Sunday, October 11, 2020

When a UFT Victory is Not Really a Victory

 We are hearing the word "victory" bandied about quite a bit, in the last several days since Friday's arbitration hearing. The UFT is claiming victory for defending our earned retro pay that is owed us from 2009-2014. Yes, I am happy that we will be getting it. Though not quite as happy receiving two payments as opposed to one. This is a victory for the city and a loss for the UFT and the rank and file. De Blasio knew exactly what he was doing. 

It was no coincidence that DeB notified the city a week before our we would have received our retro. DeB and the city knew over the summer they were going to try to pull this off. But if they announced it in the summer there would have been talks first. Talks drag on. That would not have benefited the city. 

What to do? Take advantage of the clause in the MOA that anything concerning the retro would go straight to arbitration. Yes, the rank and file should be grateful that the UFT made the clause was part of the MOA. But guess what? That clause was taken advantage of by the city as well. In fact they were hoping for it to be invoked. They got their wish.

Why did the city wish to go to arbitration? Think of this old saying; "You never know how a jury will rule." In this case, an arbitrator. The city had nothing to lose, the UFT everything to lose. There's already a doo-doo storm (The Crack Team had informed me that in the last blog post there were too many naughty words) over the retro being split in two payments. Imagine what would happen if the arbitrator found for the city? 

pyrrhic the UFT was forced to negotiate from a defensive posture. It had no choice but, and for lack of a better word, to cave. James Eterno made a good point on his blog that the arbitrator did not decide this. But rather,  the case was settled between the parties. It was a consent degree. The city had Mulgrew by his proverbial goodies (Again, no naughty words). 

I do disagree slightly with James about that if we didn't get our entire payment in full we should have gone right to court. Again, using the old adage, there is no assurance how a judge would rule. But that's a chance we would have had to take. 

The city wanted something in return, and they got it. After my initial shock on hearing the news Thursday night I figured that out. But what did the city want? My guess was that we would have to furlough 5 days. I was wrong. But no one gets something for nothing. And it is always the UFT giving something for nothing. 

This stunt the city pulled never would have been attempted with the cops, the firefighters, sanitation workers, corrections officers, or any other city union. Again and again the teachers and the UFT are used to go #2 on (again, no naughty words). 

There are many teacher's that adjusted their TDA's and now are screwed. There are many teachers that were counting on this check to catch up on bills and now are screwed. But again, the perception is WE DON'T MATTER. 

This is nothing but a pyrrhic win by the UFT and they are backslapping themselves whilst sipping champagne. This was a gimme putt an inch from the hole.  

What should be done? Openness to begin with. Make public the transcript between the parties and the arbitrator. Put it up on the UFT website. We should demand it. Show us proof there was some negotiations. Show us proof what the UFT had to offer and/or say. Same with the city. These time demand clear candor on the part of the UFT. It is time. 

And the UFT must answer these questions post haste: 1)What is the status of the upcoming per session retro pay and, 2)what of those that are in my situation that will still be owed a payment in October 2021? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Time For De Blasio to F**k the Cops Same Way He Does Teachers

I am really getting tired of this shit with the retro pay. How can such a simple thing

be so fucked up? 

I was suspended in 2015 when the first payment went out. Of course I found out that suspended meant technically "on leave" so I was to get nothing. In 2016 there was to be no retro pay for anyone, some type of religious and/or spiritual retro leap year. For 2017, I was all excited because I was told that since I did not get retro in 2015 my retro check would be doubled. This info coming from several within the UFT. Nope. I just got 12 1/2%. Same in 2018, but my check was short by $700 or so because the DOE claimed they overpaid me the previous year. I did a payroll grievance and never really saw definitive proof. This year, well, we know how we are getting fucked for 2020. And this is not supposed to be my last payment. I still have a payment next year.

My 2018 Per Session retro check never came. Why you ask? Because even though I got a per session retro check the previous year, when I called per session payroll they shared with me that I had not worked per session between 2009-2014. But, I implored the crazy person I was talking to, if this were true how then did I get per session last year? On the day of the grievance, they realized they were wrong (I really wish there were a faceplam emoji on this dang blogger).

But enough of me.

So now it has come to this. Something so simple to handle became a shitstorm. Every union in the city got a lump sum retro check except the UFT. Of course, that is how the universe is supposed to work. Other unions get over on the city we take it up the ass day after fucking day. 

But why do we have to give back in this time of need? What about the NYPD? 

Did you know that each and every non-disability retired member of the NYPD, and the FDNY receives a Christmas bonus of $12k? Why, you ask? 

Let's go to Staten Island Live and find out...

The payment emerged from an agreement made between union and city leaders in 1968 at a time when the city was trying to increase its investment return of pension funds by diversifying portfolios.

Wait, there is more. A report by the non-partisan Citizens Budget Commission says these so called bonuses weaken the pension plans of of all city employees. In fact CBC Vice President Maria Doulis says...

“Phasing out or eliminating the VSF should be part of the mayor and City Council’s agenda in Albany next year,”

Think how much money the city can save? Yet, the rank and file cop will never have his or her "perks" cut. Because God forbid someone says something or does something bad against the cops. Mind you, I am not denouncing police nor for defunding the police. I'm just pointing out unfairness/

But if a FDNY or NYPD member retires in their mid 40's they can be collection for over forty years. Can't the NYPD or FDNY share the pain? Of course not, their union presidents would go batshit crazy!!!!!!

NYPD officers also receive almost $1k a year, $980 in uniform allowance. For a few shirts and pants? And black Skechers? Every uniform cop? Or is this every cop, including detectives? What about a cop that is a house mouse? He or she is never getting the uniform dirty. Can't that be reduced during this time of need? Our Teacher's Choice money is always fucked with. Why not fuck with NYPD's uniform allowance? Aren't materials for our students just as important as nice looking uniforms for cops? Besides a lot of cops still live with their mommies so mom can clean and press the uniforms to keep it looking nice. Mommy can clean the donut stains.

NYPD officers also receive $2k in January and July for holiday pay. Why not not give it out this January and this past July? Can't the cops of New York City take one for the team? 

Cops are still getting their overtime? Heck, guess what? In a few short weeks NYPD will be on 12 hour shifts. Every day. Where is our overtime?

But as I was writing this just about 10 minutes ago at 6:01 PM EDT I found that the UFT and the city reached agreement. 50% in October, 50% in July, no layoffs, 3% raise in May.

 Back to our regularly scheduled program.

If De Blasio really wished to save money within the DOE? Stop with the waste. Stop with elementary schools with enrollment under 500 students have multiple AP's. Across the board 20% pay cuts for all non union sycophantic wastes of human life that work at Tweed. Two coaches or whatever they are called per school. There are too many schools that are top heavy with positions filled by those that suckle at the sphincter of the principal. Shit the school I am at has 2 principals, about 4 or 5 useless coaches as well as a useless UFT center person. Go figure.

Time for the De Blasio to grow a set of balls with the NYPD. Make cuts to their perks. Not permanent of course, but temporary. Teachers are just as important, but in a different way, than cops. At least we don't kill people of color. 

And while we are at it. Where the frig is my pay for giving up my spring vacation? I figure that is about $4500 I am missing out on. Yeah, I know. The cops gave up their days off and vacations in July when they went to 12 shifts, 7 days a week. But they were getting OVERTIME. It helps.

Lastly, my dad used to tell me that no one can take advantage of you unless you give them permission. Think about it. We and the UFT keep getting fucked. We give the UFT permission. The UFT gives De Blasio permission. Time we do the fucking.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Time for the UFT to Retain Lawyer Bryan Glass

Have you ever had the "what the fuck" moment with the UFT? Wait, dumb question. We all
Über Teacher Lawyer Bryan Glass
have. Again, what the fuck are they thinking or waiting for?

One would kind of assume that after last night's news dump that it will be OK for students to have asynchronous learning four days a week that a light bulb would have appeared over 52 Broadway. Not just a light bulb representing an idea but as a beacon for the students, the communities, and the teachers of New York City. Sadly it was not to be.

The city and the DOE keep on trying to create chicken salad out of chicken shit. They show time and time again that they have know idea what their doing. There is no plan. There is "let's see if this works," and cross their fingers it will. They do this not only due to their incompetency, but the enabling and silence coming from the UFT.

This afternoon as I was walking into Pet Smart, I get a news alert from LoHud. NYSUT, unhappy with looming budget cuts decided to sue the state. This was around 4 PM if memory serves. Not too long ago a New York State budget spokesman announced that the state will not withhold any money. The threat of a lawsuit apparently works. See?

Hint, hint UFT. Lawsuits work. Lawyers can do the job. Here's some free advice. 

Hire Bryan Glass. Not tomorrow, not next week when their is chaos, hire him now. Tonight. Right this very minute. This is a no-brainer. I can attest to Bryan's professionalism and resourcefulness. Hundreds of teachers within the DOE can do the same. This makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to hire Bryan?

Bryan has saved the careers of many a teacher and won many teachers a nice cash settlement. Bryan has also gone up against big odds and pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. 

Bryan's consultation fee is quite reasonable as is his retainer. His email address was posted on last night's post,or contact him through his website.

Bryan has an office in Lower Manhattan with could be an amiable meeting place or he can come to you. Or if you wish, Bryan can meet you at the Wegmans in Montvale.

Let Bryan take the city and DOE to court. He has a track record. He won a case on Monday. He can do this again. The schools shouldn't open. Bryan can make the UFT look good. 

The ball is in your court UFT. Pick up the phone and call Bryan Glass. It might be the best phone call the UFT has ever made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The UFT Never Misses an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity

For those that have lived in a cave for the last 24 hours, Solidarity, led by Lydia Howrilka here) who did not have underlying medical conditions but lived in fear for those they lived one did. and represented in court by über teacher lawyer Bryan Glass won a Temporary Restraining Order for the five plaintiffs (Read decision

What happens next? The TRO only pertains to the five plaintiffs and expires on Monday, September 21. Plus, the Corporation Counsel according to a source is not appealing the TRO, and the judge in the case is welcoming affidavits for other teachers who feel that they are in the same situation as the original five plaintiffs. Email Bryan Glass for more information. Immediately. Affidavits must be in no later than 6 PM EDT Thursday, September 17.

No on to bigger and sadder things.

The UFT, the Unity part of the UFT, could have had this victory. I saw this decision coming and not just because Bryan Glass is the attorney. It made sense. Five teachers, all with loved ones with Centers for Disease Control underlying conditions. A mayor and a schools chancellor that day in and day out not only spew inane contradictory blabber out of their mouths but have time and time again shown that the only reason to re-open school building is that each need to know that all is OK in the phallus department for them.

What does the UFT do? Does it play offense? Not exactly. They were playing what Warner Wolf termed the Giants offense back in the late 70's. The UFT was playing a "prevent offense." The UFT just didn't want to punch the ball into the end zone. They could've. The had the resources to. They just didn't want to.

Yes, Mike Mulgrew for most of August was talking strike. "Wow," some people said, "Mulgrew is being proactive." But striking would not have been a good idea. I laid down why a strike would not have worked two weeks ago. But seeking injunctive relief in keeping schools closed would have been a winner.

One of the advantages in going to court, the city and the DOE would be have not only been forced to lay out their re-opening plans but would have been forced to defend contradictory, ever changing, and unsafe reopening. The city and the DOE would be defending the indefensible. The UFT, on the other hand would show that only the union had the safety and welfare of the students, the school communities, and yes, the teachers as a priority.

With winning in court and keeping the school from reopening the UFT is letting the judge make the decision. The UFT won't have the public perception of turning it's backs on our most vulnerable. The UFT could've had the city and DOE as the villains, as the ones that are usurping education and the re-opening.

The UFT could have had their own plan for 100% remote learning which as of this evening, 9:01 PM EDT on September 15, 2020, the DOE hasn't figured out.

But with a strike, there is always the threat of scabs. Not so with a court ruling. With a court ruling no risk of 2 for 1, or losing automatic checkoff. Teachers would still get paid. The UFT would have had hand. They could've negotiated from a position of strength. The clock is running out for the UFT to proudly take its gonads show them off to the rank and file.

In the mean time the latest I heard is 55 teachers testing positive for COVID. In several schools the teachers are refusing to enter the buildings, photos on Facebook and Twitter of mold in classrooms, schmutz on vents, windows that open have an inch, and too many schools with not enough PPE. Hey, how is that agreement going so far?

And lest we forget the numbers are going up for students who are doing full remote and the DOE is still 10k teachers short.

Time for 52 Broadway to bring in the big guns, and act in a big way.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


As we all know, UFT Solidarity led by Lydia Howrilka filed a complaint against the DOE two weeks ago and arguments were just heard this past Friday, September 11. The complaint names five people as plaintiffs and they are being represented by über teacher lawyer Bryan Glass

Originally, Bryan and Solidarity were going to seek injunctive relief for total remote learning. But Bryan, being the lawyer he is with amazing intuitive skills believed that it was a reach. Bryan narrowed the complaint down to seeking to broaden the scope of acceptable accommodations (for instance, those who don't meet any of the CDC guidelines) to those who live with a family member that does meet the CDC guidelines. Bryan felt that many districts in New Jersey are offering this type of accommodation and felt this was the surest way to success. Bryan is always many steps ahead.

The plaintiffs are four dedicated teachers, and one dedicated substitute teacher. The defendants are the NYC DOE and his majesty, Chancellor Carranza.

The Crack Team has been able to get a copy of the complaint filed by Bryan Glass and it is being presented publicly for the first time here on SBSB. A source has shared with The Crack Team that a decision is due this week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Why A Strike Could've Been Problematic

A strike would have been financially difficult for me as I am sure it would have been for many others. A strike shouldn't be called for all willy nilly like one caucus keeps on calling
for. People have financial obligations as well as familial obligations. The vast majority of us don't live in a fantasy bubble and/or have mommy and daddy to fall back on to maintain one's hipster Brooklyn lifestyle.

Having said that, I would have voted for a strike and supported a strike. I think the UFT was hasty in calling for a strike. In my opinion, they should have done like Solidarity and sought injunctive relief in the courts first. I don't see how they would have not prevailed in court and in all probability we would have gotten a much better deal.

But a strike would have been difficult for several reasons. And I am not talking about the loss of pay, the loss of dues check off, loss of tenure. Not to mention, possibly the two interpretations (UFT vs DOE) of a strike is allowed due to safety reasons.

How do we picket? Imagine we are on strike. We are on strike due to a concern of getting COVID-19. We don't want to be in crowded and unclean places with a lot of people. Right? Guess what? That's what basically a picket line is. Crowded. Some of the schools that will be picketed the areas are not healthy. How then can we justify picketing if we justify not being in the school buildings? Yes, I understand there is a difference. With picketing everyone will be socially distant, wearing masks, and be outside. But that's reality. People don't care about reality. They care only about perception. But if there is a way to picket remotely, I am all for that.

So say there is no picketing. At least with picketing you can keep tabs on who crosses the line and discourage those that are thinking of it. But picketing or no picketing, what's to keep a one from crossing the line remotely or even know if a someone is crossing the line remotely? The numbers crossing the line could be too great for those on strike to have any impact.

Lastly, and this is most important, the past knowledge of the labor movement in those, (I'm just choosing a random age) under 35 is not there the way it is for those my age and maybe ten to fifteen years younger.

My step mother was a teacher and an AP. All her friends were educators. I heard all the stories of 1968 and 1975. I heard all the time from one of her friends who told me, "You schmucks have given back everything we fought for!"  He was right. But I listened. I learned from her friends. Even as a kid we knew people who were in unions, who fought for their rights. Then, when I started teaching in 1995, there were plenty of teachers left from the sixties and seventies who imparted their experiences. Where are types those today?

But these young ones. These non-tenured fresh teachers, will they sacrifice? Even the teachers that are tenured but have less time in, will they? What about the ass kissers every building seems to have about a good half dozen of? Will they sacrifice?

I do believe those younglings from that other caucus will support a strike. I'll give credit them credit for that. But there will be many who cross ranks that are too new, too ignorant, too scared, and don't have mommy and daddy to fall back on. Plus, that Brooklyn lifestyle is tough to give up. The alternative is moving to Yonkers

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The UFT Let's Go of Balls Yet Again

Let me get this straight. Teachers are to report to their buildings on September 8. On September 16, teachers go home and all 1 million students start online. This of course and many other surprises were shared with us in a very personal email by UFT Presidenté Mike

Mulgrew. Blended learning starts September 21.

The teachers that report (And at press time neither Mulgrew nor the personal letter mentions if teachers with accommodations must report to buildings ) on September 8 which is 4 business, or school days away. Will all teachers go into the buildings already tested for COVID? Should they? Many colleges won't allow anyone in dorms before students are tested and the results come back.

Some schools have 300 staff members. Some have more, some have a lot less. Would any of the upper crust of the UFT go to a party with that many people? But yet it is safe for teachers and other staff? How do we know that? I'm sure that the DOE will have a report for each school, but how do we know it is honest and accurate? What this sounds like is that teachers once again with be the canaries in the cage and if a few die so be it and the DOE but save a few bucks.

What will be done for the 3 days of of total remote learning? How was 3 days selected? Is this an arbitrary number? Then to sow confusion even more, the "blended learning," will begin September 21. How? With whom?

Oh yeah, I have been hearing that the 6 days teachers are in the school buildings there will be intense PD on blended learning. I'm sure the DOE will go to the files of, "Making It Up as We Go Along." Where will such PD be done in a school building? Who can actually give the PD?

The UFT announcement said...

...The city has also agreed to a robust program of repeated random sampling and COVID-19 testing of adults and students present in schools. This new testing program is one of the major pieces that medical experts told us we needed. A blind representative sample, composed of 10% to 20% of all students and adults from every school, will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing.

OK, this is all well and shitty. But what about September 8. Nothing against my fellow teachers but how do we know there won't be any teachers who have COVID? Shouldn't all teachers be tested before they return on September 8? What about staff that is already in the buildings today? Have they been tested?If not, why haven't they?

There is plenty of time to get every single DOE employee tested in time for September 8. The UFT and DOE could've announced a joint plan to send staff for FREE to City MD or any hospital, etc... for testing and have the results back by Tuesday.

But only testing 10-20% of students and adults? Explain what this means? I am not a statistician, but how can there be accuracy of any infections, symptomatic or asymptomatic? Is the plan still for parents to take their children's temperature each and every morning? The same parents who send their kids to school with green snot running out of their noses? The same parents who send their kids to school with a 102 degree fever?

I know I've been saying that school would not open up on September 10. But this agreement is like putting lipstick on Bill De Blasio. It's still sucks. The UFT had the mayor and the DOE by the balls and they let go.

My son goes to Ithaca College, and I trusted their plan more than I did the DOE's. Classes were to begin online this week with students moving in over the course of September. Eventually, all students would be on campus by October 5 when in person, hybrid, and remote classes would begin. Students when the come to campus would be tested and isolated in their dorm room for 24 hours. If and when their roommate shows, the same for the roommate however they would be isolated in a hotel room for 24 hours. Dorms were to be restricted to only those that live in that dorm. It wasn't a perfect plan, but it had more thought put into it and I believe those who put it together were genuine. The mayor and DOE can't get their heads together to save their lives. And now it seems the UFT capitulated.

What should the UFT have agreed to?

A completely independent authority should have tested the buildings.

All data for each school, be it cleanliness, PPE stock, etc... should be posted daily on each schools DOE webpage.

Planning and PD for blended and/or remote learning should have begun in March, but at the very least the first two week of September.

All students and staff must be tested before their first day in a building.

Total remote learning beginning No later than September 28 and no earlier than September 21.

Starting October 5, bring students back in a scaffolded manner every two weeks. First grades Pre-3 to 1st, 2nd to 4th, 5th to 6th, 7th to 8th, and lastly all high school students. This would have been safe and with much, much less chaos. But I keep getting this feeling that DeB and Carranza are trying to placate the parents of the UWS and Brooklyn.

As for the UFT. Dang, you had them by the balls. You really did. The UFT should have gone to court first. I am not a lawyer, but I do not see how the DOE would have prevailed in court. A strike is messy. With a strike, especially now, it would be difficult to keep others united and from crossing the picket line. But that is a story for another blog post.

I don't know if Solidarity's cause of seeking injunctive relief is moot now. That's a question better left for super lawyer Bryan Glass. I'd like to see it go forward. However, it might create a shit storm. One can't hep but question the timing of the announcement today and the fact Solidarity filed today.

Word of advice to the UFT. Next time you have a mayor and/or the chancellor by the proverbial scrotal sac, don't let go. In fact, hold them and give a good squeeze every now and then to let those whose scrotum you're holding that you are still there and mean business.