Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Reuters is finally giving us some news about contract negotiations between the UFT and city.  Apparently, the city is arguing that they legally cannot pay us the retroactive salary increases because it would bust the budget.  The city wants to avoid having to give UFT members the 4% + 4% raises that other city workers received in the last round of collective bargaining. Compounded over four years, it would be a substantial sum as we have reported.  Here is a portion of the Reuters article:

With just three weeks remaining before his team cedes power to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Bloomberg's administration will cite accounting rules at a closed-door state hearing on Wednesday as it tries to shut the door on any retroactive raises being paid out as bonuses in future years, according to people taking part in the hearings.

In the administration's view, the rules stipulate that any lump-sum payout must be booked in the year it is made, not spread out over years. The amount owed would be too big a hit for any one year and would break the city's balanced budget requirement, they say. The stance effectively closes down any attempt by the teachers for a settlement along those lines, at least with the Bloomberg administration.

The counter argument from the UFT:

At an earlier hearing, the teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, which has been working without a contract since 2009, argued that under generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, rules for municipal budget keeping do not require an arduous one-time cost.

An accounting expert for the United Federation of Teachers also cited a 1991 deal when the city deferred part of a teachers' wage increase, paying $47 million out in 1995 and 1996 -- with interest of 9 percent -- and thus setting a precedent for the practice of deferred payments.

The city is arguing they can't afford to pay us all they owe us in one year so forget it while UFT is saying to spread the payments out as they did in 1991.

Who is right?

"It's a very big bill attached to this retroactive pay raise, and (the Bloomberg administration is) specifically raising this as a deal breaker," said Barry Epstein, an accounting expert at Cendrowski Corporate Advisors, who testified on behalf of the union. "Essentially what they are saying is, we'd be happy to pay this to you except we can't do it because we have a balanced budget law and this will bust the budget."

"My answer to that is they are misinterpreting their accounting requirements," Epstein said.
The mayor's office and the Department of Education declined to comment. But other people familiar with the proceeding supported Epstein's characterization on the city's position.

Thanks to Jeff Kaufman for sending this out.


Anonymous said...

Why did they arbitrate with Bloomberg? Makes no sense.

Nunzio Mostaccio said...

Why am I not surprised? I believe this is a concerted effort between the DOE and our "union" (I use the term loosely) to deal our members another devastating blow. Three years worked without so much as a cost of living increase! Our "union" has already allowed the DOE to trample every protection we had in our labor contract. What we need is protection from our "union" before they agree to lower our salaries for the privilege of remaining employed in what may very well be some of the most disgraceful working conditions seen in America's field of public education. I for one would welcome service time in lieu of the money I have already lived without, and probably won't receive either. This way I can give the DOE what it so clearly wants, a system filled with transient teachers that will never last long enough to collect a pension.

Anonymous said...

Very good points.

Anonymous said...

bloomberg is poison evident in that this sicko maniac is still trying to take money out of the pockets of so many hard working people. the sicko has just one week left but is still concerned that our union will receive a raise. anyone who listens to this wack job of a person will join the heard of sheep and have no money

Ibeth said...

Thanks for sharing informative articles..and keeping us in the loop ....... this news suck...I agree with Nunzio, we need protection from our union! I hate the fact I am paying union dues and they can't do what's right for us :(