Thursday, March 31, 2011

The hard questions

If you read today's Courier Times article entitled Health plan numbers don't add up, undoubtedly you caught Louise Boyd's comment that during the last negotiation session, the NFT reps "were willing to go point by point and were prepared for hard questions but ... were dismissed." After reading that statement, wouldn't you think that Ms. Boyd was saying that the Board was responsible for their dismissal from this meeting? I'm sure that's exactly what she wants you to think, and this is symptomatic of the half truths and deception that has plagued the NFT negotiations from the very beginning.

The truth behind this particular incident is that the mediator dismissed the parties as he had another meeting. So it was not the Board who ended the meeting as Ms. Boyd's comment suggests. Of course she can later say that she never stated it was the Board who "dismissed" them, but why not make that clear up front?

We can ask that same hard question of so many things the NFT has done to this point. For example:

* Why does the NFT report a $2.8 million annual savings in their last offer when less than $900k has been identified?

* Why does the NFT report any kind of savings at all when the bottom line offer is actually more expensive than their original proposal? (Repeat after me, there is no NET savings ... there is no NET savings ... )

* How is it possible that after three years of negotiations, the NFT has still not put employee health care contributions on the table?

* Why hasn't the NFT allowed the Board to freely implement a cost savings measure of self insured Rx that has no negative impact on the teachers?

The NFT leadership wants you to know that they still have more questions, even after three years of negotiations. What the NFT leaders fail to recognize is that the public views this strategy as a stall tactic. The public doesn't want more questions, they want answers. And they deserve that.

It appears that the NFT will be meeting with the Courier Times Editorial staff sometime in April to share their side of things. Hopefully they will actually bring some numbers and verifiable data with them. It would be nice to address facts and figures for a change rather than dealing with an ongoing barrage of unsubstantiated accusations.

Until the NFT can prove otherwise ... there is NO NET SAVINGS in their offer.


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