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September 29, 2017
New Denver teachers contract approved by school board and union
Union members approved it, with 89 percent voting to ratify.
Let’s make a deal
Updated September 1, 2017
Denver school district, teachers union reach agreement on contract that includes $1,400 increase to base salary
The deal provides more than the district originally proposed on teacher pay and other issues, but falls short of the union’s most ambitious goals.
June 29, 2017
Denver teachers union’s strategy for this year’s contract negotiations: Go big
“If we never ask for it, it’s never going to happen," one union leader said.
'a bit stuck'
June 27, 2017
Impasse declared in Denver teacher contract negotiations, prompting criticism from union
The declaration means the two sides will continue negotiations but with the aid of a mediator.
it's a wrap
December 30, 2014
Readers’ choices: Our 10 most-read news stories from 2014
Chalkbeat readers have spoken: The new contract between the city and the teachers’ union was the biggest story of 2014. The rest of the year's biggest stories hit on the big themes of the year, including the transition to Carmen Fariña's leadership, testing anxiety, and debates over the Common Core.
May 5, 2014
Educators question contract's bet on teacher training over student tutoring
Reallocating tutoring time to professional development and parent outreach makes sense to many, but others note that professional development can vary widely in quality—and question whether teacher training ever trumps instructional time.
May 1, 2014
Liveblogging the teachers union contract announcement
Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña are expected to announce a new contract with the United Federation of Teachers at 4 p.m. at City Hall. Updates here.
Raising the Issue
March 13, 2014
As union negotiates new contract, leader says teachers seek better pay
As the head of the teachers union negotiates a new contract with the city, he started to make a public case Wednesday for higher teacher pay.
August 22, 2013
Mulgrew faces off with Campbell Brown on sex abuse issue
The conversation between education heavyweights at a forum hosted by City & State this morning was pretty tame, except for one heated exchange between United…
June 12, 2013
Teachers join city's labor force to demand backpay in contracts
Ellen Driesen (pictured far left), a teacher at P.S. 69 and a UFT representative for District 20, marched with other UFT members to demand what they said would be a fair contract from the city. A steady stream of blue flowed down the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday afternoon as union teachers marched in solidarity with more than 100 other labor organizations that are without contracts for the first time in New York City's history. Public school teachers haven’t had a contract, or a raise, in more than four years since it expired in 2009. United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has said that either Mayor Bloomberg or his replacement will have to find the money to pay his members more than $3.2 billion in back wages. "It's time, it's overdue," said Rosalina Vazquez, a school librarian. "Not just for the UFT, but for all the unions. We're here as one, united." The teachers ended at City Hall Park where they joined police, fire fighters, sanitation workers, nurses and other public employees who make up the city's 300,000 workforce for a rally calling on Bloomberg to negotiate back pay in their contracts.
October 14, 2011
Teachers win money, lose protection in new Green Dot contract
Teachers at Green Dot New York Charter School are getting a raise, a bonus, and a little less job security. These are some of the modifications that are set to appear in a two-year renewal of Green Dot's landmark contract with the United Federation of Teachers. Green Dot offered its teachers a 28-page "thin contract" a year after the school opened in 2008, leaving out many of the work rules and policies – including tenure and seniority-based layoffs – that are found in the bulky union deal with the Department of Education. That contract expired in August and Green Dot and union officials have spent the last few months hammering out a new version. It was tentatively approved by board members on Sept. 26, but details of the contract had not been shared with teachers until this week. In a statement issued today, the chief negotiators, Leo Casey, a UFT vice president, and Gideon Stein, who serves on the school's Board of Trustees, shared details of the contract. Under the new terms, the staff will receive a 3 percent raise each of the next two years, amounting to what will be 20 percent above the current salaries in the Department of Education. Last year's teachers will also receive a $2000 bonus because of the school’s high performance. The school’s first students are now seniors so graduation data isn't available, but 95 percent of students have passed the Regents exams they have taken, according to the Green Dot web site. "The teachers and other staff are being paid more in recognition of being part of a very successful school," Stein said. In one concession, teachers will no longer be able to use an independent grievance process in their first year. Instead, they can be fired any time during their first year for any reason. Once the first year is complete, any grievance would return to being handled by an independent arbiter.
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.
April 16, 2010
End of rubber rooms a "big deal," but bigger issues remain
When he announced that he would close the city's infamous rubber rooms yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared, "To say that this is a big deal is an understatement." The agreement will shutter the reassignment centers where teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence wait idly for their cases to be heard, a process both the city and union have accused each other of dragging on interminably. But the deal, which was struck outside of formal contract negotiations, does little to resolve the most contentious issues the city and union have long fought over. Yesterday's rubber room agreement traded one largely-ignored time-line for hearing cases for a speedier one. Union and city officials pledged to strictly adhere to the faster schedule and clear out the backlog of cases by the end of the year. "We want a faster, fairer process," United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. "That's the way this process should work and that's what this agreement does." The deal does little to make it easier to fire teachers for incompetence, a major goal of the Bloomberg administration that the union bitterly opposes. Nor does it address a costlier problem: the pool of teachers who remain on the city's payroll after losing their positions to school budget cuts or school closings.
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 25, 2010
Bloomberg: “I would never use the word ‘demand'”
Responding to the accidental release — first reported on this site — of his administration's teacher contract wish list, Mayor Bloomberg said the items aren't demands. "I would never use the word 'demand,'" Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said during a news conference in the Bronx, saying he did not want to negotiate in public. "You will come out of this with an agreement down the road that hopefully both sides can feel, well, we did as well as we could, given the situation." (via New York Times) Semantics aside, the document that Department of Education officials sent to reporters on Tuesday is titled "contract proposals." Though the New York Post wrote it had "obtained" the document, the list of demands was part of a complaint the teachers union filed and the DOE released to reporters, not realizing its contract wishes were included.
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.
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.
August 5, 2009
Mulgrew quizzes his members in lead up to "tough" negotiations
On his first day of work, Mulgrew visited teacher Carla Greene at P.S. 329 in Brooklyn. (Courtesy of Miller Photography/UFT) New York City's teachers union is gearing up for its contract negotiations in the fall, sending out thousands of questionnaires to poll its members about what they want. The negotiations will be the first serious test of newly elected UFT president Michael Mulgrew who, in the survey's cover letter, warns that the talks will be "tough" at a time when the city is slashing budgets and laying off employees. The survey, which at a bulging 35 pages long barely fits in its return envelope, lists a series of desirable changes to the contract under headings like "Class Size," and "Respect and Professionalism," and asks respondents to rate the importance of each on a scale of one to five. It must be returned by August 13, and may surprise more than a few union members who could return from summer vacations to find the deadline has passed. Absent from the survey is any mention of tenure or the Absent Teacher Reserve — the pool of over 2,000 teachers who have lost their jobs and have yet to find work within the city's school system. "The questionnaire was designed by our negotiating committee, and it's a key part of the process because it allows members to weigh in on the issues important to them," UFT spokesman Brian Gibbons wrote in an email. "The information we'll get from this survey will help us shape our goals, priorities and demands as we move forward with collective bargaining."
June 23, 2009
A new UFT-city labor deal, but no mention of the ATR pool
Mayor Bloomberg and UFT President Randi Weingarten announced a tentative contract deal last night, just in time for Weingarten's announcement Wednesday. The agreement would roll back pension benefits for newly hired employees, but preserve benefits for current teachers. It would also scrap the two work days before Labor Day that were added to the work year in the last contract negotiation. Not mentioned in either Bloomberg's press release or Weingarten's e-mail to teachers (sent late last night and obtained thanks to a helpful reader): the small matter of the $81 million-a-year Absent Teacher Reserve. That's the pool of teachers who are the losers in the system's new hiring market — but haven't been able to find positions at schools. The union and the city struck a deal to try to drain the pool in November, but the number of reserve teachers stayed basically the same. This appears to be Weingarten's penultimate loose end before she leaves the city to work at the national teachers union full-time. The final deal she must announce: A contract agreement with the union-represented Green Dot charter school in the Bronx, which officials are unveiling this afternoon. Here's how Weingarten described the new citywide labor agreement in an e-mail to teachers, followed by Bloomberg's press release:
June 22, 2009
Where's that missing Green Dot contract? It arrives tomorrow
I was just wondering whatever happened to that Green Dot charter school contract that Steve Barr told me was imminent kind of a while ago. Then we got this advisory from the UFT: Contract Signing Ceremony for Green Dot Charter High School Indicates New Era of Teacher Union/Charter School Partnership WHO: American Federation of Teachers President and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; Steve Barr, founder and CEO of Green Dot Public Schools, Inc. and Green Dot New York Charter School Chairman Jeffrey T. Leeds. WHAT: Contract signing ceremony for the groundbreaking three-year contract agreement for the Green Dot New York Charter School in the Bronx with Green Dot Public Schools, the prominent charter school operator and educational reform organization based in Los Angeles, CA, and the United Federation of Teachers, the labor union representing New York City’s 100,000 public school educators.
May 28, 2009
Prepping for contract negotiations, the UFT polls teachers
In a reminder that only six months remain before the current city teachers contract expires, the teachers' union is now telephone-polling members with questions like "How do you feel about seniority?" and "How do you feel about paying for health care?" The teacher-blogger NYC Educator first reported the questions on his blog yesterday, relaying questions that were posed to an unnamed teacher in a phone call. One of the most prescient questions on that list asks teachers when they'd like contract negotiations to end — before or after the 2009 mayoral election? The contract is set to expire in October, and the election is in November. Negotiating a contract before the election would mean working with Mayor Bloomberg for sure, rather than whoever wins the 2009 mayoral race. It could also offer a boost to the mayor's re-election campaign, as happened in 2005. Nailing down a contract before the 2009 election could also have an impact on the debate on mayoral control. Some have suggested that the union could, for instance, make a concession on its demanded checks and balances to the mayor's power over schools now in exchange for help in the contract later.
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