Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Alaska Can Teach Us Some Lessons

There are a number of school districts around the country struggling with contracts. While comparisons are always difficult to make, our Brothers and Sisters in Anchorage can teach us a lesson or two. Last night the Anchorage Education Association voted to authorize a strike after rejecting the school district’s last offer.

86.6% of their 3400+ membership voted. A bit more than we get.

The union’s website contains information about the status of negotiations and where the problems are. For example, a quick review of their website reveals that the District’s last offer of 2.5% per year was counter-offered by the Union’s 3.0% for three years.

Proposed contract provision changes are clearly put out on the website. It is clear that the membership knew (or could have easily found out) just why they authorized the strike.

Can you imagine the UFT’s website having just a small fraction of the information offered in Alaska?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

UFT Concerted Inaction

Remember last June when we left school (and Madison Square Garden) believing if there was no contract in September something BIG was going to happen? Well, we just heard that the big PLAN is a post card blitz on the Mayor. POSTCARDS? It is truly unbelievable. Here we have a mayor seeking givebacks and concessions (we already know that our disciplinary procedures will be DOE streamlined to whittle down our due process rights) and yet we are going to send him postcards!

For those of you who tried to follow the state of negotiations over the summer the biggest reported story is how Randi was on Federal jury duty and wouldn’t return calls from the Mayor.

Perhaps the POSTCARDS will break the stalemate…..yeah, right?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Paras Lose Unemployment Benefits

In a decision recently handed down by the Third Department paraprofessionals who were laid off in 2003 lost their claim for unemployment benefits during the summer when they were advised of their termination at the end of June. The UFT reasoned that while they were paid over the summer the termination notices effectively made them unemployed. The Third Department disagreed and found that they were not “totally unemployed.”
As a side note the paras were rehired that September in one of the DOE's stunning display of disregard of its employees and managerial incompetence.

It is doubtful that you will hear anything about this case from official UFT sources even though it affected many members.

We must also remember that the “layoff” was only made possible when, in our previous contract, we gave up our no layoff clause. At the time our leadership argued that this was not a “giveback” since the possibility of layoffs was unimaginable.

The case is reported at 2005 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8447 and is available upon request.

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