Thursday, August 09, 2018


August 7 every year is the official date that the so called "Open Market" transfer system officially closes. Teachers and other UFT members working in the schools will now need a principal's approval to transfer unless they are in excess.

If UFT members are in excess, there are subsidies to schools for hiring Absent Teacher Reserves so don't give up looking for positions. Unlike many, I don't believe Fair Student Funding which charges schools more for having more senior teachers is the reason most of us who are in excess don't get hired. I believe it is our institutional memory more than the cost of seniority that makes it difficult to get a new permanent teaching position. Senior people are not likely to say how high when a principal tells them to jump. Newer teachers need to obtain tenure and therefore are much easier for administrators to control and will pass everyone if told to do so.

If you have sent out ten, or twenty or thirty, or forty resumes and you haven't heard anything back, we understand your frustration. If you are an experienced educator but you lack connections, you don't know the right people, we completely get it and today we salute you.

Giving up our seniority rights has turned out to be one of the stupidest givebacks from the infamous 2005 contract that ICEUFT vociferously opposed back then and have ever since.

I remember former UFT President Randi Weingarten telling us at the time that the Department of Education  proposed the concept that principals should have control of all hiring and the Union responded that this would create a huge pool of excessed teachers with no permanent school. If I recall correctly Randi informed us that this would be totally unworkable but if the DOE wanted this, they could have it. Little did she know that an unworkable situation was exactly what Joel Klein wanted so he could continue to push for the termination of ATRs both publicly and in negotiations. Killing seniority is still the big goal of the union haters.

The UFT, to my knowledge, has not asked for the return to seniority transfers which were done based on strict seniority. I don't even think the UFT has asked for a return of SBO transfers where seniority was a major factor in hiring decisions done by school based committees made up of a majority of teachers. Giving Principals complete power over hiring was one of the worst givebacks ever and has led to turmoil for so many teachers and a patronage hiring system that needs to end. Principal power needs to be checked from below more than from above. That should be a major UFT priority.

This is how we wrote about the 2005 UFT seniority surrender last year:
Ending seniority rights altogether is the holy grail of union busting that Joel Klein pushed for and is still the treasured goal of the zealots who want to destroy our profession.

Don't take my word for it. Read it from the horse's mouth. Chalkbeat did a summary of Steven Brill's 2011 book called Class Warfare.  Former Chancellor Joel Klein says all you need to know on why the ATR issue is a major issue for the union busters and it is something they will fight on for every inch of ground.

  • On labor issues, Bloomberg sometimes undercut Joel Klein. Klein’s team thought they could get the UFT to sign off on a change in the teacher termination process. But Bloomberg, who was nearing reelection, told them not to push their luck. “The mayor blinked,” the DOE’s one-time labor chief, Dan Weisberg, told Brill. “The mayor just gave up.” Weisberg said he “clashed almost daily” with City Hall over back-channel contract negotiations in 2005.
  • Similarly, Brill reports that in 2006, Bloomberg told Klein and Weisberg to “stand down” on pushing a time limit for teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve. As Klein left office last year, he was still calling for that policy.

Weisberg is still pushing to fire ATR's in 2017.

Chalkbeat's synopsis of Brill's book continues:
  • Bloomberg was weighing a third term even a year into his second, and his education policies reflected that. The 2007 teachers contract included little in the way of substantive policy, an oddity at a time when Klein was setting an aggressive tone at Tweed. In fact, the only major change, a schoolwide bonus program, was spiked this year. “The plan,” Klein told Brill, “was to make some progress in the 2005 contract — which we did, though not enough — and then go in for the kill in 2007. Mike deciding to run for a third term completely killed that.”

Note how Joel Klein brags about making some progress in 2005. That is the god awful contract that Randi Weingarten should never have agreed to that 40% of the NYC teachers rejected. Weingarten and Klein created the ATR mess and did so much more to undermine the rights of teachers in that settlement.

Bloomberg went for "the kill" after he was safely reelected to his third term in 2009 and did not relent while he was the mayor. It's why we had no contract from 2009-2014 and why we are still waiting until 2020 to get paid back in full the money the city paid its other workers between 2008 and 2010.

The UFT has never moved the center of gravity even a milometer back toward teacher rights since 2005. The 2014 contract's biggest gain was to form a new committee on excessive paperwork, something that was already in the existing contract. We have not made a substantive work place gain since Circular 6 was added in to the contract in 1996 to get us temporarily out of potty patrol. 2005 put us back in the potty.

It isn't your fault ATRs. That's why we are saluting the ATRs today. This situation is the fault of Randi Weingarten, Joel Klein. I won't condemn the 60% of teachers who voted yes on that contract. They were misled by their Union.

As for the 40% of teachers who voted no in 2005, we honor that wisdom today too.

If only we had the chance to flip about 7,000 votes, so many teaching careers might not have been permanently changed for the worse.


Anonymous said...

A farce that the UFT turns a blind eye to. All veteran teachers are on the ATR diving board.

Anonymous said...

Take it or quit. No other option.

Anonymous said...

My option is no dues and a lawsuit against the DOE.

Anonymous said...

The Open Market is the longest running farce second only to the ATR pool. UFT are you listening? Start doing something. No one gives a shit about the Crotch Brothers.