First was the decision to close schools (made on the evening of Saturday 3/14). Just yesterday was the decision that all high school students who ever passed a course and failed the regents -ever- will be given regents credit as long as they "were going to" take the regents in June.
And now, Andrew Cuomo has frozen the pay of most all employees paid by the state (including employees from the powerful Law Enforcement lobby, which is rare. They carry a lot of weight in Albany)
... two major unions say they were informed of the pay deferral late Wednesday and said they were told it will impact other unions as well. They were told the deferral will be at least 90 days, though there is no guaranteed end date.They were expecting a 2% raise for many of their members by the end of the month. The largest public-employee union, the Civil Service Employees Association, criticized the decision.
At least the unions themselves had a sharp elbowed response for the press
“It’s inexcusable to require our workers to literally face death to ensure the state keeps running and then turn around and deny those very workers their much-deserved raise in this time of crisis,” said CSEA president Mary Sullivan.
Last week, de Blasio took -not froze, but took- the remaining budgets of all NYC schools. For a great many 'Title I" schools this was over 40% of their annual budget. For 75% or higher "Title I" schools, this was closer to 45% or 50% of their total annual budget (the 'mid yea adjustment for Title I schools is huge). Insiders from the DOE tell me they were preparing for this for a week or two before it happened and were surprised that it never registered as anything more than a blip in the press. They, of course, blamed the union.
And this has been constant from the non union managerial class of the city for almost 2 weeks now. The unions -with their work rules and their required pay agreements- are the ones making it very hard for the city to do its business during these trying times. That's not a quote. It's just the trope that I am hearing repeated over and over again in text messages and through social media.
NYS Teachers' pay raise (our first real raise in several years) was scheduled to go into effect next month. I can't recall how many public employee unions there are in the city, but I imagine they were due for scheduled salary increases as well over the course of this and next fiscal year. It's a good bet to rethink whether that is going to happen.
There is no law on the books to stop de Blasio from freezing pay. He has already demonstrated that he can alter a union contract and, in fact, has done so when he "decided" to give UFT members four days of CAR time in exchange for working four holidays without discussion. There is no law on the books to to stop him from freezing pay either.
And with the terrible calamity unfolding -of what is clearly the biggest cataclysm since World War II- right here in the Big Apple, UFT members would be well served to not consider the context and not the act when it happens. In other words, don't complain. That's our money. Those are our raises. But this is one time this unionist believes it is much better to count our blessings rather than die on this hill. We should go back to get what's ours after this crisis subsides.
That's just my two cents. You're free to disagree with me. But I am much more interested in figuring out how to safely navigate a super market this weekend than I am in digging a foxhole about that raise (I can't believe I just write that ... strange times ...)