An update on contract negotiations with the Buffalo Teachers Federation took center stage at Wednesday’s meeting of the School Board.
Major points in the school district’s most recent proposal include a 10 percent increase in teacher salaries effective upon ratification of the contract. Teachers who work at least 160 days during the 2015-16 school year would be eligible for one-time payments ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on their pay-step level.
In addition, active employees would pay 10 percent of the cost of premiums for their health insurance, and if the agreement is ratified, new hires would contribute 20 percent of premium costs.
Future retirees would contribute the same as active employees, effective July 1. Physician copays would increase to $15, from $5. And the district proposes eliminating the expensive policy rider that covers cosmetic surgery.
In addition, the school day would be lengthened from 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 30 minutes and the school year would run for September 1 to June 30.
Also, new teachers (7-12) would have to teach six periods a day and all new teachers would have to fulfill 4 days of extra professional development.
Teachers would be required to use tracking technologies like "Parent Portal," seniority preference for transfers would be eliminated, there would be no early retirement incentives and personal days would be reduced.
OK, so let me get this straight.
Teachers have been without a raise for eleven years.
Buffalo is offering them 10% for those eleven years, and in return teachers have to pay 10% into their health care, new teachers have to pay 20% into their health care, the work day is increased by 40 minutes and the year is increased to 188 work days.
In addition, new teachers have to do more PD, some have to teach a sixth class, sick days would be reduced and seniority preferences for transfers would be eliminated.
Uh, no thanks:
In a statement, BTF President Philip Rumore said Buffalo teachers are already $20,000 behind their counterparts in other districts, which is a loss of $600,000 in lifetime earnings and $10,000 a year less in retirement because their retirement is based upon their final salary.
“The Board’s salary offer of a 10 percent raise, effective upon ratification of a new contract, over the 11 years teachers went without a salary increase, amounts to a less than one percent increase,” Rumore wrote.
As the unions are weakened even more post-Friedrichs, you can see this kind of contract becoming the standard thing around the state - especially if the Triborough Agreement goes away (as some think it may.)
Take a shit sandwich and if you don't like it, well, too bad - there's nothing you can do.
With a lack of vision, foresight and planning, the UFT, NYSUT, the AFT and the NEA have brought us to a place where we are about to be effectively neutered and your union dues will be useless for anything except shitty car insurance offers and discounts to Great Adventure.
Given the weakness of the unions these days, given the impending Friedrichs decision and the consequences thereafter, and given that Cuomo and Elia have handed Buffalo school officials a lot of power to impose what they will, it's hard to see how there's a good outcome here for Buffalo teachers.
With the kind of contract being offered there, why would ANYONE want to start teaching in Buffalo schools?
Here's what one commenter at the Buffalo News wrote:
So, the district proposes increasing starting teacher pay to 35K a year, but expects them to pay 4K a year toward their family's healthcare. When you add up the numbers it sounds an awful lot like the same deal employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state will get when the min. wage is raised to $15 an hour over the next few years. And fast food workers don't have to invest 100K of their own money in their training. The district obviously has no interest in a new contract or the quality of its future workforce...