Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How Not To Negotiate, Part Two

In case you didn't read How To Negotiate, Part One, here is it. I didn't call it that because I had no idea the UFT would stoop to even lower levels of stupidity, but they've outstupided me again. According to GothamSchools, the UFT is trying to work out a deal with the city regarding the rubber rooms outside of contract negotiations.

Excuse me? The rubber rooms are a huge black eye to the city in times of fiscal crisis. They'd love to announce some kind of victory in advance of a contract settlement. So my question is, why is the UFT seemingly willing to hand the DOE a victory with a ribbon wrapped around it while we are fighting to get ourselves a contract? Why not tie any changes to the Rubber Room system to a 4% contract with no givebacks?
Trust me, I fully understand that many of our colleagues are languishing in those hell holes, and some movement towards getting them out would be a boon. But the UFT has done nothing for the past 7 years while the RRs continued to get bigger and bigger, so why the sudden need to negotiate when the city has not budged an inch in our contract talks?

It would be different if I thought that the UFT had any chance of coming out on top in these negotiations, but their history is--shall we say--somewhat spotty? Let's not forget that it's already in the contract that RR cases are supposed to be settled in 6 months--the city has steadfastly refused to follow that rule.

Gotham suggests that the UFT may give in on suspensions without pay, with the caveat that anyone found not guilty would get backpay of 150%. That sounds good, except that given how long the DOE drags these cases out, a person could lose their house or starve before getting that back pay. They've dragged their feet on cases for years, so what's to make us think the DOE will expedite them now? It would benefit the DOE not to resolve such cases in the hopes that the accused teacher would go bankrupt and have to resign in order to find a new job. And it seems to me it would be pretty easy to recoup that 150% with fines.

Let's face it--the DOE is looking for a way to empty the rubber rooms by firing people. They have no intention of expediting cases or holding fair hearings. If they wanted that, they could do it right now, without any kind of negotiations. The UFT has an abysmal track record on these issues, and there's no reason to trust them now.

Especially as they're not even using this as a bargaining chip. Don't forget that we are headed into our 6th month without a contract. If the DOE wants the rubber rooms on the table, they should sit down at the negotiating table. Now.


NYC Educator said...

Good point! I'm tired of being Charlie Brown to Joel Klein's Lucy.

Mr. Talk said...

This is from Philip Nobile, via email:

As a three-year rubber room Dreyfus (without charges!), I kiss Accountable Talk's feet. Of course, the DOE could expedite cases if they desired. If the UFT won't accept firing deadlines for ATR's, how dare they sell out us reassignees? Mulgrew wouldn't,
would he?

What irks me is that he hasn't consulted us while negotiating our fates.

Of course, some of us wouldn't be reassigned at all if the UFT didn't surrender to OSI during the investigative stage. I can't even get exculpatory notes that Brooklyn Special Rep Arthur Solomon took while repping me during OSI interview. He said the notes were his "property."When I appealed, Michael Mendel backed him up with no explanation.

Chaz said...

Great post Mr. Talk

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to negotiate over the Latex Latrines. The fact of the matter is that the DoE and NYSUT and the shysters who are the "Neutral" arbitrators violate 3020a law on a daily basis. There are no cases that have been "adjudicated" within the time limits of 3020a law.

This matter is continually ignored as are the rights of those who are in the crosshairs.

This is just a method of getting rid of those inconvenient older educators. To deny them salary, benefits and a decent pension is the objective of both the DoE and the UFT.

This is not new. The only thing that the UFT will negotiate is raises for themselves.

The fact is that any deal made with the little dictator will screw the teachers.

I would prefer to work without a new contract on teachers.

Angry Nog