My understanding from a report from the Executive Board and the last UFT Town Hall is that the sticking point on the Early Retirement Incentive becoming reality is that the city wants to offer the ERI to only certain teacher certification areas but they want to exclude other certification areas. This is from our report from Mulgrew's May Town Hall:
Question: Early Retirement Incentive, is it for all titles?
Answer: City wants to set a precedent that they can pick teachers by certification area. We can't let them do that. This may be a big ugly fight. We don't want to pit people against each other. We can't agree to subjects rather than title (teacher). Paras would be included if we do ERI.
I just read the bill that is now state law again and of course, I preface my questions and comments by saying I am no lawyer and don't pretend to be one. That said, I can read and it clearly states in the law that it is up to the employer to decide whether or not to offer the ERI.
From the bill summary:
The ERI Program consists of two parts and is contingent upon the employer's election to participate in the Program.
It doesn't say that the ERI is subject to collective bargaining unless I am missing something. It's up to the employer. Why can't the city just offer it to the licenses they want to and let the UFT object in court that everyone, including those in shortage areas, should be included? I also see this line from the bill:
A participating employer may deny participation in the retirement benefit provided by subdivision a of this section if such employer makes a determination that the employee holds a position that is deemed critical to the maintenance of public health and safety.
Couldn't shortage area people be deemed critical to the maintenance of public health and safety? Again, I am no lawyer but why is this subject now to collective bargaining? Isn't it up to the mayor? Put it on him.
As for the UFT claiming that they could not set a precedent because we are one union so all titles stick together, that is rather odd. The UFT allowed for several buyouts for Absent Teacher Reserves since the 2005 Contract. The UFT also negotiated weaker due process rights exclusively for ATRs in the 2014 Contract and the Union agreed to rotate ATRs weekly to different schools, to give ATRs fewer program preference rights, and the Union was on board with other humiliations exclusively for ATRs. These provisions are in the Contract and other ATR agreements. Mulgrew's solidarity ship sailed years ago. To his credit, it is admirable that at least he is trying to recover this now.
The deadline for the Board of Education to accept the ERI is May 31.
If an ERI is finally accepted by the mayor, more UFTers and other city workers will be eligible for Medicare. It is important for all of us to sign the petition to oppose Medicare privatization (Mulgrewcare) no matter what our age is.
This is from the Professional Staff Congress Retiree Chapter:
PETITION ON THE MLC NEGOTIATIONS. We have been working with the Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations (COMRO) on mobilizing municipal retirees in response to the proposed move to Medicare Advantage. COMRO has an online petition addressed to the mayor and the MLC entitled “Preserve Medicare Part B for NYC Retirees.” As of 5/6 it had 11,000 signatures. The more signatures gathered, the stronger the impact. To view the petition and add your name, click here.
It's up to over 13,400 signatures now.
Finally, please tell your friends not to forget to vote for Retiree Advocate in the Retired Teachers Chapter election.