Saturday, January 09, 2010

Its About Time That Our Union Fights Back In Stopping Bloomberg & Klein From Allocating Education Funds For Reducing Class Size To Other Uses

As many of you know I have been very critical of our union and their culture of appeasement under the failed leadership of Randi Weingarten. Every time the union gave an inch, the DOE took a mile. Every negotiated agreement between the union and the DOE were ignored by the DOE when they pleased. Examples are the ATR agreement and the "rubber room" agreement where the DOE have consistently choose to ignore the provisions that affect them. The result is that we will have over 2,000 ATRs by year end and "rubber rooms" that are bursting at the seems. I have watched as the paperwork has tripled and the classroom environment has become more hostile, how the union allowed and even approved the DOE policies that encouraged recruitment of lower paid "newbie teachers" at the expense of higher paid, experienced teachers always seemed a problem to me. It appears that maybe our union has finally cried "enough" and is ready to combat the DOE bully as it should have done eight years ago.

Finally, the union has filed a lawsuit on how the DOE misused 760 million dollars of CFE funds by New York State to reduce class size to other programs, some may not be of any educational use. Despite the increased money and declining enrollment, we have actually seen an increase in class sizes throughout the New York City Public School System since 2007. See chart. Where did the money go? To which programs? Did it even go for education? I applaud my union in taking their first concrete step in confronting the DOE in their "children last" program. However, this should only be the beginning of a more dynamic and pro-active union that flexes their collective muscles and let's their opponents and the politicians in Albany know what it is like to upset the 800 pound gorilla.

I am also impressed that the union has not agreed to any "givebacks" in the contract negotiations with the City. I understand that the union negotiators refused to put on the table any of the Bloomberg/Klein proposals about the ATRs, reassigned teachers, or tenure issues. Good for them and let's keep it that way. Rather no contract than a bad contract.

Good job Michael Mulgrew, so far you appear to be a Mensch. I hope this continues for all our sakes.


Anonymous said...

"rather no contract than a bad contract", perfect, right on!

Angry Nog

reality-based educator said...

A great point, Chaz.

I will take no contract for four years than another odious sell out.

And selling the ATR's down the road as Klein seems to think will happen will only lead to nearly every veteran teacher getting canned.

Why pay someone $100,000 or more a year (not to mention pay their pension) when you can pay them $50,000 and get them out before they're vested in the pension system.

BTW, what do you think about the Obama plan to levy a 40% excise tax on employer-provided health care plans. The unions have designated Wednesday as National Call-In Day to let your reps and senators know the tax will adversely affect union workers. I haven't seen any push-back from the UFT or the AFT on this - only from the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and the like. Our taxes will surely go up if the tax is passed, and our health coverage will get shittier as the co-pays and premiums go up. Yet I hear nothing from our leaders on this.

Chaz said...


First, welcome back. You were sorely missed.

Second, While I do differ with you politically, in this case I agree with everything you say and your input into the education blogging community is always appreciated by us all.

Ready2RetireIn5 said...

I don't mind waiting, but I'm worried that most newbies (Fellows, TFA, etc...) will agree to any contract just to get a few more shekel's in their paycheck. Most will eventually leave anyway, and not have to deal with the aftermath of givebacks.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast for TFs, they will soon find out they are not as marketable as they fool themselves with.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, teachers themselves have to take some the blame for being badly treated, and their leadership more or less reflect who they are as a group. Never heard of ATRs or the rubber room for cops and firemen, Bloomberg knows better not to pull teeth from a mouth of a tiger. What does a teacher do, cry!

Anonymous said...

You are wring about the uniformed services not having rubber rooms.

The name originated in the police rubber gun squad.

Also known as modified duty and desk duty.

The fire and ems have similar situations.

However, not on the same outrageous scale as the teachers internment and debasement camps.

Teachers have been institutionalized to submit, and submit they do.

The issue of Obama care is sealed and we are screwed.

The only solution is to vote the bastards out and have the entire socialized medicine laws repealed.
It will be a dangerous and expensive, heartbreaking saga.

It is a perfect dovetail with the education deform movement. It amounts to corporate education and corporate healthcare.

Just like the wars that are sapping our nation and its economy and the majority of it outsourced, here is yet another way for corporate plutocratic fascists to rob us blind.

The only weapon beside the ballot is to use organized labor to use its power. That is a general strike that should paralyze everything.

I propose long enough for the banks, politicians, the press to realize that we have a dollar value that is needed and has value.

I think that the Taylor Laws emasculate the power of all unions and need to be overturned.

Look how easy the other sectors get more money and have a value, and a respect that we lack.

Grow some bollocks and strike.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

Forget politics. Obamacare is a nightmare for unionized teachers.
LI Educator

Anonymous said...

To all in this blog,

I, a veteran teacher (over 20+ years), will NOT support any contract that will throw my colleagues under a vehichle called an unfair contract.

My concern, I hope someone can look into this, is the number of UFTers whose main interest will be $$$$$ because they haven't been in the system long enough to understand solidarity and the union labor movement. In the school where I'm at, 70% of the members have less than 7 years in the system. Most are TFs. Some don't see the importance of fighting for our rights except if it means fighting for our rights to earn more money, even if it means to put the other members in jeopardy of losing their jobs.

Since I'm in a small school (population of 385 students), is it the same %age of members, more or less, with members that have less than 7 years or 10 years in the system? I feel that UFT leadership should make this known to members so that we'll know more or less the struggle that we'll contend with or am I opening up a can of worms? That's where the impact will be when voting against an unfair contract.

I agree that waiting to have a good, fair, reasonable contract is worth the amount of time that we should wait instead of a quick, immediate, career-killing, say good-by to hard-earned benefits many years contract agreement. I have less than 3 years to go in the system before retiring, but I am willing to go along with the waiting game with the other members. But the mayority of our colleagues must be willing to join the waiting-game,too. I understand the economy is bad; I know that everyone wants a decent salary to deal with the economy; I know that many members have family obligation; but the opportunity cost will be the union's vindication.

We cannot allow the BloomKlein to think the members of our union will sell their rights/benefits/respect for a couple of pennies. We are worth more and we deserve much more.

Let the waiting-game begin!

Chaz said...

Anon 9:23

Good information. One of Klein's side benefit to have small schools are the lack of experienced teachers and not having to pay the newbies a pension.

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