A quick little walk through the last three years shows we are his favorite target. First there was no raise for us even though virtually all the other unions have received two raises of 4% in the current round of collective bargaining. Then, it was two straight years of layoff threats that included the mayor's failed push to change state law so he could fire us at will. Now the mayor wants us to have weaker due process without appeal to an independent reviewer and since he can't get his way, he is now attempting to close most of the Transformation-Restart Schools and open them up the following day with half of the teachers being replaced.
It would be comical if the lives of so many UFT members and students were not impacted. As I read our contract, he can redesign schools based on Article 18D, which allows management to excess at least half of the teachers in a given school. Whether he can do this as part of the Federal Turnaround program without first negotiating it with the UFT is highly debatable and will more than likely be decided in the courts or by the state Public Employees Relations Board.
I have some ideas on what the union can do to help the teachers in the 33 PLA-Restart Schools that will necessitate us being a real union. Maybe the UFT will do more than just use the legal system and local protests. It's time.
The teachers in the Restart schools and citywide need to know that we are dealing with a desperate billionaire mayor who will do just about anything to get rid of us. The mayor's plan is irrational. If he excesses half of the staffs in many schools but our contract and state law prevents tenured people from being terminated without cause (thank God), then there will be an explosion of Absent Teacher Reserves. It appears that the mayor is willing to spend an additional $100,000,000 on an expanded Absent Teacher Reserve pool (regular teachers who roam from school to school each week at full pay but cover classes for absent teachers) to obtain $60,000,000 in Federal funds. Can city hall do math or does the mayor have a Captain Ahab like obsession?
The mayor seems overly determined to bust the UFT. This will probably be his last chance as his time will run out at the end of 2013 and there doesn't seem to be any call for another extension of term limits this time around. He needs to kill us off now or never. He looks desperate but do not underestimate the forces that want to destroy public education and the UFT.
... to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
—Moby-Dick, Ch. 135 or is that Michael Bloomberg talking to teachers?