FAS(pensions) and will NOT have to live with the more onerous components for decades like the rest of us.

    You are correct though. People should THINK really hard before they cast a vote. If anyone has more than 10 yrs left before they are eligible to retire, they would be foolish to vote yes. Seven to thousand dollars more a year will not change your standard of living too much. However some of the givebacks in this proposal could end your career. This contract will make it much more difficult to teach, as well as for people to complete 25 or 30yrs. Too much was given away for one contract.

  • 58 newerteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Good for those older teachers then. They must be Baby Boomers, about to retire, bankrupt the government (and younger Americans) collecting Social Security they don’t really need, and still thinking about no one but themselves. They should be the ones leading the way, rather than stepping out of the way. They should be ashamed of themselves. For the teachers like shouldhavegonetomeds who continue complaining on this message board with no intention of making mountains move faster than their fingers on the keyboards, I’m ashamed be associated with them. I’m beginning to think they’re posting here because they’re just callous cowards. (I started reading this board because I thought I would learn something, but it just verified why the younger generations are correct for being dissapointed with the older ones.) When the older generations are wasting away in retirement, still thinking of no one but themselves, we’ll be the ones to suffer for their constant inaction when it comes to issues that don’t involve themselves. Yet, they will be screaming, “I voted no!” Thanks a lot.

  • 59 willimake30yrs?
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:53 am


    I’m sorry, but you sound a little confused. It is the older teachers who advocate a “NO” vote who are standing by their principles. They have the most to lose financially if this contract is rejected and the Mayor just walks away from the table for 4 years. It is the older teachers who POST on this site encouraging people to “vote for” the contract who are only thinking of their own financial interests, and not the wellbeing of the teachers who have many years left in their careers.

  • 60 hypatiaNYC
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 12:16 pm

    Newer Teacher:

    You fell right into a trap. First you castigated Meds for making assumptions about younger teachers, then you posted suggesting that more senior teachers are callous cowards only interested in feathering their retirement and about to bankrupt the country by collecting the social security they paid into and are entitled to. This contract is not about who benefits more, or who suffers more, newer or more experienced teachers. It’s about whether or not you can live with the deal on the table, or are willing to wait 4, 5 years without a raise. It’s about whether we will survive as a united union capable of continuing our struggle in the future against the Kleinbergs who despise us, or whether we will disintegrate due to in-fighting, and become impotent, squabbling factions. I say, that after this vote, we need to find ways to heal our differences. mend our wounds and unite behind our leadership to fend off our real enemies: Tweed and City Hall.

  • 61 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 1:41 pm

    Newer teacher, et al.

    I enter my 30th year this winter. I could be finished next winter or sooner I suppose if the 25/55 passes. And on principle I vote NO!! I joyously vote NO standing as I have already mentioned in some minuscule way with all the brave women and men throughout history who have taken a stance and spoken truth to power, including many early founders of labor movements.

    As for Social Security. I have contributed between myself and my employers (not just the DOE) hundreds of thousands of dollars over the decades. I am delighted that so much money has gone from my paychecks, even if I struggled from paycheck to paycheck, to some of society’s weakest and most vulnerable members. It makes me feel great that I have the health to go to work every day, help children read better, and then take hundreds of dollars every month (It’s $400 per month for SS if you are on max plus medicare)from my paycheck that I earned and put them NOT in a George Bush style private account for my selfish self but rather know that money is distributed -economists call them transfer payments for anyone who knows econ 101- to society’s more vulnerable, weaker members. I’m am delighted when I can go to work on a rainy day and realize some of my money will go to an octogenarian, or a 9/11 widow and her children, or one of my wonderful friends suffering from AIDS. I am happy to think that a 75 year old lady is able to volunteer at her church or synagogue or mosque thanks in part to a Social Security check I help fund. I am gratified that an alcoholic addled neighbor of mine can get a disability check from SS funds. I am overjoyed that I can help all my senior neighbors especially those who are most alone, most depondent, most cranky, cantankerous and contentious with at least a modicum of the funding that they need for their daily lives.

    Newer teacher, don’t you understand the money I have been paying over the decades could well have gone to your grandparents or other senior disbled or parentless members of YOUR OWN extended families? Have you resented your grandparents their Social Security checks? Don’t you like your grandparents? Didn’t you have nice grandparents? Didn’t they buy you things when YOU were little? It was when I was 15 and saw my grandmother clutch her SS money with knarled, liver spotted hands that I understood how vital the program was.

    The fact that you can say SS recipients who typically worked for close to half a century before collecting a penny are bankrupting the system, while George W. and his gang run a multi-billion dollar ruthlees, amoral war against a defenseless but fiesty country where we will never have victory but only create ill will or worse much worse shows that you do have much to learn and are indeed in many ways, or should I say at least in economics, quite an ignorant person.

    As for myself, I don’t especially care if I get Social Security no matter how many hundreds of thousands I contribute. I’d like to keep working, which is what a true professional does. I don’t even care about the pension. They can keep their five or six thousand dollars per month. Unfortunately, the DOE is not designed that way. Even our present form of tenure is a farce. They want to oust senior members generally. It is very different than a real profession like law for example, where the senior person is veritably valued for knowing more as well they should.

    Call it trivial pursuit but several years ago The New York Times,( not that that’s a paper too many teachers read these days the virulently, anti-teacher Post suits them just fine,) surveyed school superintendents and asked them if they knew why schools were closed on Brooklyn Queens Day. The superintendents, most not on the job too long themselves, with little exception could not answer the question. No wonder many teachers will now be losing that as a holidsy.

    As for you, if you say you know my questions, fine. But then you are the exception among tyroes,not the rule. Ican rarely find one who knows the predicate nominative. Few if any new teachers know what the Bonus Army was, and that is very unfortunate when we are now dealing with miserable Republican administraions. They don’t have that fund of information to factually enrich their conversations and decisions. Knowing who Starbucks was might be trivial pursuit, although it really shouldn’t be for a genuine educator, a well read person. Not knowing what RKO stands for shows a weaker than ideal knowledge of New York’s vibrant history, it’s not just trivial. We may not like them but I bet dollars to doughnuts Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Klein well have that type of information.

    But hey this is the DOE looking for the cheapest deal, as witnessed by this dreadful contract. You don’t really have to know your ass from a hole in the ground. Just vote yes on the contract and follow whatever standards are being promulgated at the moment. You might actually get yourself to believe test scores are actually going up in the process. When you do I have some real estate to sell you: dessert land in the middle of the ocean.

  • 62 Spock
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 4:30 pm


  • 63 newerteacher
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    If I could get back every SS dollar I have put in, I could use it to help my dear grandparents. But I was not given that option. Neither were they. They could have millions on interest from investments right now. I wish no one ill, but I do believe in personal responsibility and everyone’s right to their own money. I don’t vote Republican, but I am no socialist either.

    But before I sway too far away from the point, all I’m saying is that this website is the proverbial teachers’ lounge everyone said to stay out of. All of you are complaining, without acting. Voting no is the LEAST you can do. As the elders, you have an OBLIGATION to use your knowledge and experience and AUTHORITY that we younger members don’t have, and do something about this. If this contract goes down, what do you propose??? Waiting it out? We could wait FOREVER. In the year 2020 we’ll still be on the same salary schedule for what? We younger members will simply remember people like you meds, who only condescended, and refused to help. While we all move on and make the best of things, the memory of you will be “complain, complain, complain, sit out when s/he could have acted.”

    Good luck to everyone, vote with your conscience tomorrow or whenever you are – my school votes tomorrow. Whatever comes of this, I hope that we can all stick together and perhaps get somewhere. But remember, since the majority of the union is younger and younger, you really need stick with us rather than attacking us.

    hepatia, i read your post, and I was only pointing out the ways that the older teachers are acting towards all of this. I agree with you, and believe it or not, I agree with a lot of what meds said. Further, I will keep my thoughts tomorrow on some teachers in Pennsylvania who will be on their first day of a strike. They are making a statement and acting.

  • 64 R. Skibins
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:36 pm

    A “yes” vote would be illogical.

    Hypatial: If the contract is rejected, newer teachers (and those in the middle) will still get their raises as they reach the next salary step. That is something that Unity fails to mention.

  • 65 redhog
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 6:54 pm

    Here I am, a guy revered by one side and venerated by the other, demanding that you all vote “yes!”. I can’t fathom what all the fuss is about. Lighten up. And remember: You can and you should cripple and eviscerate any principal who attacks any single member of your staff! There are ways to do that. My self-promotion is, of course, a stunt. But for real is my sure trust in the power of unity and the moral authority that the UFT continues to exercise with great effectiveness.

  • 66 TriBeCaTchr
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    We are one union!
    If this contract passes, we need to immediately have a resolution and set a four year plan to make sure our candidate becomes our next Mayor. And…”WE” need to put in place action plans to support those members who come under attack.

    If this contract does not pass, we need to flood te media and let the public know why we turned it down (it’s our rights not just the money)… explain to the public why the “Kleinberg” machine is wrong!!!

    We need to do it TOGETHER!!!!

  • 67 firebrand
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:36 pm

    I swear to God, Redhog, you must be a principal, supervisor of some sort or Joel Klein himself the way you claim we should all “vote yes”!

  • 68 coldstorage5
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:44 pm

    This contact sucks, and any one with a spine and half a brain will vote NO.

    1) 10-1 teacher student ratio. HMMM lets put 3 teachers with 30 kids. Bingo a 6th period. Next time well make it 15-1. Hey you can handle it. Finally 30-1 and our 6th pd is official.

    2) 15% hell gas and oil cola expenses are higher than this 15%

    3) F****** cafertia duty. Are you kidding me. A masters plus 60 and we get this. I didn’t go to school to be a hall monitor.

    If you vote yes, you are a weak, timid moron.

  • 69 happenstance
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:53 pm

    In all this talk about anger over the proposed new contract– cafeteria duty, an extra period, letters in the file, etc etc etc ad nauseum– I have barely heard a word about anyone being concerned that our 200 minutes/month of PD are being vaporized. Isn’t there ANYONE out there reading this blog besides me whose school provides valuable professional development? If the problem was that the PD time was not being used effectively, and the problems remains (according to the DOE) that we still don’t teach effectively, wouldn’t it seem wise to attempt to solve the problem of ineffective PD rather than just toss it altogether? I’m most considered about the lack of PD time in this new contract, but I seem to be in the tiny minority. Wow.

  • 70 coldstorage5
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 10:55 pm

    Hey new teacher you are an complete moron. Yes New, you are a fool. Our union is strong. Not at the top. Politians want us. We vote. Maybe you dont. But we do.
    Now Little Boy, ( your new Name) New teachers have the most to lose here. You are going to be here for 30+ yrs. Over the lifetime of teacher every contract counts.
    Now, put your diapers on, go and get you 40 K , and keep getting it you 5 yrs.
    40K is nothing. Ohh maybe mommy and Daddy are helping little boy out.
    Some day, when you stop partying, and you care about your salary, Maybe then you’ll realize what a dumb, ignorant fool you once were.

  • 71 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:05 pm

    Newer teacher,

    You aren’t going to be waiting till the year 2020 for a new contract!! It just isn’t that bad. The city can not recruit on 39K. They just can’t!!! The cost of rent increases hourly here!!

    As for your grandparents, they much rather have a check come into their accounts every month then wait for your personal charity you can be sure.

    For now we vote no!! Then we picket and leaflet the stores en masse during the holiday shopping season to discourage everyone from shopping while the teachers have no contract. We also don’t shop New York this Christmas season. That’s totally legal and that is just for starters.

    Incidentally, I am sorry if I have been harsh on you. However, in additon to being a very long term tenured teacher I also have an MBA. Very few people could ever save what a social security check provides. The brightest of people lose fortunes in the stock market and you can’t trust the companies which are often dishonest as the day is long anyway. I mean how many Enrons can you invest in?
    Anyway I suspect this is all a bit beyond your ken at this point . Someday you will understand. By the way, funny of you to say you are not a socialist. Of course many public school teachers would say that. But when you think about it public education is largely a socialist endeavor in so many ways. That is why that disgusting Jack Welch wants to privatize it. That’s why they want vouchers, etc. They don’t want public solid social education available to all. It is too socialistic for them. No one in Bloomberg’s family or Klein’s would ever go to public school.

    Think about it!!!!

  • 72 R. Skibins
    · Oct 23, 2005 at 11:42 pm

    They don’t want public education for the same reason that they don’t want the working class to succeed: They rich want to keep all the power. That is why Republicans historically have been against any program (i.e.: Social Security, public education, Guaranteed Student Loan program, Head Start, Affirmative Action, Medicare, Medicaid)which would help the working class and poor survive and maybe even get ahead. Remember Ronald Reagan, with his “Indians leaving their old to die in the road” statement when justifying his plans to gut Social Security? As a union, our goal should be to strengthen ourselves, not to concede. Also, remember to vote Democrat.

  • 73 jd2718
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:05 am

    Tribeca Teacher,

    Good sentiment. In my school we are voting solidly against, but discussing how we will cope with the provisions if it passes.

    Article 23 for letter in the file abuse, (but not our issue).

    Don’t cave on administrative duties for 6R. We have the right to take it to the chancellor.

    on the 37½, try to get the faculty conferences rolled in (long shot in my school, more likely elsewhere)

    On the 37½, try to get them reconfigured to better suit our school (and avoid destroying our school’s clubs and teams). My DR says that the DoE has changed its ‘mind’ and will allow SBOs on the time.

    (Come to think of it, that sounds like continuing negotiations. So much for them not coming back to the table)

    We can try to make the two pre-Labor Day days mostly classroom set-up, but what a long shot for us. I can already imagine the palpable resentment as we sit through an all day faculty conference AUGUST 31 2006!

    There is no protection against the suspension without pay. I hope that we never face it. This, by the way, is the very worst of the provisions. If someone wants to sell this contract, talk about bulletin boards, or even the cash (as limited as it is). I am disgusted that anyone would pitch the suspensions without pay as anything other than completely negative.

    Transfers are so tricky. Our senior members are supposed to figure out that they are being discriminated against in hiring? Fat chance. It is up to our chapters in the receiving schools to alert 52 Broadway to systematic discrimination in hiring.

    Actually, a lot of this depends on strong chapters. I know that my DR (pro-contract, of course) works very hard to help chapters in new small high schools, but it is tough. It’s like a good part of the small school movements was designed to create ineffectual chapters. And I hear bad stories about weak chapters, barely existant chapters, or principal-dominated chapters, outside of my district.

    Either way, whether the teachers win, or even if the proposal passes, building stronger chapters needs to be a real priority.

    “We are one union!…

    “If this contract does not pass, we need to flood te media and let the public know why we turned it down (it’s our rights not just the money)… explain to the public why the “Kleinberg” machine is wrong!!!

    We need to do it TOGETHER!!!

    Well said.

  • 74 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:30 am


    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.

    I voted No today!! It felt great

    R Skibbins, right on. But too many of our teachers like to think they are so American they are Republicans. They just don’t get it the way you and I do.Hey who voted Giulaini and Bloomberg in in the first place. Look at poor new teacher here. can’t forego this piece of crap wage increase and yet thinks someday he/she could survive without Social Security thanks to her/his own investing acumen. Is not socialist except for public education one supposes. Shows such poor understanding.

  • 75 roseba
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 10:53 am

    coldstorage5 –

    I recommend you rethink your next post on this blog.

    Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Attack the idea, not the person.

    Any further attacks will be dealt with appropriately.

  • 76 redhog
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 11:58 am

    Firebrand: I am a chapter leader unsurpassed in this damned city for standing by our members. My last principal burst into tears because of my tenacity,deviousness,ruthlessness,and tactics to thwart and vanquish her. I am especially proud of having defended most effectively those members who hated my guts personally. I have suffered much in my life because I could not be bought and that hasn’t changed. I have attacked the fascist Klein publicly and luxuriate in provoking his ire. Vote “YES”!

  • 77 TriBeCaTchr
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 12:56 pm

    happenstance wrote “Isn’t there ANYONE out there reading this blog besides me whose school provides valuable professional development?”

    We have it! I am the chapter leader and I (and my staff) do have a say in what we do for PD. A few items come top-down. But they are timely topics. (Today we are talking about testing. Last week we talked about spelling and TEACHERS did computer presentations). We are planning technology/ digital cameras, parent-teacher conference pep-talks, and more!

    We don’t always sit around singing “kumbaya” but we do think that it is helpful. I am lucky to have a principal who understands the purpose of the Union, as she once was a teacher in our school. Yeah… I know… we’re one of the lucky ones!

    That’s why it is soooooo important for us to stick together…. especially in the eyes of the parents and the media….. and stick it to the KLEINBERG!!!!!

  • 78 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 5:10 pm

    I voted “No” today and it felt great!

    For those of you who haven’t voted yet,
    stand up to those who would take away your rights and try to demean you with this pittance of a raise: Vote NO!
    You’ll feel good afterwards.

  • 79 hypatiaNYC
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 8:32 pm


    I also voted today. I read the Memorandum of Agreement and I read all the comments on this blog. I also read the article in this Sunday’s New York Times that outlined the decline in the American labor movement over the last dozen years or so. Workers all across this nation are being forced to cede givebacks, many of them more crucial than a 10 minute longer workday. This is the best deal we are likely to get under this administration (and who knows what the next one will look like?). I can’t afford to fall further behind in salary parity with the suburbs by standing pat for another 4 years, and I don’t think my colleagues are up for a prolonged strike. I voted ‘yes’ and I hope it passes. When the results are announced, we need to put this rancor behind us, and work together with our UFT leadership to make this agreement work for us.

  • 80 firebrand
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    Redhog there is not a chance in hell I will ever vote YES for that swill. I hope more than 50% of your chapter agrees with me…I hope more than 50% of the entire membership agrees with me.

    I too am no slouch in the grievance process…I got my first principal FIRED

    The people in your chapter will not be able to benefit from your expertise should this contract pass as principals and APs will have free reign to attack them

    Yeah yeah yeah I heard Randi’s Shpiel about if too many letters go in files we’ll get it changed…I don’t belive it will happen…not by a long shot..

    Oh and by the way The APs are thinking of giving up tenure in their next contract…so what the hell have they got to lose by torturing us? NOTHING in fact it will be required of them and the decent one…few as they are…will have no recourse…they will have to have done it because they will have sold their souls and tenure away for some money.

    I am not selling my rights to jack away. I hope most of the membership agrees with that sentiment on paper…most of the folks I talk to in my and various other schools are against it…but there will always be cowards who say NO outloud and vote YES in private

    God help them.

  • 81 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 10:35 pm


    I respect your right to vote YES.
    However, I hope it was worth the rights you are agreeing to give up. Having been in the system for 28+ years, I could never willingly vote YES to a contract that took away rights I fought for (and paid for) during my long career. The irony of it is that I’m almost out and it really won’t have much of an impact on me in the long term. How many years do you have before retirement? For your sake, I hope it won’t be long. You can bet that if this one passes, during the next contract negotiation they will ask for even more givebacks.

    Oh well, as the song goes:
    “Que sera, sera…-
    what will be, will be”.

  • 82 Hoa_Buu
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 10:35 pm

    unusual analogy in the title… I’m not liking it… condescending a little…

    GO UFT!

  • 83 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    Brooklyn Teacher,

    I love your comments. I enter my 30th year this winter. I earn quite a bit passed max due to the structure of my program, I’m looking at 115K plus with the new contract. On some level I could have voted yes so easily, but like you I just couldn’t. I went into teaching to make a difference and do something for kids. Not to toot my own horn but if I had saved everything I spent on kids over the decades it would fund quite a nice supplemental check in its own right, I’d easily have 50G right there which could produce a nice supplemental annuity. But I am a better person if a bit too self rightous for all I did for the kids. I am a better person for voting no and so I believe are you!!!!

  • 84 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 24, 2005 at 11:51 pm


    Glad you mentioned The Times, the problem is a lot of those workers also voted Republican as do many of our teachers, idiots that they be. Maybe now they are waking up to just what the Repulican party is all about. I mean on some level teachers who voted in these Republican mayors especially their buddy Giulianni who paved the way for Bloomberg are now getting their just desserts.

  • 85 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 6:51 am

    Thanks Shouldhave..

    I’ve enjoyed reading your comments as well. Hopefully we made a little bit of a difference in terms of getting others to make a more careful and informed decision – whether Yes or NO.

  • 86 redhog
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 5:01 pm

    When the ratification is over, let’s all of us who have fought over its merits on this blog meet for dinner!

  • 87 firebrand
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    ok we should stiff Randi with the bill though

  • 88 newerteacher
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 6:44 pm

    i voted yes. i hope it passes. call me uninformed, and whatever else. i would have felt terrible voting no. however, i still stand by the one thing i said on this blog, even if no one ever responded to it: older teachers, we younger teachers are never granted the authority and power you naturally have as you get older and hopefully wiser. in fact, we are ridiculed for our apparent lack of knowledge, as shouldhavegone demonstrates. those of you who have something to stand for, why don’t you do something big instead of being cowards who can only post on a message board?

    when i read about rosa parks’s death today, i realized that none of the older teachers have chosen to blaze a similiar path even if discrimination against us in nowhere near as strong as it was against blacks when ms. parks made her mark. this fact only makes it worse. for such a mild mannered woman in her forties to do what she did in the face of such opposition is incredible. why can’t the older teachers on this board do even half of what she did? why can’t they do any more than ridiculous rallies and pickets? get into the union and make a change. now is YOUR time.

    or, are you just going to retire and say, “well, they got what they deserved.”? i hope the answer will surprise me. THEN, anyone can call me uninformed and naive without my taking umbrage.

  • 89 frogmugsy
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 7:25 pm

    I don’t even think you’re a teacher and if you are by some weird chance, get the heck out. What on earth are you saying? You sound crazy.

  • 90 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 25, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    Newer teacher,

    You don’t make much sense to me either. If you voted yes, for that stupid money I feel sorry for you. Why don’t you bar tend or wait tables while we wait it out another year or so – it won’t be much longer than that for a better contract.

    Your Rosa Parks comments are strange but I am glad you read about her, reflected about her and were touched by her impressive life. You might be surprised to know I thought about you today when I heard about Rosa Parks. Do you realize Rosa Parks died impecunious? Do you undertand she couldn’t pay her rent in her later months, so the landlord did not even charge her?

    I thought of you because just the other day you were illogically talking about how you didn’t believe in Socialism and yet here you are praising Rosa Parks! But if you understood Economics 101 you would realize it was we senior workers going to work decade in and decade out who have been giving Ms. Parks what little she had in her later years through Medicare and Social Security. Thank God we were able to help that noble woman. As I told you the other day I love paying into Social Security just so I can help the elderly. You then ranted illogically about how you would rather help your grandparents yourelf and that you are not socialist. Perhaps great intentions but fiscally a true no can do.

    Rosa Parks shows vividly with her life that the most celebrated,noted and even history changing people can end up alone and with little in life. She also demonstrates why the safety net of socialistic programs where we can help each other will always be vital.

  • 91 redhog
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 6:58 am

    Hey, hear this! At my school a few days ago, an assistant principal fell asleep during a formal observation of a teacher.Upon awakening, she demanded to know why the teacher failed to cover material that, in fact, had been covered while the A.P. was comotose. This A.P. is among the most inept and malevolent in the Nation, no doubt. I have the goods on her. P.S. Of course it’s irrelevant in our City, but the A.P. is supervising teachers in areas of subject knowledge in which she has rock-bottom zero training or skills, as opposed to her subordinates, who are experts.

  • 92 Bklynteacher
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 5:36 pm


    I happen to have a decent administration. This is all our newer staff members know. Our Union Rep helps to keep them honest (so to speak).

    Before the vote, the more senior teachers urged these newer teachers to think ahead and understand that things do change. Administrators may be promoted or relocate and leave the school. A replacement administrator may be the administrator from h—, like the one you described.

    We’d all like to think that fairness and good judgment are attributes characteristic of all our administrators but my years of experience have proven otherwise.

    No rose-colored glasses here! This is why we need our Union rights to protect us from administrators like you described.

    I have to say, I have lost respect for our Union leadership. How could they put us in this position?

  • 93 bloomyhater
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 12:17 am

    To New Teacher,

    I am glad to see that I am not the only that voted yes. Everyone should vote yes. I understand that some people feel that a “No” vote is the only way to go, but to vote “No” isn’t going to force Bloomberg or Klein back to the table. He will be happy that the teachers, etc. voted no. He won’t have to pay the 15 per cent increase. If he ever negotiated again, I think the only thing he will offer is 4.25 like he gave DC37. He’ll be Mayor again, so he doesn’t have to do anything except gloat.

    He would love it if the UFT would strike. Look how much money the city would save and then he would turn around and give us an increase with our own money. I can’t afford to go on strike and I can’t afford to wait another 7 or 8 years for an increase. 15 per cent is not bad considering what the administration originally offered. Even if Sanitation or Police received a slightly higher raise, their jobs are potentially more dangerous and new cops and sanitation workers will make less money. They sold out new workers down the road, but the UFT didn’t sell out new teachers.

    To believe that by saying “No” is going to force Bloomberg’s hand and make him negotiate is hogwash. He doesn’t have to do anything. He is running the school system the way he does his own business. I worked in the outside field before I became a school secretary, and I know what it is to wait a number of years without a raise and then the raise that you get is $5 or$10 a week.

    Nobody wants to go back in time, for instance, teachers back on lunchroom duty, but it could be a lot worse. Letters in the file, is a good point to be upset about, but at least the letter will be removed from the file in 3 years, if it is not used any further. Most teachers, secretaries, don’t have letters placed in their file, and if the number increases, the Union will fight it. The Mayor already made that clear.

    Voting “YES” is the only way to go. At least we have a higher salary the next time that their is a contract negotiation and Bloomberg will be on his way out. Maybe then there will be a fighting chance at a better contract. There is no way of getting one now. If we vote
    “No,” we will only lose and Bloomberg will be a big winner, not only on Election Day, but getting what he wants — a big “No” from the UFT.

    I am very surprised when he offered higher than what the Panel suggested. There had to be an inner motive for Bloomberg to do that, but we can’t let him win.

    Vote Yes, I did. I know that it doesn’t effect me the same way, since secretaries were able to give up 1 ten minute break in order not to put in the 10 extra minutes, but secretaries get a shorter lunch break now. Most secretaries put the 40 minute lunch and 2 ten minute breaks together and took an hour lunch, but now we can’t. Secretaries can suffer from letters in the file, just the way teachers can. We also have to put in the 2 extra days before Labor Day.

    Everyone should really give this a lot of thought, but still vote “Yes.” It is the only sensible thing to do.

  • 94 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 1:10 am

    why is is sensible to vote yes? You gave up so much for a cost of living raise, but it isn’t even a cost of living raise at that.

  • 95 steadyeddieg
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    Of course, this contract is bad. Sy Fliegel and Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute love it. These 2 poor imitations of human beings have been bashing teachers for years.
    Voting no DOES NOT mean going on strike. In 1995 the contract was voted down. No strike began as a result. Within several months, basically the same thing was agreed to but with some givebacks remmoved.
    Randi darling, have you tried cafeteria duty? What a joy to have a class and to know that when the bell rings, you will have to run downstairs to the cafeteria. After 40 some odd miserable minutes, it’s time to run up the stairs to meet your class. They will already be there and mayhem will result. You never thought this out. For the salary that you pull down and your double pension, this is a disgrace. A contract as lousy as this could have been rammed down our throats earlier. What took you so long dearie?
    Not only should this contract be rejected, steps should be taken to remove you and your unity caucus cronies back into the classroom-teaching full time. See what it’s like.