More than 32,000 UFT members responded to an online survey commissioned by the UFT to gauge their primary bargaining goals as the union prepares to negotiate with Mayor Eric Adams and the city Department of Education on a contract to replace the one expiring in September.
The survey was sent to the more than 100,000 union members who work for the DOE, with questions tailored to cover the needs of different groups and job titles. The union’s 500-member negotiating committee was asked in early spring to provide feedback on topics for the survey. Hart Associates, an independent pollster that regularly works for NBC News and has done extensive work for unions, formulated the survey, which was sent to members on May 12.
“The point of all of this was to make sure we had the priorities of all the members and a clear view of what they wanted,” said union rep Sally-Ann Bongiovanni-Famularo, who worked on the project.
Most of the survey questions focused on issues of concern to all members, such as wage increases and working conditions. Some additional questions were shown only to members in specific job titles, such as questions about class size for teachers and questions about caseloads for school counselors, social workers, school nurses, and physical and occupational therapists. Paraprofessionals were asked questions pegged to their specific needs and concerns, and there were also variations in the questions asked of teachers in elementary, middle and high schools.
Hart Associates will share its data and analysis with the union’s bargaining committee, which will use it to set priorities and devise its strategy for the upcoming talks.
It is not clear whether the mayor and the DOE are willing to negotiate during the summer to improve the chances of an agreement being reached prior to the current contract’s expiration.
Virtually all of the city’s employees are working under pacts that will expire before the year is over.