Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why Bloomberg Will Eventually Give The Teachers The "City Pattern".

As many of you know the City has imposed a pay freeze on teachers and Bloomberg has insisted that the pay freeze was necessary so as to not to lay off the untenured, "newbie teachers". The pride and joy of Chancellor Joel Klein and his non-educators. However, the problem Bloomberg will have in keeping the pay freeze in place is that the City will find itself in a weak position when it goes to the PERB arbitrators sometime before the end of the year. Let's look why the City is going to have a tough time convincing PERB that the teachers should not get two 4% raises for this year and next.

The "City Pattern"

Since the 1970's both sides had to follow the "City Pattern" and any variation of it must be agreed to by both sides. Time and again the unions tried to break the "City Pattern" only to be told by the City that the "City Pattern" is the basis for all contracts and this has been upheld time and again by PERB. Now the Bloomberg Administration wants to break the "City Pattern" by claiming it has a budget crises. This will hold little water with the majority of the three person PERB arbitrators who will question the City on why as the recession deepened they gave Local 237 a contract based upon the "City Pattern" in August of 2009 and many more unions followed. It is safe to say the City's reasons for not giving the teachers the "City Pattern" is suspect and at best very weak.

The PBA:

The police have time and again tried to get PERB to break the "City Pattern" only to be told by PERB that they must abide by the "City Pattern" as long as the City uses it as the basis for all negotiated contracts. Just think if Bloomberg rejects the PERB arbitrators decision to follow the "City Pattern" what the police will do on their next contract? They can show PERB that the City rejected the "City Pattern" and can demand that the City lost their right to hide behind the "City Pattern" in the contract demands. If PERB agrees, the police can expect a significant pay raise since they are extremely underpaid con pared to the Metropolitan Area. Therefore, it would be very dangerous and foolhardy for Bloomberg to reject the PERB recommendation.

Additional Education Funds:

The City is expecting a windfall of 446 million dollars from the federal government that was not accounted for in the budget. Certainly the 206 million dollars from the edujobs bill can be used to hire teachers and pay teacher salaries. While the 226 million dollars from the RTTT can be used for classroom resources, teacher training, and additional programs for the schools. I guarantee you that PERB will take this into account in their decision making process.

Economic Recovery:

The worst of the recession ended in March of 2009 and the economic fallout ended in April of 2010. While the economic recovery has been somewhat anemic, it is still improving and Wall Street has resumed hiring. Therefore, the City can expect an improvement in the tax base and increased funding for the next budget. However, if you listen to Bloomberg, more budget cuts and layoffs may be necessary. Bloomberg always low balls the budget and this is not surprising and the union will let PERB know that.

Conclusion: Look for PERB to recommend the "City Pattern" with adjustments. While the PERB recommendation is non-binding, it provides political cover for both sides and is the basis for a final contract. Look for the teachers to get a contract by the end of the school year


Anonymous said...

I could not agree more. The only wringle that I forsee is the contactual issue of the ATR's. Gotham news this morning has an article on a new watch dog whose job will be to analyze and review the DOE budget. The ATR issue is discussed by the incoming head of the IBO who will report findings and rest assured the ATR mess will be a major priority for the Bloomberg administration. Could PERB issue a recommendation in this regard??????

ed notes online said...

YES anon 1pm. We have been expecting PERB to split the difference on the ATR issue. Note how Klein asks for their salaries to be frozen after 6 months while also calling for them to be fired. I bet there is a PERB recommendation along the lines of some action on ATRs. That was the danger of going to PERB in the first place. So though Chaz may be right about the pattern, it won't come free. Imagine a Unity dominated staged Del Ass where Mulgrew takes no position publicly and innocently says: I'll do what the body wants. Take the pattern but freeze salaries of ATRs after a year (they claim victory because Klein asked for 6 months.) Or some sort of forced buyout that looks generous on the surface.

Miss Eyre said...

Are pay raises retroactive to the end of the last contract in October 2009?

reality-based educator said...

You are assuming the economy doesn't crash again.

Don't assume that.

GDP for Q2 was lowered to 1.6%. It will undergo one more revision and will probably look more like 1.4% or 1.5% when all is said and done. GDP for Q3 and Q4 will look even uglier. The b.s. stimulus Obama signed last year will have completely run out by then, state and local gov'ts are cutting budgets to the bone, deficit concern trolls in D.C. and the media are calling for Greece-style austerity even as it becomes clear that austerity measures in Greece and Ireland have made things MUCH worse than they had to be. GDP could easily go negative again for a few consecutive quarters.

Corporations are not hiring, or if they are hiring it's only part time, so unemployment will hit 10% before the end of the year and underemployment will hit 20%. Companies are sitting on huge balance sheets and when they do spend any of it, it's usually on technology that enables them to lower labor costs (i.e., lay people off or outsource jobs.) Long-term unemployment and 15%-20% underemployment are here to stay for a long, long time.

Given all this, I doubt Bloomberg agrees to anything. Sure, he wants the ATR sell-out, but he also wanted some pension reform and he got that outside of a contract by handing back the two days prior to Labor Day (though he then took one day back at the end of June - nice work, UFT!) Bloomberg wanted the rubber rooms drained, he got this outside of any contract negotiations. So why should he give ANYTHING? He gets so much for free, I see no reason (and I am sure he sees no reason either) to give any raise at all.

No, I think PERB comes back with recommendations, Bloomberg points to the faltering economy and says "City can't afford them!" (even as he gives raises to his own staff) and continues the assault on the ATR's through the editorial propaganda writers. And then gets a "compromise" on the ATR's anyway. Because when DOESN'T Mulgrew and Company cave?

Hope I'm wrong. Happy to be wrong. But I bet a nickel I'm not. (That's all I can afford...I am going more than three and half years without a raise...)

Chaz said...

I did say the City Pattern, with adjustments. Some of these adjustments could be no retroactive pay, freezing of ATR salaries (no time limit), and an expanded circular 6 list.

As for the economy. Wall Street is hiring for the first time in three years and the private employers are also hiring (granted 67,000 jobs is not acceptable but better than a loss of 450,000 jobs two years ago). I guess we will see if the economy continues to improve.

Anonymous said...

Something has to give for our pay increase as the way has been for last two contracts, The change of ATR status has to be the first item on BloomKlein's list. The pool of ATR has been made too large to continue.

NYC Educator said...

The ATR issue is one thing, but the pattern did not require concessions on the part of other unions. Concessions have been asked in the past only to raise the pattern. In this instance, I've heard nothing about the UFT asking for anything more than the pattern.

For PERB to ask concessions from us while asking them from no one else would be, in fact, breaking the pattern.

Anonymous said...

I am ready to JUMP OFF THE CLIFF because the ATR AGREEMENT will EXPIRE on December 1, 2010. And-- if the ATRs do not get an appointed job between Nov.1-Nov.15of 2010 we are in a bigger trouble. No principal will ever pay our salary in the future for BUGGET purposes. Correct me if I am wrong. It is also important to point out that not all ATRs are under this agreement.
It is time to organize and tell the UFT to fix this mess that they created.

September 15, 2010 5:35:00 PM EDT
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Anonymous said...

Hey Chaz, I thought only some Bronx districts were allowed to hire out of the ATR pools. What about Manhattan. Many hirings of new teachers not from ATRS pools and not in shortage areas. Look at District 1. What gives?

Chaz said...

They get exemptions by claiming that no ATR met there exacting standards. Whatever that is.