-By Warner Todd Huston
The outrage of union activities never ceases to amaze. From the Education Week blog we find that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the teachers union of New York, spends almost $200,000 a year of its member’s dues money on an office in Boca Raton, Florida! As Ed Week drolly says, “That’s not peanuts for a union fretting about its financially strapped members.”
Turns out that the reason the office exists is because of a union perk to retired teachers: permanent summer jobs at nearly $50 and hour.
According to Ed Week it’s called “retention rights.” The deal is that teachers with long tenure can come back each summer from their cushy retirement homes in Florida and take summer teaching jobs that would otherwise go to current, working teachers. These retired teachers essentially have first dibs on those summer jobs above the claims of the current workforce of New York educators. Retired teachers have a huge vested interest in keeping tabs on their old union, vote heavily to retain this perk, and they make huge cash taking advantage of the perk. So, the Boca office is there to serve them.
Ed Week details how lucrative this perk is for retired teachers.
One reliable source in the NYCDOE estimates that there are “hundreds of teachers who take advantage of retention rights.” At the per session hourly rate of $41.98, with average summer school lengths ranging from 60 to 150 hours, the average per session teacher is earning between $2,500 and $6,300–that’s probably a million bucks or more a year that snow birds are claiming from current teachers.
So, “retired” doesn’t mean a whole lot when it comes to taking summer jobs away from the working teachers apparently. The whole thing reminds me of a quote by the Michael Corleone character from The Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out,” he said, “they pull me back in. ” Only this time it would be the working teachers on the outside looking in while the gray-mafia of retired teachers come up each year from Florida to muscle them aside for the rich summer takings.
Seriously, I never thought I’d feel sorry for a union member, but in this case, the working teachers of New York are getting screwed by their own elderly brethren! The swipe from family is the unkindest cut of all.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky and American Thinker