NEW YORK (AP) — New York City sued a teachers union Friday, accusing it of violating an agreement over arbitrators hearing cases on teacher misconduct.
The lawsuit charges that the United Federation of Teachers is dragging its feet on approving arbitrators to hear cases against teachers charged with misconduct or incompetence.
"We are filing a lawsuit against the UFT because they have yet again decided to put their interests above those of city children," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded that Bloomberg is wasting public resources on a frivolous lawsuit.
"The administration mismanages the disciplinary process and in its last days tries to blame someone else for it," Mulgrew said in a statement, referring to term limits that will put Bloomberg out of office at the end of the year.
The city and the union reached an agreement in 2010 to close the so-called rubber rooms, where some teachers facing disciplinary charges spent years waiting for their cases to be heard.
The city claims the union has failed to uphold its end of the deal to expand the number of hearing officers from 20 to 39, thwarting the goal of the agreement.
Bloomberg said the growing backlog of cases prevents teachers who should be cleared of charges from having a fair hearing and allows teachers who shouldn't be in the classroom to continue to collect a paycheck.