UFT members will be receiving only 12.5% of what is owed to us from 2009. We will not receive our full retro until 2020. Our fellow UFT members who are on maternity leave, family leave, or medical leave will be getting zero. This is nothing to celebrate, yet Mulgrew and his unity caucus leadership sent out a happy message with the piggy bank image you see above. We were told in 2014 that it was necessary to delay retro payments to avoid a city financial crisis, a budget shortfall that has since evaporated. We deserve what every other union received, we deserve the full back pay that is owed to us.
When your own union has to sell you on the deal, you know it’s not good. Our friends in other city unions look at us and shake their heads. Look at our brothers and sisters who are Firefighters, they received 8% raises from 2008-2010 that we did not and will be receiving their full retroactive upon ratifying their contract. They don’t have to wait for 5 installments of money that is rightfully ours. We constantly settle for less than others and then are told by Mulgrew to be thankful for what we have. New York City will have a 6 billion dollar surplus. but we were told they were broke. It was a lie. Our members are educated professionals and deserve to be treated as such. It is time to tell the truth.
Just to add one more layer of complexity: The numbers 12.5%, 12.5%, 25%, 25%, 25% are also not accurate because in reality they don’t add up to 100%. Consider the fact that we are still accruing arrears from the city and will continue to do so until 2018 because the 8% raises will not be fully phased in until then. That means that the total lump sum owed to us will be higher in 2017 than it is in 2015 (especially considering that teachers will continue to go up steps, accrue longevities, and earn differentials). That means that the 2017 12.5% payment will not be equal to the 12.5% we get in 2015. The final, 2020, payment will not actually be 25% of all the arrears. It will be whatever we are still owed. For most of us that will be somewhat more than 25%.
Let’s be clear this money is ours, we worked for it, including those who are on leave to raise a child or because of health issues. Mulgrew should not have sent out celebratory letters, instead they should be using the full force of our union to demand that ALL members who are owed money get that money now. If you believe like we do that it is time for new union leadership, one that negotiates on behalf of all members, and ensures that we get treated with the respect we deserve, please join MORE now