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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. You can watch the livestream here. Meanwhile, our Geoff Decker is at City Hall and we’re bringing you the up-to-the-minute updates.

5:04: And, that’s a wrap! A comprehensive update, and plenty of analysis, to come. Thoughts? Share ’em at ny.tips@chalkbeat.org.

5:02: Bill de Blasio on the school system overall: “The status quo is not acceptable,” we will not continue with our public schools the way they are. Says this is part of a “thorough reset.”

4:58: Bob Linn doesn’t answer when asked how much it would cost for other unions to get 4 percent boost now that didn’t get those increases in the past.

4:54: When asked how this deal differs from one under the Bloomberg administration, Mulgrew responds: Are you serious?

Fariña notes potential cost savings:

4:48: The talk has turned to ATRs. Fariña repeats: no forced placement. City will be interviewing excessed teachers before sending into classrooms.

4:44: The whole event has been lighthearted, with lots of talk about collaboration—and, interestingly, “reform.” Earlier, lead arbitrator Marty Sheinman said it was the proudest moment of his career, and Mulgrew said de Blasio did what he promised to do—work together.


4:37: Here’s what we know about the career ladder: Bonus for “school ambassador”: $7,000. “Master teacher”: $7,500. “Model teacher”: about $20,000.

4:35: All told, including retroactive pay: a $4 billion price tag, officials say.

4:33: From a few minutes ago: “education reform” makes a comeback.

NYC is in education reform mode, says Mulgrew. Reform, officially the least meaningful word in the education universe — Eliza Shapiro (@elizashapiro) May 1, 2014

4:31: More details on the thin contract option. 65 percent staff approval needed, and it will allow principals and teachers in school have more power to hire and fire staff.

4:27: Reminder, everyone: this is a tentative contract.

4:24: And we’ve got even more love, between de Blasio, Mulgrew, and Fariña.

4:22: More from the UFT:

ADDITIONAL PARENT VOICE The agreement creates a 40-minute period every Tuesday for teachers to reach out to parents by email, letter, telephone or face-to-face meetings. Teachers can also use this time to create newsletters, school or class websites or other strategies to increase contact between parents and teachers. It increases the length of the parent-teacher conferences from 2.5 to 3 hours and doubles the number of evening parent-teacher conferences from 2 to 4 each school year. Evening conference will be held in September, November, March and May. NEW FLEXIBILITY FOR SELECTED SCHOOLS The new contract provides a mechanism for schools to innovate by seeking exemptions to certain Chancellor’s Regulations or UFT contract provisions that could result in initiatives such as a different school day and year; greater teacher voice in hiring decisions; or wider variations in how a school day is laid out. A joint DOE-UFT panel will review proposals and select up to 200 schools for the program. For a school to participate, the principal and 65% of UFT staff in the building must agree to the proposal.

4:18: As Chalkbeat first reported was likely weeks ago, teachers will now be evaluated on eight measures, not 22.

4:15: Details directly from the union:

TEACHER PAY The proposed contract includes a total package of 18% in raises, including all retroactive pay, plus a $1,000 cash bonus. For the current round, the annual percentages are: 1%-1% – ($1,000 cash)-1%-1.5%-2.5%-3% Teachers can expect the $1,000 cash bonus as soon as the contract is ratified and a 2% increase later this year. Other annual raises will be paid in May of each year. The retroactive payments for the 4% and 4% that UFT members missed from the previous round—and the associated annual rate increases — will be phased in beginning in 2015 and ending in 2020. TEACHER EVALUATION The new contract clarifies and simplifies the evaluation process. Evaluations will now be focused on 8 components instead of the current 22. Under the current system, teachers in grades or subjects not covered by tests can be evaluated in part on schoolwide measures that include results for many students they do not teach. Under the new contract, teachers in non-tested subjects or grades will have the option to be evaluated on the results of students they actually teach. The union and the DOE will work to expand the available assessments. ATRS Under the new contract, the DOE is obliged after Oct. 15 to send an ATR to any school in the district/borough with a vacancy in the teacher’s license area. The principal retains the discretion to keep the teacher or return him or her to the ATR pool.

4:11: Lots of happiness.

4:10: The deal also includes a program to offered a “thin contract” at up to 200 schools. We previewed that in our second teacher contract explainer.

4:09: The principals’ union’s statement:

We commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chancellor Carmen Farina and the Office of Labor Relations for restoring the collective bargaining process in New York City and showing their respect for our public workers, said Ernest A. Logan, president of CSA. We commend them for resolving important issues with the UFT in a timely manner. CSA looks forward to examining that contract carefully and ascertaining how it will affect principals, assistant principals, education administrators and supervisors who make up CSA’s membership. Above all, we look forward to the satisfactory resolution of our long overdue contract.

4:07: Part of the full, official announcement from the city:

The agreement respects workers with a fair deal and provides pathways for teachers to help their colleagues while earning additional pay. The agreement also protects taxpayers, because it can be fully funded within the city’s current budget framework, without the need for tax increases. The UFT’s 110,000 professional employees have worked without a contract since November 2009, and this agreement, once ratified by the union’s membership, would constitute the first major labor agreement struck by the de Blasio administration. It fulfills the mayor’s pledge to achieve an agreement that is respectful, fair, fiscally responsible, and embraces reform. The agreement covers the past four and a half years in which teachers went without a contract, and extends until 2018. Those raises are made achievable in part through a historic and sweeping reform of public employee health care, amounting to more than $1 billion by 2018, along with additional city resources. Were these reforms, designed to save money while protecting current member benefits, extended across the municipal labor force, they would yield at least $3.4 billion total over the same four years, effectively bending the curve of rising health care costs for the first time.

4:05: Bdb: “This agreement is entirely funded within the city’s current budget framework.”

— Yoav Gonen (@yoavgonen) May 1, 2014

4:03: De Blasio: This is “a historic day for our children and our families.” Flanked by Fariña and Mulgrew.

3:57: SED chief John King and Merryl Tisch are in the room.

3:51 p.m.: Most of the details of the contract have already been revealed, from union and City Hall sources and from the UFT’s own website, where the union accidentally released a letter from UFT chief Michael Mulgrew and an outline of the plan just before 2 p.m. The most important pieces of what we know so far:

  • It’s a nine-year deal that will last until October 2018
  • Salaries for UFT members will increase 18 percent over that time
  • The deal includes full retroactive pay for the years since the union was without a contract
  • Health benefits and pensions will be “preserved,” though details are unclear
  • Teachers will now be evaluated on eight, as opposed to 22 criteria