We are at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. This year there has been a lot of discussion on the Patch about how to solve the ever-increasing and unsustainable school taxes. And I have added my voice to the conversation, which is still somewhat going on. On some of the blogs I am still hearing one statement that just has to be clarified as it is giving incorrect information.
Some people have said that teachers are so dedicated to providing our children with quality education that they are often willing to work without a contract. This is misleading. Teachers in New York State NEVER work without a contract. I believe there are many devoted teachers who do a fantastic job, but they still never work without a contract! And if you don’t believe this, you should learn more about the Triborough Amendment.
The Triborough Amendment guarantees that all of the terms of an existing contract will continue even once that contract has expired. And these provisions will continue to be in effect until the next contract is signed by the union, even if it takes years. Whatever salary increases and benefits were covered in the expired contract continue to be implemented. (And of course teachers always get their step increases whether or not a new contract is in effect.) This gives the teachers’ unions no incentive to come to the negotiating table in good faith. No matter how long it takes to sign a new contract, they will lose nothing. They can only gain.
This happened a few years ago in the Rocky Point School District. Teachers worked with an expired (yet in force) contract for three years. And once they did sign a new contract one of the concessions made by the Rocky Point School Board was that the new provisions would be retroactive to cover the three years. Not bad!
So please remember the Triborough Amendment when you hear that teachers are working “without” a contract. It just doesn’t happen and in the long run the only ones that continue to lose are the taxpayers.