Retirees receive retro payments

Arbitrator orders DOE to dispense owed funds after making minor adjustments to contract
Dorothy Callaci 1153

More than 14,000 recent UFT retirees received their full retroactive pay in one lump sum in late February. The checks were issued after an arbitrator adjusted the terms of the 2015 contract to cover the cost and ordered the Department of Education to immediately process the payments.

“We were determined that everyone — both in-service and retired — would receive every penny that they were entitled to,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Under the terms of the 2014 contract, UFT members who retired between Nov. 1, 2009, and June 30, 2014, were entitled to receive in one lump sum retroactive pay stemming from two 4 percent rate increases dating back to 2009 and 2010. In-service members and members who retired after June 30 will receive the lump-sum payments in installments between 2015 and 2020.

The lump-sum payments to recent retirees, however, were delayed when more UFT members than anticipated retired by June 30 last year and the $180 million set aside in the contract to make those payments to eligible retirees fell short. To pay for the $60 million shortfall, the arbitrator extended the nine-year contract by one month and delayed the final 3 percent pay increase by six weeks.

The terms of the nine-year contract will now end on Nov. 30, 2018, instead of Nov. 1, 2018. Members scheduled to receive a 5 percent increase on May 1, 2018 — a 2 percent retroactive increase and a 3 percent rate increase — instead will receive the 2 percent increase on May 1, 2018, and the 3 percent increase on June 16, 2018. The full rate increase will still kick in before the summer.

The matter had gone to Martin Scheinman, one of the arbitrators who helped hammer out the contract last spring, based on a provision of the new contract that any dispute would automatically go to arbitration. Scheinman agreed in November to try to find a way to make up the shortfall by adjusting the terms of the $9 billion collective-bargaining agreement.

With the payment to retirees in February, Mulgrew made good on his promise at the union’s new retiree luncheon in November. “You will be made whole. I absolutely refused to settle for 76 cents on the dollar,” he told the assembled retirees, referring to how much the retirees would have received if the arbitrator had not adjusted the contract’s terms. “You worked 10 years under Bloomberg and deserve every penny you earned.”

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