United for Change Platform Video Series- Support REAL Raises for All UFT
About the Author: Eric Severson is a Special Education teacher in Brooklyn, NY. He is running with United for Change as a VP for CTE Schools. This video and text is a discussion of part 2 of United for Change’s platform: wages for all UFT members, the next contract, and reductions in retirement and health benefits that we must restore.
Salary Increases: NOT a real raise!
One of the crucial issues in this UFT election is the next contract negotiation, so let’s look at the reality behind what has taken place in the past. For every job title represented by the UFT from teachers to counselors to paraprofessionals to school secretaries, the last contract gave us a series of incremental increases that add up to 7.7% from June 2018 to now, just under 2% per year.
Even in normal times, those increases were just barely enough to keep up with inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own numbers, as of February 2022 inflation is currently at 7.9%, with the greatest increases coming in the shelter, food, and fuel categories. This means that UFT members who simply want to live indoors, heat their homes, fuel their cars, and eat are now on track to be financially worse off than they were in 2018, and all the signs indicate that high inflation isn’t going anywhere.
This brings us to what is currently at stake. The UFT contract expires in September, and the union is currently run by the same people who called a 2014 contract with 18% in increases over 8 years and massive givebacks in healthcare that resulted in doubled copays a big victory, and a ‘raise.’ We had to wait until July of 2021 to get the money we had earned in 2009, and Unity called this members ‘made whole.’ Eric Adams is very likely to push a very anti-teacher contract on us, and we must not and cannot trust the same failed Unity leadership that has given in to politicians and called defeats victories to have our backs in that fight. United for Change, on the other hand, will demand raises that keep up with inflation and no givebacks in future contracts. We know what rank and file UFT members need because we are rank and file UFT members, people whose livelihoods depend on the salary and benefits that we will win if you give us your vote in April.
United for Change for a better union!