Tuesday, October 13, 2020


Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report on the city's finances. Guess what: the financial situation is not as dire as the mayor's budget was forecasting just a few short months back.

For those who say the city could not afford to pay UFTers the $900 million they owed us on October 1 for work we did from 2009-2011 that Michael Mulgrew inexplicably agreed to postpone in part to the end of July, please consider this from the Comptroller:

The City’s central treasury balance (funds available for expenditure) stood at $7.90 billion as of Wednesday, October 7. At the same time last year, the City had $6.73 billion (Chart 7).

I'm no accountant but it looks to me like the city could have paid us in full and still had more money available than last year at this time.

There were substantial declines in city tax revenues in certain sectors but there was "A 3.9% increase in the city’s property tax – the City’s largest single tax source..." 

Then, there is the conclusion from Stringer that while there has been a decline in tax revenue:

Overall, however, the loss in revenue has been more contained than initially expected. For the fiscal year just ended in June, tax revenues exceeded both our Office’s and the City’s projections by about $1 billion.

Before we get 20 comments about how you opted out of paying union dues, I would like to remind readers that we can choose a different union to represent us as the Carriage Horse Drivers recently did. 

  From the Chief Leader:

Since 2008, the close-to 100 carriage drivers had been affiliated with Teamsters Local 533, but they recently opted to join Local 100, which represents most Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers and a growing number of employees in the tourism industry at Big Bus Tours and New York Waterway.

"It just seemed a better fit, and the consensus was the TWU was the way to go," said Colm McKeever, a spokesman for the group who has been driving for 31 years. "We were the pioneers in transit. It was the horses that paved the roads here in New York City, and we will pave the return of this great city."

McKeever's conclusion:

During a phone interview, Mr. McKeever said the carriage operators and drivers were actually "68 mom-and-pop businesses" that needed to coalesce into a union that gives them "the power with one direction and one voice."

"You know how it is with politicians—they listen to unions," Mr. McKeever said. "If you are not unionized, you are on your own. You are chaff to the wind."

I know, I know you are going to say teachers in NYC are in a union that is a thousand times bigger than this tiny union for the drivers. All that means is we need to take all of the anger we are feeling over being completely abandoned by the UFT and use it to organize to repair or replace the UFT. We need a real union and not the Michael Mulgrew version.


Queens Native said...

Mulgrew is holding a town hall on Thursday. Post your questions: where is our money? Our interest? One day in our CAR for every month owed! Oh yeah and demand Mulgrew resignation. Don't quit the union, that is stupidity. Probably spoken by people who never worked another job outside of teaching, don't listen to those morons. We need Mulgrew to go. We need to get rid of his weak ass. We need to go to Mulgrew's house every day and embarrass him like he embarrasses us every day! Thank you James for this info.

Anonymous said...

12 years waiting, but...

De Blasio scandal donor lands school-bus company bailout amid NYC cash crunch, by
https://nypost.com/2020/10/13/de-blasio-scandal-donor-lands-nyc-school-bus-company-bailout/?utm_source=twitter_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons via

Anonymous said...

Opt out?
Remote black out?
Walk out?

Anonymous said...

Making teachers wait for 12 years with no interest...It took 1 day after the UFT agreed to wait another year for the city to announce they are burning hundreds of millions of dollars on nonsense and aren't in that bad of a situation. Nice job, UFT.

The 3 opt out people are looking real smart.

Anonymous said...

Remember 2014? The cupboard was bare? Deja vu? Screwed again. BUT PAY DUES EVERYBODY.

Anonymous said...

And here we are, this doesn't include students who are registered for in person and don't show up.

The balance of students learning full time from home has shifted: There are more New York City students learning from home full-time than those opting for a mix of in-person and online learning, new data show.

Some 52% of public school students, excluding those who attend charters, have so far signed up to learn online-only, according to education department figures released Tuesday. Those students will have the option to revert to their school’s hybrid model, offering on average one to three days a week of in-person learning, on a quarterly basis this school year.

Anonymous said...

Why have approvals for medical accommodations appear to have come to a halt? People are waiting over two weeks, and Covid cases are popping up in their buildings. UFT is not helpful, HR isn't helpful. What is going on and what can be done??

Unknown said...

Are the horses unionized too?

Disgusted in Queens said...

Good idea but what other union can we join? I would like the protection and support of the
TWU local 100. Their members would not have to give back like we did.

What alternatives do we have? I know I can opt out of the UFT but what can I opt into?

Anonymous said...

James, one would think these high-powered lawyers could get the teachers a better financial deal including a fair rate of interest on the unpaid retro:


Alan M. Klinger

Dina Kolker

James Eterno said...

If we ever had the numbers to ditch the UFT, don't worry we would have plenty of options on our representation.

James Eterno said...

I worked with Dina and also with Klinger. The representation isn't a big problem. The problem is the client who sets the goals. That client is Mulgrew.

er said...

I will ditch the uft, what can we do?

Shelley said...

How realistic is decertification? Is it any more likely to work than voting Unity out?
Both options will meet formidable counter offensives by Unity.

The opposition could not even put up a fight in the greatest crisis facing its members in decades. While they screamed and yelled all the way back into the buildings, they never even attempted to organize a strike or sick-out, any kind of job action. Not even after Mulgrew dared to use the S-word.

Does anyone in the UFT even know how to organize anything bigger than a march down the street?

On the Retro, Solidarity was telling members not to oppose Unity, that it was all Caucuses, united against the City. Please. There is no serious opposition to Unity that will decertify the union. Elections?


This is probably all we are going to get. How much reform will we see? Hard to say.

For my money, not enough.

Some advice from the AUD

[T]he best option is usually to work to reform the union you are in by organizing the members into a caucus or committee, by running for union office, or taking other actions to put pressure on the union leadership. That is what AUD is here for, to help union members learn how to fight that fight and offer support along the way.


Anonymous said...

How many years of interest did the city rob from us? We should get double by now!

Any financial wizards out there for an approximate calculation?

What a mess!

City used our money all these years!

James Eterno said...

There aren't going to be many reforms in my opinion Shelley under Mulgrew. Appealing to this detached leadership is generally a waste of time.

Winning a UFT election is basically impossible for any opposition caucus as long as the retirees vote. They are all over the country and there's no way to get to them. That is clear.

Up to all of you to help organize something or just keep taking it. Opting out? The horse guy said it better than I could.

"You know how it is with politicians—they listen to unions," Mr. McKeever said. "If you are not unionized, you are on your own. You are chaff to the wind."

I am all for fixing the UFT but you have to win over the teachers first and that would only be the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Fir all the crybabies who can't figure out the TDA...TRS has been informed that, after arbitration, half of the City's lump-sum payment to UFT members will be paid on October 30. The full payment was originally scheduled for October 15. Members who want to change their TDA contribution rate to coincide with the lump-sum payment must do so before 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 17 in the secure section of our website. On October 18, members may log in again to change their TDA contribution rate to their "regular”" rate.

TJL said...

Great job James unearthing this from Stringer's report. I'm pleasantly surprised by this development. As someone pointed out the bare cupboard was BS but was plausible this time, not that I agree with the capitulation.

Re TRS: Good that they're trying to help, but that's not going to help those whose check this week is going to be short. And why exactly is the TRS office at 55 Water still closed?

Anonymous said...

My remote attendance yesterday...3, 0, 4, 8, 8.

Anonymous said...

Pay dues and go to work everybody. A 45-year-old British man has lost his hearing in one ear after catching the coronavirus – prompting experts to warn that the deadly bug may cause permanent deafness among some patients, according to reports.

The man — whose only underlying medical condition was asthma — was referred to an otolaryngologist when he experienced the hearing loss after being treated for COVID-19 at a hospital, The Sun reported.

His condition had deteriorated after spending about a month on a ventilator but improved when treated with remdesivir, steroids and a blood transfusion, according to the news outlet.

Anonymous said...

they needed the money to buy out the bus company......duhhhh!

Anonymous said...

C.S.A. will not be delaying their final payment in February of 25% of their backpay!!!!!!!

My wife is an assistant principal and she was told by the union their final payment will NOT be delayed and they would not agree to what teachers did!

Anonymous said...

cant wait for town hall meeting and we get barb to call in again and ask if they are taking our per session retro too!

Anonymous said...

Only the UFT surrenders every freaking time. CSA is a much stronger union. That is sad to say.

ed notes online said...

on AUD - 12:16 AM - Did you know that the founder and guru of AUD Herman Benson who died recently was a big supporter of the leadership of the UFT -- many years ago we tried to touch base with him and no interest because in the union world AUD considers the UFT as one of the more democratic unions.
On caucuses in the UFT - I joined my first caucus in 1970 and been through and observed about 8-10 over the 50 years. I'm finally convinced it will never work in the UFT because in order to win anything significant you need one caucus vs Unity and that ill never happen - though we got the closest in 2016. Ideology and ego always get in the way. A caucus in every pot.

Anonymous said...

2014-cupboard bare
2020-cupboard bare
As city spends billions on garbage
Teachers suffer yet keep paying dues to a corrupt and fraud union

Anonymous said...

You mean the CSA is not agreeing to delay their money for a year like us? That is not surprising. They still have their 8.25% on their retirement money.

Anonymous said...

Slight correction, the teachers did not agree. I don't remember any teachers being asked to agree. Mulgrew agreed.

Anonymous said...

Randi Weingarten

Cuomo threatens to withhold funds from schools, NYC if coronavirus closures not enforced

Shelley said...

The AUD had more corrupt fish to fry. The UFT won't give up without a fight and they have the resources and retirees. But never say never. Our models may not be union models or even U.S> models. Japan (LDP) Mexico (PRI), and Italy DC) are examples of power parties that held on to power for decades but were eventually defeated. We might take lessons from Japan and how the parties out of power managed to chip away at power, limit it, and eventually defeat the LDP. But the membership, the voters would need to vote. They would need a single opposition candidate to defeat Mulgrew. Is this possible? A caucus in every pot? Ego? The divisions within the membership are many. Maybe the ERI will reduce these divisions and shift the balance. I thought we had a chance with the crisis, but for whatever reason teachers and teacher leadership are convinced that they need support of the taxpayer, the community, the press. This is never going to happen.