Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gov. Cuomo to NYC Unions: Drop Dead

*Negotiating like it's 1975 *Parallels with Bloomberg *An appeal for unified bargaining

New York governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines in The Chief this week (December 5 edition) headline implies that the New York City unions are in dreamland, "Cuomo's Advice That City Unions 'Get Real' on Contracts Greeted Skeptically.

In response to unions' widely held expectation of retroactive pay for the new contracts that Bloomberg denied them for four years, Cuomo said that unions need "a reality adjustment."

Municipal Labor Committee Chairman Harry Napoli challenged the comparison: "You can't compare it: we were going bankrupt in 1975, and [today] we have a balanced budget."

Reformy Andrew's talk really echoes out-going New York City mayor Bloomberg's stance on revenues and city worker pay. Just as Cuomo seems to think unions are delusional with their expectations, Bloomberg said as much in The Chief's reporting (November 29)  on Bloomberg and the coming contracts.

Foreshadowing Cuomo, last week's Chief had United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew pointing out Bloomberg's bogus claims and mean strategy: "He lowballs revenue projections, overestimates expense, and then claims poverty." "When the numbers come in, with more revenue and fewer expenses than he claimed he was expecting, he takes credit for the magical appearance of a surplus."

But isn't it interesting: you would find any critical words against Cuomo from Mulgrew. No, the Unity crowd shills for the establishment Albany pols when it begs for you to cough up COPE donations from your paycheck. Yep, the Unity leadership of the UFT supports Cuomo, who supports Common Core, APPR, inBloom (the student data tracking system) --all of the forementioned comes from Obama/Duncan's Race to the Top, Merryl Tisch and John King. However, lately, Cuomo has begun to sense that he's not with the in crowd or the in policies and he's begun to act like he has little to do with the state's education policies. But as Perdido Street School blog notes, a guest contributor to the Times-Union set the record straight on the real Cuomo record on recent changes in New York State education policy.
Incredible, isn't it, how some unions are still backing Cuomo when he has been in battle with them for three years already? See this headline from 2010: "Cuomo on a Collision Course With Unions," from 2011: "Union Reversal on Givebacks Averts 3,500 Layoffs by State."

The lead letter in the November 29 edition makes the case for a unified bargaining approach from the various city unions. Fitz Reid, President of Local 768, District Council 37, pointed to an agenda for undoing the damage of the Bloomberg legacy:
"undoing the Bloomberg administration's attacks on civil-service and public institutions such as Health Department clinics, HHC and NYCHA; and obtaining wage increase and pay equity to match the cost of living and increased productivity over the years. The opportunity arises out of the crisis --for the first time in, all New York City unions, including DC 37, the teachers, police and MTA unions are without contracts.  This is a historic change for a unified approach to collective bargaining, not the short-term divisive tactic of every-union -for-itself."
The letter closes with:
Let us as unions and employees recognize our common interests as members of the working class and that "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Jay Gould famously said, "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Let's not let it happen again. Lets' seize this historic opportunity. Solidarity forever!
Other very important content: on the November 29 editorial page is a column on how the lump sum approach to compensation for our long lost increases (since 2009) would not be advantageous. For starters, lump sum payments are not pensionable. UFT members and other city workers, beware of sell-out contracts with that feature.

Don't miss out on picking up The Chief.