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New York’s “rubber rooms” were a prime example of union abuse of public dollars

May 7, 2013 by

NEW YORK – It’s one thing for unions to represent workers who are being treated unfairly.

It’s quite another when the unions insist on making it all but impossible to fire unworthy employees, and cost their employers and taxpayers a lot of money in the process.

In New York City, the powerful United Federation of Teachers long ago insisted on a lengthy, expensive termination process for tenured teachers accused of wrongdoing or judged to be ineffective in the classroom.

The process could cost the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs – not to mention the cost of paying the accused teacher during the termination process, plus a substitute to cover for that teacher.

Many school officials decided to skip that process and started utilizing “rubber rooms,” which were large rooms in public buildings where unfit teachers reported every day, usually with no assigned work to do, and collected full pay and benefits.

At one point several years ago the non-active teachers in the rubber rooms were costing the financially struggling school district more than $65 million per year. That’s right. Millions of dollars of tax money were being spent to pay people to do nothing, all because of the union’s insistence on making it so difficult to get rid of unworthy educators.

The school district and UFT reached an agreement in 2010 to close the rubber rooms, but many of the same teachers were just shuffled around to different sites and were still paid for doing nothing. As of last year they were still costing the city an estimated $22 million per year.

That shows how much the unions care about the financial health of public schools.

via New York’s “rubber rooms” were a prime example of union abuse of public dollars – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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