Monday, October 29, 2018


I was actually going to write a generally pro-Andrew Cuomo piece today as the governor is boycotting Charter-Spectrum's NY1 cable channel and encouraging other public officials to do the same because of an ongoing 19 month marathon strike by IBEW Local 3 technicians. We have supported the strikers since we heard about the labor dispute and would not consider switching to Spectrum cable even when they offered a competitive price. Cuomo is right on this issue but then we read about Cuomo's latest huge donations from the charter school industry so we still deeply distrust and dislike the governor.

First the pro-labor Cuomo.

From the NY Post:
In an extraordinary move, Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday urged elected officials to boycott NY1 and other stations because their owner, cable TV giant Charter Communications, is involved in a labor dispute.

Cuomo, in another rarity, effusively praised Mayor de Blasio for skipping his regular appearance on NY1 Monday night to protest a nearly two-year strike at another division of Charter Communications.

“I have publicly stated my opposition to and outrage at Charter’s conduct on numerous occasions. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for boycotting the network and encourage other officials to do the same,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The governor is also trying to mediate a settlement of the strike as he shows his pro-union side before his reelection.

Other politicians are also boycotting NY1 including City Comptroller Scott Stringer. 

From a Politico NY article on the boycott:
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, 28 members of the Council and a handful of members of the Assembly have all signed a letter to Tom Rutledge, president and CEO of Charter Communications — Spectrum News' parent demanding that the company "comes to the table and negotiates with these workers in good faith."

"As elected officials from across New York, we are deeply concerned that after 19 months, 1,800 of your company's workers remain on strike in New York City," the letter reads. "As long as these workers from IBEW Local 3 maintain their informational leafleting action at NY1's studios, we will honor that action by not entering the studios."

It sounds positive. However, now for the reality check on the Andrew Cuomo we all know and despise.

From the Daily News:
ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo received a late infusion of cash from charter school interests, his latest financial disclosure form shows.

Cuomo over the past three weeks since his last filing took in $130,000 from individuals and groups with ties to the charter school industry, the records show.

The influx comes as the charter schools have largely remained on the sidelines in the tight battle for control of the state Senate. In years past, charter interests were among the Senate Republicans’ largest backers.

Cuomo, a charter school backer who took heat on the issue during his Democratic primary against actress Cynthia Nixon, received three of his biggest donations the past three weeks from individuals with strong ties to the industry, including $25,000 each from Jim Walton and Carrie Walton Penner, the son and granddaughter, respectively of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

The governor also received $40,000 from Sonia Jones, a yoga booster for youth and wife of billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, a big backer of charter schools.

He also received $15,000 from the Great Public Schools PAC created by Eva Moskowitz, the CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, and $15,100 from New Yorkers for Putting Students First, a pro-charter political action committee.

Billy Easton, executive director of the teacher union-backed Alliance for Quality Education, knocked the donations to Cuomo.

“Here we go again with Andrew Cuomo and his pay-to-play relationship with charter schools,” Easton said.“The Wall Street charter donors lost big when the Independent Democrats got wiped out in the primary, they are investing in Andrew Cuomo now in hopes that he will be the one person still carrying their water in Albany."

Cuomo, according to his latest disclosure filing made public Monday morning, has $6.75 million left in his campaign account after spending $3.1 million, largely on TV ads, the past three weeks and raising $638,687 during the same period.

In addition to charter school money, some of his biggest donations in recent weeks included $33,400 from developer Richard LeFrak, $25,000 from the Building Contractors Association PAC, and $25,000 from Saratoga Gaming Resources.

Now there is the Cuomo we all loathe and he certainly hates public schools and public school teachers. We won't be voting for Cuomo (probably voting Green) although I wish the Spectrum workers the best and totally support their fight for a fair contract. 

Workers don't necessarily have to strike to get a good deal but they sure better be able to have a credible threat of militancy. It is one we will need when Cuomo is reelected and pays back his charter school supporters.


ed notes online said...

The very idea of charter schools is anti-union. Many of us were warning the UFT and Randi as far back as 2000 that charter schools were designed to undermine the teacher unions. Instead they went along for way too long and even now are weak in their response about labeling them as anti-union vehicles.

RBE said...

The UFT is a company union, beholden to the neoliberal marketeers who want to bring us those fabulous, fabulous free market principles everywhere - you know, like high stakes testing, school closures, decimated worker protections, increased observations based on "objective" criteria like the Danielson rubric, etc. All have increased under the leadership of the Mulgarten UFT/AFT.

Observations have been ostensibly rolled back now, but as James has pointed out, the contract doesn't limit the number of observations - DOE supervisors can do a "minimum" of two, which means they can do more too. And if you're co-teaching with an untenured teacher (who's going to get a minimum of four observations still), you're going to get four too, since you're in the same room as they are.

Wheee!!!! Another UFT scrapes the skies victory!!!!

Will be interesting to see how many take the June opt out period to leave the UFT over the next three years and what the "new" numbers from recent hires (HMO's for you!) are like over that same time period. With a UFT leadership serving up "victories" like this latest contract, difficult to see the UFT numbers staying where they are now.

That last statement gives me no pleasure. I wish we had a union leadership fighting for us instead of selling us out time and time again, but alas, we do not. The latest contract, which rolls back little of the givebacks that have come before, sets a precedent for health care givebacks for future hires and doesn't keep pace with inflation is just the latest example of their sellout strategy.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good example to look at. Would Mike Bloomberg be satisfied with this new contract agreement? Remember midget mike and his stubborn ways....Bloomberg would not be happy with this contract because he wanted a gazillion observations, extended time in the day, extended time into summer, extended time for tenure, no parking passes, no teacher cafeterias, atrs treated like second class citizens - all this because of Mike Bloomberg.

So, if Bloomberg would have not signed this agreement then it must be OK. Bloomberg has destroyed the lives of many educators here in NYC. ATRs have suffered dearly because of Mike Bloomberg. The mere fact that the atr pool still exists....5 years AFTER mike bloomberg left is a real slap in the face to all us educators.

Currently I am working as an atr and its really a shame because I truly was passionate about my job but now its just a pay check. Someone posted on Chaz site that at the end of the day does it really matter? The fight to stay in the classroom has proven to be a listless battle as years have passed by as well as different chancellors and mayors yet the pool remains.

At 120k I walk through my current school and look at all the newbies earning their 52k and brown bagging it all the way as surely there are no teacher cafeterias in the schools anymore because Mike Bloomberg said teacher cafeterias lose money....MIke Bloomberg would not have signed this contract so it must be ok. Vote yes.

James Eterno said...

Most of Bloomberg's way of running the schools is preserved in this contract for sure. There are some gains here (fewer observations for some and better para due process) but every giveback from 2005 is preserved, the raises aren't great and taking away new employee right to choose a health plan is something I doubt the unions would have conceded to Bloomberg. Voting I think is just about done so it's all over except seeing the numbers.

RBE said...

To Anon 1:30 PM, please see the 2007 contract. No major changes to the contract, no givebacks, Bloomberg was happy to sign it and it came before the previous 2005 contract expired. See here:

James Eterno said...

Thank you for that RBE.