Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bloomberg's New Math = Layoffs

Mayor4Life Bloomberg has changed an accounting procedure that makes it much more likely that municipal employees, including school employees, will be laid off. According to the New York Times, the change involves allowing city agencies to count health benefits and Social Security payments as part of an agency's budget, even though these costs are paid by the city and not the agency itself.

In other words, getting rid a teacher in the past would have saved only the teacher's salary. So if the teacher made 50K, the principal would save 50K. Now, the principal will save that 50K plus perhaps another 20K in benefits which the principal does not have to pay, bringing the total savings to 70K.

Now, if you're a principal and you're told you need to cut the budget by 70K, would you prefer to ax one teacher who costs you only 50K or find the full 70K in other reductions?

In other, but likely related, news, Michael Mulgrew visited a school and discussed the budget crisis facing the city and state. He said: “Tough decisions need to be made, but protecting our children and classrooms must be our first priority,” he said.

Funny, but I thought Mulgrew's first priority was to the teachers who actually pay both his salary and 120 million dollars in dues. Why doesn't he come right out and say that protecting school employees from layoffs should be our first priority? Or protecting our rights?

It's a scary time, because under Bloomberg's new math, getting rid of ATRs and teachers in rubber rooms would now save the DOE not only 200 million or so in salaries, but untold millions more in health benefits. And since those teachers are not Mulgrew's first priority, they'd better watch their backs.


Chaz said...

I hope for everybody's sake you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Protection of our children and our classrooms means the staff that work in the classrooms (and I do not discount the atr and rubber room teachers, as you do). I wanted to clarify this for you because apparently you did not understand his statement.

Mr. Talk said...

Wow, Anon...that's so illogical I don't know where to start. We declined to support Thompson when we might have made the difference in the mayoral race, and now we are applying for the chance to file an impasse in negotiations. For all of that, Mulgrew says that children are his first priority. I'm sorry, but children don't pay his salary. He is paid to represent US. He should be saying things like "We demand the 4% set in the pattern with no givebacks" and "We will not tolerate layoffs of anyone, including ATRs and those in the rubber room". Instead he is talking children and classrooms in such vague terms that his words could just as easily come from Klein's or Bloomberg's mouth. His job isn't to be vague, but to lead and make demands in favor of those he represents.

As to where you got the idea that I " the ATR and rubber room teachers"--I have been steadfastly in their corner for the entire time I've been blogging.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew cannot claim the obvious that the members are his first priority. Anyone covering education and labor knows that. Why state the obvious? The money is budgeted for the needs of the school, not the teachers/staff. We support the common goal of education and the childrens needs. Of cousre members atr's have a right to be concerned, BUT, the uft will never allow them to be fired, civil service rules will determine if and when there are layoffs.

Mr. Talk said...

I've been a UFT member for a long time, and it isn't at all obvious to me that teachers are the first priority of the union. If you look back, it seems pretty clear that Randi Weingarten was in it for herself--she parlayed her position into one of national leadership through a series of maneuvers that chipped away at teachers' rights. If Mulgrew wants to be different, he can start by making it clear to all that his first and last duty is to his members.

He should be fighting for teacher pay and better working conditions including smaller class sizes), as well as an end to harassment, micromanagement, and ATR pools. By doing that, he can once again make teaching in NYC a respected position, and that will in turn attract the best candidates. That's how he can benefit children--by crafting a contract that will seek to attract and retain the best teachers.

Under Assault said...

Mr. Talk, it doesn't surprise me that MM said that children were his first priority, because last spring I heard RW say it also at a Del. Assembly, and it was just as jaw-dropping.

Their priority is not children. That's for ad copy.

The real priority for these union managers is THEIR JOBS — and the upward climb therefrom, which RW accomplished by cohorting with Hil and abandoning us altogether for the AFT.

They figure if they fight for salaries above all else (that'll make the hordes of newer teachers happy) and throw the members a bonus during the election period (see Ednotes 1/14/07 for some words on the $750 last time round), their re-election will be a shoe-in.

NFRL said...

If the UFT doesn't advocate for kids and for schools, then this school system is sunk because no one else will. I for one am glad they get that.