Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The DOE Does It Again! They Reneged On Another “Rubber Room Agreement” With The Useless & Clueless UFT. What Else Is New?

On April 15, 2010, with much fanfare the DOE (with Mayor Bloomberg putting pressure on Tweed) came to an agreement with the UFT on closing the infamous “rubber rooms” once and for all. The “rubber room agreement” closed out a very embarrassing period to both the City and the teachers’ union which was made worse after Chancellor Joel Klein took over and made it much easier to remove teachers from the classroom. At its peak the “rubber rooms” citywide, had 800+ teachers and this did not include the hundreds more that were removed from the classroom but were not yet sent to the “rubber rooms” mostly due to the TRCs (Temporary Reassignment Center – aka “rubber room”) being overcrowded. For the most part, the DOE has abided by the latest “rubber room agreement”. However, in a very important area the DOE has totally ignored one of the conditions of the agreement.

The “rubber room agreement” required the DOE to charge any reassigned teacher who had been taken out of the classroom before September 1, 2010 and who were not under any criminal action and/or an ongoing SCI investigation to receive their charges by November 1, 2010 (sixty days). Failure by the DOE to issue 3020-a charges by the November 1st. 2010 date would require the DOE to automatically return the teacher to his/her school and back to the classroom position. There were no exceptions according to the agreement. However, just like many, if not all, past agreements the DOE picks and choose what they want to follow and in this case has reneged on following the sixty day time limit to charge reassigned teachers. This is not the only part of the “rubber room agreement” that the DOE has ignored but it is the most obvious and serious. On the very last paragraph of the April 15, 2010 “rubber room agreement” it states the following:

For all employees who were assigned to a TRC prior to August 31, 2010 and were not charged prior to August 31, 2010, the 10 or 60 day period to charge the employee or return him/her to his/her prior assignment, shall run from September 1, 2010. Effective September 1, 2010, the parties will implement the new timelines set forth in this Agreement, which shall apply to all cases charged after September 1, 2010.

Nowhere in the “rubber room agreement” is there an exception for the DOE not to meet the timelines. However, the DOE has apparently decided that the union cannot enforce timelines and is willing to ignore their own agreement. Remember, the DOE has time and again ignored agreements with the UFT including the first “rubber room agreement” back in July of 2008. Jeff Kaufman on the UFT-ICE blog wrote an accurate and what turned out to be a true analysis of the unenforceability of the previous “rubber room agreement”. I also wrote two posts showing how the previous “rubber room agreement” was a farce. Here and Here. Now we have another apparently unenforceable “rubber room agreement” that the DOE wants to ignore.

While we are talking about less than 50 teachers (10 in Queens) that are being affected by the DOE’s refusal to abide by their own agreement, this is only the most glaring of examples of the DOE not following the agreement. Other areas that the DOE has not abided by is the continuation of the Joel Klein/Richard Condon pact for teachers backlogged in the 3020-a process. For many teachers, that SCI recommends for terminationit, are difficult to mediate a settlement unless it is resignation and they must go through the entire 3020-a hearing process. Furthermore, the mediation process is more of a teacher extortion program where mediators are pushing the teacher to take the DOE imposed settlement or face termination. Mediators are supposed to be impartial and supportive not pressure and threaten the teacher. Unfortunately, teachers have informed me that some of the mediators are being accused of doing just that. One teacher told me that the mediator told him to take the deal or his Arbitrator will terminate him. In a few cases, the mediation requirement was ignored by the DOE and the teacher had to go through the full 3020-a hearing as if mediation did not exist. It is important that teachers subject to the mediation process read what TAGNYC wrote in the “Under Assault” blog and follow their advice.

It is unfathomable that the union did not see this coming and have a contingency plan in place to handle this situation. What the union should have done was to escort each and every affected teacher back to their building and show the Principal the agreement which requires the DOE to send back the teacher to his or her school assignment. Today would have been a good day to do it since the students were not in school and the chaos that would occur would be limited to the school Administration and Tweed. However, the union’s position is that they are studying the situation. This is just another example of our union being reactive and not pro-active when the DOE violates their agreements with the union. It was only last month that Chancellor Joel Klein reneged on the teacher data evaluation program by trying to publish the teacher names and scores after signing an agreement with Randi Weingarten not to name the teachers or use it for evaluation purposes. How many times does it take for our clueless union leaders to realize that he double-dealing DOE cannot be trusted to live up to their promises without some enforceability?

In conclusion, when you make a deal with the devil, you can expect to be burned and in this case it is the reassigned teachers that pay the ultimate price not the out of touch and uncaring union leadership that represent their own interests and not of their must vulnerable of members. Remember the old saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. How many more times will our union be fooled by Tweed? Shame on them for trusting Tweed to honor their agreements.


Anonymous said...

Just sent this to NY1...
Do you still have interest in the NYC DOE 'rubber rooms' & the agreement that was created by puppeteer Bloomberg & his marionette Klein? Well, Nov.1st was the deadline to return uncharged teachers back to their schools. This did not happen & approximately 50 teachers are still sitting in limbo, But, no one seems to care about that anymore...the election & its scandels & dirty politcal talk have taken over. I'm one of those people, but not going into my story; it is just wrong that the public thinks the problem is resolved when, in fact, the DOE & NYC have only covered up...would you like to sit in a room for almost 2 years & not know why?? Maybe some underworked reporter would like to look into this part of the story; it might be more interesting the nonsense coming out of Albany.

Anonymous said...

Anon and Eric:
Maybe ask Betsy to help you! Then you will really get some good advice.

Pissedoffteacher said...

You are doing a great job on Blogtalk radio. Good luck. I'm glad you and Fidgety are getting your voices heard.

Chaz said...

Anon 9:39

I'm sure Betsy will give better advice than the union has done so far.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for all that you do. Because of your postings, I spent 5k on a private atty whom I like. But is it true that your using NYSUT atty Eric Chen? Why would you do that? Is he looking out for you? Please explain. Did you win your case or accept a mediation settlement. You were our liaison and what you do matters. Also, why don't you disclose who you are? We all know.

Chaz said...

First, I have never criticized the NYSUT attorneys. Many of them are quite good and try hard (granted some are not, see Betsy Combier's blog on two of them). Further, you can't equate them with the uncaring UFT leadership that put many teachers in the position they are in.

It is up to the teacher to decide if getting a private attorney is advantageous or not. I do not recommend one or the other without knowing who your NYSUT lawyer is assigned to you.

I have always been consistent with my advise and to say otherwise suggests you are under orders from our no nothing and do nothing union leadership.

Finally, I like to point out to you how you try to attack my credibility after reading how our union has again failed its members. Who are you really? I guess I hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


You sound like a union lackey. Chaz told you that he did not critize NYSUT in his posts and like all groups some lawyers are good and some are bad. Instead of asking why the UFT allowed the DOE to violate the agreement you launch a personal attack on him for exposing the union's lack of action.

You should be ashamed of yourself for protecting the union while falsely slandering Chaz who exposed the union's shortcomings.

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Chaz said...

To everybody:

My personal situation has nothing to do with THE FACT THAT THE UFT LEADERSHIP ONCE AGAIN FAILED TO ENFORCE AN AGREEMENT WHEN THE DOE RENEGED. If you all noticed, anonymous could not defend the UFT lack of action. Instead he launches in personal attacks and outright lies.

Yes, anonymous, I know who you are. We all know you as the "General". Enough said.

Anonymous said...

This is so typical; when someone can't give an accurate response to the topic, that someone ignores the subject and brings up totally unrelated issues.
I fail to understand why the other anonymous demands a detailed explanatory post. (I am not the one who demanded that.)
It seems to me that what should have been a discussion board has turned into an attack session....have a good evening all.
From: Anonymous #1

Chaz said...

I totally agree. Just ignore the post and attack the blogger who exposes wrongdoing by his union masters.

Betsy Combier said...

Whoa: some anonymous person makes the brilliant comment about why Chaz would use a NYSUT Attorney after being critical of NYSUT. It is abundantly clear that the rubber rooms are continuing, smaller than previously, but definitely not closed. UFT members are sitting around doing nothing, and those not charged are still not charged even though the agreement stated Nov. 1 2010 would be the deadline.
What does the story on Chaz' blog about the ridiculous April 15 agreement have to do with his going through a 3020-a and using a NYSUT Attorney? Chaz, like anyone else, makes his/her own decision of who to work with at the 3020-a and this in no way impacts his insightful reports on the ineffectiveness of the UFT.

ASTRAKA said...

Thank you for reporting on the inability of the UFT to protect its members. The truth hurts, that is why you are personally attacked. Unity is unable to do anything right! In fact, they do not understand that their time is coming to an end. Karen Lewis is the hero of many teachers in NYC not Mulgrew and his puppets.

Moriah Untamed said...

I am one of the teachers who have not been charged yet. What is the use of a contract or an agreement if we permit Bloomberg to get away with violating them? The Union leadership should blast him for these violations. Instead they help him hide it. Why? What do you think it will accomplish except for more violations, more lies. Union leadership: Rally your members while you still can.

There are many actions that can be done without violating the Taylor Law. Should I write them on my blog?

Anonymous said...

I guess we should all follow Betsy's lead. How much money in donations do you accept from teachers? You do advertise for donations on parent advocates don't you? Do the lawyers you refer teachers to give you some cash? Do you have paralegal training? Doesn't a paralegal have to work for a lawyer?
The system stinks. But lets at least be honest with each other. Chaz (Eric-notice I am not using your last name) thinks he knows who I am and maybe he does. But, this whole blog is anonymous. So don't be critical of me staying anonymous.
Frankly, I wish to remain anonymous because I do not trust the UFT, you or Betsy. Everyone has a political need, except of course the children. What about them? Maybe you and Betsy should focus on them instead of trying to get even with the UFT for letting Betsy go.

Moriah Untamed said...

Uh oh, "Think of the Children". That's going to join "I Was Just Following Orders" as phrases used by the worst abusers in history to justify the unjustifiable.

Anon 11:41 PM, you are clearly a Bloomburger. If you are a UFT Rep, God help the teachers and the children.

Chaz said...


I know you as the "Unity hack" that you are. It is obvious to everybody that your failure to criticize the UFT for their lack of action and instead to try to slander me with your lies and false allegations make you no better than the DOE.

Please stop embarrassing yourself and show the members that you can actually help them, not keeping them quiet and clueless.

Betsy Combier said...

I thought of not making any comment at all to the posts of anonymous, but I just get so tickled when people attack me, of course, and friends - in this case Chaz - for no reason. Looks like Chaz and I are on to something about the UFT. The lack of UFT assistance to members in need is a weak link for sure.
I get calls 24/7 and always answer my phone or return the call quickly, voluntarily, for free, no financial gain, nada, zilch.
The fact is, facts empower and everyone has the right to due process.That's the bottom line,
and I'll put my name on it, as anonymity is not my cup of tea -
Betsy Combier

Confused said...

Eric Chen is my NYSUT attorney. Should I be worried?

Teacher126 said...

Was Eric Chen good at representing you ???