700 NYC teachers are paid to do nothing

"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."


There was a white collar computer worker in the SUNY system who was fired. Since they had to give him one year notice he came in sat and read for one year. Union rules.

I do think people should be paid during the time between an accusation and the hearing–after all the accusation could indeed be false. The problem sounds like it is dirrectly related to how long the wait for a hearing and I am not sure that is controlled by the union. I work in another union environment and disciplinary hearings and actions are controlled by management. Any delays or problems are usually caused by management people not having followed the proper procedure or not having all the correct paperwork. I am a management employee so this is not just sour grapes on my part. The union person does have the right to representation, but the union will always make someone available and the management has to give the union rep the time off for that, so there is no issue there.

It seems like just another sign or poor management and incompetence in the NY government, not a teacher’s union issue.

As a teacher, I completely agree with you. How can any organization not pay someone while they are going through the legal due-process system. Think about it this way… if they were to not pay them, and found out the accusations were false… $65 million would seem like pennies compared to the justifiable lawsuits that would occur.

Revert TSIEG

If the board finds they should be fired do they have to pay back the salary they were paid for sitting around for a year at my expense?

Why would the union want to clear the docket?

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


So to speed up the process the union had to agree.

Thats funny. :extrahappy:

Now that is what I am talking about!!! :thumbsup:

Revert TSIEG

Actually John Stossel did a piece on this a year or two ago. He asked why the hearings didn’t take place more quickly. The school system superintendent pulled out the union - demanded disciplianry hearing process and it was about a 20 page long flowchart of truly Byzantine logic. The Superintendent’s quote: "I doubt anybody on earth understands this mumbo jumbo.

The teacher’s union leader’s response: “Well they agreed to it…”


People are suspended without pay all the time, from pro athletes to construction workers.

Sounds like plenty of blame to go around. I do support unions for people who do jobs in mines, many factories, outside installations, oil fields, etc. Unions were created to help make dangerous, difficult jobs safer for the workers and to give them more protection if something did happen. I am not sure that teachers need a union at all–the job is much closer aligned to a white collar job than a physical, dangerous blue collar job. However, given that NYC has a teachers union, I do think the city government could do much more to avoid negotiating into place the crazy system described as a “20 page long flowchart of truly Byzantine logic.”

Sr Sally,

Can you even imagine having the job of negotiating with the NYC teacher’s union on the subject of terms, salary and benefits? How many thousands of teachers must there be in that district? What choice do you really have?

Are you going to fire them all if they vote to strike? Where will you get thousands of qualified replacements? In such a situation, the union has all the power and makes its demands. The City makes certain priorities and plays its cards the best it can. But when you are holding a pair of sixes, you just don’t have much to work with. Priority has to be limiting pay as much as reasonable and keeping benefit costs under control. Disciplinary processes are WAY too far down the list to get any attention, precisely because the union holds way too much power in the situation.

Great points, which brings us to the issue of having a choice on how and where our children are educated. I would like to not pay school taxes and use the money in a more productive way to educate my kids. If there were actual options hard working and innovative teachers would prosper and our kids would benefit.

In a monopoly we pay the highest prices and get the worst product.

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