On Contract Negotiations

by Michael Shulman

Mike is a co-chair of New Action/UFT. A 36 year teacher and recent retiree. He was a former Vice President of the UFT from 1985-87. He currently is a member of the UFT Executive Board and is co-chair of the UFT Organizing Committee.

Two things are clear in this current contract: First, we must win salary increases no less than other unions have won (namely, 4% and 4% over two years ) with no givebacks.

Second, we must win back some of the givebacks we lost in 2005.  Winning back the 2 days in August was huge. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of yet to be hired members. Let’s not go down this road again. In the areas of professional rights and grievances we need some improvements.

Also, the DOE clearly wants to scapegoat and blame our members who are ATRs. We must continue the strong safeguards we have to guarantee everyone’s jobs but also we must win back some seniority transfer rights so these hardworking members can fill vacancies and secure permanent positions. It is a disgrace that excellent teachers are not picked up to fill positions because Joel Klein has convinced principals that they are “dead weight.”

Finally, a key in this negotiation even though it is a legislative matter- we cannot budge on tenure rights and we must completely block management’s drive to “reform” this protection.