Archive for April, 2013

The Fight for Salary Parity!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the April 2013 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 April

The Fight for Salary Parity!

In 1997, New Action began a fight to win salary equality with surrounding school districts. In March 1998, the seven New Action members of the UFT Executive Board proposed a resolution to make salary a number one bargaining demand. The leadership caucus (Unity) unanimously REJECTED that proposal.

In 2000 New Action organized informational picketing in front of schools for salary parity. The picketing began ½ hour before school. Picketing continued on the 11th of each month (our demand was raises of 11%, 11%, and 11%.) In January we started picketing in front of 30 schools, we continued in February and March, and by April the number of schools had grown to over 100. In May 2000, New Action cancelled our picketing because the union leadership announced picketing would take place in May and June. It was a great victory and lesson for rank and file educators.

Here we are again in 2013 and New Action is once again raising the demand for SALARY PARITY!  We need a thorough survey of surrounding districts, but here’s just one point of comparison (and the New Rochelle numbers are from 2010!):

Starting

5 years/MA

10 yrs/MA + 30

Top

New York City

$45K

$56K

$74K

$100K

New Rochelle

$52K

$67K

$90K

$130K

 

TWO FROM THE ARCHIVES

Fall 1997 –  SALARIES at ALL-TIME LOW! SALARY PARITY FOR EDUCATORS

Several school systems in the NYC metropolitan area have addressed the need to be competitive and raise their salary schedules to the level of surrounding districts. New York City teachers now earn up to 40% less than teachers in neighboring districts. Our union leadership, which has allowed this to happen, has yet to propose a solution.

Parity is Possible!

Levittown and Yonkers, two working class communities without large corporate tax bases, implemented parity plans in 1989. The Yonkers plan called for 4.5% salary increases every six months for five years. (This has nothing to do with just negotiated three year 11% package which raises their MA+30 salary to $80,963 next year). Salaries in Yonkers, which were lower than NYC and most Westchester districts, are now much more competitive and much higher than NYC.

The Levittown plan was based on first determining average salaries of 13 surrounding school districts. Their plan called for seven years of a fixed percent raise above the annual average raise of the surrounding 13  districts. Last year maximum salary was $80.,672.

Based on these two successful models NYC can develop a plan to achieve parity.

-develop a formula and determine the average salary of school districts in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland counties-select a time frame (5-7 years) and a predetermined set raise, or

-select a time frame and pay raise that is a fixed percent above the average raise in surrounding districts. The fixed percent is calculated to achieve parity with those districts in the 5-7 year time-frame.

 

On 9/22/97, New Action/UFT proposed such a plan to the UFT Executive Board. It was rejected by the Unity majority.

The plan is necessary, reasonable, and achievable. It should be presented to the Board of Education, the Mayor, parents, politicians, media and the public. Now is the time while education is a top priority and money is available.

Educational Parity for `Students.

The plan for “pay parity for teachers” should be linked to “educational parity for students.” The UFT must also fight to achieve full funding from Albany, lower class sizes, and guaranteed safe, well equipped and uncrowded schools equivalent to those in surrounding districts.

It is more than two years before negotiations begin on our new contract. New Action/UFT believes that the campaign for pay and educational parity must begin now.

 

Resolution Presented On Salary Parity March 11, 1998

Whereas, New York City is experiencing a second year of record windfall surpluses of over one billion dollars, and

Whereas, the salary gap between UFT members and educators in surrounding districts ranges from 10-25% for new teachers, to 25-40% for senior teachers, and

Whereas, the need to attract and retain qualified staff has taken on greater significance, be it

Resolved, that the UFT establish a working plan based on Levittown, Yonkers or similar plans to achieve salary parity with surrounding school districts

 

UFT Elections – New Action wins 10 seats – Disappointing Turnout

Based on yesterday’s unofficial returns (and as expected), New Action will have 10 seats on the new UFT Executive Board. New Action returns Douglas Haynes, Francisco Peña, Maria Ramos, Michael Shulman (at large) and Bill Goldman and Jonathan Halabi (high schools), and adds Joel Garcia, Regina Gori and Kate Martin-Bridge (at large) and Keith Fessel (high schools).

New Action’s vote was 9.4%, a decline from 2010, but better than the previous two elections.

The big story, unfortunately, is the overall drop in turnout. Less than one in four UFTers returned ballots. Among in-service members, just 18% participated.

This is symptomatic of many members not feeling part of the union, not being involved. But that is where a union’s strength should lie, in an active membership. New Action will continue to prioritize rebuilding chapters and organizing at the school level, to involve members in the life of our union.

The drop in vote is also symptomatic of members being overwhelmed, angry, and confused: Overwhelmed by the unreasonable and unceasing demands of a system that seems designed to punish educators with paperwork and impossible requirements, not to allow us to educate children; Angry about colocations and school closings, about the threat of being forced into the ATR pool, about losing 20 or more days each year to testing and test prep, angry about maltreatment at the hands of abusive administrators; Confused that our union is not doing more, and is cooperating with Danielson and a new, potentially dangerous teacher evaluation system. Each of these is a challenge to our strength. New Action remains committed to addressing all of these issues – be it by supporting the leadership, by urging a more active approach, or by opposing the leadership where they have taken a wrong stance.

There is much work going forward.

UFT Elections coming to a close

For those of you who voted for us, thank you. For those of you who actively supported us, thank you.

New Action’s message – we support the leadership when they are right, and oppose them when they are wrong – got out to tens of thousands of UFTers. We want members to know we are progressive, influential, and independent.

Tomorrow is the last day for ballots to arrive at the American Arbitration Association.

The count will be Thursday. We will write something about the results here.