September 15, 2012
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Chicago Teachers Union,
We applaud you in your strong stance in seeking a strong, valid contract, against the odds, with slanders coming from many directions.
We understand that a major objective in your contract talks has been securing job placement / recall rights guarantees for laid-off teachers following the closure of schools.
Recognizing that similar anti-teacher strategies are being used in different cities, we would like to warn you of the negative experiences of excessed teachers from closed or down-sized schools here. There is a big gap between what the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has promised and what it has actually done.
Here in New York City, the DOE has hosted job fairs for excessed teachers in a pool called the Absent Teacher Reserve. The reality is that job recruiters do not treat ATRs with serious consideration. Instead, the principals and other HR officials are welcoming toward new or newer teachers. A central aspect to the principals’ preference is that the excessed teachers usually pull higher salaries. The principals hire the new, inexpensive teacher.
Likewise, the DOE has continued expensive recruitment campaigns and continues to solicit new, untested teachers. The DOE has brief periods of so-called hiring freezes, during which the actual reality is that very few ATRs are placed, and the DOE has a completely unrestricted open door for new hires.
In any agreement, there is the crucial element of contract or agreement enforcement. Fortunately, we have more faith in your union’s inclination to stand by in word and deed to any agreement that you make regarding excessed teachers in hiring pools.
In solidarity, the GEM/ATR Committee, of excessed NYC teachers. (For full disclosure, we are unrepresented dues-paying members of the United Federation of Teachers.) firstname.lastname@example.org