James Eterno has an excellent companion piece to the Times article over at ICEUFT, but the gist of the Times article is basically, if teachers receive full back pay due as part of the bargaining pattern, it eats away a lot of the money that could go to increases for other unions.
In the comments on the side of the article, Unity fellow Ed in the Apple writes the following:
Marty Scheinman has been an arbitrator for 40 years - and resolved scores of dense, complex disputes - fact-finding decisions usually trace out a path to a contract - while the teachers union is arguing for the full 4% pattern there are a range of Bloomberg-Klein policies that are anathema to teachers. The settlement could be a win-win
I suspect that comment is more than just an aside - it's the blueprint for where the UFT is going with this.