Friday, September 27, 2013
The Real Reason That There Is A Lack Of Arbitrators In The 3020-a Hearing Process.
Friday on his radio show Mayor Bloomberg blamed the UFT for the glacial pace of the 3020-a hearings. A seemingly frustrated Michael Bloomberg went on to say that the teachers union refused to approve arbitrators and that the agreed upon 39 arbitrators are now down to 19! The result is that, according to the Mayor, there are 400 educators awaiting an arbitrator to hear their case. If only he had the authority to fire them all. The City has now filed a lawsuit that the teachers union is violating the April 2010 "rubber room" agreement.
President Michael Mulgrew responded by saying that the DOE's failure to use the mediation process to settle many of the cases is a major cause for the delays. In addition, he pointed out the oversized legal unit at the Office of Legal Services is the primary reason why the DOE fails to use the mediation process since they need the work to justify their positions. He also stated further that the DOE has recommended many unsatisfactory candidates as arbitrators and the UFT after carefully vetting the DOE endorsed candidates, has refused to accept them on the panel. Finally the UFT has claimed that the agreed to timelines once a hearing starts are being adhered to,
$2.03 million dollars for the 2013-14 school year. Therefore, many of the present arbitrators will be waiting years to be compensated for their work. Moreover, the State has reduced the daily fee for arbitrators from as much as $2,100 to $1,400 per day, still a godly sum but significantly less than before 2010 and has resulted in many of the best people not wanting the highly stressful arbitration position. The lower payment and long delays getting paid has resulted in many long-standing arbitrators to quit the panel. Apparently, many of the recommended replacements are not qualified and therefore only 19 arbitrators are currently on the panel or 11 less than what the DOE and UFT wanted as a minimum (30).
While both the DOE and UFT have no control on the State's failure to pay the arbitrators, the DOE can use the mediation process to bypass the lengthy 3020-a hearing process. However, under Mayor Bloomberg the DOE only wants to terminate these 400 educators not settle no matter the time and cost. this is the DOE who rather waste over $40 million dollars in keeping the 400 cases in offices doing little or no work rather than the classroom than use mediation to resolve the cases. Yes, the very same DOE that is wasting $160 million dollars annually on 2,000+ ATRs rather than putting them in the classroom to eliminate overcrowding, uncovered classes, and reduce the largest class sizes in over a decade. What else is new.