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Saturday, October 6, 2012

UFT is Being Weak and Naive to Pursue PERB Contract Arbitration Now with Bloomberg

The United Federation of Teachers is acting too prematurely: most reasonable observers would recognize that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is out for blood with the New York teachers and that it is best that the union wait until after the election of his successor to seriously pursue a new contract. The most common phrase appearing in conversations is "after Bloomberg," not just among teacher union members, but members of other municipal unions. The following is another one of the UFT's tragically naive mistakes, because it suggests it is seriously planning to settle on a new contract with Bloomberg. Note, ironically, one of the stories with a sidebar link touches the very topic of Bloomberg's pioneering anti-teacher zeal, "Mayor attacks pensions, ATRs and teacher layoff rules."
Mayor Bloomberg took us for suckers with the 2005 contract; could he sell us this bridge as well?

Press release on the UFT's site,
PERB appoints fact-finding panel for UFT/DOE contract dispute
October 3, 2012

The New York State Public Employment Relations Board has appointed a three-member fact-finding panel that will take testimony, hold hearings and issue a report and recommendations in an effort to resolve the contract dispute between the New York City Department of Education and the UFT. The UFT contract expired Oct. 31, 2009.

The factfinders, all labor arbitrators, are: Martin F. Scheinman. Mark Grossman and Howard Edelman. Mr. Scheinman was named chairperson of the panel.

In a letter to the parties, PERB said: “Whereas, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board has determined that an impasse exists in the negotiations … a Fact Finding Panel is hereby appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the causes and circumstances of the dispute.”

The panel has the power to subpoena witnesses, documents, and other material; to administer oaths and take testimony; and after hearings will transmit “findings of fact and recommendations for resolution of the dispute” to the parties and the public. The recommendations, while not binding, are expected to help provide a framework for a final settlement.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “For nearly three years we have been unable to reach a new contract with the Department of Education. In the past a review of the issues by independent fact-finders appointed by the state has helped break this kind of deadlock, and it is our hope that PERB’s intervention this time will help lead to an agreement.”

Potential names were provided by the Department of Education, the UFT and PERB. Both the DOE and the UFT were permitted to strike a number of potential appointees, and PERB named the panel based on how the DOE and the UFT ranked the remaining candidates.

The UFT and the DOE have relied on fact-finding panels to help resolve previous contract disputes.
Read more: Press releases
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