Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sellout Fever: Newly Elected Revile - er - Revise NYSUT Officers Get Special Pension Deal From Cuomo, Klein and Skelos

NYSUT is proud to announce the first pension enhancement since 2000. After a long string of pension setbacks our legislative office has finally “turned the tide” and won a remarkable benefit for some of our most needy members....
Despite overseeing the creation of Tier V and Tier VI NYSUT First VP Andy Pallotta was undaunted and insisted we take this fight on. When asked why he was so slow to put out a statement (it was signed by the Governor into law July, 22) regarding this huge victory he humbly pointed out that he has been remarkably busy working with Senators, Klein and Skelos on their endorsements....
                           (Satirical) press release....
NYSUT Sellout Fever not yet under control
Sellout Fever, running rampant through the "new" NYSUT leadership, is turning into a worse epidemic than Ebola. A team from NIH wearing hazmat suits has been called to Albany.

NYSUT officers got their pals, Klein and Skelos, to pass this law giving them leaves of absences at full pay, all of it pensionable, and get Cuomo to sign it at the speed of light - for the NY State legislature.

  1. INTRODUCEDJun 9, 2014
  2. PASSED ASSEMBLYJun 19, 2014
  3. PASSED SENATEJun 20, 2014
  4. SIGNED INTO LAWJul 22, 2014

A 10019

AN ACT to amend chapter 675 of the laws of 1984 relating to providing fringe benefits for certain employees of school districts and boards of cooperative educational services, in relation to leaves of absence...
Oh, who may these "certain employees" be?
The salary paid shall be the salary the employee would have earned and received had THE EMPLOYEE remained in service in the position

A. 10019 2

1 which THE EMPLOYEE held as a full time employee at the time
2 THE EMPLOYEE was first elected as an elective officer, prior to the granting of the leave of absence based on the salary schedule in effect for the negotiating unit during each year of the leave of absence.
This act shall take effect immediately.
Why the newly elected NYSUT officers - of course, this is a priority matter. They will now get their full salary they from their old local (with pension credits) while they are state officers in NYSUT - the union reimburses their locals, but may not be asked too if the NYSUT state leadership sells out at a fast enough clip.

The law can be read in full here -

http://openstates.org/ny/bills/2013-2014/A10019/ -- if you have the stomach.

The NYSUT leaders also failed to announce this news at recent state meetings, and given passing any legislation at all would call for a victory party, there are some thoughts Karen Magee, Andy Palotta, and gang were pulling a coverup.

WARNING: SATIRE ALERT, SATIRE ALERT

Some anonymous oppositionists in NYSUT took umbrage and wrote this satirical press release with this intro:
The REVIVE team has actually had some success they just have not been transparent about it. They managed to get a pension enhancement bill http://openstates.org/ny/bills/2013-2014/A10019/ signed into law on July 22. The quotes and press release above are fake, but the law is real.
Press Release Press Release Press Release Press Release
August 20, 2014,

Albany, NY: NYSUT is proud to announce the first pension enhancement since 2000. After a long string of pension setbacks our legislative office has finally “turned the tide” and won a remarkable benefit for some of our most needy members.

Despite overseeing the creation of Tier V and Tier VI NYSUT First VP Andy Pallotta was undaunted and insisted we take this fight on. When asked why he was so slow to put out a statement (it was signed by the Governor into law July, 22) regarding this huge victory he humbly pointed out that he has been remarkably busy working with Senators, Klein and Skelos on their endorsements. He additionally wanted to credit the NYSUT legislative team and all of the new Officers for how quickly they were able to get this done.

When asked for a comment NYSUT President, Karen Magee said “This is what we campaigned on. We took a tough stand with the Governor and we demanded he do the right thing for these NYSUT members. That strategy really paid off here.” The new law allows, up to four, members of NYSUT who are on leave from their teaching positions and are elected Officers of NYSUT to continue to accrue time in the NYSTRS, if NYSUT reimburses the district for the Officer’s salary. Since NYSUT has it’s own pension plan for Officers this amounts to a legislative fix to allow for “double dipping”. When asked to comment President Magee said “ As a trustee to the NYSTRS I have witnessed the benefit of great pensions. If you can gain time in two systems simultaneously, all the better”.

If you are wondering if this new pension enhancement will help you in retirement, call the NYSTRS and see if you have the following name;

Karen Magee

Paul Percorale

Martin Messner
Some serious follow-up questions with my comments in [].

-What did Jeff Klein receive to get this into the senate? [UFT Endorsement].

-What did Dean Skelos receive to get his members to vote for it? [I can't imagine - a pony?]

-What did Andrew Cuomo get to sign it? [NYSUT neutrality].

-As a matter of principle shouldn't the officers of NYSUT refuse a pension deal until the Tier v and vi members are taken care of?

-Shouldn't a NYSUT officer resign their teaching position to gain independence from their home district? They need to serve all locals equally, we should not have to check and see that their district did not get more aid in order to keep the board and Superintendent willing to extend the leave. When you are a statewide officer you cannot have two masters!

-Who authorized the legislative department to push for this (It was not done at the RA or Bd of Directors Meetings)?

-Who wrote the legislation?

-Does NYC have comparable legislation in their retirement system?

-If this is good policy why doesn't it apply to the employee's retirement system, if an SRP became an officer shouldn't they be allowed to benefit?
----------
Some more commentary from the ether:

Much was made last year by the REVIVE campaign that NYSUT needed to make itself much more grass roots oriented and reflective of the needs of the rank and file teachers.

The REVIVE slate campaigned on:
  • opposition to the common core
  • opposition to Cuomo
  • the need for greater transparency in the union.

The last month has shown just how disingenuous those arguments were. We now see that the new slate of officers are running NYSUT in a way that many feared. Rather than a revival this was the old guard (Randi and Unity Leadership) reclaiming control of the union's power to do it's unique bidding, membership be damned.

At the AFT convention we saw how Karen Magee when given a chance to oppose the common core, instead fought passionately to defend it. Including a nonsensical claim that without the common core we would have no standards at all. This absurdity flies in the face of the history that New York has had in developing standards.

The next campaign promise was to oppose Cuomo, instead all they have produced is tough talk about Cuomo when talking to NYSUT members but when it comes to actually opposing Cuomo there is silence. Twice in the last month we could have endorsed a candidate, Zephyr Teachout, that will stand against testing abuse and for school funding fairness. The REVIVE team marginalized the voice of teachers by remaining silent.

The reasonable question would be, Why? After so many legislative and policy failures at the hands of Andrew Cuomo, why wouldn't NYSUT take a proactive stand like our brothers and sisters in PEF.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).