I knew M4L would find a way to stop layoffs because, as was pointed out in the NY Times today, many of the first teachers to go would be those who staff new schools, a pet project of the mayor and chancellor. They'd also have to find jobs for all the rubber room and ATR people because they do, after all, have seniority. This whole layoff thing was a scheme by BloomKlein to try to finagle a way to fire senior teachers.
The only problem is that the mayor has absolutely no authority to freeze wages. So he sent Klein out to make the incredible announcement that since the teacher and principal contracts have expired, the mayor does indeed have that authority. They're forgetting one little thing. The Taylor Law requires that public employers negotiate agreements.
Of course, a little thing like the law doesn't prevent a billionaire like Bloomberg from doing whatever the hell he likes. It didn't stop him from running for a third term that was twice voted down by the citizens of New York, so why should it stop him now?
Another little detail that the press seems not to know is that we have never agreed to the two per cent raise that the mayor now wants to 'eliminate'. The other unions got the pattern of FOUR per cent, and there is no reason we shouldn't get it. The mayor offered us two per cent at one point, but we didn't accept it, choosing instead to go to PERB. Still, M4L has managed to cut that figure in half with creative manipulation of the press.
So what should Mulgrew do? It's a scary thought. Mulgrew and his cronies are the ones who refused to oppose Bloomberg, agreed to tie teacher evaluations to test scores, changed the rubber room agreement, and worked with the mayor to lift the charter cap, all in return for a WAGE FREEZE. Yes, that's the kind of high falutin' negotiations we can expect from the Unity crew.
Frankly, I doubt we'll get any money. Bloomberg has already outmaneuvered Mulgrew, and the public will support him. So if M4L gets his way, what should we ask for in return for another two years of big fat zeroes? I have some ideas:
- We should demand an end to the awful and pointless 37.5 minutes in exchange for those zeroes. We got a six percent increase (not raise) in exhange for that time in 2005, so now that we are NOT getting the 8% we're due, we should reclaim that time.
- We should demand a no-layoff clause for the entire duration of the freeze. It would be just like M4L to get us to take zeroes and then stick us with layoffs anyway a year down the road.
- We should demand an end to the ATR pool, insisting instead that displaced teachers have an absolute right to any openings they qualify for. If no such openings exist, ATRs should be guaranteed that they will be allowed to serve as reserves until such an opening develops.
- We should demand that upon the end of the freeze, teachers will receive at least 4% per contract year above and beyond whatever pattern the city establishes with its other unions.
This time, I hope I'm wrong.