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Labor Contract

Schoolbook

More Unwanted Teachers Leave System Under de Blasio

Monday, March 23, 2015

WNYC
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has gotten more "excessed" teachers to leave the system, mostly by encouraging them to take the retirement deal laid out in the new teachers contract.
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WNYC News

Workers, Union Leaders, Call Out Park Slope Car Wash

Sunday, December 14, 2014

WNYC
Labor groups rally to call attention to what the call unfair employment practices at a Park Slope car wash.

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Operavore

Met Opera Reaches Tentative Deals With Two Largest Unions

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Metropolitan Opera reached tentative labor deals with its unionized orchestra musicians, singers, dancers and directors, following an all-night bargaining session.
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The Brian Lehrer Show

Mayor de Blasio, and Union Contracts, at 6 Months

Thursday, July 03, 2014

After six months in office, the mayor says he has reached labor deals with unions representing over 60 percent of the city's workforce - including most recently District Council 37. Brigid Bergin, WNYC political reporter, talks about what the deals indicate about the mayor's approach.

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Schoolbook

NYC Teachers Union Members Approve Labor Contract

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The votes are in. Members of the New York City teachers union showed strong support for a long overdue labor deal with the city. 

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Schoolbook

High Turnout Delays Final Count in NYC Teachers Contract Vote

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Leaders of the teachers union say the response to the proposed labor contract was so strong, the final tally has been delayed as workers wade through about 80,000 ballots.

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Schoolbook

Mulgrew: Teachers Drive Reforms in New Labor Contract

Friday, May 09, 2014

The delegates approved the labor contract but there is still a vocal group of critics who are encouraging members of the teachers union to reject the nine-year deal. Here the union president offers his argument for a 'yes' vote.

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Schoolbook

Opinion: Here's Why NYC Teachers Should Reject Labor Contract

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Now that the union leaders have approved the labor contract, an opposing point of view on how members of the teachers' union should vote.

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Operavore

Metropolitan Opera Contract Talks Begin, Con Forza

Monday, May 05, 2014

Contract talks between the Metropolitan Opera and the union representing the company's singers, dancers and stage managers got off to a markedly tempestuous start on Monday.

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Schoolbook

What de Blasio's Contract Deal Means for Teachers

Friday, May 02, 2014

The new teacher contract includes wage increases and back pay, a streamlined teacher evaluation process and time built into the school day for professional development and parent engagement.

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Schoolbook

City Reaches 'Landmark' Contract with Teachers Union

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Details are out on a labor contract deal between New York City and its public school teachers. The mayor said it represents a huge breakthrough for New Yorkers because it does not rely on tax increases, and includes health care savings.

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WNYC News

The Budget Is Settled — Now It's Time for Labor Contracts

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

WNYC

With pre-k money secured, Mayor de Blasio's next negotiating test comes in the form of 152 expired labor contracts.

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Schoolbook

Opinion: Cut Waste at Education Dept. Before Negotiating Teachers Contract

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A former teacher -- and someone who knows his way around an audit -- argues the Department of Education has to clean up its books before asking anything of teachers in the upcoming labor contract talks. 

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Schoolbook

Teachers Hopeful About Contract Deal with De Blasio

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It was billed as a "National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education," but teachers at the event in New York City Monday were thinking more locally: their top issue was a new contract.

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The Empire

Cuomo administration reaches deal with correctional officers union

Thursday, February 09, 2012

By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

With just six weeks left in the state’s fiscal year, the Cuomo Administration has still not settled labor contracts with some significant unions, including all of the state’s prisons guards, and professors and other staff at the State University System.

Governor Cuomo sought $250 million dollars in workforce savings in the current state budget, which expires on March 31. He said the money would come either through union concession in new contracts, or from up to 10,000 layoffs.

The two largest state worker unions have already settled on new contracts with givebacks, though one of them, the Public Employees Federation, had to hold a second vote, after the agreement was initially voted down. The contract only passed after the Cuomo Administration targeted 3,500 workers for termination, and improved some retirement arrangements.

PEF and CSEA agreed to contracts that freeze wages for two years, require employees to pay more for their health insurance benefits, and nine furlough days, which they will be reimbursed for at the end of the contract.

On Thursday, the law enforcement segment of the state prison guards union, the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, or NYSCOPBA, settled on a new contract with the state on very similar terms. State Operations Director Howard Glaser announced the agreement. The union had been working without a contract since 2009.

“It’s a win- win,” Glaser said.

In exchange for the give backs, union members receive greater lay off protections, Glaser said.

“There’s an additional level of job security in exchange for the sacrifices and the contributions that the union members have made toward meeting the state’s fiscal challenges,” said Glaser. But, he added, “it’s not unlimited.”

There still could be layoffs in the future if the state’s economy experiences a sudden downturn, or if more prisons are closed. New York shuttered 8 prisons and 4 work camps last year, but nearly all of the guards and other staff were transferred to new jobs. The governor has not proposed any new closures in his budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on April 1.

And the layoff threat remains for the majority of the correctional officers, as well as other outstanding unions that have not yet agreed to a contract. The law enforcement officers represent just 1600 of the 26,000 members of NYSCOPBA. Union President Donn Rowe, says those talks are ongoing, but he praised the Cuomo Administration negotiators for achieving the agreement with at least part of the union.

“Both sides did it with respect,” said Rowe.

The agreement with the law enforcement workers saves the state $12.5 million dollars. The NYSCOBPA law enforcement union members will finish voting on their contract by early March.

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The Empire

New head of the MTA begins contract talks with transit union

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WNYC's Jim O'Grady has a report up on the contract talks that have begun between the MTA and the transit union. Things appear to be starting on a better foot between the new MTA chief, Joe Lhota, and the union.

Negotiations began with addresses by [Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John] Samuelsen and MTA executive Joe Lhota to a conference room packed with TWU members. Lhota started with a compliment: "My first message to you is that I know the MTA employees are our most valuable resource."

The remark was in some ways pro forma. But its reception by the workers — hearty roars filled the room — seemed to signal something new between the authority and the union: a measure of mutual respect. Samuelson said he never felt that from Lhota's predecessor, Jay Walder, who fought with the union and laid off 1,000 workers in 2009. When Walder announced his resignation this past July, the TWU constructed its official reaction around the phrase "good riddance."

Lhota, who started on Monday, shrewdly made his first act in office to join the union's call for aggressive prosecution of attacks on bus drivers. The union says someone assaults a bus driver an average of three times a week in New York. Lhota reiterated the stance at the Sheraton, to more applause. He then switched to the matter at hand and declared, "As we begin the collective bargaining process, you have my commitment that the MTA will listen to your demands and that we will negotiate in good faith."

It's assumed TWU will be asked for the same sort of wage freeze other unions throughout the state have been accepting. Samuelson has said his union will fight the freezes.

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The Empire

Cuomo 'very happy' to avoid PEF layoffs after union approves contract

Thursday, November 03, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

The Governor after the contract was ratified. (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s “very happy” that the Public Employees Federation ratified a second contract offer, and says he has rescinded orders to lay off nearly 3,500 workers on Friday.

Cuomo says he’s “surprised and gratified” at the margin of victory for the second contract offer, because he says the two proposals were not all that different. He says he thinks the vote changed because his administration and the union worked more collaboratively this time around to change union members’ minds.

“This is a dramatically different outcome for only relatively minor modifications on a contract,” said Cuomo “I think it was the tonality.”

After the first contract was rejected in September, Cuomo’s aides sent pink slips to 3,500 workers. PEF Vice President Tom Comanzo says he thinks that had an effect on the more than 50,000 other union members. Even though they were not losing their jobs right now, they likely knew someone who would be terminated if they voted no on the contract.

“We had names and faces,” said Comanzo. “I think that helped make a difference.”

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The Empire

PEF members approve contract, save 3500 from pink slips

Thursday, November 03, 2011

From PEF:

By a count of 27,718 to 11,645, members of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) ratified a revised four-year agreement with the state that averts significant layoffs.

The ratification of the new agreement saves the jobs of 3,496 PEF members and preserves the vital services our members provide.

The agreement preserves the pay-scale, the employment and the careers of PEF members. It maintains increments and salary-grade parity, longevity payments and co-pays for doctor visits at their current levels. It calls for no salary increases for years 2011, 2012 and 2013. A salary increase of 2 percent is included for 2014.

The new contract increases the share members will pay of their health insurance premiums, but includes changes to the productivity enhancement program which will allow members greater opportunity to use vacation time to offset health
insurance costs. The new contract includes reimbursement for the 9 furlough days payable at the end of the agreement.

“More than 75 percent of our membership voted on the agreement,” said PEF President Ken Brynien. “Although this was a difficult decision for our members, it demonstrates they are willing to do their part to put New York state on a stable financial footing, as all New Yorkers should, and are helping to resolve a fiscal crisis for which they were not responsible."

New York Public Radio's Karen DeWitt will be filing a reaction piece to this soon and we'll have that up.

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The Empire

The Divided Union: Why CSEA's contract was so much easier than PEF's

Thursday, November 03, 2011

To the outside observer, it probably seems strange that the state’s second largest public employee union—PEF, which is announcing the results of a new contract vote today—was unable to agree to terms with the state the same way the largest public employee union—CSEA—was able to.

The major points of departure between the two unions comes down to who makes them up. With CSEA, you have a younger, lower earning, less formally educated, more ethnically and racially diverse membership than PEF. During their labor negotiations, CSEA membership is said to have strongly empathized with the plight of fellow workers: they didn’t want to see their friend Suzy get laid off, or were worried about what Jack’s kids would do if he didn’t have a job.

This isn’t to say PEF members were more coldly willing to kick 3,500 of their union brothers and sisters to the curb. But in CSEA, the members were more closely linked—the gap between the highest CSEA member incomes and the lowest is far closer than in PEF. In the latter’s case, their specialized membership can mean one or two people in a job title in the entire state.

The more specialized—and higher earning—positions also tend to be older. So if you’re making $75,000 a year, and you’re within ten years of retirement, looking back at the PEF member who is less specialized, younger and making half your salary, the sympathy vote for that person’s job over a better deal for you can be a tough choice. Obviously, in the last round, that seems to partially account for the contract's downfall.

But that’s not the whole picture, said Ed Ott, the former executive director for the New York Central Labor Council and current a consultant with OT Solutions. PEF’s membership—about half the size of CSEA’s—is also plugged in, politically, to what’s going on, Ott said, which results in greater internal debates over these sorts of issues.

“They really, really have an internal political life and nothing gets through without a thorough discussing and I think that contributed to the vote,” he said, referring to the vote against the first contract. PEF leadership has reportedly been doing a major push to get members behind—something they didn’t do the first time.

Ott said the vote was also a rebuke of the anti-union sentiment that’s reached a peak this year. He said, with a better deal hammered out between the Cuomo administration and union leaders, the new contract would likely pass—but note assuredly.

“I would be really surprised if it went down again,” Ott said. “But this is PEF—it's possible."

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The Empire

PEF union leaders hopeful ahead of member vote tomorrow

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

The state worker union PEF will announce Thursday afternoon whether members have accepted or rejected a second contract offer from Governor Cuomo.  If the vote is no, 3500 employees face likely lay offs.

The leadership of the Public Employees Federation has gone all out to try to convince the 56,000 PEF members to approve the contract this time around, after a resounding rejection of the initial contract back in September. They’ve distributed flyers in state office complexes, rented out a billboard in downtown Albany, and PEF President Ken Brynien issued a video message.

“As President of PEF, I’m going to share with you why I’m recommending that you vote yes,” Brynien says in the message, who lists job security as the number one reason.

PEF spokeswoman Darcy Wells says PEF leaders want to save the 3,500 jobs targeted for elimination, but also believe the second offer is a better deal for members.

“There were several improvements,” said Wells. “There’s some significant changes in this revised contract.”

After the first contract was voted down, the Cuomo Administration and PEF Leadership agreed to some “tweaks." Among them, nine proposed furlough days would be converted to essentially a pay lag: workers would be paid for those mandatory days off when the contract ends in four years.

The resulting decrease in pay over the first two years of the contract would not affect workers' pension rates. And anyone who retires before the contract ends would be reimbursed for the
furlough days. Health benefit costs would rise on a sliding scale, and workers could trade unused vacation time to help pay for premiums.

Governor Cuomo says this is his last, best offer to the union. He says the outcome is now in the members’ hands.

“It’s up to PEF,” Cuomo said.

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