Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          September 23, 2022


Subject:    Updates

In spite of a threat of severe thunderstorms, once again, Buffalo teachers, in one of our largest solidarity rallies, showed the Superintendent, Board and public that Buffalo teachers are united, strong and angry.


Thank you to those who marched and those who stayed and walked out together after I addressed the Superintendent and Board on your behalf. You sent a very strong message.


While we have not received a copy of a proposal, we understand that something was shown at the Board meeting.


We will advise you after we receive a copy.


No Confidence Vote
As per my statement to the teachers at our Solidarity Rally, the Superintendent and Board, here is a copy of the resolution passed unanimously by the Executive Committee and Council of Delegates (Click Here).


Be Careful What You Say and Write
We and our attorneys are once again asking that all teachers be careful of what you say and communicate, as you could inadvertently cause harm to yourself and your colleagues.


You should know that teachers at a Buffalo school, who, after violent fights after school and threats that some outsiders would come back the next day and kill people, were out the next day, were charged with striking and found guilty because some had a meeting after school and discussed calling in sick. The Delegate Chair, at the BTF’s request, advised the teachers via email that night that they might have to present a doctor’s note and that there should be no group actions. Even though, they were charged with striking, and lost 2 days pay for the day they were absent. Dues were withheld from all teachers at the school for four (4) months. Yes, the courts affirmed this.


As per our attorneys, under New York State law, strikes by public school teachers are illegal. Employees and unions can suffer severe consequences for engaging in a strike. As per New York State law, BTF cannot lawfully authorize, approve, condone, support or recommend a strike.


Loose actions or even talk about a strike can have serious consequences for both individual members and the bargaining unit as a whole.


The Taylor Law mandates that a public employer apply for an injunction in state supreme court "where it appears that public employees or an employee organization threaten or about to do, or are doing" a strike. And that section states that where there is non-compliance with a subsequently issued injunction that the public employer must apply for contempt of court against the violators.


Contempt of court violations can result in substantial fines of thousands of dollars and imprisonment for violators.

There are additional serious consequences.


Firstly, a bargaining unit that strikes loses its Triborough rights --- that is, a school district is no longer required to continue the terms of an expired collective bargaining agreement. That means it could be possible that the Buffalo Public Schools would be able to impose its terms on our bargaining unit, the worst possible consequence.


For an individual, the Taylor Law requires that deductions equaling twice the employee's daily pay be taken by his or her employer for each day or partial day that the employee is on strike. While an employee can challenge this 2-for-1 pay penalty, the law provides that the hearing officer in that situation is appointed and paid for by the employer, essentially a kangaroo court.


Additionally, an employee can be disciplined, including the penalty of termination, for such conduct like any other alleged misconduct.


And lastly, unions that participate, condone or even fail to prevent in certain circumstances a strike, can have their dues deduction privileges suspended or revoked.


Again, given the serious consequences to the individual employee(s) and the bargaining unit, loose talk or action that might involve a strike should not be undertaken.


We will keep you informed.


Extended Pay Plan
Several teachers have called the BTF today to say that their checks did not reflect the changes they requested to their Extended Pay Plan deductions. The BTF sent all changes to the payroll office in August. Apparently, many deductions were not changed. We are working with the payroll office to resolve this issue and expect all changes to be made by the next payroll.


School Safety
Please complete the school safety survey (See Email for Survey Link) that was sent to you. We know you are very busy; however, please have your survey to us by Monday, September 26, 2022.


In this way we can have the issues addressed.


As always, we will continue such surveys to see is more problems occur and the reported ones have been corrected.



Thank you.