After years of failed attempts to negotiate a new contract with the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the School Board is now taking its latest offer directly to teachers.
The move underscores a lack of faith that negotiations are headed toward any kind of resolution, and suggests the district could be close to pulling the plug on talks with an outside mediator. That would put the district in uncharted waters, and some have already suggested the issue will likely wind up in court.
In a letter emailed to teachers Thursday, the board attempts to make the case for contractual changes it is seeking. The most significant include:
• Increasing the school day from six hours and 50 minutes to seven hours and 30 minutes.
• Increasing the number of work days from 186 to 189 each year.
• Requiring teachers to pay 12 percent of their health insurance premium, as opposed to paying nothing now.
• Allowing principals to transfer and assign teachers based on educational needs, not seniority.
• A 10 percent salary increase for teachers, plus an additional 1 percent each of the next three years.
“Without the changes the District has proposed, a system of failure will simply be perpetuated, and the consequences of continuous failure could be devastating,” the board’s letter states.
The decision to take its offer directly to teachers is the latest turn in a lengthy and contentious negotiation process to revamp a contract that expired more than a decade ago. Attorney Terry O’Neil, who is negotiating for the district, said board members do not believe union leaders are accurately relaying their offers to teachers and wanted to present the information themselves.
“We went to the teachers and said ‘Here are the options, just so you know,’ ” he said.
These are the "options"?
Longer school day, longer school year, loss of seniority rights and paying 12% of health care?
Dunno about all the teachers teachers in Buffalo, but my response to a "Fuck You!" proposal like this would be "Fuck you too!"
The 1% "increase (10% + 1% for each additional year over the next three) is more than eaten away by the health care costs and the extra time/work.
This is what the district went around the union to offer to teachers?
Uh, thanks, but no thanks.
Seems many teachers in Buffalo feel the same:
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore said his office had been fielding calls all day from teachers angry about the board’s letter.
“The letter outraged the teachers,” Rumore said. “It was like rubbing salt into an open wound.”
Buffalo teachers are working under the longest expired contract in history.
The district, backed by the powers that be, are offering a "Fuck you!" contract in order to continue the logjam in negotiations, giving them the excuse to take the mess to court and try and circumvent the Triborough Agreement:
Some have already suggested the case could end up in court and test the Taylor Law, the state statute that sets rules for municipalities when bargaining with civil service and teacher unions. Many argue that the law and its accompanying Triborough Amendment – which allows for expired contract terms to remain in effect until a new deal is reached – have long given these unions a clear edge in negotiations.
“This is a perfect illustration of how the combination of the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment can create problems,” O’Neil said. “We’ll have to assess where we’re headed and whether we’re headed for litigation.”
So this battle in Buffalo is something to watch statewide, not only for how the contract negotiations play out but also to see if there is a weakening of the Triborough Agreement that maintains expired contracts in effect until a new contract deal is agreed upon.
I wouldn't be too surprised if that isn't the ultimate goal of the powers that be here - to weaken Triborough while maintaining the punitive Taylor Law that punishes municipal unions for striking.