Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NYC Educator: Till Your Well Runs Dry

NYC Educator: Till Your Well Runs Dry

Till Your Well Runs Dry
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I'm in McAllen, Texas right now with AFT. We've been meeting some local union leaders here, and I've been hearing things that kind of blow my mind. I should've known these things before. I have a friend from Florida who described working conditions there, and they're quite similar here. The reason they have things like one year renewable contracts is they don't do that whole collective bargaining thing. We pay you what we want, and if you don't like it, go screw yourself.

Collective bargaining is a cornerstone of what union does where we come from. Whatever you may think about the most recent contract, or those that preceded them, at least they're contracts. Without them, your negotiating stances are sorely limited. There are always things you can do. For example, several red states went out on strikes recently. With conditions like those, it's pretty easy to understand why.

There are some highly unattractive disadvantages to this system. As in Florida, tenure is doled out in contracts that last somewhere between one and five years. Should they fire you just because they feel like it while your contract is in force, the union can help you. However, whenever your tenure, or contract, or whatever you want to call it is up, they can simply choose not to renew. That's one way to discourage activism. On the other hand, turnover can be massive in places with these systems. It all depends one whether or not your local Board of Ed. gives a crap about educational quality.

There are other drawbacks to this system as well. For example, say you start on a contract and beginning pay is 30K a year. Let's say the board votes to give all teachers an across the board raise of $760. So year two, you make 30,760. Each year you made an extra $760. Let's say five years later, starting pay goes up to 40K. This means that a new teacher makes more than you do. I suppose you could quit and hope they'd hire you back. On the other hand, once you come back they could give you credit for time served and therefore award you a lower salary.

Sometimes there are consultations. The board will decide that they will make agreements under consultation. They will pay you this much. They will give you this benefit. They CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: Till Your Well Runs Dry

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