Skip to content

Probably No Early Retirement Incentive This Year

May 27, 2021 pm31 11:44 pm

Today’s email from Mulgrew held out the smallest glimmer of hope, “We will continue to fight until the final hour.” But the final hour is just about here.

When the NY State legislature included in the state budget a provision that would allow the City to negotiate with unions for an early retirement incentive, some teachers got excited.

But the negotiations bogged down. The City made ridiculous proposals (for some teacher licenses, but not others) that they knew the UFT would never agree to. It does not look like the City is serious. They will probably just run out the clock.

What happened? Here’s my guess.

An incentive would save the City money today, but increase overall pension liability. And, with the COVID economy and scary budget this fall, the City was thinking about the incentive more seriously than in any recent year (An incentive gets raised every single year, but usually dies a quiet death. One assemblyman gets to score points at home for introducing it).

Bureaucracy moves slowly, and the City’s interest in the fall turned into serious legislative moves over the winter, and the adoption of the incentive with the State budget last month.

Bureaucracy moves slowly, but the world doesn’t.

While an incentive was working its way through votes and negotiations and back-room deals, the feds sent money – a huge infusion. But at least some of it is only one-year money. So now the City’s immediate situation was much brighter, but with questions about the future.

The City might have gone for the incentive if they were short money today, but were good a couple years down the line. Now they saw their situation as the opposite: today’s money is good, but after that?

The City lost its incentive to pursue the incentive.

But there was already a bill. The City had already committed to negotiate with unions.

The City got what it asked for in November, but no longer wants it in May

So that’s where we are now. The City got what it asked for in November, but no longer wants it in May. Thus the fake negotiating. The demands they know are impossible. The City has every reason to run out the clock. Which, I believe, they are doing.

42 Comments leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    May 29, 2021 am31 7:29 am 7:29 am

    You’re right, the City has no need to reduce staffing now and with uncertain working conditions for the fall, they may get a good deal of retirements anyway. The DOE doesn’t really have a plan, only a goal to resume full-time instruction. Moreover, the DeBlasio administration is already in lame duck mode since they’ll all be gone by the end of the year. They have no skin in the game and the baton will be passed in just a few weeks.

    • Seth permalink
      May 29, 2021 am31 7:48 am 7:48 am

      reducing so by having top dollar people leave and now you can hire more teachers who cost less money, where people are looking for work where do you see this as an issue? You have substitutes who are trying to get positions in addition you have people who have finished their education trying to gain employment so where do you see that as not a good resolution?

      • May 30, 2021 am31 10:13 am 10:13 am

        “you can hire more teachers who cost less money, where people are looking for work”

        From a systemic point of view, not financial, this is problematic. There are NOT lots of potential teachers looking for work today. Even without the ERI the DoE is going to have a huge problem filling vacancies. I don’t know if you saw, but the hiring freeze has been lifted on every title.

        Even worse is the shortage of principals. There are just about zero qualified principals in the pipeline, and a few hundred ready to leave…

        These are every-year problems, both teachers and administrators, exacerbated by the pandemic. This is going to be a massive problem in September if the ERI is not passed. And if the ERI passes, every additional retirement it encourages will make the problem significantly worse.

        The ERI is like diverting traffic onto a ramp that leads to a clogged highway.

        I still could be wrong – the City and UFT could be cooking up some fantatstic surprise announcement. But I don’t think that’s in the cards. The facts on the ground don’t support it.

    • May 30, 2021 am31 10:06 am 10:06 am


      as much as some people WANT this to happen, it probably doesn’t make any sense from the City’s point of view.

  2. Hey Teach permalink
    May 29, 2021 pm31 4:18 pm 4:18 pm

    Providing an incentive now- will provide long term servings in the future. Over 60% of teachers are in Tier 4. Tier 6 employees pay into their pension for life – tier 4 does not. The DOE can hire 2 new teachers for the price of one veteran teacher on top salary. Teachers extra hard this year. We deserve an ERI!

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 29, 2021 pm31 11:48 pm 11:48 pm

    You write, “An incentive would save the City money today, but increase overall pension liability” as if the ERI is all about short term savings. Wrong! It’s about the long term. With the bailout from the Feds, the City has an even better opportunity to get its fiscal house in order by converting even more Tier IV’s to Tier VI’s. If this thing does not happen, the money will have had little to nothing to do about it at all. BTW: TRS is making a higher rate of return on our money this year than ever before.

    • Seth permalink
      May 30, 2021 am31 7:41 am 7:41 am

      and If they don’t offer the chance to go thus keeping people on payroll around longer the pension liability doesn’t decrease it will increase as they will be paying people more due to people working for longer years and at higher salary, so where is the savings in the long run?

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 30, 2021 am31 9:47 am 9:47 am

        That too, Seth! This was all settled science, as they say, until this final round of negotiations between the unions and city. Or so we were led to believe. Perhaps it is the optics of using taxpayer money from better managed, fiscally responsible states to solve pre-pandemic, self-inflicted wounds that is the problem here.

        • May 30, 2021 am31 10:00 am 10:00 am

          All the states are managed to help big business and screw over workers and small business. New York is not special.

      • May 30, 2021 am31 10:08 am 10:08 am

        Large numbers are retiring this year, whether or not there is an incentive. Same problem around the country.

    • May 30, 2021 am31 10:05 am 10:05 am

      Yeah, no. An Early Retirement Incentive saves immediate money with a long term cost to the City.

      Most people who retire would have retired anyhow. For each of those, their pensions would be larger under an ERI. That’s an increased liability (for the City) until those teachers pass away.

      The actuarial stuff is tricky. But ask yourself this: why isn’t there an ERI every year?

  4. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2021 am31 11:34 am 11:34 am

    You’re right, JD, NY is not alone in the ways it mismanages its affairs, financial and otherwise. Other states have shown the same knack for pretending that spending more taxpayer money solves problems, but not with the same relish and reckless abandon. What are those NY State and City budget numbers up to this year??? On the ERI, the right question to be asking is NOT why isn’t there an ERI every year, but why this year. And I wouldn’t be so sure that so many will be leaving, either, JD. The people you have in mind already left – at the end of last year! And if they stayed after last year, they will have the same reasons to stay after this year. The ERI is/was the difference.

    • May 30, 2021 am31 11:44 am 11:44 am

      The national polls and stories confirm that many teachers are planning to retire (and that there are not many new teachers in the pipeline)
      here CNBC
      <a href = ''<CNN
      KTLA (national story)
      Plus lots of local stories.

    • Hey Teach permalink
      May 30, 2021 am31 11:46 am 11:46 am

      You are correct. I could have retired already. If there was an incentive – I would have taken it. However, NO incentive I will continue to work another year or two on top salary and continue to add to my TDA.

      • Anonymous permalink
        May 30, 2021 pm31 12:37 pm 12:37 pm

        Same thing at my school, Hey Teach. And if there’s anything we learned these last few years it’s to be skeptical of pollsters and/or what interviewees tell pollsters. I’d rather go with my own experience besides, flesh it out and see what it has to say. And, JD, if it’s true there are few new teachers in the pipeline, which is not what I’m hearing from recent teacher school grads – my godson, for example, and his classmates, many of whom are working in the pizza delivery business and lawn maintenance… but even if it were true, wouldn’t it be better to change the way new teachers are hired instead of holding the old ones hostage? When my wife was considering changing careers from corportate to education, she was scared off by the flaming hoops that were put in the way of her becoming a teacher.

        • May 30, 2021 pm31 12:49 pm 12:49 pm

          How do recent teacher school grads know about the numbers of licensed candidates going up or going down? They know that there were 25 people in the room with them.

          This is getting silly.

        • May 30, 2021 pm31 12:50 pm 12:50 pm

          The certification process is lousy,

          therefore we should hire people who may or may not have any qualifications – just take their word for it?

          That is a pretty horrible Bloomberg/Klein idea.

          Just no.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2021 pm31 12:31 pm 12:31 pm

    Trying to stay positive. This has been a long wait. Good luck to everyone.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2021 pm31 1:02 pm 1:02 pm

    The certification process IS lousy and because of it we have “qualified” teachers who all too often reflect that lousy process.

    • May 30, 2021 pm31 1:07 pm 1:07 pm

      Then come up with a better process. I cringe when I think of what would happen if we just let anyone teach.

      The problem here is that several commenters are SOO invested in the ERI happening (even though it looks unlikely) that they are now saying pretty silly things.

      Super-silly, since what we write here won’t change what is about to happen – which I would lay about 999:1 is that the ERI for this year is dead.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    May 30, 2021 pm31 4:33 pm 4:33 pm

    Then let ’em co-teach.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    May 31, 2021 pm31 5:42 pm 5:42 pm

    Almost 6 PM. An update from the UFT would be nice….even just, “we are still fighting and will fight to the last hour.” If the fight is over, they should just tell us now.

    • Seth permalink
      May 31, 2021 pm31 5:46 pm 5:46 pm

      Just my opinion but I wonder if quiet means they are trying to get a deal done, and maybe UFT CSA and City Council are trying to convince the jackass to agree with what should be done.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    May 31, 2021 pm31 6:06 pm 6:06 pm

    Hope you are right Seth. It would be pretty rude to leave people hanging like this if all hope was lost and nothing was happening.

    • Seth permalink
      May 31, 2021 pm31 6:26 pm 6:26 pm

      like I said just stating my opinion, I hope I’m right as well.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    May 31, 2021 pm31 11:00 pm 11:00 pm

    I’m thinking that because it is a federal holiday (which probably no one in the state bothered to realize when they set the 5/31 deadline) that we won’t hear anything until sometime tomorrow. It’s already 11pm and nothing.

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 31, 2021 pm31 11:33 pm 11:33 pm

      But in his last email Mulgrew said the deadline was today and that the UFT would fight until the last hour. It!s the last hour now. If that changed he should’ve told us.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 1, 2021 am30 5:51 am 5:51 am

        If this experience has taught us anything it’s this: DON’T believe what your union leadership tells you.

        • Anonymous permalink
          June 1, 2021 am30 5:55 am 5:55 am

          Yep. And don’t pay people who do nothing for you. I am opting out. At least can keep a little money from the 2 extra years I’ll be working.

  11. Seth permalink
    June 1, 2021 am30 6:27 am 6:27 am

    bottom line again we don’t know what’s been said behind closed doors, for all we know things were already decided and they were waiting till one day this week to reveal the plan. We probably have been getting lip service on the situation whether that has made the situation bleaker or not as a bleak as it is. We just need to wait to hear official word. They could’ve said they are going along with the incentive and now they are talking about exactly which license to titles to allow. Again Mulgrew has supposedly said DeBlasio was in fact in favor of the incentive just not a broad scope of who. I have feeling that’s where the tough hill negotiating he was referring to is stemming from. We unfortunately just need to wait and see.

    • Anonymous permalink
      June 1, 2021 am30 6:38 am 6:38 am

      We have all waited patiently, long enough. There is no excuse for leaving us in the dark all weekend, especially after sending two different emails in late May saying that the deadline was May 31, and that they would fight until the final hour. How could our union leaders not realize that people were eagerly waiting for any news as the deadline approached? Why torture people? A simple message stating that we are still fighting…or it’s over and it’s not happening. Inconsiderate; no awareness of how others might be feeling. Why not send a message now, early on Tuesday morning? Why is everything a secret backroom deal that only those ‘in the know’ can participate in. You lowly teachers wouldn’t understand. Where’s the transparency. Such hypocrites! I’m done.

      • Seth permalink
        June 1, 2021 am30 6:54 am 6:54 am

        how many deals have you ever seen get done in the public eye?Not saying it was correct but they said it was going to be a fight till the end perhaps that was the message you were looking for on Friday or now, we just don’t know and we have to wait till they are done talking, again for all we know they still are in fact talking. They’ve been eerily quiet all week about a lot of the things hizzoner has said about schools for next year. We unfortunately need to be impatietnlty patient. Someone on the other thread relating to this topic said they spoke with a councilman’s associate who while couldn’t say for certain was adamant that the mayor would be addressing the budget and the ERI at the same time in June. Again we just need to wait and hear.

        • Anonymous permalink
          June 1, 2021 am30 7:08 am 7:08 am

          How hard would it be to send an email? Something simple.. we know you are all waiting for news…etc. That would have no impact on negotiations (if in fact they are still happening). Here is what the UFT’s silence says to me: we do not care about you…just pay your dues…those of us working for the UFT are in the clique and you’re not therefore you deserve nothing, you will get nothing and like it.

        • Seth permalink
          June 1, 2021 am30 7:28 am 7:28 am

          again I don’t necessarily disagree however just as you are awaiting as am I and who knows how many others that would not be able to go yet if it were not for the ERI but we just need to wait to see what happens. There’s really nothing else we can do nor will it matter what we think may or may not be reality because truth be told the only ones that do know are the ones at the proverbial bargaining table.

        • Anonymous permalink
          June 1, 2021 am30 7:58 am 7:58 am

          Not disagreeing either. More venting I guess. I admire your patience. Just curious how long before your patience runs out. I mean what’s your deadline for hearing something/anything from the UFT? Noon today? Friday? June 25?

        • Seth permalink
          June 1, 2021 am30 8:04 am 8:04 am

          trust me my patience has run out because it is really no a brainer for this to happen. This being said we are dealing with a person ( the mayor) who in the last town hall Mulgrew himself said it feels like they need to spoon feed everything to him. Case in point at first he cancelled a parade that was to honor a fallen vet/firefighter from Staten Island, then at last minute he changed his mind and announced it was back on. The man never makes concrete decisions on things that are as easy for a 3 yr old to be able to see what’s right.

  12. fred99999999999 permalink
    June 1, 2021 am30 7:34 am 7:34 am

    “An incentive would save the City money today, but increase overall pension liability.”

    That’s the opposite of what Early Retirement Incentives do. Generally, they save taxpayers a huge sum in the long run. For example, even those opposed to the 2010 statewide Early Retirement Incentive estimated that it saved NYS several hundreds of millions of dollars.

  13. Anonymous permalink
    June 1, 2021 am30 8:54 am 8:54 am

    It’s over. Not surprised. Will have to motivate for these last 2 years. Very very cruel the whole thing. But again, not surprised.

    • Seth permalink
      June 1, 2021 am30 9:53 am 9:53 am

      not surprised either I have a couple more to stay motivated for, hope perhaps the next regime sees the need and it’s revisited

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 1, 2021 am30 10:43 am 10:43 am

        I would be interested in seeing if the city pulls the same deal with respect to the other group of those governed by the June 30th deadline (some of whom are unionized and others not).

  14. Anonymous permalink
    June 1, 2021 am30 10:24 am 10:24 am

    copy of Mulgrew announcement here-


  1. No Early Retirement Incentive This Year | JD2718

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: