Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, March 4, 2013

UFT Leadership Readies Membership For End Of Steps/Differentials/Raises

I have long said that the sell-outs at the UFT will agree to the end of salary steps, raises and differentials in the next contract and a move to merit pay and bonuses.

Since the parent AFT leadership is oh so happy to push this kind of contract in places like Baltimore and Newark, you can be sure that they would be happy to push the same kind of contract in New York City.

And now, as NYC Educator points out here, Unity functionary Peter Goodman has put out the first trial balloon today in this post, getting us all ready for the inevitable sell-out that the leadership is going to give us via the PERB "fact-finding":

The UFT is open to merit pay based upon test scores and VAM and the end of steps, differentials and raises.

More than ever, we need MORE.

We have been without a contract for years, we have been asked to do a lot more with fewer resources, we have a whole new evaluation system coming that will require a lot more work and a loss of tenure protection to boot.

And now the leadership is getting us ready for the final nail in the coffin - no raises, no salary steps, no differentials.

Just bonuses and merit pay based on junk science and test scores.

Never mind that Bloomberg has wasted billions on boondoggles like the 911 system mess or CityTime or the other consultant scandals.

Never mind how much they've spent on technology upgrades these last 12 years.

Never mind that every other union in the city got 8% raises as part of the pattern, but teachers did not.

Oh, no - there's no money for teachers and the days of raises and steps and differentials are over.

What Unity functionary Goodman and the UFT leadership do not understand is that there is a lot of anger out there from their Common Cored, PLC'd, Danielson'd, ATR'd workforce and they are not going to like when they hear Mikey Mulgrew tell them that there just cannot be any more salary steps or differentials or raises because the city is broke and the UFT is just doing the best they can in a very difficult environment.

Frankly if you're looking for real change in the UFT, having Mulgrew and Company accept merit pay and the end to steps/differentials/raises would probably be the final act that just might make that possible.

Because people are already fed up with all the reformy stuff being shoved down their throats, but when they hear what the UFT leadership is looking to sell them, they are going to explode.

Can't wait to go into work tomorrow and begin to tell people how Mikey Mulgrew's UFT leadership is trying to get us ready for these big changes.

No more steps, differentials or raises.

Merit pay based upon junk science.

Yay, UFT,


  1. Can't wait to see if Randi Slimegarten slithers into town with all of her concession driven unionism b.s. I hope she's met with a Buffalo snowball flurry and ridden out on a rail. These people are an absolute disgrace to the labor movement.

    1. That's exactly where I'm going to next with this, Sean. I have been waiting for the UFT trial balloon on merit pay/bonuses/end to raises/end to steps/end to differentials. I knew it was coming. After New Haven, Baltimore and Newark, it was inevitable. And of course Weingarten was the seller of all of those contracts. Baltimore she had to do the re-do.

      But the AFT/UFT neo-liberals do not realize the breadth of the anger out there at the treatment teachers are receiving. I got out of PLC meetings today, people are PISSED at this crap. Even people who are apolitical and usually very accepting are PISSED. And it won;t take much to get them EVEN MORE PISSED when they hear no more raises, steps or differentials - just merit pay.

      We have taken on all this extra work for free, gotten nothing for it and indeed, didn't even get the 8% every other union got, and NOW the Unity hacks want to sell us on a new kind of contract.

      Not going to sit well with most of the membership.

      The UFT and the AFT are arrogant - they think they can weather any storm from the membership with propaganda and a rigging of the union elections.

      But they have no idea how angry people are and how even angrier they are going to be after the merit pay trial balloon makes it out.

      Not saying that MORE can knock off Unity/New Action even in the next election.

      But the percentages go up if Unity/New Action agree to the end of steps, differentials and raises.

  2. Well, the only ray of hope here is that if the UFT tries to eliminate steps, differentials, etc, it would be a change in the contract. That contract would have to be approved by the Unity hacks at the delegate meeting and it would. However, contracts DO get to be voted on by the rank and file if I am not mistaken. There is no way in Hell that the rank and file would agree to this. Does anybody have clarification on the concept of the rank and file having a chance to vote on this if it ever sees the light of day?

    1. Yes, it will go to a vote. But the Unity/New Action hacks will sell it very, very hard and there probably will be some "tease" raise to draw people in (maybe a one time bonus or an initial salary increase to be followed only by merit pay/bonuses). That's the pattern Randi and Company have used in other places. I see no reason why they won't do the same here. And as in Baltimore, if the contract is voted down, they will just keep elections coming until people eventually vote for it.

      Unless the Unity/New Actions hacks are sent packing, of course.

      MORE would NOT agree to this kind of contract.

  3. Question: What would happen to the steps and differentials a teacher has already earned? Would they be wiped away, and the teacher would revert to a "base salary?" Is that what happened in other places? Or is it that "no new steps and differentials" will be earned? Because in the first scenario a lot of people are taking huge pay cuts. Any ideas? Speculation based on any facts?

    1. It's whatever the UFT leadership wants to agree to. Hard to see them being able to sell everyone back to $42,000 as the base + bonus, but who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of the neo-liberals at the UFT.

  4. I have the exact same question in regard to the steps/differentials that have already been earned. I have no idea how this could be realistically be implemented in NYC. Just imagine if the city tried to do away with step pay increases for cops and firefighters. One day you are a captain in the NYPD and then a new contract comes around and you are now being paid the same as a new rookie. I do not think that even the most hardened Unity hack will be able to sell a contract like this to the rank and file, even with a "teaser raise". Folks will realize that after a year they will all be in the poorhouse for the rest of their lives. Anyway, as mentioned above, we need speculation based on facts in regard to steps/differentials already earned in school districts that have gone through this nightmare scenario.

    1. Here's the Ed Week round-up on the Baltimore contract Randi sold after Baltimore teachers voted it down the first time:

      "Baltimore's teaching corps just ratified, by a 1,902-1,045 vote, a new contract that does away with many of the features of its traditional "step-and-lane" salary schedule in favor of one that puts a heavier emphasis on teacher performance.

      It looks like second time's a charm in Baltimore: A nearly identical proposal was put to the teacher corps last month and was soundly rejected.

      There are a lot of new details in this plan, but arguably its newsiest feature is that it restructures the base-pay system for teachers, which in nearly every district in the country is based on credentials and longevity.

      There won't be any more automatic "step" increases each year in Baltimore; raises will be based on collecting achievement units from good evaluations and participation in professional development.

      Graduate credits, which used to grant teachers permanent "lane" increases, aren't totally eliminated, but their emphasis is much reduced in the new system. One credit is just one achievement unit, while a superior evaluation is 12. So getting good evaluations is a much faster way to increase one's pay.

      Teachers can also advance up a career ladder, taking on additional roles as they earn good evaluations and pass a peer review.

      The contract is important in the larger national conversation about teacher pay, too, because to date most experiments with pay have been with additive features, like bonuses, rather than changes to the base-pay salary grid. I recently wrote a story about the handful of districts that have started to look at base pay, and you can find more details about the Baltimore contract in it.

      And this is another feather in the cap for Randi Weingarten and her American Federation of Teachers locals. The union and district, she said in a statement, "have shown what is possible when both sides are committed to a collaborative process that is focused on working in the best interests of kids," adding that "trust is paramount in any contractual agreement."


    2. Ed Week on the Newark contract:

      Newark's teaching force has approved a three-year contract that creates a second salary schedule offering the opportunity for performance bonuses. The agreement also adds a peer-review piece to the evaluation process.

      62 percent of votes cast were in favor of the deal.

      A vote to ratify the deal was originally to be held Oct. 29, but got delayed due to Hurricane Sandy and resulting relief efforts.

      The contract got much attention in New Jersey, partly because it was viewed as a departure in a state where bonus pay has largely been anathema to unions. It also seemed like a new page for Newark Federation of Teachers President Joseph Del Grosso, a veteran union leader profiled in this editorial. (NFT is an American Federation of Teachers affiliate; most of the state's other teachers belong to the National Education Association.)

      In a nutshell, the agreement:

      • Creates a "universal" salary schedule that eliminates salary differentials for credentials. The schedule puts more money into early-career raises, and under it teachers can win bonuses of up to $12,500 for teaching in low-performing schools, in high-needs subjects, and for superior performance. They'll apparently be paid for by philanthropic support from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. New teachers and those holding bachelor's degrees will be automatically enrolled in the "universal" salary scale; all others can opt to join it or stay on a traditional scale.
      • Awards teachers on the universal scale one-time stipends of up to $20,000 for completing a district-approved program of study reflecting district goals or training for the Common Core state standards.
      • Grants teachers on both scales "step" increases for earning satisfactory teacher-evaluation scores;
      • Eliminates "lane" increases for degrees, replacing them with a;
      • Creates a joint union/management panel to oversee development of the district's teacher-evaluation system;
      • Establishes school improvement councils, including a teacher representative, in each school, which are responsible for professional development and evaluating teachers;
      • Creates a system of "peer validators," who will act as a third-party check on evaluation decisions for teachers who received low ratings on prior evaluations.

      Though it's being billed as a "landmark" and "groundbreaking" contract, the details leave a lot of questions open, foremost among them exactly how the new evaluation system will work.

      AFT President Randi Weingarten praised the contract, comparing it to similarly structured agreements that AFT affiliates have inked in places like New Haven, Conn., and Baltimore.


    3. It seems to me both of those contracts largely end steps and differentials and, after some initial cash, make getting a raise contingent upon extra work, PD, evaluations, "achievement units," etc.

      Weingarten sold both of these contracts heavily.

      I would not want to work under either contract here in NYC.

      I don't know what the hell "achievement units" are, but I sure as hell don't want to have to go around "collecting them" in order to get a salary increase.

      But if Weingarten and the UFTsters get their way, I bet we have something that looks like these two.

      And of course the UFTsters will say it "scrapes the skies..."

  5. Hmmm. Seems to me that the Newark deal could make some sense as teachers who are already in the system and who hold a masters degree have the choice to opt into the new aspects of the pay scale OR can stay in the traditional pay scale. If there was a "choice" for teachers like this in NYC, I would expect most veteran teaches would opt to stay in the traditional salary pay schedule. New teachers wold not have a choice, and although that would suck for them, they have the choice not to work in NYC. (Veteran teachers do not) Lastly, it seems to me that both Baltimore and Newark teachers who were already in the system at the time of their new contracts got to stay at the current salary level that they earned. In other words, none of the teachers who were/are high up on the salary scale were "booted" down to a lower pay scale. Their salary scale is merely frozen where it was at just prior to the contract being signed. This was the big question that many folks are seeking an answer to.

    1. The NEW caucus critique of the Newark contract and the dual pay system is here:

      As for the Baltimore contract, "U ratings" shot up right after it was passed:

      The Baltimore contract gave the district many shiny new hammers for the hammer box to use against their teachers - especially veteran teachers.

      You don't really get frozen pay if they get to declare you ineffective and fire you, as the Baltimore contract clears the way for with the increased number of PIP's.

      As for us, let's not forget all the lost compensation - including the 8% from the pattern they every other union got - as well as the extra work we have already taken on without getting any extra compensation.

      Doesn't matter to me if past steps and differentials stay the same - if I have to base all my future increases on VAM and/or bonuses based on "achievement units" or some other reformy crap, I'm not interested.

  6. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)March 4, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    The MORE flyers went into the mailboxes today.

  7. Weingarten may be evil, but she's clever. My guess is she'd try to neutralize opposition by grandfathering veteran teachers in some semblance of a step system, leaving everyone else to the horrors of merit pay, structural peer backstabbing and endless Common Core harangues and indoctrination PDs.

  8. I agree 100% with Michael on this. That way the vets can stay "calm" and then Mulgrew will feed the new blood to the wolves.

  9. And isn't it odd that these so called data fetishists are able to ignore so much data that contradicts their "ideas?" VAM scores, Merit pay, efficacy of charters ad mauseam...

  10. And Al Shanker is spinning in his grave as Randi dances above.