Wednesday, June 27, 2018

First Day of Summer Brings Contract to DC 37

I woke this morning to two messages that DC 37 has a contract.

Under the $1 billion contract, the nearly 100,000 members of District Council 37 will get wage hikes of 2% in the first year of the contract, 2.25% the next year and 3% the year after that.

NYC Educator rates this pattern as Not Terrible, particularly given the draconian and insulting proposals de Blasio has been offering the cops. I do not wish to do better, and I'll tell you why. Historically, improving on money has entailed givebacks. I don't think we've got anything to really give back anymore. My personal contract asks are unrelated to money.

This notwithstanding, the city can save a whole lot of money by returning Regents grading to high schools. They can also stop sending us all over the city to schools in which Boy Wonder supervisors mistake UFT teachers for doormats. I've had friends forced to stand outside in sub-freezing weather while guards checked ID one by one. They could've waited in line inside, but that would've been Not Stupid, and Boy Wonder doesn't play that. More recently members have been forced to sit in 90 degree hell rooms in chairs I wouldn't use to sit Michael Bloomberg. (You see what I did there? I was gonna say my dog, but I love my dog.)

There's a giveback I can live with. They can also save the time of supervisors by giving fewer observations to teachers who reach effective or better. I am personally willing to sacrifice the extra observations. Of course the city can save a whole lot of money by placing the teachers in the ATR. I realize imperial principals will not like that, but let the city sweeten their contract. Perhaps they can finally get the free donuts and prostitutes they've long coveted for their offices.

There are health savings, too, and I'm afraid I can't generate the same enthusiasm for them. Alas, they apply to all of us:

The city also struck a deal with the Municipal Labor Committee, which represents all city worker unions, to save cash on employee health care.

New rules will require workers to go to outpatient health centers, instead of hospitals, for some kinds of treatment.

And new employees for their first year must join the HIP Health Plan of New York, the cheapest health care plan the city offers, but will be able to switch to a pricier plan after that.

But city negotiators were unable to persuade the union to pay higher health care premiums.

I'm glad we won't be paying higher premiums, but I really question the "outpatient health centers." First of all, I have no clue what they are. Second, I would very much like to know what "some kinds of treatment" actually entails.

I do know that my experience with the super-saver no-co-pay clinics enabled in the last round of bargaining has been unimpressive. I only went once, when my daughter fell and hurt her leg. We sat in a room of maybe thirty people and were told there was one doctor to attend all of them. They also let us know that they didn't have an x-ray machine. We went over to a nearby urgent care, paid the fifty bucks, and my daughter was seen within minutes.

DC 37 has also gotten parental leave, and has gone a little differently than we did.

As part of the deal, DC 37 members will also get partially paid family leave starting next year. The union is opting in to the state’s family leave program, and members will be allowed to take 10 weeks off to care for a family member while getting paid up to 55% of their salary.

We'll see what happens. If I were Michael Mulgrew, I'd move in the direction of negotiating non-monetary issues. Hopefully UFT will be able to also negotiate something Not Terrible. For me, this will represent a sea change in the direction we've been headed for the last few decades.
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