Policy

NYC Teachers Union Has an Office in Boca Raton

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This is what Boca is like

Education Week's Rick Hess explains how snowbird retired teachers are screwing newbie instructors (and us) from the comfort of Florida's lovely sandy beaches:

New York City's teachers may do well to ask why their union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), has an office in Boca Raton, Florida. A recent article in the New York Post figured that rent alone for the Boca Raton branch costs UFT members $183,603 per year. That's not peanuts for a union fretting about its financially strapped members.

One reason for the Boca branch, as I noted a little while back, is that the retirees in the UFT are more active in UFT elections than the current teachers. The UFT website notes, "The UFT maintains an office in Boca Raton to service our retired members in Florida. These members make up a potent voting bloc, last year helping to elect two new members of Congress with favorable positions on our issues." NYC teachers may wonder whether their retired brethren are allies, or a competing constituency.

And what do these retirees get in exchange for their faithful participation? Thanks to something called "retention rights," union members with seniority get first shot at sweet summer gigs in NYC:

Former teachers who desire a few extra bucks for greens fees or lawn care can up and keep returning to New York City to teach summer school--bumping current teachers from these per session jobs. And, so long as they keep doing it, they can keep doing it. 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.

Via Reihan Salam.