Dear UFT Members,

We all have varying opinions on the contract proposal. I ask that you familiarize yourself with its content and be informed prior to casting your ballot. You can go to the UFT and DOE websites and read their descriptions (uft.org or nycenet.edu). The actual language of the contract has not yet been made available.

Job Security:

Current:
∑ If a school closes down, teachers are placed in other schools based on seniority
∑ excessed teachers can “bump” a less senior teacher in another school
∑ senior teachers can transfer and bump less senior teachers

Proposed: ELIMINATION of above mentioned seniority rights. If you are excessed or if your school closes down, you are a district sub unless you can find your own job. (In other words, if the chancellor decides to reorganize our school as he has done with the high schools, we are all district substitute teachers.)

Additional Time:

Current: 6 hour and 30 minute work day plus 60 additional minutes on Mondays for professional development.
Proposed: 6 hour 57 _ minute work day (yes, that is one half of a minute) Monday thru Thursday and 6 hours and 30 minutes on Fridays
Difference: total additional minutes add up to 4 _ days.

Current: additional time is used for PD
Proposed: additional time will be a 37 _ minute teaching period every day except Friday.
Difference: 4 additional teaching periods per week and the
elimination of PD Mondays

Current: Report to work the day after Labor Day
Proposed: Report to work Thursday and Friday before Labor Day
Difference: 2 additional days (for Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island and 3 add’l days for Brooklyn/Queens)





Professional Duties:

Current: teachers participate in professional activities such as tutoring, IEP planning, etc…
teachers cannot be assigned lunch, hallway, bathroom and bus duty
Proposed: principals can assign any teacher to lunch, hallway, bathroom and bus duties.
Difference: all of your education has now prepared you for “potty patrol” and food fights.

Salary Increase:

14.25% compounded which equals 15% over 52 months and 12 days.

∑ June 2003 thru November 2003: 0.00%
∑ December 2003 thru November 2004: 2.00%
∑ December 2004 thru October 2005: 3.50%
∑ November 2005 thru Sept 2006 5.50%
∑ October 2006 (contract expires 10/07) 3.25%
14.25%

average yearly increase (compounded) = less than 3.5%

Letter in the File Grievances:

Current: all teachers have the right to file a grievance if an “inaccurate” or
“unfair” letter is placed in their file

Proposed:
∑ teachers can no longer file such a grievance
∑ letter(s) will be removed after 3 years if you aren’t brought up on disciplinary charges
∑ the “inaccurate” and “unfair” standard no longer applies

Difference:
∑ we no longer have recourse against spiteful, retaliatory administrators
∑ an untruthful, negative letter will only come out of your file if you aren’t brought up on disciplinary charges after 3years. There seems to be no provision that accounts for the “accuracy” or “fairness” of a letter.
∑ I’ve read nothing about a burden of proof.

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Why I’m Voting No to the Contract Proposal

(For the sake of brevity I have concentrated on 3 core issues: job security, additional time and salary increase)

The elimination of job security is unacceptable. During my first 3 years of teaching I was excessed twice. These are the dues you pay when you are the new kid on the block. I took my lumps knowing that with each year I gained seniority and was closer to job security. This new contract proposal takes me back to where I was when I was 24 years old. Only now, I have a mortgage and other grown-up bills, and my right to a regular teaching position, in a system to which I’ve dedicated almost 17 years, is now abolished. The new contract proposal ignores my 17 years of satisfactory service and places me as a substitute teacher if my school should be reorganized at the whim of the chancellor. Job security should be a union’s first priority when negotiating a contract. The Mayor’s press release states the following: “…teachers who are excessed 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.” The NY Times reported, “veteran teachers seeking a position would no longer be able to bump junior colleagues.”
The new contract proposes that we begin work in August as the suburbs do, yet we continue to work the last week in June while our suburban colleagues are on vacation (let’s not forget about ‘snow days’ as well). No one acknowledges that our increased class size means we do more than our suburban colleagues (more PIP’s, more Eclass, more DRA’s, more teacher reflections on baselines, more portfolios, etc…).
The elimination of PD Mondays is certainly a plus. However, the DOE is combining that time with the additional 10 minutes, so we will now have an additional teaching period of 37 _ minutes four days per week. This is the Mayor’s way of saving on per session. He is looking to save money by eliminating after school programs.




Now let’s discuss the money. A close examination of the 15% reveals the following:
∑ It is 14.25%, which compounded equals 15%
∑ From May 31, 2003 (when our contract expired) thru Nov 2003 we get 0%. That is 6 full months w/out an increase.
∑ From Dec 2003 thru Nov 2004 we get 2%
∑ From Dec 2004 thru October 2005 we get 3.5%

From the time our contract expired until today we get a total of 5.5%. Bloomberg wins. His stall tactics worked. We get 5.5% over the course of 29 months. This is a 2.3% increase per year. When our contract expired in May 2003, Bloomberg offered us 5% over 36 months. That would have been a 1.7% increase per year (2.3% per year vs. 1.7% per year). Both are unacceptable.
∑ November 1st we will get an additional 3.25%.
∑ October 1st 2006 we will get an additional 5.5% (that’s one year away)
When all is said and done our compounded raise equals 15 % over 52 months and 12 days. This is less than 3.5% per year. It is even less, if you factor in the additional time. When you add up all of the additional days and minutes, you are now working
6 _ days longer. This is a 3.5% increase of our time. Is the 15% still appealing to you?

If this contract is ratified we will never get back what we are giving away. Two years from now we will be right back at the negotiating table. Get ready for another time for money swap. The precedent will have been set – 2 contracts in a row with significant givebacks. For those of you planning on retiring this year or next, I can fully appreciate your desperation at wanting a settlement. However, for the rest of us, I need to ask: Are you really that desperate? Are you really that afraid to stand up for your rights – for what’s fair? Are you willing to sell your soul for 14.25% compounded?

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Dear UFT Members:

I was against the last contract (11/16/00 thru 5/31/03). I will always vote no to a time for money swap especially when we are simultaneously being denied a basic cost of living raise. However, I was able to recognize that the majority of the membership would benefit from it. We got an additional 6% for 20 minutes per day. We received a total of 16% over 30 _ months. That was an average of 6.3% per year – TWICE AS MUCH as we are being offered today. This new proposal is a different animal. This proposal sets us back 30 years and 3% per year adds insult to injury. The language of the contract proposal is now available on the UFT website (uft.org). Some of my additional concerns are as follows:
∑ A teacher who has been charged (not convicted, just charged) with sexual misconduct shall be suspended w/OUT pay. If an irate parent or a troubled student makes an unsubstantiated allegation, you are without a livelihood until the DOE schedules a hearing and you are cleared. Most of us know about our former colleague who has been sitting in the “rubber room” since September 2004. He has yet to have his hearing. Imagine yourself falsely accused and waiting for a hearing. This provision contains a clause that allows the DOE to seek adjournment after adjournment until you’re forced into bankruptcy.
“The 3020-a hearing should be completed within two months…unless the DOE has received an adjournment OR OTHERWISE DELAYED the proceeding.” If they can suspend us without pay, what incentive do they ever have in scheduling a speedy hearing. We have the right to a speedy trial in our criminal court system but are at the mercy of the DOE if someone makes an unfounded allegation. (I honestly could not believe what I was reading. I am dumbfounded that we could be stripped of such basic rights.) “Excessed teachers repeatedly unable to find a position may receive job seeking assistance…from the Peer Intervention Program.” The Peer Program used to be for teachers in danger of a U rating. Now it would be for good teachers whose schools have been closed or who have been otherwise excessed.
∑ Circular 6: As I mentioned in my earlier writings the principal can assign us to lunch duty. Under this proposal we can be given yard duty and bus duty as well. Thirty-five degree and ninety-five degree days in the schoolyard should not be part of a PROFESSIONAL’S job description. And supervising children getting on and off a school bus when the snow is piling up isn’t very professional either. Our current contract allows for the principal to establish the position(s) of lunchroom coordinator for each lunch period. Additionally, teachers can volunteer for these assignments. Only one of our staff members volunteered and we voted it down. This tells me that we recognize ourselves as quality educators who should spend our time teaching. (It’s only a matter of time; school aides will be eliminated and teachers will pick up all of the slack.)
∑ School secretaries will lose a 10 minute break daily. (We are all being bludgeoned to death with nickels and dimes.)
We have to stay strong. We can do better. This brings me to the only counter-argument I have heard: It’s the Best That We Can Do.


“We won’t get anything better” is a mindset rooted in defeatism. I refuse to believe that the majority of our membership is that resigned to being the abused, bastard step child of education. Some day, and maybe the time is now, the well-meaning, hard-working, “non-political” teachers of
NYC will be enough in number to wake this city up. We will stop the brow-beaten and tired colleague from whispering scary thoughts in our ears. We will listen to the voice of reasonable dissent; we will think for ourselves and
form our own opinions. We will think. We will speak. And we will act. And when we do - we will achieve. For now, all you have to do –
is vote No.