10:51 am Jan. 4, 2013
Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized the teachers union this morning for its new ad campaign, which he said is "wasting their members' money."
"If there's ever a ways to force somebody to not come to an agreement, it's to run ads calling them bad things," said Bloomberg, during his regular Friday morning radio show. "I mean, what kind of a strategy is this? And they're not stupid. They know what they're doing. So they're deliberately trying to keep us from having a contract. It's the only rational explanation."
The United Federation of Teachers has launched a new ad campaign calling on Bloomberg to reach an agreement with the union on a new system for teacher evaluations.
"Going after teachers again, instead of helping them improve our schools," intones the narrator of the new ad, viewable here. "It's time for the mayor to put politics aside and agree to a fair evaluation system that gives teachers the support they need to help kids succeed."
Absent an agreement by Jan. 17, the city will lose $250 million in state education aid. At issue, according to the mayor this morning, is a union demand that future wage increases be part of the negotiations.
"There just isn't more money to pay our municipal workforce and the teachers, on average, get, for the first 20 years they work there ... a three-percent raise every year. ... And then they talk about retroactive raises the next mayor will give them. What's the next mayor gonna do? Print money? You'd have to raise property taxes and have the state raise the city income tax. It would be chaos."
The union had no immediate comment.
UPDATE: In his remarks, Bloomberg said that the UFT's leadership was not necessarily representative of its membership and in that way was similar to the National Rifle Association.
In an emailed statement in response, president Michael Mulgrew said, "In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the Mayor’s comparison this morning of teachers to the National Rifle Association is completely inappropriate, and a demonstration of how difficult he can be to deal with on any issue – much less one as complex as a new teacher evaluation system."
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