Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Family matters kept me away from the January Delegate Assembly. Fortunately, Arthur Goldstein was there and filed a report.

You can read it here.

I will quote one specific line from President Michael Mulgrew's report:

UFT is largest most powerful union in USA.

Does the word delusional come to mind or are you glowing with union pride in hearing our President boast about our size and strength?

Here is what Arthur said Mulgrew reported about the NY State budget:

State—Governor rolled out budget. Good things about public ed. Got large applause when he said NY State would protect union and workers. Proud NY State spends more on ed. than other states. Says we have educated him, are highly effective.

Budget proposal—two year process—have to meet minimums from last year—1.5% increase in education. Came in with 3% increase instead. He’s signaling he doesn’t know if he can get much further. Also, health care 3%. Important for students and communities we serve. We will not get involved in fights with health care workers, will have mutual support.

More important is idea of restructuring taxes in NY State. We will get a huge budget cut next year. Governor has taken lead and said in this. Federal tax plan specifically goes after 12 states, donor states, including us. We pay for services, 48 billion more than we get back. Being used in states that got tax break.

Now we are punished for not supporting candidates who passed that tax bill. Will cost NY 14 billion additional next year. Governor trying to give us deductions back. Will probably be used to give governor and corporations tax breaks.

NY State will create tax credit for charitable funds. 10K limit for state, local taxes, and mortgagee. Other piece is payroll tax, still deductible. We may lower income tax and increase payroll tax to use as a deduction.

Feds will call It outrageous. NY is acting like a corporation. Sad we’ve gotten to the point we even have to look at this, but if not, we will be hurt—individually, and our schools will hurt too.. We will work with governor to not allow fed scheme to hurt us.

Governor now gets student of the month, star on refrigerator, we must keep him there.

Cuomo student of the month? Ouch.

Staff Director Leroy Barr later in the meeting spoke against a MORE resolution calling for the UFT to support Black Lives Matter week in February. Leroy opposed it because he claimed it was a splinter issue. (I think he meant to say splitter because it would split the membership.) Leroy as reported by Arthur then said, "Many years ago, Vietnam War was splinter issue. UFT said, we’re not going to politically engage in that.Would take us away from main issues. Membership must be aware of attacks coming in next three months. We need to stay focused to stay largest and most powerful union."

Here we go again with the "most powerful union" line. If we are the most powerful union, why do so many of us feel we are treated like crap by the DOE and city? We can't even get two observations per year like just about every other school district in the state has. We can't get ATR's permanent jobs. Powerful?

DA voted down support for the Black Lives Matter week. (Some of our right wing people who comment are going to be happy about that. Will you give the UFT credit?)

I will try to attend the February DA meeting but don't feel I missed much in January. 


Quinn Zannoni said...

He did say splitter. He said both. He said more splitter than splinter.

Mulgrew said that the union dues are worth paying "for the Welfare Fund alone" which is worth on average $1700 a year per member. Then he went further and said, "It's like people think the City pays for the Welfare Fund. They don't".

Come again? The City absolutely does pay all of the costs of the Welfare Fund. It even says it right on the UFT website: "Employer contributions ... are provided at the annual rates ... on behalf of each covered member. Members ... do not make contributions to the Fund."

In fact, the City pays all of the public sector union Welfare Funds. Each union manages their funds separately to best serve their members. According to the Citizens Budget Commission (a conservative watchdog group), there is such little difference in how the funds are managed that it would save money to just consolidate their management.

Of course, the UFT does negotiate to make sure the Welfare Fund is well financed. And Mulgrew says they work vigilantly to ensure the medical providers and drug companies are screwing them royally. I do wonder how much they accomplish.

Quinn Zannoni said...

***are NOT screwing them royally***

Anonymous said...

I want more info on the 300 member Negotiation Committe. Is it mostly Unity hacks? I asked to be a member and was told "no". Is there anyone here on it? I know there is a confidentiatlty form that members sign but can anyone tell me if they are at leas on it and if it seems like it is going to accomplish anything or will it be a sham? (In other words, all the real deal stuff happens behind closed doors with the UFT upper management and the DOE)

Anonymous said...

NYC pays money to every union to fund their respective Welfare Funds. The unions pay squat to administer the welfare funds. Union dues cannot be commingled with the NY City funded Welfare Funds. Just ask the Office of Labor Relations in lower Manhattan.

James Eterno said...

Negotiating Committee is like a Delegate Assembly. Mostly Unity. It does no negotiating. I was on the last two. We had no impact on contract. We did get to vent. That's about it.

Anonymous said...

Al Sharpton for Chancellor.
No social justice, no peace!

Anonymous said...

I think you missed an interesting meeting.

I felt like MM sounded like someone who knows we are going to get screwed. He wasn’t as rah-rah as usual and I was happy that his tone changed. I also liked that he seems to more focus on Teacher issues.

I have no idea if the city council people who appeared are going to be pro-teacher and look at the DOE and their practices, but they made me laugh (especially Treyger - he spoke like a cranky teacher). I like that two powerful people were teachers and were CL/delegates. That is meaningful.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is silent about age harassment and discriminatio.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew is spouting BULLSHIT, as usual.
How did this mediocre mind ( think sawdust) ever rise to this level? By being a MASTER at the art of BULLSHIT.

Harris L. said...

All Mulgrew's blithering about how NYS will be able to find a practicable way to replace the now-limited deductibility of income and property taxes by making state taxes "charitable contributions" or by replacing the income tax with Rube Goldberg-type changes to payroll taxes is just that, blithering.

Nobody knows what the governor's talking about. The few bread crumbs he's dropped randomly in press conferences make no sense to budget and tax people who do this stuff for a living.

Mulgrew can wish it were so but he ought not put around the idea that pressures on state and local budgets resulting from the damnable federal tax law can be easily waived away by some state-based shenanigans that the IRS would disallow anyway.

waitingforsupport said...

Class action
Class action
Class action

Anonymous said...

Another January means another Regents week with the same old model. Last January was all about UFT pushing to bring grading back to schools rather than the current system. Is there any status update on the progress of that?

James Eterno said...

What can the city council do? Raise teacher's choice, hold hearings and question DOE officials. The last time they provided lower class size money I think was before Klein was chancellor.

James Eterno said...

10:31, We have heard nothing on grading Regents in the schools. That's a good question for our Executive Board people to ask of the leadership.

James Eterno said...

Harris, In the days of Trump, states rights have become cool.I think this is a blue state, particularly east coast and west coast, kind of combined thing to mess with the tax code. Cuomo wants to be president and this is a way to challenge Trump.

Francesco Portelos said...

There is a growing ATR action happening, but it is not being reported here, Ed Notes, MORe, NAC, or NYC Educator. Only Chaz and UFT Solidarity are posting it.

What is the reason for the silence?

Anonymous said...

If the UFT is the most powerful union in the country, imagine how weak the other unions must be.

Abigail Shure

Anonymous said...

You would expect that the most powerful union in the country would provide members with their contract. Our recent one was finalized, but, won’t even be printed before it expires in a couple months. I saw one union official tweet that contracts were a relic of industrial unions.

James Eterno said...

The contract was done four years ago. Back around 1990, we were sent copies of our one year contract after it was agreed to. I remember getting a hard copy of each subsequent contract up until this one. Now it is online only.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit? We have far bigger problems.

James Eterno said...

It's just one more thing added to a huge list of problems 9:15. You are not wrong.

Anonymous said...

I hate grading outside of school (during the day), but I love the per-session at night and weekends. As some said, at a DA last year, people count on this extra money, so don’t take it out of our bank accounts. It’s also pensionable.

They have money to waste, let them hand it to me.

Anonymous said...

James Eterno is 1,000% correct.
No true negotiation occurs within the Negotiation Committee Meetings
(or at least not downstairs with the peons).
They are mostly UNITY.
I was on the last contract Negotiation Committee.
Sandwiches were served instead of coffee, fruit and tea.
Whatever will ultimately be "negotiated" and brought forth for us
to vomit back to our colleagues will be a complete and utter disgrace
to the teaching profession, I'm sure.

CC will remain in place, Danielson will remain in place, We will
have to teach 7 maybe even 8 hours a day...less health benefits,
and Mulgrew will receive a raise long before we do, just like last time.

Anonymous said...

Sunday, January 21, 2018 4:42:00 PM

Amen Brother/Sister.
I'm at the point where I'm figuring in my last few years salaries.
(Unlike you I do like grading outside of my school though.Need that break from
multiple jerks to recharge and refresh)
I also work night(well sub regularly at night) and weekend per session jobs.
Need that pensionable money.
Wish to God I hadn't become a teacher so young as I have "the years" but not the age.
Need that per session $$$.

Anonymous said...

It's time members started rejecting these Non-contracts again.
It's also time we insisted to getting printed copies of the contracts again.
None of this "read it online" horseshit.
They know damned good and well that it can't be read online...
This travesty of a contract that is - - and will be for a loooong while - in place
is completely unreadable.

"The Organizer" is all too willing to spout forth what Unity wants him to tell
us about it though, isn't he?