In a stunning development, Michael Mulgrew appears to have developed a backbone. According to the New York Post and DOE officials, Mulgrew has refused to sign off any new evaluation system without a guarantee of a wage increase in a new contract:
The teachers’ union has refused to sign a long-awaited agreement with
the city on a new teacher evaluation system unless it gets a guarantee
of wage increases in the next contract, Department of Education
officials charged today.
Lending credence to the usually suspect Post, Chancellor Walcott responded saying, "Mr. Mulgrew’s failure to bargain in good faith and insistence on
including issues unrelated to teacher evaluation is unacceptable and
illegal." Leave it to Bloomberg's toadie to claim that negotiating a contract is illegal.
Mulgrew declined to comment, saying "“I’m not negotiating in public."
Of course, the Post is possibly the most unreliable paper in the country, but I think this story must be true. Why would the city claim that the UFT is stalling for more money if it isn't? Wouldn't that basically force Mulgrew to do just that?
Also, the terms seem to be somewhat Mulgrewian, in that it appears that the union is asking for a "guarantee" of a raise in the next contract, rather than an immediate signing of a new contract with the 4+4% raises given to the rest of the city's unions. Even if the city agreed, would that contract ever get signed? Does anyone remember when the city guaranteed that Teacher Data Reports would never be made public and then supported them being published in the papers? Moreover, if a new contract isn't signed and we're only given a vague guarantee, would the next mayor have to honor it? Would a downturn in the economy, real or manufactured, nullify it?
So this appears to be real. Perhaps Mulgrew really does feel the heat of MORE and his re-election bearing down on him, especially after he bungled Sandy. We can hope. The signs are good.
Now let's see the UFT execute.
UPDATE: The city has filed with PERB, claiming that the UFT is not bargaining in good fair by demanding an "economic credit" to be applied to any increase in a future contract. See the filing here.