New Contract: Retro Delayed = Retro Denied

May 2, 2014 — 22 Comments


By James Eterno

Four members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) sat through a propaganda love fest this afternoon as UFT Chief Financial Officer Dave Hickey, Staff Director Leroy Barr and then President Michael Mulgrew explained our new contract to rousing applause from the Unity/New Action faithful on the negotiating committee. Now that the contract is done there is no need to be confidential.

I asked the President to show us a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement but there was none.  However, the UFT machine is spinning faster than any Wascomat washing machine.

UFT members in the new contract will get the 4 % + 4% salary increases that other city workers unions received back in 2009 and 2010, but we won’t see the money until 2015-2020.

For the seven years from 2011 to 2018, where the UFT will set the pattern for raises that other city unions will now follow, we will be getting a total of 10% in raises for seven years plus a $1,000 signing bonus.  That works out to less than 1.5% per year.

Specifically, this is how the CFO crunched the numbers:

2009-2010 = 4% raise
2010-2011 = 4% raise
2011-2012 = 0% raise but we will get a $1,000 signing bonus if we ratify the contract.
Nov 2012- April 2013 = 0% raise
May 1, 2013 = 1% raise
May 1, 2014 = 1% raise
May 1, 2015 = 1% raise
May 1, 2016 = 1% raise
May 1, 2017 = 2.5% raise
May 1, 2018 = 3.0% raise
Total: 18% (compounded it will be a little more)

For those of you expecting to go back in the fall and at least have the 4%+4% added to your pay, forget it.

The 4 % + 4% that other unions received in 2009-10 will not be added to our salary schedules until the increases kick in one year at a time starting in 2015.  Here is how the 8% will be added in:

May 1, 2015 = 2%
May 1, 2016 = 2%
May 1, 2017 = 2%
May 1, 2018 = 2%

All we get added to our salaries now if we ratify is 1% for 2013 followed by 1% for 2014 and the $1,000 bonus.

The 8% won’t be added to our salary schedule fully until 2018 and the retroactive money the city owes us since 2009 won’t be coming soon either.  Here is the schedule for the retroactive payments:

October 1, 2015- 12.5% lump sum
October 1, 2016 – Nothing
October 1, 2017 – 12.5% lump sum
October 1, 2018 – 25% lump sum
October 1, 2019 – 25% lump sum
October 1, 2020 – 25% lump sum

We will not be made “whole” for Bloomberg denying us the raises that other city unions got 5 years ago until 2020.

Retro delayed is really Retro denied!

Anyone who Retires Before July 1, 2015 Wins Big
The winners in this deal are anyone who retired from 2009 through now and anyone else who retires between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.  They will get all of their retro pay calculated and get it at once.  People who already retired will have their pensions recalculated as well as receiving retro payments for the time they worked.

Anyone who retires July 1, 2015 or after will get the deferred payments the same way as active personnel and will be waiting until 2020 to be made “whole”.

Only people who resigned or were terminated won’t get retro.

Top salary now $100,049 will crawl up to $119,565 by May of 2018.

President Mulgrew arrived at around 5:20 pm after hanging around at the mayor’s press conference and here are some of the other details he let out.

Some union had to settle first and it was us.

Here is a breakdown of some of the non-economic issues.

We will go down from being rated on 22 Danielson components to 8.  (No word on the number of observations.)  Artifacts are out.

On Measures of Students Learning if we want, we will only be graded based on students we teach.

The DOE and UFT agreed to set up (yet another) Committee on excessive paperwork.  This one will be half UFT and half DOE with a mediator.  Cases can also be taken to arbitration.

Extended Time
No additional time added to the day. The extended time, faculty, grade/department conferences, open school night time will be reconfigured.  We will work two extra open school evenings which will go from 2.5 to 3 hours.

There will be a default schedule on how to use the extended time each week and preapproved School Based Options.

Multi session, District 75 and 79 schools will keep their current time schedules.

Each core subject will have a curriculum that we must use.  Unit plans will be no longer than a page.

Merit Pay
There will be a career ladder i.e. merit pay.
Ambassador teachers will earn $7,500 more to visit other schools.
Model teachers will earn $7,500 more to be model teachers at their own schools.
Master teachers will earn $20,000 to help other teachers.

PROSE Innovative Schools
Schools can opt in with a 65% vote to cancel major parts of the contract.  This can be up to 200 schools.

Absent Teacher Reserves must show up for interviews.  ATRs will sent to vacancies in schools.  There will be no termination for time in the ATR pool but there is an offer of a severance package.

If two principals document unprofessional behavior, the documentation can be used for a special 3020A process just for ATRS.  This will not be for performance and it will be a one day hearing which could lead to termination.

Schools will be forgiven for ATR salaries.

$5,000 will go to teachers who go to a hard to staff school.

There is a healthcare cost savings plan from the Municipal Labor Committee that must be approved. (We don’t know how the cost savings will be achieved but we will keep our basic plans for free.)

For teachers rated ineffective, the validators sent in the second year to validate an ineffective rating will now be educators: teachers and administrators.

Where is the Memorandum of Agreement?
I asked the president when we would be seeing the full Memorandum of Agreement in writing.  He said he didn’t know but Staff Director Leroy Barr said it would be out soon.  Mulgrew asked for a motion to recommend the contract for approval.  I abstained as I would never vote on something I haven’t seen.  The Unity faithful followed their caucus obligatons and all voted in the affirmative while the New Action people went along with Unity too.  The other MORE members abstained silently during the vote but I screamed out for my abstention to be counted.

I leave it to you to decide what we should do.  I tried to keep the adjectives to a minimum in this piece and just report what was said.

We couldn’t lose on the 4% + 4% because of pattern bargaining (one city union settles on a percentage salary increase and all the unions follow that pattern) but allowing the city stretch it out so that money we were owed since 2009 won’t be fully paid back until 2020 really lets the city off the hook.

As for setting the pattern of 10% over 7 years, this is an abysmally low pattern to establish (we did better monetarily under the anti union Mayors Bloomberg and Guilliani).  I can understand why other labor unions in the city are angry with Mulgrew, particularly when it is considered how much surplus revenue the city has.  We should have been able to achieve non monetary gains for loaning the city our money and setting a very low pattern but instead we surrendered as usual.

The devil will be in the details on the ATR agreement but I see this contract as a real missed opportunity.  Here’s hoping the members will ignore the Unity spin cycle and see through it.

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22 responses to New Contract: Retro Delayed = Retro Denied


    How can we accept this contract it’s not fair nor is it descent? I say No to this horrible contract. It’s not worth the money. We are robbing Peter to pay Peter. We’re making health concession just to gain a little bit of money long term. What do we need more a better health care deal or money? I’ll take health care over money any day. You need to be around to spend the it! ATR’s putting them under the bus is unacceptable how can we sleep at night knowing that we voted to terminate our colleagues especially when we know you could work for a principal who can make life miserable for you and find all kinds of ways to firer you. I rather take a chance And Vote No! Whose ever heard of getting retro pay years latter whose to say we will live to see it. Just horrible!


    Boy, James, you certainly can make lemons out of lemonade. Are you suggesting that people turn down a contract that gives them an 18% compounded raise over the next 4 years, plus complete retroactive pay (as well as getting rid of small group extended day instruction, redefining and limiting observations/evaluations and making excessive paperwork a grievable issue while keeping all medical coverage intact)?

    Frankly, I think that if the Unity leadership of the UFT had negotiated a 150% raise you’d still find fault. It’s not the deal you’re against, it’s the leadership. Time to get over your bitterness. This is a good deal for us.


      I couldn’t agree with you more. Lets not forget what Mayor Bloomberg gave us, zero,zero,zero,zero and constant bashing!!! Some people have very short memories.


        Your memory is partially clear. Shall we accept minimum pay that we deserve? By the time you see all your $$$$, it will amount to $. Consider the cost of living and taxes. Are you actually saying you think it is fair to wait 6 more years for money we should have seen in 2009?


      Hypatia, the raise is no raise if you do no receive it. The retro money will not be fully received until 2020 – 7 YEARS – and I don’t know how you can really think, in this world of Obamacare, that medical coverage can stay the same, at the same cost. If the costs aren’t going up, the coverage is becoming limited, either with higher co-pays or limitations somewhere else. Teachers haven’t been given a raise [keep in mind COLA] while all other city employees have, in 5 years. No other Union was made to wait for their 4% – 4% retro payout either. Now, we’ll get 1% for two more years before will start to get back what is already owed to us, in addition to small raises over 6 years [1%, 1%, 2%, 1.5%, 2.5%, 2%]. There has also been no mention of the salary bump up to 11%, which is what they owe us in addition to retro pay, at the start of this new contract agreement. But, don’t forget, we’re being given $1000 – feels like performance money from a charter school – to appease the masses. It’s like being thrown a cookie when you haven’t eaten in 4 days – you’l take anything!


      Think again, Hypatia, by the time we see all the money, the cost of living will also have risen! That in itself is another obstacle. I work part-time for the State as well and when we WON arbitration regarding Retro from coincidently, 2009, we recieved all of it in one lump sum! There is no reason for this except that as Jame E wrote, we are paying PETER to PAY BACK PETER. This is an unjust move on the new mayor and Mulgrew’s part!


        Not sure how much your back pay was, but I prefer to have my $40K+ broken down to smaller yearly payments so I don’t lose half in taxes.


    QUESTION: Is it still the case that NYC teachers will have 20% of their evaluations based on student test scores in Math or ELA even if we teach other subjects?

    It was already the case in my school that our 20% could be based only on students we teach. We were given the option to go “school-based” or students we teach, but we were also told to choose between Math or ELA test scores.

    I teach Art so I’m trying to understand why this isn’t a bigger issue. Is anyone making a fuss over the out-of-subject test score issue?

    This is a glaring example of how the city and state DOE are wasting taxpayer money. Even if you accept that student test scores accurately show teacher effectiveness, no one could possibly be buying that my students’ Math scores reflect my teaching in Art.

    I get that the evaluations are purely political, meant to attack job security, and are not proven means of accountability, but we’ve done a horrible job of pushing back on this. If this was on the front pages of newspapers as a total sham waste of tax dollars, we may have seen sharp public backlash. But we not only stood quiet before, we are meekly accepting this in the new round of contract negotiations. Why? Doesn’t this unfairly affect every non-Math or ELA teacher with completely arbitrary ratings?


    My question is whether anyone is looking at the fact that most teachers still have 20% of their evaluations tied to student test scores in Math or ELA, regardless of the subject they teach.

    This is so bizarre and arbitrary, it just seems like the media could seize on it and hammer NYC and NYS for such a poor use of tax dollars. Attributing “proficiency” to teachers based on student test results is highly inaccurate as it is, but judging my teaching in Art based on this year’s Math scores doesn’t pass the smell or laugh test.

    In my school, we already had the option to be evaluated solely on kids we teach (as opposed to a school-wide results option). But the MOSL was simply a shock when I learned about it in September.

    bxhighscooolteacher May 3, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I feel that the lack of a opposition, taken seriously by Unity will always make it difficult for the membership to be heard. Nothing personal, but in any democracy that actually functions their has to be a opposition with some actual juice. Regardless if you love this contract, hate it, or are somewhere in the middle, it is a creation of Unity leadership. Again, nothing personal, but screaming at yelling at the DA over procedure only hurts the cause of the opposition. Apathy among membership, until a new contract is put forward is the real problem.


    Will those who retired before the vote on the tentative agreement be permitted to cast a ballot? If so, where do they vote? Who is counting the votes? Around a third of the membership was hired after 2006 so they have never voted on a contract before. Voting for a contract needs to be explained. Voting No does not mean you go on strike, it means they go back to the bargaining table. Quite a few schools don’t even have functioning chapters so who is running the vote in schools without chapter leaders?


      Retirees cannot vote on a contract.


      Two clarifying statements: We ratified the last contract in 2007 so members hired by 2006 (You don’t specify how long after 2006 you mean) have voted. Also, in schools with weak chapters DRs will do their job and get an active chapter leader from the building to help out (if it’s a campus school) or go in themselves. I’m not sure what you’re criticizing here.


      no you cannot vote

    iTeachNYCkids May 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    All of those improvements to our working conditions and the way the money works has you desiring a NO vote. You guys may have to rethink your seemingly abandoned slogan “Our working conditions are our students learning conditions”. A new suggestion might be “Show me the Money $$$”.

      A real teacher May 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      What improvements? Bloomberg Klein policy will not be changed much by this contract. Please tell me the Bloomberg policies that Farina and this contract have repudiated.


    Shouldn’t you/we be talking about what this contract means for kids? How it addresses the fear and isolation teachers feel? The reasons the union is so weak?

    1. The career ladder is merit pay. If it weren’t we would just allow teachers to do these jobs at their same pay, right. These are things that will help teachers to help kids so we should demand that more of these positions be created – at the same pay. It will pit teachers against one another and weaken solidarity in the school.

    2. “Redesigned” school day is re-arranging chairs on the Titanic. It’s a PR ploy to pretend Unity cares about what happens to kids.

    3. ATR’s? Unity has sold them out and in doing so has weakened the union. EVERY teacher is in danger of becoming an ATR, especially older teachers and teachers of color.

    4. This contract says nothing about strengthening the grievance procedure. Teachers feel isolated and afraid and we should be talking about using the contract as a way to protect them.

    5. Pay? I’ll let you all who are directly affected thrash this out.
    I’ve made it last because, yes, teachers have a right to earn a professional wage. But the press hammers on this issue because they know that half of New Yorkers live at or below the poverty level and the primary focus on pay makes the union look totally self-interested. If we don’t embed economic demands in vision for a very different kind of schooling we will not win parents and community to our side.

    I’m blogging on Wednesday tomorrow about this but you all have a preview.


      Lois – I absolutely agree with you. Mostly looking at the money issue is shortsighted. Looking forward to your blog post. I am also blogging about this point at ed notes.


    Sancus •
    In today’s anti-labor, anti-union, anti-teacher atmosphere I think it’s a great contract. Full retroactive raises( I prefer it being payed out in smaller chunks so less taxes are taken out) solid wage increases going forward, a mechanism to grieve excessive paperwork, more professional development, a plan to get ATR’s back into the classroom where they belong and no givebacks whatsoever. What is not to like? Anyone voting no needs to have their head examined.


    I don’t know what you’re complaining about! Yes, the pay is being spread out but we will get all of it! There are no givebacks and no increase for healthcare plus the atmosphere and climate in the schools will be better next year! That’s a win for me! On the other hand, if the contract is vetoed, we will get nada (nothing)!

      A Real Teacher May 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      18% over 11 years and the ATRs are thrown under the bus while the lousy evaluation system is thrown into the contract. Yeah this is bad.

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