Per this item, here’s what NYC Mayor Bloomberg had to say today. It’s significant on the work rules comment and politically clever on the vacation dig…
A: I didn’t hear what she had to say. I mean, I hope there’s a contract soon. If she does not hope there’s a contract soon, I think she should tell her members. Everyone who I meet wants to have a contract. And we’re trying very hard to negotiate one. There’s been a lot of back and forth, she’s been on vacation and last week was a little bit hard to reach. I know our labor commissioner tried two or three times; so, that probably held up negotiations a week. But the fact finding by the arbitration panel has been proceeding. We’ve been testifying. So, did the UFT. It’s an advisory thing. So, you know, anything they can suggest would be helpful. But the city, you know, look, the city needs teachers. We have great teachers. We’d like to pay ‘em more. The same rules apply, however. We do need to have some changes in work rules that are inhibiting our ability to educate our kids, which is the fundamental purpose that the Department of Education exists for. It’s not a, the Department of Education isn’t there to create jobs. It’s there to educate our kids, and, so, we need to get some changes, which, I think, would not be onerous to teachers. And, then, if they want to get paid more than the pattern, they have to come up with some work saving, productivity enhancements, money saving things because that’s where the money is going to come. It’s where it’s come on every other contract and it’s where it’s going to come on this. We do not have any extra money, and, as you know, the ‘07 (budget) is going to be problematic, I think, for all of us. So, we’re sticking to trying to do everything we can to negotiate a contract. And I’m still optimistic. I don’t know why she’d say that. She is a woman who wants to get a contract, as far as I know. Everything I’ve ever heard from her says she do (sic).
Update: Clever, but perhaps not quite right? From the NY Daily News:
The mayor’s comments infuriated Weingarten, who said she wasn’t vacationing – she was on jury duty and City Hall officials knew it.
“I haven’t been the one that is hard to reach,” she said. “The mayor’s representatives know I served on federal jury duty and was completely available when not empaneled.”