Saturday, October 17, 2020

Retro-gate: What did Mulgrew know and when did he know it? Unity brags about "win"

James Eterno: Jeff asked - "Was it imposed or an agreement?" Waiting to July was an agreement between the city and UFT. We have proven that by posting the consent award. Page 6, Line 2 says "it is agreed." What else do you need to know?

Anonymousjeff said... I understand. I wanted Mulgrew to answer that. And explain why he agreed.   ---- ICEUFT Blog: LIVE BLOGGING FROM OCTOBER VIRTUAL DELEGATE ASSEMBLY

Norm here - October 17, 2020

Generally, I've been laying back and trying to give Mulgrew the benefit of the doubt on the school closing situation. I think he is trying to walk a fine line politically and I've even heard from some people who are critical generally about the union leadership who are not happy with the kind of attacks calling for all schools to be closed - and go remote until - WHEN? Mostly likely the entire year in reality but they don't want to say that out loud. I've been wanting to write more about this push back but since there are real reasons to keep school closed due to the insane hybrid approach I slip back and forth depending on the last person I hear from. 

BUT - ON THE ISSUE OF RETRO PAYMENTS - IT'S UNITY AS USUAL.

So there is some confusion regarding the Retro pay dispute that raged in the UFT when de Blasio decided to cancel the final payment. The UFT seems to be declaring victory for getting half of what people were due with the rest to be paid in July. I initially wrote about it where I reviewed the opposition to the 2014 contract that gave people this deal: City Love Letter to Mulgrew - No Retro Payment to UFT Members - It's Only the Beginning

The UFT bragged that they made sure to have the right to go to arbitration and the ruling was issued immediately -the arbitrator split the baby 50-50, as they often do, an argument we've often made about relying in arbitration. The union is taking the 'Half loaf better then nothing" position. The critics are saying WTF?

De Blasio showed the first signs of intelligence in a long time. Just cancel a wing of a contract and end up only having to pay half with the rest an interest free loan. (I'm sure he's ready to try this with the police union.) Let's get creative: What else can be canceled from the UFT contract and get a 50-50 split? How about eliminating lunch hours for teachers and settling for 25 minutes instead of 50? Just joking. He'd never dare tamper with food. Or better yet, eliminate Easter vacation days without pay - ooops, been there done that. Why not take a shot at Xmas week - what does deB have to lose?

Arthur has a different view at

I disagree about the retro being so awful. I actually anticipated being totally screwed. I remember that rules went out the window during the last financial emergency, and I wrote about it a little here. I've also seen arbitrators do things that border on insane. So while I would not call this a victory, I was quite relieved it was made into what it was. It could've been way worse, and I really expected it would be.

He raises the last fiscal emergency that I lived through in 1975 where the contract was mush - but we didn't have an arbitrator - they just slashed us to bit then, but if you've been reading this blog you know the option of declaring a fiscal emergency is still in their bag of tricks. 

The union seems to be celebrating how smart they were to be able to go to arbitration. I would expect that such a clear abrogation of a contract would lead to a better outcome than 50-50 but once the union agrees to go to an arbitrator they pretty much always split the baby -- this is a pretty bad precedent for the future if the city/DOE wants to screw us.

Now some people don't believe this even went to an arbitrator but was a pre-agreement between de Blasio and Mulgrew - I heard conspiracy theories that Mulgrew's initial video announcing the retro-kill and publishing the letter he was sent acting shocked was phony- that he knew for days or weeks and had pre-agreed to the 50-50 split and the entire arbitration deal was a game.

Eterno goes through the timeline here:

READ THE ARBITRATION CONSENT AWARD FOR YOURSELF TO KNOW THIS WAS A UFT-CITY DEAL TO DELAY OUR MONEY AND NOT A RULING BY AN ARBITRATOR

I continue to be suspicious by how quickly the UFT and the City were able to come to an agreement to delay payment for work we did up to 11 years ago that was due to be paid this week. Half of that money will not come until the end of this month and the other half will have to wait until the end of July 2021 to be received. The delay will be almost twelve years by then from the time we did some of the work.

No other city union has agreed to postpone their back pay. If the UFT said to Mayor de Blasio, "Go ahead, make my day," when the mayor tried to withhold money the city owed us, the city would have had to back down. There would be consequences for the city's credit rating if the city refused to pay one of its bills. In court, we could demand interest. We would have had a very strong case.

Michael Mulgrew is trying to say that independent Arbitrator Martin Scheinman made the decision to split the lump sum payments due this month in half.

The arbitrator ordered nothing. Arbitrator Scheinman's own words:

I implored and pressured the parties to explore a possible resolution to this matter. 

The parties then negotiated a deal and asked Scheinman to write it up as a "consent award."

Well, there was this no layoff deal for the school year, which is interesting since the city is supposedly looking to hire teachers and probably can't lay people off until the end of the year. It's all a crazy mess, but what else is new?

Now Mulgrew has been getting pretty unpopular due to his agreement to keep schools open but was hanging in there with no major in school outbreaks yet. While we in the opposition wing have always been critical of Unity and have managed to generally garner in the 10-12,000 votes in UFT elections over the past 30 years (discount the massive MORE screw-up in the 2019 election which took votes down to historic lows), there is a sense out there that things have reached beyond the usual suspects in opposition to Mulgew as I've seen new voices popping up from the rank and file. Some in Unity think if Mulgrew ran in an election now it could be ugly - which is why

I am speculating about Mulgrew's future as UFT leader - See Speculation on Weingarten and Mulgrew futures - Part 1. Part 2 and 3 and 4 are coming - Hey, don't be so impatient I'm busy resting - or hiding from Covid. 

Why don't we submit Mulgrew's future to an arbitrator?

Eterno still questions the Mulgrew position:

MULGREW CONTINUES TO INACCURATELY CLAIM ARBITRATOR (NOT MULGREW) GAVE UP HALF OF THE RETRO UNTIL 2021 -

UNITY Caucus is Trumpian

I even heard of some internal Unity criticism of Mulgrew behind the scenes. One Unity hack attacked me on FB for daring to mention this: "Don't listen to Norm Scott, she said. We had to listen to him for too many years. We are united. UNITY FOREVER." Yeah, Unity forever will justify ANY act of the leadership and when the leadership reverses itself it will justify that -- positively Trumpian.

Are the Unity hordes running scared - see evidence in this Unity-UFT promo video. LOL.

James Eterno left a comment on You tube (Unity critics should take up a collection to pay James for working full-time to expose them) and writes about the video here:

NEW UNITY VIDEO CLAIMS UNITY IS MOVING THE UNION FORWARD

A serious bad sign for Mulgew is when people start mocking him as this video by teacher/comedian Gaspare Randazzo - @StandUpRandazzo  - makes fun of Mulgrew talking to the members.

https://www.facebook.com/100008794411844/posts/2466370513666072/?extid=0


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