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View Full Version : 700 NYC Teachers are paid to do nothing


rockdawg21
06-23-2009, 07:15 PM
Another reason unions suck!

"Because the teachers collect their full salaries of $70,000 or more, the city Department of Education estimates the practice costs the taxpayers $65 million a year."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090622/ap_on_re_us/us_rubber_rooms;_ylt=AkYtvjx8Ikm0ElQDsB2mLdas0NUE; _ylu=X3oDMTJwNzc0Nm1tBGFzc2V0Ay9hcC8yMDA5MDYyMi9hc F9vbl9yZV91cy91c19ydWJiZXJfcm9vbXMEcG9zAzQEc2VjA3l uX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDNzAwbnljdGVhY2hl
700 NYC teachers are paid to do nothing

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer Karen Matthews, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 22, 5:20 pm ET

NEW YORK Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that's what they want to do.

Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its "rubber rooms" off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.

The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.

"You just basically sit there for eight hours," said Orlando Ramos, who spent seven months in a rubber room, officially known as a temporary reassignment center, in 2004-05. "I saw several near-fights. `This is my seat.' `I've been sitting here for six months.' That sort of thing."

Ramos was an assistant principal in East Harlem when he was accused of lying at a hearing on whether to suspend a student. Ramos denied the allegation but quit before his case was resolved and took a job in California.

Because the teachers collect their full salaries of $70,000 or more, the city Department of Education estimates the practice costs the taxpayers $65 million a year. The department blames union rules.

"It is extremely difficult to fire a tenured teacher because of the protections afforded to them in their contract," spokeswoman Ann Forte said.

City officials said that they make teachers report to a rubber room instead of sending they home because the union contract requires that they be allowed to continue in their jobs in some fashion while their cases are being heard. The contract does not permit them to be given other work.

Ron Davis, a spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers, said the union and the Department of Education reached an agreement last year to try to reduce the amount of time educators spend in reassignment centers, but progress has been slow.

"No one wants teachers who don't belong in the classroom. However, we cannot neglect the teachers' rights to due process," Davis said. The union represents more than 228,000 employees, including nearly 90,000 teachers.

Many teachers say they are being punished because they ran afoul of a vindictive boss or because they blew the whistle when somebody fudged test scores.

"The principal wants you out, you're gone," said Michael Thomas, a high school math teacher who has been in a reassignment center for 14 months after accusing an assistant principal of tinkering with test results.

City education officials deny teachers are unfairly targeted but say there has been an effort under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to get incompetents out of the classroom. "There's been a push to report anything that you see wrong," Forte said.

Some other school systems likewise pay teachers to do nothing.

The Los Angeles district, the nation's second-largest school system with 620,000 students, behind New York's 1.1 million, said it has 178 teachers and other staff members who are being "housed" while they wait for misconduct charges to be resolved.

Similarly, Mimi Shapiro, who is now retired, said she was assigned to sit in what Philadelphia calls a "cluster office." "They just sit you in a room in a hard chair," she said, "and you just sit."

Teacher advocates say New York's rubber rooms are more extensive than anything that exists elsewhere.

Teachers awaiting disciplinary hearings around the nation typically are sent home, with or without pay, Karen Horwitz, a former Chicago-area teacher who founded the National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse. Some districts find non-classroom work office duties, for example for teachers accused of misconduct.

New York City's reassignment centers have existed since the late 1990s, Forte said. But the number of employees assigned to them has ballooned since Bloomberg won more control over the schools in 2002. Most of those sent to rubber rooms are teachers; others are assistant principals, social workers, psychologists and secretaries.

Once their hearings are over, they are either sent back to the classroom or fired. But because their cases are heard by 23 arbitrators who work only five days a month, stints of two or three years in a rubber room are common, and some teachers have been there for five or six.

The nickname refers to the padded cells of old insane asylums. Some teachers say that is fitting, since some of the inhabitants are unstable and don't belong in the classroom. They add that being in a rubber room itself is bad for your mental health.

"Most people in that room are depressed," said Jennifer Saunders, a high school teacher who was in a reassignment center from 2005 to 2008. Saunders said she was charged with petty infractions in an effort to get rid of her: "I was charged with having a student sit in my class with a hat on, singing."

The rubber rooms are monitored, some more strictly than others, teachers said.

"There was a bar across the street," Saunders said. "Teachers would sneak out and hang out there for hours."

Judith Cohen, an art teacher who has been in a rubber room near Madison Square Garden for three years, said she passes the time by painting watercolors of her fellow detainees.

"The day just seemed to crawl by until I started painting," Cohen said, adding that others read, play dominoes or sleep. Cohen said she was charged with using abusive language when a girl cut her with scissors.

Some sell real estate, earn graduate degrees or teach each other yoga and tai chi.

David Suker, who has been in a Brooklyn reassignment center for three months, said he has used the time to plan summer trips to Alaska, Cape Cod and Costa Rica. Suker said he was falsely accused of throwing a girl's test sign-up form in the garbage during an argument.

"It's sort of peaceful knowing that you're going to work to do nothing," he said.

Philip Nobile is a journalist who has written for New York Magazine and the Village Voice and is known for his scathing criticism of public figures. A teacher at Brooklyn's Cobble Hill School of American Studies, Nobile was assigned to a rubber room in 2007, "supposedly for pushing a boy while I was breaking up a fight." He contends the school system is retaliating against him for exposing wrongdoing.

He is spending his time working on his case and writing magazine articles and a novel.

"This is what happens to political prisoners throughout history," he said, alluding to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "They put us in prison and we write our `Letter From the Birmingham Jail.'"

Crisco
06-23-2009, 07:28 PM
Not all unions and suck and for all the bull**** teachers out up with they earned their full salary.

County Mike
06-23-2009, 07:31 PM
The problem isn't paying them to do nothing. It's how long it takes to resolves their cases.

Chuck
06-23-2009, 08:28 PM
The problem isn't paying them to do nothing. It's how long it takes to resolves their cases.

DING DING DING!!!!

Winner!

They should be allowed due process and collect their salary while they wait but the process for resloving the case's needs to be about 20x faster!!


Maybe we could just Tase them??? :Whistle:

rockdawg21
06-23-2009, 09:18 PM
Good points, except I think almost all unions suck, they were a necessary thing 100 years ago, but not in today's world. Tase them? Sounds like we should tase the people who aren't filing their cases promptly.

KENTUCKYREDBONE
06-23-2009, 09:51 PM
They most definitely need their hearing alot faster! There has to be a better way of keeping bad teachers out while protecting good teachers from abuse!

J.B.
06-23-2009, 10:01 PM
Maybe we could just Tase them??? :Whistle:


Only the ones who are over 70. They should be retired anyway. :wink:

J.B.
06-23-2009, 10:02 PM
Not all unions and suck .

Most labor unions do, in fact, suck.

Josh
06-23-2009, 10:24 PM
Most labor unions do, in fact, suck.
In some ways but not all.

Buzzard
06-23-2009, 10:27 PM
Most labor unions do, in fact, suck.

I disagree. Where I live we are an at will state, meaning you can be fired without cause as long as it isn't an illegal reason. A union prevents that.

NateR
06-23-2009, 10:45 PM
I understand why unions where created in the first place, however, they're one of the primary reasons that America is in the mess that it is. First they price Americans out of work, then wonder why companies would rather open up factories overseas. Seriously, why pay one worker $30 an hour with full medical benefits for his family, retirement plans, etc. when you can build a factory in Indonesia and pay 100 workers $1.00 an hour for 200 times the work?

Modern unions really only exist to make sure that bad workers get paid the same as good workers. In other words, they are the prototype for American socialism. No wonder Obama wants to force people into unions.

Unions are one of the primary reasons that GM and Chrysler went under. They wouldn't allow workers to renegotiate their contracts, so the companies were forced to close down factories and dealerships. Personally, I would rather take a pay cut than be forced to find a new job, unfortunately the unions wouldn't allow that. So, instead of the workers getting a 40-50% pay cut, they got a 100% pay cut. The unions just made the situation worse.

J.B.
06-23-2009, 11:50 PM
I disagree. Where I live we are an at will state, meaning you can be fired without cause as long as it isn't an illegal reason. A union prevents that.

So what?

Unions also drive up costs for consumers, and the inner politics of unions are laced with corruption from top to bottom.

Yeah, in many cases they do fight for fair compensation, but ONLY for whats fair for the workers. Unions do little to take into to consideration what is good for the industry that has given them a job in the first place.

The point Nate raised about the UAW is spot on. Let me give you another example. The Major League Baseball Players Association, which I consider to be one of the most powerful unions in existence, is directly responsible for a lot of the problems in Baseball. It costs an arm and a leg to take your family to a game nowadays, and it's largely because of the policies the MLBPA has been fighting for over the last 30 years.

I could go on, but I am late to a recording session. More later.:laugh:

Bonnie
06-24-2009, 12:09 AM
Yeah, they (unions) basically ended up screwing themselves over and the workers they were originally formed to protect. As usual man's greed supercedes common sense and intelligent thinking. :wink:

Same goes (greed) in the medical industry. First the doctors were greedy and had all the power and money so the government forms HMOs (supposedly to help the patients, yeah right!) then giving all the power and money to the insurance companies. So now the docs are finding ways to get around the law and invest in these medical plans, hospitals, nursing homes, and even hospices. I think it's criminal! :angry:

And we wonder why America is in such sad shape. Anything that starts out for the good of the many is quickly twisted and corrupted to serve the few who usually have more than enough already.

rearnakedchoke
06-24-2009, 12:16 AM
i hate unions .. they may have been good years ago, but now they are not needed .... here in toronto our civic workers are on strike which means no garbage pick-up ... if you want to drop off your garbage, you gotta take it to a transfer station and they make you cross the picket line to do it and get harassed .. .LOL ... they are not fighting about money, but they get 18 sick days a year and get to bank them and at the end of their terms they can cash out what they have banked (i think it is capped at like 6 months or something), so the city wants to take it away ...
and tomorrow our liquor board workers are going on strike, so i gotta stock up on my booze ...

I HATE UNIONS

rockdawg21
06-24-2009, 01:21 AM
I understand why unions where created in the first place, however, they're one of the primary reasons that America is in the mess that it is. First they price Americans out of work, then wonder why companies would rather open up factories overseas. Seriously, why pay one worker $30 an hour with full medical benefits for his family, retirement plans, etc. when you can build a factory in Indonesia and pay 100 workers $1.00 an hour for 200 times the work?

Modern unions really only exist to make sure that bad workers get paid the same as good workers. In other words, they are the prototype for American socialism. No wonder Obama wants to force people into unions.

Unions are one of the primary reasons that GM and Chrysler went under. They wouldn't allow workers to renegotiate their contracts, so the companies were forced to close down factories and dealerships. Personally, I would rather take a pay cut than be forced to find a new job, unfortunately the unions wouldn't allow that. So, instead of the workers getting a 40-50% pay cut, they got a 100% pay cut. The unions just made the situation worse.
Post of the week!

Buzzard
06-24-2009, 01:52 AM
So what?

Unions also drive up costs for consumers, and the inner politics of unions are laced with corruption from top to bottom.

Yeah, in many cases they do fight for fair compensation, but ONLY for whats fair for the workers. Unions do little to take into to consideration what is good for the industry that has given them a job in the first place.

The point Nate raised about the UAW is spot on. Let me give you another example. The Major League Baseball Players Association, which I consider to be one of the most powerful unions in existence, is directly responsible for a lot of the problems in Baseball. It costs an arm and a leg to take your family to a game nowadays, and it's largely because of the policies the MLBPA has been fighting for over the last 30 years.

I could go on, but I am late to a recording session. More later.:laugh:


Tell that "so what" to the family that lost their primary source of income and medical insurance when the breadwinner lost their job because the boss didn't like the employee and would rather hire minimum wage employees than keep his highly trained employees who earned and produced more.

Tell that to the employees who were let go one week before they would be vested in the company, losing not only their source of income but also their homes, retirement, and life savings due to the greed of the CEO's.

The blame for the auto industry should go upon the corporate CEO's who mismanaged the funds and took their millions in guaranteed money yet didn't have the smarts to run a lemonade stand. Bad business practices and decisions aren't the fault of the union worker; deep inside you probably know that to be true but can't/won't admit it.

To be fair though, all unions aren't the same and I don't like the fact the the lazy sob's have the same protection. A smart company can terminate a union employee if they have all their ducks in a row.

Your blanket statements which includes all unions show that you really don't know much about the struggle from the labor point of view.

J.B.
06-24-2009, 04:09 AM
Tell that "so what" to the family that lost their primary source of income and medical insurance when the breadwinner lost their job because the boss didn't like the employee and would rather hire minimum wage employees than keep his highly trained employees who earned and produced more.

Tell that to the employees who were let go one week before they would be vested in the company, losing not only their source of income but also their homes, retirement, and life savings due to the greed of the CEO's.

The blame for the auto industry should go upon the corporate CEO's who mismanaged the funds and took their millions in guaranteed money yet didn't have the smarts to run a lemonade stand. Bad business practices and decisions aren't the fault of the union worker; deep inside you probably know that to be true but can't/won't admit it.

To be fair though, all unions aren't the same and I don't like the fact the the lazy sob's have the same protection. A smart company can terminate a union employee if they have all their ducks in a row.

Your blanket statements which includes all unions show that you really don't know much about the struggle from the labor point of view.

Of course the CEO's had a hand in it, but a large part of the problem was the amount of benefits retired workers were getting. Something a lot of people fail to realize with giant benefit packages, just like Social Security, those kind of programs work for a while, but eventually people start taking more and more, then the pot runs dry.

Actually, I know quite a bit about labor unions, and their "struggle". My stepfather just retired from the Cement Finishers Union after over 40 years, to which he was vice-president of the local and ran their finances for over a decade. Also, my mom was a United Food and Commercial Workers member for almost 30 years.

Unions are run by politics, and the top dogs of the unions are every bit as corrupt as the CEO's themselves. That "so what" is because the overall good that unions are supposed to bring have been outweighed by their negative impacts. Higher labor costs equals higher costs of goods and services for the consumer. I don't know why that is so hard to understand...

There is both good and greed on both sides of the Unions and the Companies, but at a time when jobs are scarce, and consumer spending is way down, the people who make good money, and have good benefits, from working in unions have to understand that they are going to take a hit too, just like the rest of us.

Take it from Metallica
YOU KNOW ITS SAD BUT TRUE...:headbanger:

NateR
06-24-2009, 04:23 AM
Bad business practices and decisions aren't the fault of the union worker

I don't think anyone was blaming union workers, we're talking about the people who run the unions. They can be just as corrupt and greedy as those "evil CEOs" (who seem to be the popular scapegoat for all the countries ills right now).

Buzzard
06-24-2009, 05:08 AM
I understand why unions where created in the first place, however, they're one of the primary reasons that America is in the mess that it is.

To place the primary blame on unions is misguided at the very least, and insulting to the hard working unionized American workers.


I don't think anyone was blaming union workers, we're talking about the people who run the unions. They can be just as corrupt and greedy as those "evil CEOs" (who seem to be the popular scapegoat for all the countries ills right now).


Forgive me if I took your first quote as to put the blame on the union workers.



There is both good and greed on both sides of the Unions and the Companies, but at a time when jobs are scarce, and consumer spending is way down, the people who make good money, and have good benefits, from working in unions have to understand that they are going to take a hit too, just like the rest of us.


What makes you think that they haven't? I can give you factual information about my union and the major give-backs that we have given over the past decade and a half, if not two decades.

People seem to forget, you get what you pay for. You want employees that have dedication and care about the job, you pay them well and treat them well. You want fast turnover and a crappy product, pay a crappy wage and treat employees like scum.

While I have never needed my union to save my job from actions of my own doing, I have seen members need to use the union to keep clueless members of management in check. There is good and bad in unions just as there is good and bad in life in general.

My years as a shop steward made me see good and bad in both the union's position and in management's position. When I have been in a management position, I've treated the employees with respect and they in turn did the job and treated me with respect back. Never once did I have a complaint from the union against me.

I've seen more non-union managers hung out to dry and lose their jobs by my company than any union employee. They had nothing to protect them and many of them wished that they did. In fact some members of management gave up their position and joined the union ranks, and vice-versa.

J.B.
06-24-2009, 06:02 AM
What makes you think that they haven't? I can give you factual information about my union and the major give-backs that we have given over the past decade and a half, if not two decades.

People seem to forget, you get what you pay for. You want employees that have dedication and care about the job, you pay them well and treat them well. You want fast turnover and a crappy product, pay a crappy wage and treat employees like scum.

While I have never needed my union to save my job from actions of my own doing, I have seen members need to use the union to keep clueless members of management in check. There is good and bad in unions just as there is good and bad in life in general.

My years as a shop steward made me see good and bad in both the union's position and in management's position. When I have been in a management position, I've treated the employees with respect and they in turn did the job and treated me with respect back. Never once did I have a complaint from the union against me.

I've seen more non-union managers hung out to dry and lose their jobs by my company than any union employee. They had nothing to protect them and many of them wished that they did. In fact some members of management gave up their position and joined the union ranks, and vice-versa.

Yeah,pretty much every union has had to give things back in some form or another. When people have no money to buy the goods and services, the companies cannot afford to operate at the same costs. That is just how it works. You can give some things back, or not have a job at all when the company goes out of business. I did not say that "they haven't", I just said that they have to take a hit too. Everybody is.

Paying a higher wage does not always mean you get a higher quality product. Besides, if a company puts out a crappy product, the market will fix that problem itself. Nobody buys crappy products for long.

Sure, unions can be used to protect workers in certain situations, but the road to failure is paved with good intentions. Look at the very situation cited in this thread. The teachers are paid by the school districts which are funded by TAX DOLLARS. Now a bunch of teachers who should probably be fired are sitting on their ass and getting paid because of union rules.

It's a two way street, and companies do not have to work with unions. However, if they don't then the unions will boycott the companies. How fair is that? In some industries unions are okay, but in the biggest industries there is a lot of problems that end up driving up costs for everybody, both directly and indirectly.

My problem is not with workers being fairly compensated, everybody wants that. However, I am a person who also values the free-market system, and unions can have as much negative effect on our economy as monopolies can.

KENTUCKYREDBONE
06-25-2009, 07:58 AM
Modern Union's seem to be more worried about getting Liberal Democrats elected than protecting workers! While I do like the original concept of helping Workers get treated in a fair and decent manner. I just ain't convinced that most Union bosses are any better than the CEO types. To me Union bosses seem half Businessmen and half Politician!