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June 3, 2014
At vote-counting, a snapshot of the final step in UFT contract sign-off
Nearly 60 people bunched into long conference tables in a lower Manhattan basement are working through more than 80,000 ballots that will decide the outcome of the city's contract with the United Federation of Teachers.
the final hours
April 30, 2014
Career ladder, fewer eval metrics, and face time with parents in teacher contract, sources say
Retroactive pay is poised to come through for teachers, but how much is still unclear, sources say of a contract deal being finalized by the UFT and the city. What is more clear, they say, is a new teacher pay system, changes to teacher evaluations and more face time with parents.
April 23, 2014
Mulgrew mum on negotiations, but offers plenty of praise for city leaders
Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew won’t talk about ongoing contract negotiations, but he’s more than happy to praise the city officials on the other side of the table.
April 18, 2014
What the teachers' contract talks are all about, part II: Evaluations and training time
In our second part covering the teacher contract talks, we focus on teach evaluations and the potential for extra time in the school day or year for professional development. Could a "thin" contract be in the cards for some schools?
April 3, 2014
Advocates to Fariña: More specifics on forced placement, please
Advocates looking to keep the teachers in the city's Absent Teacher Reserve out of classrooms say Chancellor Fariña hasn't said enough about her plans for those teachers.
September 7, 2010
"Give it to me!" Klein says of D.C.'s teacher contract
Chancellor Joel Klein and city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew have been careful not to say too much in public about contract negotiations, which…
June 2, 2010
Why the mayor can get away with his salary-freeze surprise
When Mayor Bloomberg announced this morning that he will prevent teacher layoffs by freezing wages, teachers union president Michael Mulgrew shot back that the mayor can’t unilaterally make contract decisions. Mulgrew is right that Bloomberg can't make teachers contract decisions on his own. But in this case, he doesn't have to. All Bloomberg has to do to freeze wages is not sign any contract that includes a raise. The teachers union is left with a decision: it can either agree to a contract with no raises, or not. If the city and union are unable to come to an agreement, teachers can continue working under the old contract indefinitely. But speaking to reporters today, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein also made it clear that the city is open to discussing alternate deals with the union. The city's contract negotiation wish-list includes a slew of cost-saving measures that the city could be willing to trade for raises. These include firing excessed teachers who have not found new positions after six months or a year, or requiring that teachers work longer hours. In an interview today, Mulgrew refused to say whether he was considering agreeing to a contract without raises. "In terms of our negotiation process, nothing has changed," he said.
March 15, 2010
Teachers union and city in talks to shrink rubber rooms
Department of Education and teachers union officials could have a deal within weeks that would shrink the number of teachers sitting in rubber rooms. Sources within the United Federation of Teachers said that the two sides have been negotiating for several weeks outside of contract talks, which have stalled, but would not give any specifics about how the population of teachers in the rooms might be reduced. The rubber rooms, technically called "reassignment centers," are student-less classrooms where about 650 teachers and administrators accused of misconduct or incompetence report for duty every day as they wait to be officially charged or have their cases heard. The wait can sometimes stretch over years, during which teachers receive their full salaries. According to Chancellor Joel Klein, last year the city spent some $30 million covering these teachers' salaries.
February 23, 2010
Among city's contract demands: flexibility to lay off teachers
A much smaller pool of jobless-but-salaried teachers and slimmed down rubber rooms are two of the requests on the city's list of contract demands. The list of demands, which had been kept secret for months as the city and United Federation of Teachers tried to reach an agreement, was included as part of a legal complaint filed against the city by the UFT. The complaint was sent to reporters yesterday by Department of Education spokesman David Cantor. The union distributed its own list of demands to chapter leaders back in September. Many of the demands are recycled from years past, but there are several new ones tucked into the three-page document. For years, Chancellor Joel Klein has trumpeted Chicago's method of laying off teachers, which gives out-of-work teachers a year to remain on salary and find a new job in the schools. Klein's new list of demands would shrink that window to four months. Another provision would force any teacher who's been charged with misconduct or incompetence off of the city's payroll while their case proceeds through termination hearings, effectively decreasing the rubber rooms' ranks.
February 22, 2010
Teachers union offers a legal challenge to city's new tenure plan
The teachers union is asking a state agency to put a stop to city plans to use test scores in tenure decisions, saying it violates the teachers' contract. United Federation of Teachers officials filed a complaint with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board on February 12, accusing the Department of Education of an "improper practice." In the complaint, union officials say that Chancellor Joel Klein's decision to include teacher data reports as a criteria in tenure decisions this spring violates the contract. The problem is a procedural one, union official said. According to the UFT, any changes to the tenure process have to be bargained with the union, which the city did not do.
January 15, 2010
Teachers union declares impasse in contract negotiations
The city teachers union declared this afternoon that its contract talks with the city are deadlocked and asked a state employment panel to intervene. The move takes the negotiations one step closer to fact-finding and arbitration, a complex process that observers say could mean nearly a year before a new contract is reached. "Despite weeks of meetings and discussions, we have not been able to make real progress in our efforts to reach a new contract with the Department of Education," United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "The UFT has no choice but to reach out to a neutral third party to help resolve the differences that are preventing us from a new agreement that is fair to our members and to the parents and children who rely on the New York City public schools," he said. A spokesman for the city, Jason Post, would not comment on the UFT's move. The declaration of impasse comes at a sensitive time for the relationship between the teachers union and the city. The city is currently pushing for legislative changes that would change how teachers are evaluated and make it easier for them to be fired.
December 22, 2009
UFT applies pressure to a charter school balking at pay raises
Frustrated by two years of contract negotiations, the city's teachers union is pressuring a unionized Queens charter school to make a deal. United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew and other union officials held a news conference in front of Merrick Academy-Queens Public Charter School today to protest the school's contract with a for-profit educational management organization. According to the UFT, over the last four years Merrick Academy's board has paid over $8 million to Victory Schools, a figure that Mulgrew said was "astronomical." At the center of the UFT's rally today is its ongoing contract talks with the school. Union officials said the school's board has been dragging its feet on negotiations. In 2007, an overwhelming majority of teachers at Merrick Academy voted to make the UFT their exclusive bargaining agent, but since then the UFT and school's board have yet to reach a contract agreement.
November 18, 2009
Mulgrew asks union for power to call impasse in contract talks
Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew is calling for the power to declare a deadlock in the union's contract negotiations with the city. At a meeting of the United Federation of Teachers' delegate assembly, Mulgrew asked members to vote and grant him the authority to call an impasse in negotiations, setting things in motion for contract talks to proceed toward the complicated and lengthy fact-finding process. A spokesman for the UFT said that Mulgrew was not declaring an actual deadlock, but was signaling that if talks do not improve, he will do so. (Update: At 5:41 p.m., by UFT spokesman Dick Riley's watch, the delegate assembly passed the resolution) Declaring an impasse would mean calling in the state's Public Employment Relations Board to verify that contract talks have stalled and then bringing in a mediator to restart negotiations. If the mediation fails, then the fact-finding process would begin — something that the union isn't exactly looking to avoid, as fact-finding commissions in years past have recommended wage increases and prevented the city from laying off teachers who are excessed and can't find new positions. "There's no downside and it shows his members that he's doing something," said Peter Goodman, a long-time UFT member, of Mulgrew's request for the authority to call an impasse.
October 5, 2009
Teachers contract likely to skirt ATR issue, observers say
With less than a month to go before the teachers union contract expires, labor negotiation veterans are forecasting a "bland" contract that will disappoint those advocating for drastic reforms both from the city and United Federation of Teachers. One issue that many believe will be left out of this contract is what to do about the absent teacher reserve: a pool of teachers who were laid off when their schools were closed or were let go as a result of budget cuts. Currently, there are about 1,400 "excessed" teachers who receive their full salaries though most are not teaching. In previous years, Chancellor Joel Klein has urged the city to adopt the model Chicago uses, in which teachers have a year to find new work before they're fired. When the city pushed for an 18-month period in 2005, arbitrators rejected the proposal, yet the chancellor has continuously said that this is the system he wants to see put in place.
September 16, 2009
Speaking to UFT, Mulgrew calls for a new contract, and fast
The city's teachers union offered the first glimpse of its contract demands tonight, but remained silent on the possible pay raise many have predicted — and on whether the union plans to sweeten its chances at a good contract by endorsing Michael Bloomberg. The glimpse came at a meeting of the delegate assembly, the union's ruling body, where members were given a seven page list of demands that fell under categories such as compensation and health. Union president Michael Mulgrew addressed the crowd, which spilled out of the room and into the hallway of 52 Broadway, the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers. The event was closed to the press, and union members were told not to share the seven-page document with reporters. According to several in attendance, Mulgrew lectured on the grim state of the city's economy and the need to get the union's new contract finalized quickly. One teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mulgrew seemed to be pushing the union to reach a deal quickly, before the economy worsens. "They're presenting it like there's this brief window of time, because of the economy, in which to rush the contract through," he said.
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