View Full Version : All NYC As budget cuts loom, state's largest teachers union has burned through millions of dollars

03-28-2011, 10:00 AM
This from NYDailyNews (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/03/27/2011-03-27_1stclass_junkets_teach_union_spends_big_on_esca pes.html) by Douglas Feiden:
As Gov. Cuomo moves to slash $1.5 billion in school aid, the state's largest teachers union has burned through millions of dollars on junkets, feasts and parties at resorts across New York.

New York State United Teachers hosts more than 150 conferences a year at some 50 rustic retreats, lakefront lodges and oceanfront hotels - even though it has a conference center near its Albany headquarters.

That means union members and brass average three powwows a week as they wine and dine from Montauk to Niagara Falls, a Daily News review of union spending found.

Funded by its 575,000 members' dues, the teachers union dropped $3.8 million on conferences last year - plus $225,000 more for catering and $231,000 for 14 photographers who snapped pictures of the parleys, documents show.

All told, the union has shelled out nearly $17 million since 2005, with their two favorite spots being Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa in Montauk ($2.1 million) and the Otesaga Resort Hotel near the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown ($2.4 million).

For entertainment, it paid $9,500 for the Capitol Steps comedy troupe and $25,505 for the Okie Dokie Nightclub, both in Washington.

To get to upstate hot spots, union employees can take advantage of the union's $1.8 million fleet of more than 155 vehicles. Rank-and-file members can bill their locals for tolls and mileage.

Extravagant union spending has continued even as Mayor Bloomberg threatens to ax 4,700 city teachers and union lobbyists fight to salvage "last in, first out," which bases firing on seniority.

Last month The News revealed how the city's United Federation of Teachers, the state union's largest local affiliate, blew $1.4 million on a 50th anniversary gala.

"NYSUT talks about shared sacrifice, but the taxpayer makes the sacrifice and foots the bills for its frivolous spending," said Jason Brooks of the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability, a charter school advocacy group and union critic.

"School taxes pay the salaries of teachers, who are required to pay union dues, which go to fund junkets at five-star resorts."

read more>> (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2011/03/27/2011-03-27_1stclass_junkets_teach_union_spends_big_on_esca pes.html)