The sentiments on the blogosphere, Twitter, and Facebook regarding the proposed new contract are pretty clear. Most members don't like this contract proposal. I don't either, and the main reason for my disdain is the treatment of ATRs. If unions don't protect their weakest members, what good are they?
To be honest, if not for the ATR proposal, which will lead to the termination of many fine teachers, I would likely vote in favor of this contract. Not because I like it, but I know that voting no presents a problem.
The last, and only, time teachers voted down a contract was in 1995. Being an old timer, I remember when this happened. If you want all the details, you can read Kit Wainer's account on the Ed Notes blog. The tl;dr of it is simply this: We voted down the contract, and were given another proposal that was only slightly less odious than the one we turned down. It sailed through the second time.
The current proposal faces the same "No" problem. If we vote it down, what will be the outcome? Will we get more money? I doubt it. Maybe the city would agree to move one of the retro payments up a year, or the $1000 signing bribe would become a $1200 signing bribe, but that would be about all we'd get. And the revised contract would sail through, just as it did in 1995.
I'm not advising anyone to vote yes for this proposal. I still intend to vote NO myself. But let's not kid ourselves. Voting down this proposal will not save the ATRs because most teachers don't even know what an ATR is, much less give a damn about saving them. The main concern of most teachers is their own pocketbooks (and in this economic environment, who can blame them?)
So by all means, vote no if that's how you feel, and I hope that is how you feel. But let's not kid ourselves about what the upshot would be. We'd be drawn and quartered in the press, and we'd end up settling for a contract that isn't a whole lot better than the one we're looking at now.