A Timeline for the UFT Contract: Executive Board Minutes, 4-24-2023

Summary/Analysis: There was some pretty big news tonight on contract. Carl Cambria explained that ideally we’ll have a tentative agreement before Summer. In terms of what’s left, most of what we’re looking at now is workplace-related (negotiations with the DOE). On the City end, the pattern is set, and unless we have givebacks in some other place (e.g. working extra hours), UFT leadership is conceding that we won’t be getting much more than DC37 in terms of wages – if we get more than them at all. As an aside, I’ll just note here that I suspect they’ll set the vote just before summer in part to help obviate the chances of a no vote). So yes, this will not be Los Angeles. Prepare for a paycut, but hopefully our organizing/negotiating efforts get us somewhere on working conditions.

In other news, we heard more about our existential fight on charters, heard from ICs and SPED teachers on the issues they’re dealing. There is also some more info on the DOE new curriculum initiative. For these and many other topics covered tonight, see below in the full minutes.

Informal Minutes Follow.

Open Mic:

Christina Gavin: CL at 754x and librarian, D75 school in D7. PEP unanimously approved charter expansion. Thank you for support, UFT, including J. Hinds, M. Atkinson, A. Klug, and 7 HS exec board members. Highly restrictive environment at our site. A lot of space needed for services. Worried about expansion of middle school into this high school space. Hoping charter will find its own space with your help.

IC from Brooklyn South: Thanks UFT for what have done for now. Noticing that union is saying want to build community. Union hasn’t done anything to bring us together to help hear/see you guys. Unions that are getting voices out there, are having connections with members on a regular basis. Don’t feel like I’m getting that from leadership – don’t want to exhaust CL. Can you help us to build community?

Jessica Roche: Teacher / Cl in E. Harlem. Access to NEST. Been teaching 12:1:1 bridge for many years, etc. School first to host some AST NEST programs. One of the only examples of DOE doing something right. Services students with autism. Feel like applications drop into black holes – not enough staff to process applications, not enough spaces for horizon program. I see parents sue, but we already have the programs, so shouldn’t have to. If we don’t have the ability to support students in these programs, how do we as the UFT make sure students have access to programs and we have access to trainings?

Approval of the Minutes: All passed.

President not here, but other reports.

Janella Hinds: Charter school initiative. Last DA passed a reso in support of what we’re doing (anti-Hochul initiative). Budget was due April 1,  but it’s April 24th. One of the reasons it’s so late is because of this charter school battle, still ongoing in Albany. Calling out legislators in support. Particularly upset about the Zombie charters. Saturday, there was a lively group participating in a rally opposed to Hochul’s proposal, in the Bronx, Roberto Clemente Plaza. Jamal bowman there, parents and community there. One of the speakers was a student expelled from her charter school – a senior with 3 months left. Disgusting situation; this school community forced her and two others out. She spoke about the opportunities taken away from her. We’re working with her so that she can graduate in a district school. These schools often have to pick up the pieces. Christina mentioned a charter expanse in her building – a UFT represented charter school. That school has said they want to be in another site (one that combines both of their schools), and we have been in support of Christina so that the folks in her school have the space. We are waiting for state budget to be finalized – we’ll continue to fight. NYSUT will soon put out some materials.

Michael Sill: January, get a list from DOE of people at risk of being terminated for certification. 3,000 people in January, which is typical. Sometimes they just have to do something quick, the list is now under 600. DOE often cryptic, often just people have to talk to someone. Folks who were on leave until the end of the year are getting emails that they have to let DOE know – we’re calling everyone – there’s a May deadline. Otherwise, deemed resigned.

Mary Vacarro: Quick report on next curriculum project. We met with DOE. Some agreements. Agreement that all chapter leaders in districts will be invited to a meeting before it’s rolled out to anyone else. They’ll be released from school for the day. Also, we have agreement teacher centers which will be district based. Will be working with superintendents in those districts. Bad news – there’s one, May 8, training that will only be done by third party district. Each district will have a field staff person from teacher center. They’ll be coming back here and reporting to the district rep. We will embed a teacher center in any school that is still looking. We’ll interview coaches to make them teacher center, get them ready. Lastly, we will be going to AFT Teach this summer. Their focus will be reading. We’ll embed some of the trainings in those days. Coaches will be invited to that training. One training just for NYC. Also, every CL will get a list of what should be supplied to classrooms, K-5. That should be out within the next 3 weeks.

Leo Gordon: Chip bill. State is working on a semi-conductor curriculum, state-wide. Started with conversation with teachers – what that curriculum should look like. Invited by largest semi-conductor company in country, they loved our curriculum ideas. New York will be at the forefront of this work. Gonna be a training this summer, 3-5 schools this state. We’ll pilot most likely next year, then bring on more schools to the pilot.

Carl Cambria: Negotiation update. Those of you at DA heard Mulgrew talk about the governance meeting that happened that morning. Positive meeting in that City came ready to respond to each of our general demands. Not everything was a yes, some yes, maybe, no, there was a willingness to come out at a quicker pace to head into Spring. Internally, we started in June. In October, we had our big 500 meeting. Subcommittees have been meeting. Had teach in in Jan. In Feb, we passed demands across the table to the DOE (full gen). That’s also when we wore green with DC37. In March, we continued – did we? – yes, grade in. Today, leafletting has begun. There’s been an escalation of intensity. Gone from teaching our own members to going out to the public and showing all the extra work we have to do. Today, began interacting with the community. We do not have time in the workday to get everything done that we have to get done. So now, we’ve created an intense negotiation schedule for May. Exact dates to come. May action as well, increasing intensity. Over course of month, going to try and whittle down as much as possible, so that we’re in a position to get this contract set for ratification ASAP. City is more ready to do that than DOE. They have their pattern and uniform pattern set. That part of the negotiation is now less intense. We’re having some debates on exact amount of value and how that applies to the UFT. The more difficult partner in all of this is the DOE—whatever they’re calling themselves now—getting them to focus/engage with us on topics on the table. That’s what we’re focused on in May. These leafletting campaigns will help get DOE to start to work with us on workplace stuff. Leafletting is at a crucial time, heals of that governance meeting, May intense – we’ll finish that to know if we’ll have an agreement for the summer or not.

Tammy: Lost long time, provider chapter, secretary, executive board member, Dr. Cynthia Reid. Had her funeral service last Friday. Was with us from inception of our chapter. Previously, called us and helped 125 get payment. She is why their pay did not stop. Moment of silence.

LeRoy Barr: Spring conference coming up on May 20th.


Luli: We get reports from districts. We should also get a regular grievance report. We should know how many step 1 were filed, how many were rejected/passed for step 2, how many went to arbitration, how many resolved in our favor. In past, was told that we had reports made here, so we had that info. Can we get that kind of report?

LeRoy Barr: Used to report on different wins.

Mark  Collins: We can give you a report on some numbers and some other things we’ve been

Nick Bacon: Tenure season – which unfortunately also means that it’s discontinuance/denial season. This is a very anxious time for teachers who don’t yet have tenure. It’s especially anxiety provoking for high school teachers, who effectively lose their careers as high school teachers in the DOE if they get discontinued/denied. So, we had a resolution together about the disproportionate impact of discontinuances on high school teachers.. It was nicely motivated by Alex here, then by me and Mike sill at the DA. It passed. So I’m following up on that. After our efforts to date, has the DOE changed their minds?

Mike Sill: Have not changed their minds, but we’ve raised it. Can check in and raise it at the next exec board and see if they’ve changed it. Nick, we can check in on next steps.

Ilona Nanay: When Carl came up about the pattern, it sounded like the pattern is now locked in. Is there any chance, and I know folks have combed through for other value, is there any chance we could break that pattern? Members are always asking about wage increases and salary. Is that a given?

Carl Cambria: So the likelihood of us breaking the pattern is very slim. Never happened in the city’s history. Gone to arbitration and in other places, it’s not broken. We’re not gonna break the pattern. In terms of how high our wage increases will go, you can’t expect them to go much higher than DC37. There is PBA, but it’s a different pattern for uniform. Still stuff to look at there. Is possible if we were to give in to some demands, the value might increase. That would not break the pattern, but might make our final numbers higher, but only from some sort of negotiation on the whole.

Reports from Districts

Alex Jallot: Report on action to save West Side High School, located on UWS, service students who need to fulfill credit requirements, give services like childcare, counseling. Currently, DOE wants to send them to the east side, which would divorce ability to service. Have been rallies. Press. Understanding is that students will be negatively impact, especially in terms of counseling/childcare. What can be done now? Well, call 311 and let Mayor that we want WSHS to stay in same location. If can’t do that, May 1 -May Day-if not on the streets, call in to PEP at 5:30 to speak in support.

Michael Friedman: Denny Wilson, great unionist, member of staff, by coincidence he taught at West Side High School and I agree with your sentiments. He was born at St. Vincent, member of parliament there. Commanding figure. Got unfortunate news that he died on April 7. Attended memorial service. Never met anyone with a bad word to say. Moment of silence.

Seung Lee: Game night for members. D3/D2 already started leafletting. D2 in news. Excellent organizing events, learned more about the contract, one big thing we can do is take back our time. Hope chapters take this as a chance to come together as a staff – on taking back our time.

Joe Usatch: Thanks Michael Friedman. Happy to announce that high school students have been selected for A. Shanker scholarship. We have 195 undergrad students, 10 more than ever given out. Most graduate students, 12 total, usually 8. Saved a few bucks over the pandemic. June 6 event. Thanks many.

LeRoy Barr: We didn’t take wages at one point to make sure that we’re funding that scholarship, so you’re contributing to that whether you know it or not. Thank you for making that possible.

Name Missed (elementary): Happy Eid. Thanks Seung for sharing on game night. D5, we had a principal’s panel. UFT there, 3 principals, teachers, prospective teachers. Lastly, hiring fair in May for D5, May 18th (virtual) and 19th (in person).

Janella Hinds: Invite everyone to high school awards, May 5.



  • Avatar
    Andy K

    It is strange to read that UFT is following the Pattern Set for DC37. DC 37 is taking 67% pay cut ( 9 % inflations, 3 % raise , means 6% net pay cut).
    If we can’t get a raise to just keep up with inflation, then what is the role of the UFT.
    UFT leadership needs to show some spine here. UFT looks like a mere messenger of the city to break new to us. We wanted union to stand up for us but DC37 pattern raise looks like a sell-out.
    UFT leadership is so far removed from the boots on the ground. If city is not giving inflation adjusted raises then did UFT think about asking 150 minutes (Mondays and Tuesdays) back?
    Is the leadership even fit for negotiating on behalf of us? I doubt that.
    I would like UFT leadership to start treating its members with respect, be transparent and stand up for them.

    • BaconUFT

      It’s not just that we’re following the pattern – it’s that we let a much weaker union go first in negotiations and set it for us. I personally also think we should have done more to stop DC37 leadership from setting subinflation raises. I made this point at an executive board. UFT leadership responded that they didn’t think it was appropriate to do so – interfering with another union’s contract and all. (Yes, another union’s contract, but a pattern that sets our wages…). The truth is that, unless we show the City that we’re willing to fight for our right to strike, the City has no reason to fear us. That’s why LA is getting 21% over 3 years, and we’re getting something like 16.21% over 5.5.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    Evil Mulgrew is a genius for letting DC37 set the pattern instead of the UFT. Since DC37 set the pattern, he can just throw up his hands and say to us, “Hey, the pattern is set, there is nothing else I can do.” He’s right about this and he now does not have to fight Adams on pay. However, the bigger deal, of which I have been mentioning all along, is our working conditions. At the meeting last night, the word is that the DOE is being very difficult in bending on working conditions for us. Mulgrew should have been dealing with the DOE since June but it looks like he has not. Thus, we may be doomed for yet another shitty deal with crappy pay and no improvements to our working conditions such as extended day. The bottom line is that if we vote no, and the contract is not ratified, the City will more than likely refuse to further bargain. And why should they? They have nothing to loose and everything to gain if we vote no on the contract. We can’t strike and if we vote no, the city will save literally billions by not paying us for a raise, retro money, or a $3,000 dollar sign on bonus. As Pinball said in the great movie, Con Air, “We be f*cked”.

    • BaconUFT

      Historically, no votes have tended to help improve our contract. They tell the City that while leadership might be ok with a deal, the membership is not. And they get worried about next steps from members as a result. The City has an interest in labor harmony, per their amicus brief in Janus.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    If we tell the City that we don’t agree with UFT leadership by voting no on a contract, I don’t think the City is going to give a crap. The City has nothing to fear about any next steps members might take because there is literally not any legal, next steps to take. I also don’t believe for one second that there would be enough UFT members willing to engage in an illegal wildcat strike. Further, I disagree with your point that the city has an interest in labor harmony due to Janus. Hardly anybody in the municipal labor force opted out of paying dues since Janus. In fact, the city is currently a fan of labor disharmony by pitting the unions against each other in the MCL. None of the other unions are loving DC37 for ratifying a sub-inflation contract. If anything, the disharmony with our unions makes it less likely that any large, citywide job action would take place. I hope I am wrong, but that is just how I see it right now.

    • BaconUFT

      A unanimous yes vote to a bad contract does nothing for us. My point about Janus isn’t about Janus itself, it’s what the City wrote in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court during Janus, which I quoted in an article on the right to strike a whole back. They don’t want a return to the strike heavy 60s, and so they have an interest in maintaining solid bargaining. A no vote sends up huge red flags, which I suspect is why no votes have gotten us better contracts with the City in the past. But, yes, we need to also be fighting for the right to strike and organizing capacity to strike if we want to really do better.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    Note: If we are handed a crappy contract in regard to working conditions, I am going to vote NO. My point is that I do not see the City budging on either a decent pay raise of positive changes to our working conditions if we do not ratify the contract. We should all vote no in principal, even if the city does not budge. However, we will be stuck for a long time without any raise if the City refuses to budge after a no ratification vote.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    I do not think we will ever go back to the strike heavy 60’s. UFT has not gone on strike since then. It’s still illegal and I do not think Mulgrew will ever even consider calling a general strike because he values his “seat at the table” with the Mayor and does not want to piss off families with kids. MTA did a transit strike in the early 2000’s and from my understanding, they never fully recovered from that. The state legislature might be tempted to make strikes legal again but that is a long shot and the Governor would more than likely not be in favor of it. Do I think the municipal unions should push the legislature for making striking legal? Yes, but it will take many years and will need support from not only all the unions in NYS, but also the general public as well. Would we have that support? I don’t know. As mentioned, we should absolutely vote no on a UFT tentative contract that does not give anything back in regards to our working conditions, but we are more than likely not going to get any raise bigger than what DC37 got due to pattern bargaining.

    • BaconUFT

      UFT has not struck since the 1970s, yes. It is illegal, yes, in part because Unity does not want to amend the Taylor Law so that it is legal. No, you’re right, we are not in any position to strike today. However, districts who are striking, like Chicago and L.A., did not start striking overnight. They built toward it. We are not building toward the possibility; in fact, we see leadership actively disorganizing members by trying to convince them that we shouldn’t fight to have the right to strike. If UFT leadership were channeling energy, resources, and arguments into building our capacity and legal right to strike, the idea of striking would not seem so futile. Also, Chicago and LA have good relationships with parents/communities despite striking. Heck, look who just won the mayor’s slot in Chicago. New York could be similar – we just need our union leadership to do a 180 in terms of strategy.

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