Fact Finding Revisited

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the October 2012 UFT Delegate Assembly)
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2012 October.

FACT FINDING- REVISITED

Our contract expired in October 2009. The UFT was prepared to negotiate in good faith. But that proved impossible given the hostility and unwillingness of the city administration. In other words, long ago we hit an impasse. Clearly, any attempt to negotiate a contract with the Bloomberg administration is out of the question.

Upon appeal, the state’s Public Employee Relations Board appointed a mediator to see if headway could be made. There could not. Finally, the UFT decided to go to fact finding. The UFT and DOE decided on a panel of three arbitrators. And after the UFT and DOE present their cases, the arbitrators will issue a report. In the past, while the report is NOT binding it usually becomes the basis of the final settlement.

However, we should ask, “Is fact finding the road to take to get us to a good contract?”

What does this mean and what can we expect?

Fact finding offers no guarantee that the UFT point of view will prevail. In 2005 the fact finding report was loaded with givebacks despite the fact that President Weingarten and other UFTers who testified at hearings made an excellent case for us.

We saw the DOE demands this time – they were published in the newspapers. They demanded one core issue giveback after another. Yet there is real chance that the fact finders will agree with us on some issues, but also agree with several of the DOE demands for givebacks. Our members simply cannot afford that scenario!

New Action believes that we must stand united, including with all our chapter members: paras, secretaries, social workers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, librarians, non DOE members see gains in the next contract.

But we must also prepare the membership for a contract fight. We must mobilize all union members to reject any givebacks in the fact finding report.

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