We have passed the two year mark in waiting for a contract. PERB is nowhere to be found, and the UFT has apparently decided to enter radio silence mode as not a single article in NY Teacher talks about our lack of a contract.
The UFT has apparently decided to "wait out" this mayor on the theory that we will get a better deal from whoever takes the reins when Mayor4life's 12 year siege on the public schools finally comes to an end in 2013.
First of all, the union has often said that we should wait for a new mayor to get a better deal. We waited out Koch for 12 years, Dinkins did little for us for another 4, and Giuliani screwed us for 8. Now, ten years into the Bloomberg administration, we are supposed to wait another two years for our shining knight to come through and shower us with the money we deserve.
It's not gonna happen. We can't afford to wait this mayor out.
Let's do the math. We rightly want the 4% per year that other unions got in the last round of contracts. Let's assume that unions get the measly 1.25% that's been budgeted for unions over the next two years. That would mean that if we wait for Bloomberg to leave office before we negotiate, we will be 10.5% behind where we should be. Does anyone really think that any new mayor will give us a 10.5% raise as soon as he or she walks through the doors of City Hall? Do you believe that in 2013, we will receive all that money retroactive to 2009? No way in hell that will happen, even if Michael Mulgrew is elected mayor.
Apart from all that, can you wait another two or three years for a raise? I know my family is feeling the pinch right now.
I have a solution that might work--a two percent solution. Let's forget the 4% that we are never going to get no matter what. Let the mayor break the pattern, and we can once and for all break the bonds of pattern bargaining that has suppressed teacher salaries for too long. Let's ask for 2% retroactive for each year to 2009, and 2% for this year and next. That would be a total of 8% by 2012 when this mayor is set to leave office. It's not 10.5%, but it is close.
Would the mayor go for this? I think so. It's a pretty easy sell. He can claim that he gave us half what other unions got. In addition, we give him the Danielson framework that he wants and is going to get anyway eventually. He can then claim that his shrewd negotiating is what led to him being able to claim all that Race to the Top money, which he can't get without union support. In return, we get 8 of the 10.5% we deserve. Not perfect, but a hell of a lot more than we have now.
In 2013, we can start fresh with a new mayor and 8% in our pockets.