As much as I despise Klein and Bloomberg, you have to give them some credit for knowing how to negotiate. They ask for the moon and the stars, and when they get just the moon, they're pretty happy. The UFT generally begs for scraps from the table like a starving dog.
Take the current negotiations. The city has asked for the right to suspend teachers without cause and without pay, cutting our sick days in half, changing the salary structure, ending seniority by changing the ATR rules, and so on. And the UFT asked for...what? A "substantial" raise? How much is substantial? In these economic times, a lot of people see the 4% the city budgeted for us as as pretty substantial. Even the 2% looks good to people who are out of work.
By now, our UFT leaders should have learned from BloomKlein and put a list of demands on the table that PERB would have to consider in their decision. Here's what I would have asked for:
- Teacher's Choice should be increased to $2o00 per teacher to reflect what teachers actually need to make their classrooms work. In addition, each teacher would receive a copy machine and an unlimited supply of paper and toner.
- A 14% salary increase, which includes the 4% pattern plus 5 per cent for each of the years we took zeros when the city lied about its financial crisis.
- Teachers should retain their 10 sick days per year. In addition, teachers would get two extra days for every documented day they stayed home due to a disease they contracted at schools, such as flu, the common cold, or lice.
- If a teacher has tenure and is made an ATR or placed in the rubber room for incompetence, a principal must pay $10,000 from his own pocket to a charity of the teacher's choosing. If the teacher is found incompetent, the principal who granted the teacher tenure would pay. If the teacher is found competent, the principal who filed charges would pay.
- Randi Weingarten would be officially declared a fluke, and all programs negotiated by her would be declared a do-over.
- Five snow days would be built into the school year. If the days aren't used, school would end a week earlier.
- 37.5 minutes would be reduced to 3.75 minutes.
- Seniority would be strictly enforced, by gunpoint if necessary.
- Teachers would be subject to a new Three Smacks and You're Out rule. Each teacher would be allowed to smack two students of his or her choosing every year, or be allowed to choose a hefty gym teacher to do substitute-smacking. On the third smack, you'd be subject to the same old corporal punishment rules as before. Blood-letting would be strictly forbidden, of course, unless the child was being a real asshole.
Of course, these are just suggestions, the kind of ask-for-the-moon-and-stars type negotiating the city has used so successfully. I'd be willing to give any or all of them up for a contract that paid teachers well and showed us some respect. Well, to be honest, I'd really like at least a one-smack rule, because there's a kid in 815 who's really getting on my nerves. But you know what I mean.