Bloomberg claims union is stalling on hiring arbitrators for teacher terminations

Oct 1, 2013 by

NEW YORK – The United Federation of Teachers continues to earn its reputation for protecting the employment of its most dangerous and incompetent members.

Stall tactics chalk boardFor years union protection resulted in hundreds of New York City teachers, accused of various wrongdoings, being sent to “rubber rooms” every day where they did “busy work” with no students present and continued to collect their full-time salaries.

That situation cost city taxpayers millions of dollars.

In 2010, the UFT and city agreed to attack the problem by appointing a minimum of 39 arbitrators to preside over teacher misconduct cases. But only 24 arbitrators were appointed in 2011-12, 20 in 2012-13 and only 19 have been hired for the current fiscal year, according to the New York Post.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the UFT, charging that union delays in the appointment of arbitrators has resulted in a backlog of more than 400 teacher disciplinary cases that need to be resolved, the news report said, the news report said.

“Year after year they keep delaying and the backlogs keep getting bigger,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his weekly radio address last week. “It prevents having a fair hearing for teachers who should be cleared of any charges, it allows teachers who should not be in front of our kids through incompetence or inappropriate conduct to continue collecting a paycheck (and) the public’s paying for all this.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, whose union has a long and troubling history of trying to keep sexually abusive and other troubled teachers on the school payroll, tried to blame Bloomberg for the problem , but did not explain his rationale.

“How typical of Bloomberg,” Mulgrew told the Post. “The administration mismanages the disciplinary process, and in its last days tries to blame someone else for it. It’s a shame the mayor is wasting public resources on this frivolous lawsuit, but we can all take comfort from the fact that Bloomberg will soon be only a bad memory to the people who care about  schools.

So how exactly has Bloomberg, who is not seeking re-election due to term limits, mismanaged the disciplinary process?

The facts seem to be simple enough. There are more than 400 teachers waiting for disciplinary hearings, there aren’t enough arbitrators to deal with all the cases, and the city is prepared to hire the maximum number of arbitrators to work through the caseload.

If the union shared that commitment, there would be no need for a lawsuit, right?

It’s bad enough that the arbitrator appointment process requires the cooperation and consent of the union. The arbitrators know that their continued employment depends on them handing a percentage of victories to the union, regardless of the facts in the case. That means a percentage of teachers who should clearly be fired are returned to the classroom.

And now the union doesn’t even want to keep a full roster of arbitrators on the payroll. Talk about mismanagement of the disciplinary system.

Mulgrew must think we’re stupid. His union’s track record of defending the worst of the worst is not lost on the public. The union leaders simply don’t want their members fired, regardless of what they do. They have no respect for taxpayers or the children who suffer in the presence of dangerous or incompetent teachers. This is nothing more than a game for Mulgrew and his crew.

It seems clear that the wrong Michael will be leaving office soon. New York could definitely do without Mulgrew.

Bloomberg claims union is stalling on hiring arbitrators for teacher terminations – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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