The problem is that the DOE and UFT historically negotiate in secrecy and lack transparency while the union continuously fails to solicit input from the affected members. For example the ATR Agreement did not include input from those affected, the ATRs. Further, the union failed to include an ATR in the negotiating committee for the ATR Agreement that apparently has never met! Furthermore, despite the many complaints by ATRs about the weekly placements, neither side has responded to these complaints or have bothered to find a more reasonable and efficient use of these experienced teachers. Finally, despite admissions by principals that they hide vacancies and hire outside long-term substitutes, the union has failed to file an expedited grievance to stop this practice that violates the ATR Agreement while the DOE looks the other way when their principals don't follow the rules
For an ATR buyout to be effective, it would need to include the two-year pension credit that all Tier I members receive when they retire. The inclusion of a tw0-year pension credit is worth between a 4-11% increase in the pension and combined with the 50% salary buyout would encourage many ATRs to leave the system. On the other hand, the buyout rumored to be given to ATRs will see only a few ATRs willing to take the money and they are the ones that have delayed retirement in the first place after the Chancellor told the press in the Spring of the buyout offer to ATRs.
While the ATR buyout proposal is a start, it must be part of a more comprehensive solution that includes the following::
- Two-year pension credit with the buyout.
- No outside teacher can be hired in the District until the ATRs certified in the subject area are placed.
- Incentives for Principals to hire ATRs, similar to 2008-09.
- Disciplining and penalizing principals who fail to hire ATRs for their vacancies.
- Expedited grievances when the DOE fails to enforce the ATR Agreement.
- A joint committee that includes ATRs to ensure all the contract provisions are being implemented, enforced, and the affected members informed.