Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          November 14, 2022


Subject:    Updates – November 14, 2022

The Superintendent contacted us in reference to the cancelled negotiations to advise us that the District is committed to continuing negotiations and that the only reason for the cancelation was the short time between Monday and Wednesday as a result of being off on Tuesday.


We will see when we resume negotiations on November 21, 2022.


If progress is not satisfactory, there will be a no confidence vote in the Superintendent and Board on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.


As you were advised, we will be picketing the next Board meeting. I will be addressing the Board on your behalf.


   DATE:      Wednesday, November 16, 2022
   TIME:      4:00 – 5:00 PM (The Board Meeting starts at 5:30)
   PLACE:   Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (BPS #192)
                  450 Masten Ave, Buffalo, 14209 (Off East Ferry)


Fact Finding
The Fact-Finder has our and the Board’s submissions. He has advised us that he will schedule a meeting if he needs clarification from either party. If not, he will issue his recommendations for a settlement. They are not binding on either side.


We have provided documentation about the great disparities in salaries, steps, lifetime impacts, District stagnant healthcare costs (etc.)… and an analysis of the District’s excellent financial position.


His report/recommendations will be made public.


Be Careful
As per our attorneys request, 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. 


Additional Picket Signs
We have received the “A NEW CONTRACT NOW” signs. If you would like to pick some up, please email Hazel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) stating how many signs you will need and arrange a pick-up date and time.