Friday, October 21, 2005

Unity Visits Your School October 2009

Now I know some of you will be disappointed in the language of this document, but goshdarn it, this mayor is one tough negotiator and this was the best we could do. We’ve gotten the teachers an 8 percent raise over five years, and if you add this raise to the raises we’ve gotten over the past 54 years you’ll see that we’ve gotten over 2,000 percent in raises. Now, who else has gotten a 2,000 percent raise in this economic climate?

Of course a lot of crotchety high school teachers are upset about the sixth full teaching period, but you need to look at it from a more balanced perspective. This was the best we could do. After all, it’s only an extra ten minutes a day, and we’ve finally done away with those irritating 37.5 minute periods. Now, every school will close no later than 3:55, except for multiple session schools, and some other schools, which will close later.

I’d like to address the issue of merit pay. Now anyone who calls the new merit pay provision “merit pay” is simply ignorant. It is most definitely not merit pay. Furthermore, while principals will now determine who gets to be lead teacher, master teacher, and the coveted Mighty Morphin Power Teacher, we placed explicit language in the contract stating there would be absolutely no repeated sexual favors exchanged for merit pay. We were able to insert a very important clause that asserted this right regardless of a teacher’s sex, inclinations, or lifestyle.

Unfortunately, similar clauses relating to cronyism and nepotism were dropped so we could earn that last point of your raise. This was the best we could do in the current political climate. Be assured, however, that we will make these clauses a prime objective in our next round of negotiation.

It’s come to my attention that a lot of people are up in arms about our recent endorsement of the mayor, simply because he’s been frequently quoted as saying “I hate all teachers and everything they stand for.” Now, first of all, those quotes were taken out of context, and he most certainly meant it in the nicest way possible. Secondly, if we don’t occasionally endorse candidates from the other party, they may stop negotiating in good faith with us. We couldn’t have done any better.

Now we managed to get, free of charge, 100% waterproof wetsuits for all teachers doing lunch duty. They are completely hamburger, and veggie-burger resistant. Also, we fought hard and defeated management’s demand that teachers spend three periods a day in the lunchroom. No teacher will perform more than two lunchroom assignments per day, and only one of these assignments can involve cooking, cleaning, or operating the cash register.

Predictably, there’s been a lot of flack about half-day Saturdays, but we just had to give something back or we wouldn’t have been able to come up with this monumental new contract. We are pioneers—the first teachers in the country to work a five and a half day week. It is most certainly not a six day week, as those naysayers and rabble-rousers from ICE have been saying. Remember, they’re the same ones who complained that the 37.5 minute “small group instruction” was a sixth class. Note that in August, we have maintained the five day week. That took some tough negotiation on my part, but we absolutely refused to let teachers work on Saturdays in August.

Let’s talk about what we fought back in this contract. For one thing, there will be absolutely no school on Sundays. No teacher will have more than 40 students in a class, despite the mayor’s demands to the contrary. And despite the new provisions allowing principals to summarily fire anyone for any reason whatsoever, which were the best we could do, we have retained tenure! In all my 37 years of tough negotiations, this was the toughest! It was tough, I tell you. How tough was it?

It was so tough, we had to negotiate a new Tier 6, but all teachers will be able to retire with 60 years of service, regardless of how old they may have been when they started. For example, an 80 year old teacher who began at the age of 20 can now retire with no penalty. A 120 year old teacher who began at age 39, depending on when his or her birthday was, will now be able to….
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