By Constitution, New York State and its local governments have to fund pensions properly. This is why the national pension time bomb discussion doesn't include New York.We rank 40th out of 45 states in terms of pension risks. Not bad.
This is from Bloomberg:
On the other hand, our pensions are still in peril as 2017 will see a constitutional convention referendum on the ballot in November. Many in the UFT are going to use the threat to our pensions from a constitutional convention as an excuse to convince members to up our contributions to COPE (the union's political arm). Even the usually right on the money NYC Educator buys into this argument as his latest post shows. Our pensions are protected by the state Constitution and a convention could put them on the table.
I oppose the constitutional convention and will urge my colleagues to vote no. There are better ways to amend the NYS Constitution than a convention that could very well be controlled by corruption plagued Albany insiders and their well funded friends. I don't see much good that can come out of it. While I support the UFT-NYSUT fully on this issue, I cannot endorse donating anything more than a very nominal amount to COPE (I give a symbolic 25 cents and many of my colleagues believe that is too much). The UFT-NYSUT-AFT record in political endorsements or non-endorsements is abysmal.
In 2017 we endorsed Mayor Bill de Blasio's reelection early. What has he done in return? Raised copays for medical and continued to allow Carmen Farina's many abusive principals to have basically free reign to keep destroying the careers of too many of our members.
In 2016, we gave the maximum amount allowed to anti-public education Republican Senate leader John Flanagan's Republican Campaign Committee and we refused to endorse opponents of some horrible Republicans. We endorse Independent Democratic Conference state senators who vote with the Republicans for charter schools.
2015 gave us the early endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the AFT-NYSUT_UFT while Bernie Sanders was launching an upstart campaign from the left. How did that one work out?
2013-14 saw the infamous NYSUT $10,000 contribution from now President Andy Pallotta to get a table at Governor Andrew Cuomo's private concert birthday party featuring Billy Joel and Unity rejecting my anti-Cuomo resolution. That came out real well when Cuomo was reelected. Well no it didn't. See the Education Transformation Act of 2015 featuring the Advance observation system and four years minimum probation to achieve tenure for more details.
Need we go back further to the UFT endorsing Bill Thompson in 2013 but not supporting him when it mattered when Michael Bloomberg ignored the will of the voters who wanted term limits and ran for a third term in 2009?
Oh and then there is the UFT support for mayoral dictatorship over NYC schools which has to be approved by the State Legislature and governor. We were fine with it in 2002, 2009 and every year since 2015 even though the public by huge margins does not think the mayor should have exclusive control of the schools.
Enough already! Forget COPE and donate to the worthy causes of your choice. If you want to work to defeat the constitutional convention, start here at the AFL-CIO website and then spread the word to your friends to vote no.