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Is getting a step really getting a raise? If DTU thinks so they are falling down on the job.

Duval Teachers United sent out an e-mail today saying we have gotten a raise every year but one for the last ten years. Now yes it is true when I have got my step my salary did go up a few nickels here and there but I always equated it with the difference you would pay a plumber verses a master plumber. A fifth year teacher does get paid a little more than fourth year teacher but that’s because we value years of experience. The salary schedule hasn't changed in something like seven years.

Semantics, some might say, and I guess it’s a lot easier for the union to go “hey look at us, we’re looking out for you” but I also don’t think it should be lost on anybody that the year they acknowledge teachers didn’t get a raise, the district was sitting on over a hundred million dollars in reserves.  Furthermore I think for professional teachers that plan to make a career out of it, taking a 900 dollar bonus in lieu of a step, something we did in 2011- 12 is a suckers trade.

The union mentioned something else and that I think was a bit disingenuous. They mentioned the 2,000 dollar bonus that teachers got last year. Well that was money given by the state to districts to give to teachers as a raise and many districts did just that, they gave raises. Duval with the support of the union optioned instead to give a 2000 dollar bonus which was also less than what most districts gave their staffs. Again I feel like we’re falling behind and it is frustrating.

This is from their e-mail:  There is speculation that we haven’t received raises in years.  Teachers have received raises each year but one in the last ten years. We completed a three year salary agreement in 2013-2014. In the first year of that agreement (2011-2012), teachers received a $900 bonus in lieu of step. That year, money did not go on the salary schedule and is why teachers are behind one step.  In the 2nd and 3rd years of the agreement, however, teachers received step and $500 at the top step. In addition to step and money at the top in the 3rd year of the agreement (2013-2014), teachers received a negotiated $2000 supplement from additional state monies that were allocated to districts. This year, step will be received along with additional money as a result of the conversion to the new Grandfather Schedule. The missed step in 2011-2012 was the only time in the recent past that teachers did not receive a raise.

Finally no matter how you split it up, no matter what spin you put on it I and every other teacher are still in the hole from the three percent salary the state took from all teachers three years ago and DTU and Duval have done nothing to make that up while several other districts have.

I know we have a lot of hard working and dedicated people working on our behalf from the union and I hope I am wrong but I just get the sense that the district is playing chess and the union is playing checkers.   

11 comments:

  1. I found the email hilarious as Brady & Co. tried to defend themselves but wound up acknowledging that every criticism is on target. I am torn about DTU, it's better than nothing, but then, if they won't get me a much-deserved raise after seven years, I can give myself a $716.54 raise by ripping up my card and ceasing to pay dues.

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  2. Why pay dues for the collective? You get whatever they negotiate whether you are a member or not. They do nothing for you as an individual, except treat you rudely. If you insist that they deal with a contractual issue, they suggest you quit the union. Crazy, huh? They'd rather you quit than earn the money you've paid them all these years. Imagine paying for car insurance for 10 years, then you have an accident and make a claim. Instead of paying out, they refuse and suggest you stop paying them for insurance instead. DTU isn't a charity.....or is it? I don't think DTU is better than nothing. I can get every thing they offer without paying dues. Many non-member teachers told me this over the last 2 decades. I wish I had listened, because I've paid about $10,000 in dues and get NO support when I need it. Sickening the way they pal around with admins as if they represent them. Mostly, they do. I can't tell you how many times they said to me regarding admins, "They can do whatever they want" when it was clearly a contractual issue.

    I think a lot of the problem is chauvenism. Police and fire unions can't strike (DTU's excuse), but that doesn't keep then from fighting for their members. The NFL players union is fighting hard to get accused triple murderer Aaron Hernandez his bonus. Because HE'S A MEMBER! He pays his dues. They see a contractual issue. But DTU represents (or pretends to in orrder to collect $) a mostly female profession and expects us to play nice and not make waves. "Just take your Prozac and keep sending us 2% of your pay. And remember, member, admins can do whatever they want. Try sucking up and quit quoting the contract, which is for display only."

    Good to know they read Chris' blog.

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  3. Wow. Teachers aren't too happy with DTU. What is DTU gonna do? What they usually do: NOTHING.

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  4. It is very easy to complain about how weak we believe our teachers union to be. Well, if Terrie Brady is so ineffective, where are those who wish to challenge her in the next election for DTU president? Well, the answer is nobody.
    Furthermore, threatening to quit the union is misguided logic at best. The strongest unions thrive most when they have higher membership, not lower. Does anyone think that, in a right to work state such as Florida, the folks on Prudential Drive are going to give more concessions to teachers, paraprofessionals, and UOPDs if DTU membership is falling? I don't think so.
    As for those non-members who boast that they get a free ride off of the work of the union, they are a major part of the problem. They find it a lot easier to save a few bucks a month and complain. They forget that every teacher, paraprofessional, and UOPD should be advocating for a better contract. Yes, the union is going to be perceived as weak if the rank-and-file sit on their hands and expect the DTU leadership to do all of the heavy lifting.
    If anyone of these commenters can do a better job of rallying the troops for something better, please step up to the plate and show us how it's done. Otherwise, please put away the haterade and help DTU move forward instead of whining from the sidelines.

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  5. These people are so obtuse. They don't care about their constituents at all. Instead of trying to address and acknowledge some of the complaints they're recieving, they deflect and blame the people that they say they're serving

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  6. Yeah, just send us more of your hard, very hard-earned money. According to DTU, the problem is that some smart teachers don't send them money for nothing. "We do nothing to support our members. If only we had more members."

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  7. I have been a member of DTU ever since I started working for Duval County and have no intentions of quitting at this time. I wish I could drop out, but I feel that I have more right to criticize them from within than from outside. I do agree that higher membership would result in more power. I also think it should result in lower dues and that dues should be less for newer teachers. The negotiated $900 raise in lieu of step really hurt us. My step that year would have been $1,400. Instead, I got $900 and had to wait an extra year to hit Step 95. So, that deal cost me $500 in 2011-2012 and nearly $9,500 in 2012-2013. As I am nearing retirement, that makes a difference in my retirement pay.

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  8. When Gov Scott took office, he went after all public employees and tried the neutralize their unions. It was so blatant that after 25 years in education, my wife and I in the spirit of solidarity joined the union. I shared many of the negative views stated in the comments above, but I also saw how unions are necessary to survive against these type of politics.

    I few years later, I had the misfortune of running up against a rogue principal and his hit-woman VP. I must admit it was nice to have a place to contest and document the situation at First Coast High School. I was ready for war and would have preferred a full on assault against that administration but the union seemed reluctant to engage in mortal combat. In the end, I had my baseless evaluation thrown out on a technically. The DTU is knowledgeable about the contract and the evaluation process and that alone is worth the price of admission.

    The school board may not fear and respect the DTU, but they do have to deal with them. DTU is the fly in their ointment. Without DTU this district would certainly run a muck faster than it is. The bigger the union, the bigger the stick. Between our current governor and certain elements within our district, we need a stick the size of a Redwood. For this reason, I will finish out my years of DROP as a DTU member.

    PS: what type of raise are we getting at the top of the real (aka old) pay scale?.

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  9. DTU acknowledged that my eval was baseless. They even acknowledged that it was obvious harassment, yet they did nothing. They said they would, but they didn't.

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  10. The only people that approve of DTU are the DTU admins and dcps administrators. Afterall, they're the most accommodating teachers union in America.

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  11. The bottom line is they took a step from us in 11 NOW GIVE IT BACK. If the just acknowledged the step we should be on this year and put us on that step so we could move horizontally to the next step that would in essence, "CATCH US UP,"for the loss. But NOOOO they are going to tell us to go to the step we were paid on in 13-14 THEN go horizontally. Again, it just puts us right back were we should be NOT ahead. Same old Same old. Many teachers are not only leaving the union, they are leaving the district!

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