Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The UFT's "300" Negotiating Committee Must Stand Their Ground, Not Allow Any "Givebacks", And Resolve The Ever Growing ATR Crises
I admit I am a complex person. On one hand I am highly suspicious of the motives of Bloomberg and Klein's intent on the City's Public Schools and at the same time I am naive when it comes to our union leaders who proclaim time and again "victory", when negotiating with either the Bloomberg Administration and Tweed on education issues. My knee jerk reaction was to give Randi Weingarten and her lackeys the benefit of the doubt that the union negotiations were successful and was a win for the members. Of course, the reality was much different.. Time and again, while the UFT negotiated in good faith, Tweed would simply ignore the signed agreements since they lacked enforceability. Examples of this are the ATR agreement and the "rubber room" agreement. More ominous are the secret side agreements the UFT signed off om. An example of this is Appendix H of the "probable cause" agreement that allows the DOE to suspend teachers without pay or health benefits for up to 90 days simply on a hearsay statement! Now in the latest agreement signed with the City, our union negotiators have given up some of our retirement rights and there is a disturbing rumor that an unpublished side agreement was part of the negotiations that will force retirees to remove their money from the fixed income fund, despite denials by TRS and union leaders. Even the Financial Planner, Joel Frank, reported this in the Chief in the July 24, 2009 edition.
Now we are in the process of finishing the next contract (the parameters were decided on during the last days of Randi Weingarten) and the committee of "300" theoretically can make sure that the new contract will not have any "givebacks" and "secret side agreements that screws the members. I believe, with a mensch like James Eterno on the committee, I expect that the union will "stand their ground" and resolve the ever worsening ATR crises (2,340 ATRs as of August) and require that excessed ATRs be placed by subject area before "newbie teachers" can be hired.
To the 300. Please don't let our union leaders dupe you in approving an inferior contract that allows "givebacks", no matter how minor they appear to be. Further, the contract must be ironclad enforceable. History has shown that you can't trust Mayor Mike and Chancellor Klein so please don't expect them to live up to any agreement that lacks enforceability.