I soon became acutely aware of the disturbance in the form of a text message. It read;
"Your next blog; Mulgrew fucks over members!"I used my voice activation (Texting and driving is a faux pas!) to text back;
"Kopp jiopp"The response was;
"He fucked over members who resign, are fired, or die. The don't get retro!"At this point I was off the Deegan at a light and responded;
"You're probably out about $25K"Which he texted back;
"Yeah, totally fucked over and punished again by own union!"A little background. The teacher, Seamus FitzPatrick, was involved in a 3020-a hearing this past March. In the middle of the hearing Seamus tendered his resignation so he can keep his state license. The DOE was gracious enough to allow him to finish out the school year (His resignation is effective June 26) as an ATR and he will get his summer pay.
(Wait, he is deemed incompetent by the DOE yet still allowed to teach as an ATR? Doesn't make sense. Shows you how serious the DOE truly is. But I have digressed.)
This Seamus is a good teacher put into impossible situations. It was not fair.
After I parked the car and got upstairs I texted him this story that appeared in the New York Post two weeks ago about two teachers who had resigned, one taught a year, the other two, between 2009 and today, who are planning to sue.
This couple has hired a lawyer to get their retro pay. Their lawyer thinks that there might be a chance for this suit to turn into a class action. They have reason to be optimistic;
As it says in the Post story;
In May 2001, the Hoosicks Falls (NY) school district and local teachers union approved a new contract that included retro pay for the years 1999 and 2000.So the same goes for Seamus, no? The Crack Team has suggested to Seamus that he calls upon The Crack Lawyer for comfort and advice.
The agreement said the back pay only covered current employees, and excluded those who worked those years but then left the payroll.
But 11 former teachers sued the union and the school district for back pay and won.
How can this be? Why would Seamus, or any other teacher who resigns, gets terminated, or dies not be allowed to reap the benefits of pay from years that they work?
Seamus worked since the last contract expired. He put his time in. He met with an unfair and unfortunate fate which happened now, not 5 years ago. Hell, the retro pay only covers 2009-2011. Why can't he and others who are in his predicament receive the retro as a nice parting gift?
What is more bothersome is that at the time Seamus resigned, March 12, the union was in negotiations with the city on the contract. We here find it quite plausible to believe that the union had an inkling of what was coming down the pike. Someone could not have advised Seamus to retire instead?
Sadly, though he has 13 years in the DOE and 13 years teaching for the diocese and vested in both he doesn't turn 55 for another year. He couldn't retire this year even if it were an option!
Seamus did bring up a very good point about the teachers that won't get their full retro and The Crack Team agrees with him. The DOE and the Union are hoping that enough teachers resign, get terminated, or die before they are paid out in full. There must have been statisticians cranking the numbers to see how many teachers will leave the system between now and 2020. Who knows? Perhaps there is a well trained hit team out there to see to it that many teachers meet with unfortunate accidents.
Seamus and every single teacher that worked without a contract up until now deserves their back pay. Yes, we know Mike, it is not a God given right. It is something that is ethical and the right thing to do. It's about being a mensch.