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February 23, 2011 - 8:14am

Today's Poll: Should the bargaining power of public employee unions be curtailed?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
John Roach
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In NY, part of the problem is that you have binding arbitration that can award a union benefits that the government (State and local) can not afford. But if you want to somehow limit bargaining rights, you should then allow the union the right to strike, which under the NYS Taylor law, is now illegal.
Bea McManis
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I wonder how many readers will vote "yes", but are sitting back and enjoying the fruits of bargaining in past years?
George Richardson
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For twenty years I have listened to neo cons tell me that Unions were once good and served a purpose but are now corrupt and no longer needed. I chalk it up to brainwashing. They have been convinced that Union gains will just remain in place without Unions. Is it willful ignorance, self delusion or both? I worked in a "right to work for less" State and still was able to sign up right wingers because management became increasingly repressive, stingy and punative and workers had no recourse. Because of the Union and thousands of State Employees, who rallied repeatedly, we got the largest across the board increase in pay and benefits ever in the State of Texas. That was fifteen years ago, before Rick Perry bankrupt the State. Now we're 27 Billion in the hole and State Employees are getting shafted once again.
Mike Weaver
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"we got the largest across the board increase in pay and benefits ever in the State of Texas. That was fifteen years ago, ... Now we're 27 Billion in the hole" Things that make you go "Hmmmm........"
C. M. Barons
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Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act: Employees shall have the right to self-organization; to form, join, or assist labor organizations; to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing; and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.... U. S. workers have the right to join labor unions, have their interests represented by collective action and designate representatives to defend their rights in the workplace. Workers also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities. Wherein does a state (or anyone else) have the right to rescind collective bargaining for public or private employees?
C. M. Barons
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John, if any employees in NY have the right to binding arbitration, it is by mutual agreement during contract negotiations. Binding arbitration is not a blanket right for all NY public employees- nor is it as cut and dry as you explained it. Under bilaterally agreed circumstances it might be applied to compensation or grievance procedure when an arbitrator is mitigating between labor and management because they cannot agree; the arbitrator's decision is binding. I believe what you are actually referring to is Triborough Decision. Triborough refers to a ruling pertaining to lapsed contracts. In the case of NY public employees, a lapsed contract remains in force until a new contract is agreed upon. Therein any conditions of the expired contract must be honored until such time a new contract is in force.
John Roach
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CM, No, I am thinking of wage demands that are imposed that are not affordable. As for Section 7, what is proposed in WI does not seem to be illegal, not even the unions have claimed that. The unions find it objectionable and harmful to them, but not illegal.
Mark Laman
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Very few of these public jobs are lucrative as it is. People bash the fact they don't pay full healthcare but this is benefit that draws good quality workers to sub par salary jobs. You take away the right to negotiate and our quality workers will quickly jump ship to the private sector or out of state jobs. Then where will we be. Only the bottom feeders who are willing to settle for less will stay. Our education system will go down the tubes, public works will suffer, fire/police stations will be understaffed... I think government officials should look elsewhere to fix the mistakes they have made.
Howard B. Owens
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My frustration right now is something I just see as pervasive in the government sector, both from the workers and the employers: Cut the other guy, not me. I just _feel_ like whole swaths of people in the public sector simply don't get it. They don't realize, if I'm doing business with a company that wants to add a new service or improve benefits for employees, if I don't like the resulting price increase, I can just take my business elsewhere. We can't do that with the government. Don't pay your taxes, go to jail. So it becomes a very casual affair in the government sector: We need more money, guess we need to raise taxes. People say government should act more like a business, but that's impossible. Government is a monopoly. There is no competition. No, government shouldn't operate like a business, it should operate as something that is responsive to taxpayers, which means reducing its size and reducing its burden on working people.
C. M. Barons
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Unions cannot force management to sign. Any agreement that onlookers find objectionable was signed-off on by two sides: labor AND management. John's suggestion that binding arbitration is at fault needs some confirmation in fact. Most binding arbitration agreements (and I have to assume there are few) do not pertain to salary negotiations, instead grievance board determinations. Very few contracts have been settled green-lighting binding arbitration. For those that have, an arbitrator is mediating the outcome. It still remains to be seen how binding arbitration might be seen as excessive. From my experience, most fact-finders and arbitrators lean toward fiscal pragmatism.
Thomas Mooney
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So Howard , Maybe you should be asking the county law makers why they gave themselves , Mr. Gsell and the sheriffs raises but froze wages of the rest of the county employees . This is why CSEA will never give in to the BS Albany is handing out. The constant unfairness that is involved with government is why we have CSEA and they too are getting no where . How can one say that a health department employee does not deserve a raise but a road patrol does . County Lawmakers have there own agenda and you and I will never know what it is .
Bruce Wiseley
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Mr. Weaver needs to check his facts, because Texas isn't 27 Billion in the whole! And why should I as a taxpayor, fund the public service unions with my money, when they have a higher standard of living than the average person who pays their salary? What's going on in the other states regarding this topic is comical. The guys run away and hide? Everyone needs to do the MATH! If the money isn't there, what's the alternative? I feel so sorry about them maybe having to pay 5.8% of their retirement, and 12.8% of their healthcare costs. Gee, what a concept. This is what happens when the public service unions are allowed to run amuck, while we pay their salaries, as well as the union stiffs who are telling them how unfair their lot in life is! Oh please. Now I'll sit back and wait for the vitriol to be posted. Oh I forgot, we don't do that anymore, or at least the conservatives aren't allowed to?!
Tony Ferrando
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Mr. Weaver never said they had a deficit... but, in any event: http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=texas+27+billion+deficit
Robert Mattice
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When the economy is good, nobody cares about the civil service workers because the private employees are too busy buying new cars with their Kodak and Xerox bonus checks... Now that the economy is doing poor, the civil service worker is the fall guy... Why's that?? There are no bonus's.. The wages are definitely not above average. Any wage increase is negotiated not a simple hand me out from management.. Trust me... If you think civil service workers have it so great, get off the computer and take a civil service test......
John Roach
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CM, Two unions that have contracts under arbitration right now are our own City police and the State Correction Officers. They certainly deserve pay raises, but can what the arbitrator awards be afforded?
Mark Laman
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I agree with Robert. I have family members in the private sector (sales) and family on the public employees list (local public school teacher). In sales, there are annual bonuses and salaries that break six figures when the economy is strong. In education, there are NEVER bonuses and very rarely do you see teachers making six figures (and if they are, its because of coaching three sports or administrative duties.) Now that times are hard, public employees are being made out to be the bad guys... The negotiated salary steps for our local teachers are very modest. Never in a teachers career will they be able to make the kind of money that you read about in Forbes or CNN money. Again, it is not a career to get into if you want to get rich. As far as Howards comment, he does make a good point. Sitting in a circle and pointing fingers will do no good. Is it the unions that are causing this deficit? I doubt it. Is there waste in government? I am sure of it. What needs to be done to fix our dilemma? I don't know. I feel the community needs to get more involved in how the money our local government gets is spent. An example that has gotten my dander up on multiple occasions is the administrative salaries in our area. All of our local districts will be making cuts this year. Good teachers will loose their jobs, class sizes will increase to unmanageable numbers, kid's educations will suffer. And many superintendents/ principles are getting big raises. Example: Gary Mix from Pembroke- Salary for 2010-2011 is over $230,000...That is higher than Williamsville, Amherst, Orchard Park and most other districts I have looked up. This salary is decided by the school board and administrative teams. Without the community keeping these types of situations in check, a few individuals can grossly take advantage of the tax payers. This is kind of waste that needs to be controlled. The teachers in Pembroke are working hard for their kids, there test scores are among the highest in NY. But they are not the ones earning the big raises, they are the ones who need to worry about whether or not they are going to have a job next year. It is going to be a tough year for everybody, unions recognize that. I have not heard of any unions asking for anything unreasonable. They are the only protective force for the middle class. If bargaining rights are taken away, our highly educated, highly effective middle class workers that keep this country going will looking elsewhere for employment. Leaving our communities and children in less capable hands.
Mike Weaver
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To Bruce Wiseley, I used George Richardson's quote in my reply. IF you disagree with the $27B number you are disagreeing with him, not me. My point was simple. Mr. Richardson stated that their union rallied and got the largest increase in pay and bennies ever and then he says that now that state is in the hole for $27B. And I used a little snark to connect the dots between those two events. The states are going to go through the same mess that GM just went through. GM was being crippled by retiree benefit costs, benefits the UAW wouldn't compromise on. It took a government bailout to keep GM from becoming a distant memory. States like NY, IL, CA, and MI are going to have the same problem in the very near future. The CSEA employees can rant and rave about the idea of losing benefits but the reality is, the state cannot afford to continue to pay for these benefits to their active and retired workers. The money just isn't there anymore, the boom years are gone. Workers in private industry have seen their benefits cut for many years now. Gov't employees need to accept the fact that their nice benefit package is no longer affordable to the taxpayers. The ride was great while it lasted but the time to get off the train has arrived.
Mike Weaver
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For those that think that government workers are underpaid compared to private workers should take a look at this. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2009/01/26/government-salaries-vs-private-s... If you want to filter things so that you only look at what the potential top end in private industry is then yes, private employment is the way to go. But if you want to compare the 99% of employees that are closer to typical workers, government employment is almost always a more lucrative proposition. And the disparity continues into retirement. According to the most recent US census figures the average full time NY state employee makes about #58,800 plus beneifts. The average private sector employee in NY makes under $40,000. I understand why any employee would be reluctant to give up a salary or benefit that they were getting before, but there comes a time when everyone needs to realize that the average private sector employee can no longer afford to fund government employees that on average earn more, and have better benefits. It isn't about us vs them. It is an economic issue.
Mark Laman
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Mike, the fact that many people are overlooking with the retirement benefits is that most public employees have to pay out of their own salaries into a retirement fund, just like any other member of society planning ahead for future security. The TRS (Teachers Retirement System) withholds 3% of a teachers salary. This money is then invested on a large scale and then the retirement salaries are paid for by this account. Taxpayers do not pay for teachers retirements. I do not know the facts for other public employees but I would assume it is the same.
Jeff Allen
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Howard writes "My frustration right now is something I just see as pervasive in the government sector, both from the workers and the employers: Cut the other guy, not me." That is perhaps because all public sector unions are not equal in their representaion and benefits. I have been a state Correction Officer for 23 years and can at least set the record straight on some common misconceptions. 1.) I contribute 25% toward my health insurance family plan premiums, not 0%, not even the 12% that has teachers in Wisconsin rioting in the streets. My contributions fall just below the national average. 2.) Raises are not a given, and annual increases fall at or below national average of 2.5%. I know some will respond, "hey at least you got a raise" I get that, and I am very grateful but my point is not to cry unfair, just put our situation in perspective compared to unions with real sweetheart deals and the private sector as a whole. In my 23 years our union has done it's part to "help" the state out when they have asked and taken zeros on more than one occassion. 3.) As John points out, we are in binding arbitration. It is our second time through. The first resulted in some of our largest increases in health insurance costs and some of our lowest pay increases. Binding arbitration is not the Golden Egg people think it is. Contrary to public belief, the state is required to set aside money to cover impending arbitration awards. We are on our second year without a contract, and when the arbitrators come to a decision, what if any raises will not have any impact on the current budget since the money has already been accounted for since 2009. The reward for all of this "drunkeness at the public trough" is a job that carries a divorce rate that is more than double the national average, a suicide rate that is 10 times, yes 10 times the national average, and an average life expectancy of 54 years. It can be argued that Correction Officers have helped keep the retirement fund solvent because we contribute during our careers but don't live long enough to collect. Your welcome fellow NYS employees. And finally, how does one measure how well we are doing for the exhorbitant wages and benefits we receive...when was the last time you had to contend with an escaped inmate? That is why we at least do not like to be painted with the broadbrush of "typical public sector employee".
Mike Weaver
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Mark, does that 3% fully fund each teachers' retirement? Or are there state funds involved too? Honest question. According to http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year2009_NY.html New York spent $11 Billion on pensions in 2009. So I would assume that that 3% annual is to partially fund their retirement. That is a start.
Mark Laman
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... I would also be willing to wager that the VAST majority of the private sector employees that make up those statistics do not have their masters degree. I would assume Johnny high school flunk out earning minimum wage flipping burgers also is a factor that brings those numbers down. The private sector employees with a masters degree are earning much more than the figure you are speaking of. Again, teachers don't teach to get rich. If anything is broken in the education system it is how much administrators get paid.
Mark Laman
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Mike, I am not sure where all of that money goes. But I am sure that teachers retirement pay comes from the TRS which is created and maintained by teacher contributions. The other pension benefits could be health care, this is obviously expensive because our healthcare system has a lot of flaws that need to be worked out as well. But most teachers only get health care during retirement if they buy back years of HC with the accrued sick days they have accumulated over their career. This also is money saved for the districts. As I said before, there are many other careers in the public sector, I am not sure about their retirement benefits. Again, not to beat a dead horse but administrators don't pay nearly as much into their own retirement as teachers do. Almost wish my conscience could handle being an administrator or a government official. Seems like they get more perks/pay than teachers but not the flack that teachers get. I think a lot of people hold grudges about all those homework assignments from high school.
Mike Weaver
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They are average values of full time positions so burger flippers and Walmart cashiers aren't included. The gov't averages include everything from clerks to the Pavilion School Superintendent. The private numbers are just as diverse. The only filter was full time positions. 99% of private sector employees don't get rich either. And a masters degree is no guarantee of a big salary in private industry.
George Richardson
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I love everybody and I love everything, now that I am retired. May you all be so lucky someday, don't give up the fight. Too much blood has been shed to enrich the rich bastards, on your backs, to accept it any longer. Just say: "Hell No." And get ready for the deaf routine until you tell them twenty times. They will understand, once you take a stand and refuse to back down.
Bea McManis
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I wonder how many, here, agree with the Wisc.'s Jeff Cox? http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-a...
Bea McManis
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Every time teachers' salaries come up, I am reminded of these rules (whether or not they were ever posted is up for conjecture). My question is, what do people who are not in education feel is a fair salary for teachers? Remember, they only work 10 months out of the year and that salary has to stretch for 12. They attend classes to keep up to date with new material and teaching methods, on their own time. RULES FOR TEACHERS 1872 1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys. 2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session. 3. Make your pens carefully you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils. 4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly 5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books. 6 Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed. 7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society 8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty 9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.
Mark Laman
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Many of those minimum wage positions are full time and they most definitely bring the average salary amount down. Walmart cashier, Taco bell manager, gas station clerk the hundreds of jobs you can squeak by with just a high school diploma... I am not saying these people dont work hard and I believe they should be able to earn enough to take care of their families as well. And if they want to earn more they now they can get a degree and move up to a better pay grade. The way things work in this country is the more qualified and specialized you are the more valuable you become. Good teachers with the specialization and dedication they need to do well in at their job deserve more than the "national average" or below average which is what will surely happen if bargaining rights are taken away. As I said before, good teachers who are driven and successful will not sit back and get pummeled for the economic follies our government have committed. They will move out of state or get another job. You want good quality educators, you better pay for them. Otherwise they will leave. And I don't want my kids going into a classroom of 30 or more students in front of a sub par teacher who is only there "because they couldn't find anything better."
Tom Klotzbach
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"Taxpayers do not pay for teachers retirements. " This is not the case. Almost all teachers and several other professional classes of employees belong to the New York State Teacher Retirement System (TRS). School districts contribute a portion of the employee payroll to TRS. Districts also make contributions for non-certificated employees to the Employee Retirement System (ERS). For the school fiscal year 2010-11, the employer TRS contribution rate is 8.62% of total teacher salaries. The rate was 6.19% in 2009-10. The rate for 2011-12 is projected to be 11.50%. For ERS the employer contribution rates were 7.40% for 2009-10, 11.90% for 2010-11 and is projected to be 16.30% of total non-certificated employees for 2011-12 These contributions are paid for by school districts, a portion of which will come from the tax levy. Yes, the retirement system does allow for some "smoothing" of these rate increases, but ultimately, a school district will be paying these dollars into the state retirement systems. Taking this discussion further, ERS and TRS Employer contributions are what could be considered "unfunded mandates" These contributions impact the "bottom line" of a school district. That's money that will never be used to educate students or other students facing activities, or money that can be used to reduce the tax levy. Of course, trying to get the state Legislature to pass legislation to allow for a TRS Reserve Fund so that districts could better cushion what are dramatic increases in contribution rates is been disappointing. Legislation gets stuck in the State Assembly for years. Why? you'll have to ask Shelly Silver. ERS and TRS contributions are some of the real unfunded mandates that Albany imposes on local school districts. Health care costs are not, contrary to what is being mentioned in the press, "unfunded mandates", as local school boards approve collective bargaining agreements which clearly stipulate the health care benefits for district employees. But this latter issue is a discussion for another time.
Mark Laman
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Great post Bea. Oh how the times have changed. Don't forget teaching is not an 8-5 job most teachers come in early to work with students and stay late to correct papers, organize extracurricular activities, coach... My sons teacher is often at school after I pick him up from basketball practice at 6! Unions don't negotiate that, good teachers do that because they want to help kids. Don't pick on the people that are your kids only insurance for success.
Mike Weaver
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"The way things work in this country is the more qualified and specialized you are the more valuable you become." That works very well in the free market but public sector jobs are not free market positions. Teachers and other gov't employees are paid by taxpayers. There is a limit to what the taxpayer can afford. And I don't buy that teachers will suddenly become below average wage earners if they are not allowed to bargain. If that were the case the school administrators would be poorly paid. The public is well aware of how important skilled teachers are to society. The trick is finding the balancing point of fair compensation that the taxpayer can afford.
Bea McManis
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Mike, What do you consider an appropriate wage for a teacher?
Mike Weaver
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I have no problem with the wages most teachers make today. I don't think a 9 month employee with a Masters degree should expect to earn what a 12 month employee with a Masters degree earns though. And I don't think they are entitled to COLA-type increases every year. I'd like to see them contribute alot more towards their retirement and health care benefits too. I guess to answer your question directly I'll say, "it depends". It depends on what the community can afford.
Tom Klotzbach
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"They will move out of state or get another job. You want good quality educators, you better pay for them. Otherwise they will leave. " it depends. It is uncommon for teachers to leave a school district, especially once they receive tenure. It is an uncommon event. Of course, the issue in some ways is not the good quality educators, but those who are not performing well and make a choice to not perform well. Trying to discipline and if need be remove a tenured teacher is very problematic because tenure is essentially a property interest that the teacher obtains and it cannot be removed without a fair amount of due process. New York State's 3020-a procedure, which pertains to in part removing tenured teachers and administrators, ends up costing school districts quite a bit in terms of money (e.g. have to pay for a long-term substitute teacher while the teacher facing disciplinary action is suspended *with pay*), and also can be quite lengthy, often taking more than one year. If New York State would use a process that is not so skewed against school districts when attempting to remove a teacher for pedagogical incompetence, that would help in the process of school districts being able to pay outstanding teachers more.
Mark Laman
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I dont agree. First off, its a 10th month school year but there are meetings and professional development courses that take place during the summer months. I also don't know many teachers that just sit on their butt for two month, most have/need summer jobs. And how do you think someone earning 35000 can afford to pay more for healthcare and TRS. By the time you hack away at their salaries they would be better off bartending at Billygoats. Heck with teaching the future of America. Whether you are talking about teachers, CO's, police,or other public employees, you het what you pay for. You pay them crap and all the good ones WILL leave.
Mark Laman
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Administrators do bargain. The negotiate with the school boards. The have contracts and tenure... they just make a whole lot more...
Mark Laman
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Tom, if teachers loose bargaining rights, benefits and their pay gets hammered, they will leave. Tenure is worthless if you don't make enough to support your family. I have multiple family members and friends who have moved south for better pay, benefits. As is in any line of work, if there is way to make more and create security for your family you are going to make those changes. I don't care if you are in the private or public sector, if your take home salary gets cut 10000-20,000 you are going to look to make changes. People are being unrealistic if they think these cuts can be made without hurting our kids, community and future. Who is going to be paying for your social security in 20 yrs. I hope its not Joe blow high school drop out.
Tom Klotzbach
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"Tom, if teachers loose bargaining rights, benefits and their pay gets hammered, they will leave. Tenure is worthless if you don't make enough to support your family." There's a difference between paying good teachers (mentioned by you in a previous post) and their pay getting "hammered" (by "hammered" you mean their pay is getting cut?). A step in the right direction in regards to collective bargaining is to modify the Triborough Amendment so that is more incentive for collective bargaining units to come to agreement with municipalities. As currently written, the Triborough Amendment removes incentive for units to settle in a timely manner, due to the expired contract with the exception of the non-step salary increases essentially still being in full force and effect. As far as benefits and pay, what that really comes down to is a school district's (which in turn means the taxpayer) ability to pay competitive salary and benefits. For example, I believe it's reasonable for employees to pay a portion of their health insurance premium. And unfortunately, based on the current economic realities, teachers may not be able to receive the pay increases now and in the future that they have customarily received in the past. You're seeing evidence of that in several districts in Eastern and Central New York as some teaching collective bargaining units are agreeing to modifications to their annual salary increases given the tough financial condition of the state. Lastly, referring to your comment of "people ate being unrealistic if they think these cuts can be made without hurting our kids, community and future", school districts have a choice - adapt or perish. Those that look at the current funding challenges and determine ways to offer student instruction and services for the most value will survive. Those that don't will not survive. It's that simple. I'll also point out that we need a strong jobs market in the region and I believe that trumps almost every other issue. Several studies show that people move (or leave) into an area because of the presence of good jobs (or lack thereof). Few people are selecting moving into a school district if there are no jobs in the area. Anecdotally speaking, this was borne out when a lady said to me a few months ago, "it's not the tax levy, it's jobs - we can't stay if there aren't jobs."
John Roach
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As for teachers, allow merit pay, change the tenure rules that allow poor teachers to stay forever. But you have to institute a rule where if you have immediate family working for the school district, you can not serve on the School Board. If you are on the School Board, your immediate family can not be hired while you are on. Otherwise, the Board members have no incentive to keep costs down so they can take care of their relatives.
Bea McManis
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John, you have brought that up before. Do you have someone in mind that you keep targeting?
John Roach
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Bea, Are you asking if I know current Board members who have family hired while they are on the board, yes. But that is for the next board election. This is about policy and collective bargaining.
Bea McManis
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This is a small community. It would be difficult to find people to run for the board who don't have some ties to the teaching community. It isn't like folks are knocking down the door to enter the school board race. One person has one vote. If the rest of the board felt that a person's agenda was to enhance the position or salary of just ONE family member then I'm sure they would vote against it.
Peter O'Brien
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First, I don't believe a teacher should need a master's degree to teach up through high school. If they have a bachelor's in the field they are teaching and are using a text book, that should be enough. Second, Just having a master's degree means nothing, ask my wife about that, she's still a waitress. Third, I make less than $35,000 a year. I pay for my retirement and its matched by my employer at 50% of what I put in. So they only pay for 1/3 of my 401k. I also have health benefits that I pay for, for my wife and I. We have a house, 2 cars, a dog, and 4 cats. We are doing ok. A teacher can live just fine on what they are making without taking a second job.
Mike Weaver
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John Roach
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Bea, If I can hire a family member and negotiate how much they get paid and how much they have to pay for benefits, to me, that's a conflict. You don't mind that inherent conflict, and that's OK, but it doesn't seem right to me.
Mark Laman
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Tom, I am not sure how things are done in Lyndonville but the district I am familiar with the teachers do pay a reasonable percentage of their healthcare. And being a board member, I am sure you understand how the district money is paid out. Will there be concessions made by teachers around NY, yes, they have been giving in on salary increases and health insurance premiums for years. My frustration is there are administrators who continually get huge increases. Example Mix from Pembroke with a raise of more than $10000 this year alone. As a board member do you believe a superintendent should be paid over $230000 in a small rural district that is going to be making cuts to teachers and student activities? You also are aware I am sure of the multiple sources of research that proves as class sizes increase, student success and differentiation goes down. As stated before, good teachers will leave, especially in our small rural schools unless they are paid fairly for their expertise. There was another blog comment about living on 35000 is enough to do all right. Well, if you throw the cost of a few kids in the equation and college tuition and actually owning a home, it is not enough. Teachers don't teach to get rich but they also don't teach to live like paupers.
Mark Potwora
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Peter good point on the masters degree..Bill Gates doesn't have a master degree should he be able to teach in the Batavia schools.Pay doesn't make better teachers..Look at the private schools in our area,they pay teachers less and put out a better product..They have a higher graduation rate..Tenure has to end..
Mark Laman
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Smaller class sizes = better results. Not to mention typically the students whose parents don't give a crap don't send them to private schools. Those troublesome students who put no value on education bring numbers down. They learn quickly that NYS wellfare will take care of them. Who needs to graduate when your given freebees like that.
John Roach
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How small is better and at what grade level? Many of us went to schools with lager class sizes than advocated now and in public schools. I don't see across the board improvements in test scores or graduation results with the smaller sizes.
Peter O'Brien
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