A conundrum

29 Jun

Should the teachers’ union switch to a single health insurance carrier; Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which 75% of their members already carry, and where the switch would cost no more money and in no way affect coverage…

…or…

Keep the system that’s in place now and lay off 250-300 teachers?

Can you actually believe that the union has to think about that decision?

Can you believe they’re actually choosing the path that leads to layoffs? That’s a nice howdy-do to those members.

Even weirder is that the new Buffalo Schools superintendent refers to himself in the 3rd person. That’s seldom a good thing.

Incoming School Superintendent James A. Williams, interviewed Tuesday by phone from Tennessee, said there is this major change since earlier negotiations fizzled: “James Williams was not at the table then.”

Those developments were set in motion Monday when a state judge placed a temporary halt on the Board of Education’s plan to save $27 million over the next two years by switching to a single health insurance carrier. At stake next year is $10 million in the district’s general operating budget and an additional $2 million in its grants budget.

Although the case will not be decided by an arbitrator for at least a few months, the preliminary decision by State Supreme Court Justice Patrick H. NeMoyer set off alarm bells in City Hall and prompted district officials to begin preparing a contingency budget with $12 million in cuts for the fiscal year that begins on Friday.

Rumore’s explanation?

Just because you need the money, you can’t go out and violate somebody’s contract,” he said. “What are we supposed to say? Thank you very much? It’s not just an issue of money. It’s an issue of what they did to get the money.”

With respect, it is an issue of money. The city doesn’t have it. A perfectly reasonable concession is requested, yet somehow miraculously can’t get negotiated. I’d love to be in the room when those 250-300 teachers are laid off, and I’d love to hear them make comments to Mr. Rumore about the circumstances surrounding their firing. I’m sure it’ll be one big union brotherhood lovefest.

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