By now most of the NYC Board of Education community has received news of an 8 page agreement in which our Union has ceded to the City's contract demands for few, if any, concessions and entered without membership approval.
In the wake of his electoral victory our newly elected president has determined that membership consultation or approval of DOE contract demands is not necessary. As widely reported the DOE has sought a way out of the embarrassment that the rubber rooms have caused. News reports on almost a daily basis have highlighted long-term rubber room detainees waiting for long periods with nothing to do but read or sleep while they remained on payroll. Despite contractual guarantees, approved by the membership, grievances challenging the long delays were either never brought or abandoned as the grievances were delayed.
Now, on the eve of the premiere of a highly anticipated documentary, The Rubber Room Movie, our union comes to the aid of Klein and Bloomberg in what is sure to be a public relations nightmare. And our new president is proud of it.
To be sure the Rubber Room issue needed to be resolved and contract negotiations are the perfect place to deal with it even though it might not be a mandatory subject of bargaining. But in the context of negotiations what did we, as union members, get for this agreement that our leader has unilaterally agreed to.
We got the right to be suspended without pay for an expanded list of charges.
We got the right to perform a full day of cafeteria or bathroom duty if the DOE thinks we are not a danger to students.
We got the right to sit an office and do who knows what (perhaps sleep and read) if the DOE deems we are a danger to students.
We got the right to "expedited hearings" which currently were reserved for time and attendance issues for any case that the DOE wants a suspension for more than 4 weeks. This means that cases which might involve the need for a full and fair record but could "only" cost a teacher a one month's fine can be performed in the kangaroo court of time and attendance arbitration.
While theoretically hearings should proceed in a more expeditious manner and that is generally a positive aspect of this negotiation it is clear, as always, we gave up way too much and received little in return just to allow the Mayor and the Chancellor to answer the Post and other critics of our rubber room.