The United Federation of Teachers submitted this CityViews op-ed in response to David Bloomfield’s October 22nd CityViews op-ed, “New Teachers’ Contract is a Missed Opportunity.” A second response can be read here.
While Professor David Bloomfield is entitled to his own opinion about the proposed UFT contract, he is not entitled to his own facts.
Cases in Point:
1. Despite Bloomfield’s assertion to the contrary (“the voting membership, heavily skewed toward retirees ..”), only active members cast ballots on the contract proposal;*
2. His statement about proposed wage hikes during the contract period of more than 7 percent compounded (“unlikely to meet increases in the cost of living…”) is contradicted by estimates of inflation by the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund;
3. Changes in healthcare benefits are not UFT-specific, they were negotiated by the Municipal Labor Committee for all city workers, teachers included, six months ago. Criticisms of the agreement ignore the fact that while across the country workers pay an average of nearly $6,000 a year for family health coverage, UFT-covered employees continue to have access to a health care plan with no premiums.
4. This new contract includes increased pay for paraprofessionals, increased employee voice in the schools, faster resolution of classroom overcrowding, new teacher leadership positions and other changes to benefit both students and staff.
Teachers and other UFT professionals will be making up their own minds about how well the agreement represents their interests.
Richard Mantell is the vice president for middle schools at the United Federation of Teachers
*: Editor’s Note: The erroneous reference to retirees voting on the contract did appear in the initial version of the Bloomfield op-ed, but was corrected at that author’s request shortly after publication,