Monday, February 18, 2008

Teachers Pension Bill Passes In Less Than One Month While 20/50 Bill Continues To Sit

In less than one month, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) was able to get their pension bill A9820 from the governmental employees committee to the Governors desk.
Now I understand that their bill was part of a negotiated contact packaged that included merit pay for teachers. But one can’t help but be impressed with the speed it moved through the various phases.
Their bill arrived at the Governmental Employees Committee on January 23, 2008, and by February 11th it had passed through the Ways and Means Committee where it progressed rapidly, landing on the Governor’s desk for signature on February 15th.

The TWU 20/50 bill arrived at the Governmental Employees Committee a year ago, on February 23, 2007. SIX MONTHS LATER, in June, it was finally reported to the Ways and Means Committee. Rather than progress, however, it sat there for ANOTHER SIX MONTHS, before finally being referred BACK to the Governmental Employees Committee, on January 9th, 2008, where it continues to sit to this date.

So our 20/50 bill moved backwards while theirs moved forwards. (see comparison chart; click on image to enlarge)

Some will attempt to argue that you can not compare different union contracts and pension improvements and I would argue just the opposite. Comparing two unions in the same city and the same pension fund under the same state laws, who are both seeking pension improvements for their members at the same time is the perfect comparison.

That teachers will go from a 62/30 pension to 55/25 pension is in fact very similar to Transit workers going from a 55/25 pension to a 50/20 pension. Both the teachers and the transit workers will pick up the costs of the pension improvements; teachers will pay an additional 1.85% and transit workers will have to pay an additional 6% . HomeStation will keep of the track the 20/50 bill in what we will call the 20/50 Bill Watch.

One thing is for certain: the rapid movement of the teachers pension bill through the legislative process versus our pension bill going backwards and then virtually dying in committee is a clear indication of which union has more political muscle in New York State. It is time for Local 100 leadership to end its silly internal infighting and begin to build some real political power in this city and state.

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