Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pay Up, Mayor de Blasio

To my mind, the worst thing about the 2005 UFT Contract was giving up seniority transfers and the UFT transfer plan so that veteran teachers could become ATR teachers. Rendering them week to week wandering subs a few years back made that even worse. And the cherry on that cake was giving them second-tier due process rights, the very worst thing about the 2014 UFT Contract.

The second worst thing about the new UFT Contract is kind of a toss-up for me. But right up there in the running was screwing the members who resigned rather than retired. After all, they did the work. Maybe if we'd gotten a timely contract some of them would still be doing the work. Who knows? But now some of them have a lawsuit demanding back pay, and there is no reason on God's green earth they don't deserve it. Cops, firefighters, DC37 members, and just about everyone else got it already.

I'm not a lawyer, so maybe there's something I'm missing here, but why are they suing the UFT? Is the union financially liable for negotiating a substandard contract? If so, they're liable to be tied up in litigation for decades. Perhaps the UFT should know that union means we are one, and that people who can no longer vote in elections ought to be entitled to whatever everyone else was entitled to at the time. But to me, this seems more a question of definition of a word, or fundamental ethics.

It seems to me the city should be liable to pay the prevailing rate for actual work done. I have no idea why UFT, which does not pay salaries, ought to pay salaries. But if I were UFT I'd be very wary about these cases, because if one person wins, every single other person will be suing them too. I don't know how much money that cost, but they may find themselves wondering whether it was a great idea to send those 800 rubber stamps to Los Angeles when they could've just sent one person to vote however leadership decided.

On the other hand, the whole "ethics-shmethics" tone of this contract was bound to become problematic. Still, it's the city who should pay every single person who worked when the contract was in force. Maybe they can pay them over 20 years or whatever, like they're doing with us, but they have to pay them nonetheless. 
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