Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Daily News Reports Bloomberg Will Nix Layoffs If He Gets $30 Million A Month From Union Health Care Fund

Watch out - the mayor's got a gun and he's holding us up for money:

Let us tap your rainy day fund - and we'll guarantee your jobs for the next year.

That's the offer the Bloomberg administration has made to teachers and other unionized city workers, the Daily News has learned.

City negotiators want the rank and file to cough up at least $30million a month, or $360 million, from their emergency health care fund over the duration of the agreement, several sources said.

Hizzoner has threatened to lay off 4,100 teachers and hundreds of city employees in other agencies, such as the Parks Department and libraries.

Bloomberg's offer is set for a vote today before the Municipal Labor Committee, a coalition of civil service unions. If approved, committee head Harry Nespoli will get the green light to negotiate the final deal with the city.

Unions backing the proposal say it's a good deal because the threat of layoffs will be less next year as the economy improves.

The complete no-layoff offer would apply to all city workers, including the thousands covered by the city's largest union, District Council 37.

That union has voiced skepticism about allowing the city to tap the fund. Adding a no-layoff clause could bring them around, a veteran DC 37 official said at a labor rally in lower Manhattan yesterday.

"That would be something we would have to strongly consider," the official said. "This is money that's not really being used. Why let it go to waste?"

Publicly, DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts remains opposed to the Bloomberg proposal.

"I'm fed up with the city taking our benefits," she said.

The unions representing city firefighters and teachers are both strongly in favor of the deal.

The Health Insurance Stabilization Fund, which has close to $500 million on hand, was created in 1986 after health care costs skyrocketed. The city agreed to chip in $35 million a year in return for smaller wage hikes.

I'm with Lillian Roberts on this - I'm sick of the city stealing our benefits too.

Here's how this will play out if the union agrees to this proposal.

Bloomberg will offer to can the layoffs for next year if he gets $360 million from the health care fund (a figure which is higher than he claimed he will save by laying off teachers - $337 million.)

Then he will spend $550 million on new technology and upgrades to the computer systems in the schools, a breathtakingly brazen expenditure given how he is claiming penury this year.

Those technology upgrades will be used to bring a dozen new city tests to the school system in 2012-2013 that will be used to grade teachers (but not students.)

Starting around December of 2011, Bloomberg will cry poverty and begin talking layoffs again unless the unions give the city concessions.

He will continue to spend hundreds of millions on unnecessary contracts with outside consultants even as he cries poverty (just as he has been doing now.)

More corruption in past contracts along the lines of the CityTime scandal, the Lanham scandal and the Judith Hederman scandal will be revealed.

Somehow nobody in power or at the newspapers will say "Wait a minute, how is it you say you have to lay all these people off when you spend all this money on these contracts and all these people are stealing from the city?"

Then right around February, Bloomberg will budget for layoffs.

He will ratchet up the threats throughout the rest of the school year, demanding concessions from the unions even as he steals $30 million a month from the health care fund (money that is used to offset some higher costs for unionized health plans.)

The unions, seemingly intent on snagging defeat from victory, will concede to him again even though he has no moral standing in this fight and can easily be exposed as a fiscal spendthrift who has allowed thieves to steal the city blind.

And the whole thing will play out again in nearly the same way it has this year.

I say no to the health care deal.

The city has the money to avoid layoffs already.

It is in the $550 million Bloomberg plans to spend next year in tech upgrades.

It is also in the central office budget at Tweed, which has seen an increase in spending even as schools have seen sharp decreases.

Plus, Bloomberg's word is no good in a deal - he screwed the UFT on the TDR deal that was made with Weingarten a few years back, saying the city wouldn't look to publish those reports in the media if the UFT allowed them to be used for evaluation, then going back on his word and fighting the UFT in court to publish the reports in the papers (despite a 25% MOE.)

Why would Bloomberg keep his word on this deal?

Can the unions even force him too?

Can the courts?

Bloomberg thinks he is above ordinary standards like "word-keeping" and "the law," so I just don't trust any agreement made with this guy.

You shouldn't either.

The money is there to stave off layoffs - Bloomberg is spending it on tech contracts and consultants.

$550 million for next year alone.

He doesn't need the union health care fund money to stop layoffs.

He can take it from the tech spending.


  1. Beware mayors bearing gifts. All the teachers at my school are thrilled to get apple ipads. I am told everyone will eventually get one. Little do we realize it will be used to evaluate us. The app for teacher ratings is most likely in the works. $550 for tech! Hah...screw you Mr. Mayor...don't play with the benefits...who says the economy is improving? The Daily News? With the 2012 elections coming up the Fed is pushing back economic reality until 2013. Then watch out.

  2. The saddest thing is the union will buy it and give it all up- like they have done in the past.

  3. I agree with ed notes online.