Friday, May 12, 2006

UFT President's Message

Dear UFT Members:

As you know, we've finally achieved salary parity with the suburbs. Now, some of you will ask, why did Nassau teachers make tens of thousands more than us in January 05 for teaching considerably fewer students? And why are they making even more now, while we don't actually reach the 33% increase I love to talk about till October?

Well, let me ask you this--have you ever counted every student in Nassau County classrooms? Have you ever counted every dollar a Nassau teacher makes? How do you know it isn't an optical illusion? Those salaries that NYSUT posts could be sheer lies, for all you know. Jeez, did you read about that crappy ING plan they were pushing? Now let's get down to brass tacks.

In the last two contracts, as I may have mentioned, teacher pay has risen 33%. Sure, you're working 10% more time, and some would say that means it's only risen 23%. And sure, inflation probably chips away another 20 or 25 points. And sure, you're not actually seeing that money yet. Still, it beats the hell out of working in Wal-Mart, as your colleagues in Newark may soon be doing.

Now I've received comments that many of you are sorely disappointed to be working in August. Let me say one thing right now--you will not be working. You will be sitting in auditoriums and classrooms and learning about all the wonderful things Chancellor Klein is doing (better bring a book).

Here's the thing--we've decided that we are not going to give back any more time. Sure, you say, we gave back time in the last contract, and even more in the one before that. So, you ask, why should you believe us when me say no more time? Good question.

Why? Because we're experts in giving up time. Have our opponents ever given back time? What the hell does Jeff Kaufman know about giving up time? Do you ever see me give up time at the DA? Of course not. I talk as much as I want and never give up time to anyone. I know about time, and I know about Newsweek too. Don't mess with me.

Now a lot of you are bellyaching we just buckled in and gave the Mayor whatever the hell he wanted in the last contract. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's the situation--After DC37 took 4% for three years, with one more in undetermined givebacks, we were faced with a problem.

Should we fight? Or should we go to PERB, which had endorsed pattern bargaining, and would insist in givebacks for anything above 4% over three years? We decided to go to PERB. So I reiterate--we did not give the Mayor whatever the hell he wanted. We gave PERB whatever the hell they wanted. There's a significant difference.

So remember we will not give back any time. We'll stand fast. If need be, we'll back down even faster. Just don't expect any money in this round. We already got you 33%! Jeez, what more do you guys want?

Next week I'll tell you about how we plan to let teachers teach (when they aren't doing potty patrol, walking the halls, or dodging burgers in the cafeteria).
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