Saturday, May 24, 2014

Michael Mulgrew Says Bloggers Propagate Myth

UFT President Mike Mulgrew harped on the theme of myth at the DA as he praised the contract and shut down anyone who dared disagree. At one point, he spoke of blogs as though they were loathsome reptiles. He doesn't read them, but he knows they traffic in myths. He was being nice, he said, as he more or less proclaimed to every UFT delegate in the city that bloggers, unbound by the Unity loyalty oath, were a bunch of dirty liars. Particularly offensive to Mulgrew was the assertion that UFT members might pay for health care.

Mulgrew has a secret plan for health care savings, a plan that absolutely can't backfire. You know, like the secret plan Nixon had to end the Vietnam War, and if you can't trust Dick Nixon, who plainly said he wasn't a crook, who can you trust? The bloggers, who he clearly suggested were a bunch of lying bastards?

Doubtless I'm one of the lying bastards Mulgrew was "nice" to. I received a memo leaked by Capital NY, a memo that implied city workers could pay back 2% of salary to compensate for the grab bag of goodies we're up for in this contract, and I posted it immediately. I was told by UFT sources that this was a leaked and rejected memo, and I duly posted that too. But in fact, the actual language of the MOA does not preclude that from happening, and subjects us to arbitration if we don't meet projected savings. Here's what de Blasio says of that, according to the NY Times:

Aides to the mayor said they had cultivated a newly cooperative relationship between the city and labor negotiators, and they believed the unions would make good on a commitment to reduce their health care costs by $3.4 billion. If not, they said, the city reserved the right to enforce some of the terms.
“These savings are enforceable by arbitration,” Mr. de Blasio said. “These savings will happen. Period.”

I believe de Blasio, and Mulgrew's assurances are not evident in the MOA. In fact this is now overtly acknowledged by UFT:

We have no idea of any limit on these arbitrators, and it's certainly possible they could wipe away not only that whopping 2% raise, but also the thousand dollar bribe bonus. In fact, they could clearly take another thousand bucks from every working teacher next year, when there will be no bribe bonus.

Another thing that kind of disturbs me, as a cancer survivor, is this--what if I walk out the door tomorrow and a piano falls on my head? Will my wife and daughter get the money I've worked 30 years for, or will I be callously dismissed as those who resign? After all resignees can't vote in UFT elections, and neither can corpses, so why should they worry about long-term members who got run over by steamrollers? UFT  has an answer for that too:

That's kind of interesting. I'm an ESL teacher, and as such I actually teach kids how to answer questions. I recognize that instantly as a yes/ no question. I also recognize that it didn't receive a yes/ no answer. While my friends at UFT say they've been able to negotiate that in the past, they clearly are not up to a definitive response.

This begs the question--if they've experienced this in past contract negotiations, why the hell didn't they add unambiguous language in this one to preclude any mystery? Don't they learn from experience? 

Someone is indeed trafficking in myth here. But it's not any blogger I know of.
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