Archive for the 'Contract' Category


(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: March 2014 Leaflet Front and back

The election of Bill de Blasio and the appointment of Carmen Fariña opens the possibility of correcting 12 years of Bloomberg’s destructive policies.  The damage done cannot all be repaired overnight. However, some important advances can begin now. High on the list is negotiating a good contract with retroactive pay. New Action/UFT proposes some additional priorities.

Abusive, Unqualified, or Both?

New Action has always acknowledged that there are many collaborative and professional administrators. But unqualified principals, often with no or little teaching experience, are running too many of our schools. A principal can avoid a conversation by saying, “I have to run this past Legal” knowing full well that these Bloomberg appointed lawyers tell principals to deny everything. Those with who never were decent teachers, or with inadequate experience can feel threatened by our members’ knowledge, and treat suggestions as insubordinate. Many become petty dictators. Their orders are sometimes arbitrary, sometimes nonsensical. They don’t discuss issues with members, because they cannot. And some target Chapter Leaders.

Work together to resolve issues of abusive admins

IT IS TIME to press this issue with de Blasio and Fariña and modify the behavior of all of these abusive administrators, and long overdue that the Unity leadership demand an end to the harassment of chapter leaders. The leadership has targeted problem principals in schools where the entire chapter is ready to fight back. But this is a drop in the bucket. In most of these schools members are scared, intimidated, not ready to stand up on their own. We must help them at the school, AND bring these cases to the new administration. And we have progress already: Carmen Fariña has announced that all new principals will need to have at least seven years experience.

We can work with Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Fariña, and at the same time help our membership to become active at the school level to tackle these and other issues.

De Blasio Compromise on Co-locations – an Error

On charters and co-locations de Blasio sent a badly mixed message. He declared a moratorium, while he and Fariña examined the 45 proposals that Bloomberg rushed through last fall. But late last month they approved 36 of them, including some charters. This was not what we wanted; this was not what New York City needed. They thought that they could play nice with the private charter operators/ hedgefunders. But Eva Moskowitz, who lost one expansion, and two new schools, organized a demonstration in Albany, where Andrew Cuomo lent his support, and has been blasting de Blasio. His administration has been taking a beating in the media. Compromising with the charter operators was a mistake.

No New School Closings – a big step forward

But there is good on co-locations as well:  this is the first year in memory when there has not been a single school closure. Several charter collocations were denied. We should stand with de Blasio against Moskowitz, and against the NY State Senate’s current proposal to allow charter management companies unfettered, free access to New York City’s school buildings.


There is also potential progress on a contract. The UFT’s Negotiating Committee met last Thursday, and while those discussions are confidential, the major media are reporting that there have been real conversations in the last few days. Given our desire to have a contract done by June, it seems that the process is moving at the right time. A hopeful sign: The New York Times reports that chief factfinder, Martin Scheinman, is now acting as a mediator between us and the City.


We need to get our membership involved – getting out there to support those good steps de Blasio and Fariña have taken – and pushing on our contract issues. There are stalwarts, UFTers who come to any rally, anywhere we ask. But to bring the full weight of our union to bear, we need to engage the majority of our members, and that means in school, and in front of school. School-based actions will show how serious we are, and they will give us a stronger, united voice.


(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the January 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: January 2014 Leaflet


The UFT is waiting for a fact-finding report that is due in two weeks. The question is what kind of contract will the fact-finders come up with? and what can we expect from Mayor Bill de Blasio?

We believe that the new contract must include fair pay, no givebacks, and serious changes to this abysmal evaluation system. New Action calls for a 4%, 4% raise from 2009-1011, as all other unions already received, without givebacks. Retroactive pay must cover all members who worked during the years covered.

The actual package will be shaped by the fact-finders’ report. But what is the union’s strategy to bring a decent contract back to UFT members?

New Action believes that a mobilized and informed membership has an important role to play in securing a decent contract. Monday, January 13, 2014 the UFT Executive Board debated the best way to involve the members.  The Unity leadership claims the UFT will win a fair contract because of the determination of its members. They state that there will be many ways for members to participate, including coming to rallies, signing up to receive the union’s text and e-mail updates about negotiations and reaching out to fellow UFT members.

New Action agrees that members should commit to strong participation in the fight for a contract. HOWEVER, New Action believes that this falls far short of what is needed. Our basic unit of organization, chapters, should be directing this effort at the school level.

On Monday, New Action called for chapter meetings in every school to discuss and plan actions. We called for actions at each school, such as informational picketing before the school day. We called for involvement of parents in the fight for a fair contract. This was rejected by the Unity Caucus-dominated Executive Board. One member derided our proposals by saying that many members are not part of chapters.

Good Riddance Bloomberg – Good Riddance to Working without a Contract

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

Good Riddance Bloomberg – Good Riddance to Working without a Contract

Members are rightfully disgusted with the NY Times editorial (12-2-13). The Times echoed Bloomberg’s call for a wage freeze for three years followed by two years of 1.25% each. The rest of the editorial covering seniority, ATRs, firing teachers, and “flexible schedules” was outrageous and right out of the corporate reformers’ playbook.

Money: UFT members are owed a 4%, 4% raise from 2009 to 2011, as the other unions already received (increases after 2011 still need to be negotiated with Mayor de Blasio.)

Retroactive Pay: Retro negotiations must cover all who worked during the years covered.

Givebacks:  Since no other union was asked for givebacks, that is the pattern. Period.

Welcome Back, Chapter Leaders

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2013 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 September

Welcome! New Action welcomes you to the Citywide Chapter Leader meeting.

New Action/UFT is one of several caucuses (political parties) in the United Federation of Teachers. There are differences between the caucuses. But we believe that whatever differences there are, that the external enemies of our union and the threat to the members outweighs our differences.  Today we see that, as our entire union faces the challenge of the new teacher evaluation system.

We work with our leadership, yet remain independent and critical of the leadership when warranted. To that end, we have worked with Michael Mulgrew and Unity Caucus in a bipartisan relationship that we believe benefits the membership. New Action chairs Michael Shulman and Jonathan Halabi, and eight additional New Action supporters, give voice to members’ concerns on the UFT Executive Board.


We sincerely hope you are in one of the many schools with collaborative principals. That relationship makes for a healthy work environment and benefits staff and students. Too many principals, however, are not collaborative, and many are downright abusive. We need to modify the behavior of all abusive and troublesome administrators.

Particularly troubling are principals who target UFT chapter leaders. We need to prioritize standing up for Chapter Leaders – they are our members’ first line of defense!

Organizing a response requires a strong chapter. Chapters that regularly meet and discuss issues of importance are chapters that are in a better position to mobilize.


We have been working without a contract, or rather, under an expired contract, for 47 months. On Halloween it will be a full four years. The settlement of our contract is long overdue. The hold up? Bloomberg and his demands for unreasonable concessions, or for breaking the pattern and trying to pay us less.

But there will be a change in City Hall come January 1. We look forward to a contract, before this year is out:

  • with RETROACTIVE PAY – for EVERYONE – including recent retirees.
  • with NO GIVE BACKS
  • with 4% and 4% for the first two years (2009-10 and 2010-11)
  • and that allows us to work under a CURRENT, UNEXPIRED CONTRACT

NYC Elections

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2013 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 September


A few days ago New Yorkers massively repudiated Bloomberg’s legacy. New Action would have supported De Blasio, Liu or Thompson. And these anti-Bloomberg candidates won the overwhelming majority of votes. Now we need to secure victory in the general election.

After twelve years of Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, and then after Bloomberg won his third term Cathie Black and Dennis Walcott, students, teachers, parents, communities all look forward to a new day.

We expect things to change. We expect a new attitude at the Department of Education. We expect an up to date contract. And we need a chancellor who is an educator – and who is student/parent/teacher friendly.

Fact Finding Revisited

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


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.

New Action on Fact Finding – 2005

September 2005 

“New Action Declares Fact Finding Report a Disaster!”

After two years without a contract, the fact finding report is another blow to tens of thousands of angry and demoralized New York City educators. The concessions are totally unacceptable. New Action is outraged that we are asked to pay for almost half of our own pay increase. The report is loaded with negatives including:

10 additional minutes, which combined, with the 20 minutes from the last contract creates a daily 30 minute “tutoring” class of ten students

Three more work days, including two days before Labor Day

An additional ten free coverages in middle and senior high schools

The elimination of the right to grieve letters in our file

The power of principals to assign a daily administrative duty (like cafeteria, hall and “potty” patrol) during our Circular 6 professional period

The power for principals to veto seniority transfers

0% for the first year (the 2% increase effective as of May 2004)

The only positives in the report include rejection of the City’s demand to eliminate tenure, lay-off excessed teachers after 18 months and to involuntarily transfer teachers out of their schools.

President Weingarten made an excellent case to the fact finders but the process was stacked against us. Our union must assess whether or not fact finding is a trap to be avoided in the future. We are at the end of a 2 and ½ year process and the question now is where do we go from here?

New Action /UFT believes we should not limit our options. We recommend the following:  (6 proposals follow)

Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
June 2020