Rushed UFT Contract Ratification Process Leads to Integrity Questions

This blog predicted months ago that Mulgrew would try to rush a contract ratification vote. “If we rush a bad contract, after all, we can get limited money quick. Summer is around the corner –a tempting time to dangle a few bucks in front of teachers and say ‘sure, we didn’t fix any working conditions, but wouldn’t you rather have this money now than wait until Fall to renegotiate?” At one point, UFT leadership threw us all off by announcing at what seemed like the last possible moment that a contract looked unlikely.

At that point, I offered the possibility that there might still be a contract, but considered the terms under which that might happen. “There is still time, of course. Maybe UFT leadership will get a last-minute agreement finalized this weekend. But under these circumstances, how good could it be? With such harsh wording in the DA email, isn’t it implicit that there’s no way we’re close to a good deal – one which would come close to meeting UFC’s 5 core demands? I sincerely doubt it.”

Then, at what was clearly past the last possible moment, Mulgrew switched gears, calling emergency meetings and presenting us with a PowerPoint with a ‘yes vote’ leaning version of a new TA. He was in sell mode, just days after saying a deal wasn’t likely at all.

To be sure, the deal wasn’t good. New Action, along with all the opposition caucuses, recommends a no vote. There are issues here: givebacks on C6, portions of income that are unpensionable, a new precedent of disciplinary action without due process at principal’s discretion (for PE), no real gains in places we expected them like special education, wage increases below the nonunionized average, no class size limits written in for virtual instruction. And that’s even without touching the mystery of healthcare. These are reasons to vote no, especially because previous no votes have gone better for us.  We’ve always done better renegotiating after voting no – every time.

The Carrot

But those givebacks are getting lost in UFT-Unity ‘yes vote’ propaganda that often obfuscates the cuts. In recent viral postings on social media, for instance, members have erroneously claimed things like ‘we all get a self directed c6’ (we only do if we are in multi-session schools)’ or that ‘we now get two PDs a month that confer CTLE hours’ (we don’t – we get up to two PDs that do that – the minimum is still zero). There is tons of misinformation going around, much of it from members of Unity, who claim that members should only trust what UFT leadership says. I tell readers this, check anything you read/hear, including information published in this blog, against the actual MOA.

The Stick

In addition to a carrot that is being touted as much better than it actually is, we’re also getting the stick. Even we didn’t think that UFT leadership would stoop to the level of holding the specter of the 2023-2024 school year against us, playing ‘chicken’ with no votes by holding the SBO vote hostage. See this at the disclaimer of all SBO votes—which most schools are conducting simultaneously with the contract vote.

“I understand that this proposed SBO is subject to the ratification of the 2023 MOA. If the 2023 MOA is not ratified, I understand that the default workday will be 6 hours and 20 minutes followed by 37.5 minutes of small group instruction Monday – Thursday as per Article 6a. The school day shall not begin before 8:00am or end after 3:45 pm.”

I wonder why Mulgrew et al didn’t plan for contingency SBOs or a contingency Pilot workday in the event that the contract did not go through?

The Voting Falls Apart

As our members are rushed through a ratification process, we have multiple problems occurring. (1) They are being given information that is inaccurate or misleading; (2) they are being threatened with 37.5 if the contract doesn’t go through; (3) they are being rushed to vote before they fully understand the details of the contract; and finally (4) the voting process itself is falling apart.

As Chapter Leaders already know, there were issues with the mailing envelopes that were sent out. UFT central responded by emailing out labels to print themselves (from where, UFT business from DOE printers?). There’s also confusion about who is voting from chapters and who has to wait to receive ballots in the mail. Then there’s the problem of UFT staffers telling many chapter leaders they must have the contract vote all on the same day. What happens to members who aren’t there that day, because, say, they’re attending their child’s graduation?

The bottom line is this: the process is falling apart, because it is being rushed. There’s language that needs to be changed. There are people who won’t be able to vote. And there are votes that were sent in that may be returned by the post office. This is a problem.

Mulgrew, our contract ratification process is in jeopardy. Given that UFT leadership knows this, what’s the rush?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *