Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Buffalo School District Offers Worst Contract Deal Ever

From the Buffalo News:

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...



  1. BTF: Selling out your younger members is a non-starter. The the BoE to GFI. DON'T SELL OUT YOUR YOUNGER MEMBERS!!!

  2. If DeBlasio offered this deal to Mulgrew last spring he would have taken it. I'm serious.

  3. This is the type of contract the UFT apparatchiks would sell as a victory for educators.

  4. A contract that leaves you worse off than when you started. Who could resist? Mulgrew would be screaming victory from the mountain tops.

  5. Ahh, but who remembers the horrible starting contract proposal that Klein/Bloomberg was thinking about offering the UFT a few years back? It looked almost exactly like the Buffalo contract. It was like 7 pages long. Eliminated every right we have and offered a shitty raise as well. Welcome to the future my friends. We better stick together or we are all gonna drown together.

  6. The members didn't ratify that, did they? Reject it and authorize a strike. That is bullshit. Don't even think about takin that. Remember, Sandra Feldman tried to sell Rank and File on a crap contract, which they rejected and took a strike vote. Low and behold, BoE came back to the table with an acceptable one.

    1. The starting contract that Klein/Bloomberg proposed was the "preliminary" contract that they put on the table during opening negotiations with the UFT head honchos behind closed doors. It never made it past the closed door negotiations and was changed before the rank and file got to vote on it. Here is the catch, the UFT DID NOT share what the preliminary table contract offer was for quite some time. That is what scares me. They could have easily buried this contract proposal and we would have never known what serious BS the DOE was throwing at us. This is why we need a transparent UFT right now.

  7. Just curious-what was different about the approved Feldman/Guiliani contract after the first 1995 tentative one was turned down by rank and file?

  8. Good question. I'm anon 12:29, and I'll admit that I really don't know. Ed Notes, are you reading this? I'm willing to bet you're a good source.

  9. One change was that the DOE was going to hold some % of new teacher salaries for 5 years and if the newbie survived the then very real layoff threats they would get the $. If not, DOE got to keep the $. Also, longevity max would have been stretched to 25 years. This was why I went from Grad class to grad class at Queens to defeat the 1st version.

  10. I Have been a Buffalo teacher for over 15 years. Because of the past wage freeze, I currently earn the same salary as a teacher who has worked 4 less years than I have. I am making $5000 a year less than I'm supposed to under the current contract and $20,000 a year less than my colleagues in other districts. I chose to teach in the city because I grew up there and want to help the underprivileged children. What rewards do I get? Lower pay, wage freezes, large class sizes, and insulting contract proposals.
    Most teachers agree that it's reasonable to work longer days, longer years, give up the cosmetic surgery (which under 15% of teachers are even eligible for, and much less use it), and pay part of our health care. If the BOE wants these concessions, which they say are similar to other districts, THEN THEY HAVE TO PAY US WHAT TEACHERS IN OTHER DISTRICTS EARN. 10% doesn't come close to this! Also, we will not agree to pay a % of health care, but rather a flat rate amount. The district is a 3rd party carrier, and therefore they can set the rate we pay for health care. If they want us to pay more, they could just raise the premium, and that would increase our contribution because we would have to pay a %. The public is manipulated by the BOE and an obviously biased newspaper in a one newspaper town. All we want is equitable pay compared to our colleagues in other districts.

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  12. The concerned authorities those work for the welfare of teachers much take notice of these contracts and take the necessary steps to provide relief to teachers.

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