Friday, May 13, 2011
Will The New York City Council Stand Up To And Checkmate The Bully Mayor? We Will Soon See.
I was at the highly successful union rally yesterday and saw eight New York City Council members join the protest. Most importantly, was what the Education Committee Chairman, Robert Jackson who said there will be no layoffs on his watch. He further stated that despite the absence of City Council President, Christine Quinn, she also supports no layoffs. If true, it looks like the Mayor's proposal to layoff 4,100 teachers appears to be checkmated. If Christine Quinn is really on board (her absence from the protest is somewhat disturbing) with the majority of the council members it would mean that the "lame duck" and increasingly unpopular Mayor would be in deep trouble since none of these council members would want to go into a campaign for reelection while voting for teachers layoffs, larger class sizes, and hurting the children's academic achievement. This is especially true for politicians who have on the eye on being the next Mayo, such as Christine Quinn.
It looks increasingly likely that the City Council will not approval teacher layoffs and instead demand that Mayor Bloomberg use the $3.2 billion dollar surplus and or cancel the outrageous computer and consultant services that in the DOE will increase by an astounding $1 billion dollars! This does not include the $300 million dollar surplus the DOE had mysteriously made disappear.
The only chance Mayor Bloomberg has, is if he can get union concessions on seniority-based layoffs, known as "last in, first out" or LIFO. My understanding is that the union is not negotiating with the City under this hostile political climate and will lobby the City Council to eliminate the teacher layoff threats and look for savings elsewhere. Let's hope the union does the right thing and calls Bloomberg's bluff and not negotiate under any circumstances. Waiting Bloomberg out is the correct approach and until he gives us the "City pattern" first. Then and only then, should the UFT start negotiations with the bully Mayor on any other issues.
I know my picture is optimistic but it appears it is becoming increasingly real. I do hope my picture becomes the truth by the end of the school year.