A proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to avert public school teacher layoffs has fallen apart at the negotiating table.
The mayor was prepared to stop some 5,000 layoffs, most of them teachers, if city workers agreed to pay out $220 million from a health care fund controlled by the unions.
Union leaders said they were prepared to turn over that money to help the city, but only if additional money from the fund could be used to help workers.
A spokesman for the mayor said Thursday the city had no choice but to reject the offer.
The spokesman also said the city is ready to negotiate a deal to avoid layoffs.
A budget deal is due by the end of June.
Now why would the unions be negotiating a deal with the mayor that would allow his to steal $220 million from a health care fund for workers when he has allowed $600 million to be stolen by outside consultants and technology companies as part of the CityTime project, plans to spend $900 million next year on outside consultants and technology upgrades to the DOE, and has an actual surplus of money even before he spends that $900 million?
Yes, layoffs are bad.
But to hand over $220 million to the mayor from a health care fund that is used to pay for health care overrun costs in a year when he has an actual surplus and just plans to hand the money to outside technology consultants and companies who are already stealing the city blind - that's not only bad policy by the unions leadership, that's insane behavior.
Next year, Bloomberg will come right back for more layoffs.
That's assuming he doesn't steal the $220 million and break the agreement and come back for more layoffs later this year.
That's what this guy does.
He breaks agreements.
He cannot be trusted.
His word is about as good as the word of the owners of Technodyne, the company that stole $400 million in the CityTime project and ran off to India to avoid arrest.
So the strategy for the unions going forward ought to be to take out a massive ad campaign that states how Bloomberg has allowed $600 million to be stolen by outside computer consultants in the CityTime project, $3.5 million by an outside computer consultant who worked for the DOE, millions more by another company hired by the DOE to do tech work and those are just the contracts that have gotten scrutiny - many others Bloomberg refuses to reveal the details of and may contain many other instances of corruption.
While Bloomberg allows all this stealing by the outside computer techs to go on, he plans to spend $900 million on technology projects for the DOE next year, an increase of $550 million, even as he says he must lay off thousands of teachers because the city is broke even when the city isn't broke and has an actual surplus.
Now this is a mayor who thinks he did a great job on the CityTime project where crooks stole $600 million dollars - the largest theft ever committed against the City of New York.
Why should we allow Bloomberg to lay off thousands of teachers at the same time he wants to spend $900 million on crooked tech projects and crony consultants?
Say no to the Bloomberg Budget of Corruption.
Say no to layoffs.
Say no to outside consultants who steal millions from the city.
That ought to be the union strategy going forward.
Bloomberg might actually go ahead with the layoffs in that case, but the groundwork will have been laid for political victory for the unions - people will know that Bloomberg has laid off thousands of teachers and created mass chaos in the school system in order to hand out $900 million dollars to his crooked cronies in tech companies that seem to rival the Gambino Family for ethics and morals.
I think if the unions stands firm on this, Bloomberg will read the political calculus right and NOT go ahead with the layoffs.
He knows how unpopular he is.
He knows how unpopular his education policies are.
He knows how unpopular the teacher layoffs are.
If the unions can make clear to the people that not only is the money already in the budget to avoid layoffs but that the money Bloomberg plans to save through layoffs he will spend on crooked consultants and tech projects, well, they can force Bloomberg to find the money to avoid the layoffs.
And yet the UFT, as always, looks to weaken its hand in negotiations, to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.
They look to bail the mayor out by handing him hundreds of millions of the workers' money without any strings attached to it - all so he can hand it to his crooked consultant friends.
The teachers have the moral high ground on this matter.
The Bloomberg administration has allowed so much corruption to go on unchecked in this city that he ought to be renamed Boss Tweed.
Go hard and heavy on that message and MAKE him make his own decisions on the layoffs.
Don't bail him out with free money from the health care fund.
At the end of the day, if he goes though with layoffs, the political price he will pay will be enormous.
But if the unions hand him $220 million from the health car fund with no strings attached, the unions themselves will pay a very hefty price next year when Bloomberg comes back for not only layoffs but cuts to health care too (as the money from the fund will have been raided.)