De Blasio Administration Volunteered to Hand Out Tens of Thousands of New Parking Placards

The principals union says City Hall decided "on its own" to extend parking perks to teachers.

Mayor de Blasio and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Photo: Rob Bennett/Office of the Mayor
Mayor de Blasio and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Photo: Rob Bennett/Office of the Mayor

The de Blasio administration chose to reissue tens of thousands of parking placards to city school teachers, and was not forced to do so by an administrative law judge, according to the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union that represents school principals.

In 2008, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg reduced the number of parking placards issued by the Department of Education from some 63,000 to around 11,000, aligning the number of placards with the number on-street parking spots reserved for schools. After some resistance, the United Federation of Teachers accepted the cuts. The CSA filed a lawsuit to have its members’ parking permits reinstated.

A recent arbitration ruling led the city to reissue CSA placards. In a bulletin titled “The Sun Will Shine On Your Parking Space Once More,” the CSA member newsletter said UFT permits were a separate issue:

The city is issuing the permits as a result of a legal decision and negotiations between unions, the DOE and the city of New York. [CSA litigated and won the permits but the city decided on its own to grant permits to teachers as well.]

The CSA bulletin was dated May 9, the day UFT members were informed by union president Michael Mulgrew that DOE placards would be issued to “[e]very school employee who has a car.” The change will take effect May 18.

Streetsblog asked DOE and City Hall spokespeople if arbitration forced the city to reissue UFT placards. In an email, the city responded: “As a result of the recent arbitration and negotiations among the unions and the DOE, the DOE will issue DOE parking permits to CSA, UFT and DC 37 staff in schools.”

In light of the CSA bulletin, we asked why the city elected to reissue UFT permits. We have yet to get an answer. The city has not responded to requests for a copy of the judge’s ruling in the CSA case either.

CSA represents 6,200 principals and other school administrators. UFT has 75,000 teacher members, in addition to 19,000 school paraprofessionals. DC 37 represents 25,000 DOE employees. Before the Bloomberg reforms, the number of placards distributed to these workers far exceeded the number of reserved on-street spaces at schools.

The placards don’t guarantee a legal parking spot, but since traffic enforcement agents don’t ticket vehicles with placards on the dash, they do guarantee that parking in a crosswalk, bus stop, or no-standing zone will get a free pass. Until the number of placards was reduced to align with the number of legal spots in 2008, this led to rampant illegal parking near schools.

The system DOE is returning to was so dysfunctional that Mulgrew’s predecessor Randi Weingarten acknowledged it was untenable.

“This is the floodgates reopening,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul White told AMNY. “We fought this battle ten years ago … the real issue was that people were using legitimate placards to park illegally in crosswalks, in front of hydrants, and really just creating major safety hazards around schools.”

Evidently, that’s OK with Bill de Blasio.

  • Fool

    Ah, that wonderful intersection of unionized civil servants and the ability to legally buy votes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    This is a progressive policy. If you claim to be a progressive, this is what you are in favor of. Special deals for some of the people, people who are already privileged, in exchange for a deal.

    People who call themselves progressive today determine what the word means today. Even if it means the opposite of what it mean 100 years ago, during the so-called progressive era. What was Tammany Hall then is now progressive reform.

    Next step — teacher parking the playgrounds, which the kids can’t use, and/or more space reserved for school employees on the street.

  • Reggie

    De Blasio has never been a progressive; he is a populist (which is the polite term for panderer). Sometimes the popular position is progressive but when that happens, the mayor got there by accident.

  • Larry Littlefield

    He says he is a progressive, and most of those who make similar claims back similar policies with regard to the relative worth of the general public and those working the system.

    Take our progressive City Council speaker. The PBA gets 1,000 more dues paying members because it couldn’t possibly provide beat cops with a mere 2.8 times more officers relative to population as the U.S. average.

    Won’t even get into Cuomo.

    And such is the Wall Street like sense of entitlement in some public union quarters that they still think they are being ripped off, and resent the rest of us. And you provide some numbers on their situation vs. everyone else and they are furious — not to be spoke on together.

    In any event, I’m wondering how this will play out where I live. There is a school on 11th Avenue in Windsor Terrace, a wide street. As a traffic calming measure DOT once proposed angle parking, which was angrily rejected by the community. Perhaps it will come back, with school employee only parking on both sides of the street for a few blocks.
    Teachers from other neighborhoods who only used their cars occasionally could then store them there 24/7, and take transit to commute to them.

  • Vooch

    This is a taxable benefit. City is required by federal law to withhold taxes from those signed up for placards.

    In most of Manhattan, the City would need to withhold about $3,000/yr. because the benefit is worth around $9,000/yr

  • Hard to see this as anything other than a political giveaway during an election year.

    Short-term politics are completely at odds with this city’s dire need to have a long-term sustainability and transportation plan.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Maybe he has a genius plan.

    First the UFT files a lawsuit claiming the city is violating its labor rights by not providing a parking space for every employee with a placard.

    Then BdB settles the lawsuit by agreeing to do so, and says a judge made him do it. The UFT and the other unions agree to back that up with massive propaganda, and no other politician dares to contradict it.

    With all that extra parking reserved on the street, it becomes impossible for residents who are not public employees commuting in from the suburbs to park, and they are forced to sell their cars. Meanwhile, the transit system continues to collapse.

    That would put people in their place, and reduce the number of cars owned by city residents.

    Glad I get around mostly by bicycle now.

  • JudenChino

    This will also put more stress on communities where many of the locals park on the street and feel threatened by any thing that reduces the # of free road side parking. You thought parking outside PS #321 was tight already, imagine now that 4x as many placcards are being distributed for that school, with the same # of parking spots. Good luck.

  • JudenChino

    Also, Bill de Blasio is such a fucking coward. Little Richie Rich Bloomberg would’ve never gone for this. It’s as if BdB has no actual transit policy whatsoever. All transactional, empty rhetoric, with the very occasional, stepping up for the greater good (bike lane on Qnz Blvd/111th street but not Clinton Ave). Bloomberg, despite his many flaws, was an actual leader. He had a vision and recognized that car driving as the primary means of transportation wasn’t workable as a city policy. Whereas BdB — Jesus Christ man. You literally get driven 12 miles a day to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Take the fucking train! See what the rest of us deal with. Take the 2nd ave bike lane once, just once, from Gracie Mansion to City Hall. I mean, why the fuck not? He can get people to carry his shit. The press loves it when pols take the train. And if he actually biked — could you imagine the positive press he’d get for that. It’d save him time too! You can easily do UES to City Hall in 40 minutes, which is probably the same time it takes to drive to Park Slope during the morning rush. He’d get some exercise thus nullifying the need to walk on a treadmill in Park Slope. Why is he so awful?

  • This is not a “special deal”. The City has the obligation to comply with the judge’s ruling. And the union has the obligation not to set the bad precedent of overlooking the City’s non-compliance.

    More fundamentally, the interests of these unions is identical to the workers’ interests in general. It’s not the fault of these unionised workers that we American workers are so gullible and so class-unconscious that we have let our unions shrivel. These workers are perfectly entitled to everything they have won in bargaining.

    There was a time when most private-sector workers were in unions that were just as strong as these public-sector unions, and were protected by collective-bargaining agreements that held the more powerful side (the employer) to duties and obligations. If the goal is for everyone to enjoy the benefits of just treatment that unionised workers enjoy, then the answer is simple: organise and unionise.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Little Richie Rich Bloomberg would’ve never gone for this.”

    He went for a teacher retirement at age 55 after just 25 years of work, with pensions spiked by participation in school activities. All while considering running for President.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/the-2008-nyc-2555-united-federation-of-teachers-pension-deal-an-investigation/

    Followed by a big reduction in take-home pay for new teachers and a retirement plan that while better than virtually anyone outside of government gets is still worse than Generation Greed teachers were originally promised.

    Bloomberg also signed off on a report, with Schumer and Spitzer, which held that the U.S. was over-regulating derivatives. Came out in 2007.

    http://r8ny.com/2008/07/26/barrier-to-entry/

    Ah yes, but God, Gays, Guns and Donald Trump! Younger (non) voters can’t be concerned with anything else! Pick your side in the great ideological battle, and don’t pay attention to the 3 am deals the adversaries have cut at your expense!

  • inky799

    This guy has lost it big time. Ranting and raving has gotten out of hand. Time for an intervention. Must be the gasoline fumes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “More fundamentally, the interests of these unions is identical to the workers’ interests in general.”

    So the city should issue placards to everyone?

  • So the city should issue placards to everyone?

    You have already demonstrated with alarming clarity that anti-worker zealotry promotes intellectual dishonesty; but I am beginning to suspect that it promotes a lack of reading comprehension, as well. This will make the third time (over two websites) that I have said to you that parking placards should be drastically reduced, if not elminated. But it must be done in the context of collective bargaining, wherein another benefit is offered in exchange for the union giving this one up.

  • Joe R.

    Back to the bad old days. I recall three times in the early 2000s a teacher parked their car in our driveway and left, prominently displaying the placard in the windshield. My dad called the cops all three times. All three times he was told there’s nothing they could do. A placard lets you park wherever you want, including on sidewalks and in people’s driveways. Whether this is true or not I have no idea but the fact the cop wouldn’t do anything about a vehicle parked on private property without permission speaks to some kind of unsaid deal between the NYPD and anyone with parking placards. In the end my dad started putting his car at the end of the driveway to keep it from happening again, even though he preferred to keep it behind the gate for theft/vandalism reasons. Now that we don’t have a car to block the driveway it might be time to put some garbage pails filled with gravel there. Or ask one of the neighbors to park their car in front of our driveway.

  • Joe R.

    If you read the article it says the UFT accepted the cuts, albeit grudgingly. The CSA decided to fight it in court. They could have decided not to given that the UFT accepted the deal. My guess is they fought it because most principles drive to work.

    And this isn’t even getting into the fact that the CSA is illegal by federal law which prohibits supervisors from having their own union.

    In the end crap like this is only going to turn more people against labor unions even though you would rather the opposite were true.

  • Larry Littlefield

    What have other workers been offered in exchange for not having placards?

  • Brad Aaron

    Personal attacks are a violation of Streetsblog comment policy.

    If you have a substantive argument, make it.

  • Jeff

    Do you have enough strong friends you can call to just lift the damn thing from the rear and rotate it around so that it’s awkwardly blocking the street?

  • Joe R.

    Good idea. If it happens again I’ll enlist the help of a few neighbors.

  • inky799

    Its ok for this guy to blame teachers for nothing with no proof for something they had nothing to do with and thats ok with you? Its ok to post an argument with no proof your kidding. He has made personal attacks in every post. I’m not a fan of Bloomberg but that l;looked like an attack to me. Its ok to point out his website which you should read and you will see all he does is make personal attacks on anyone with a pension.

  • Kevin Love

    The problem with this is that the placards were never part of the Collective Agreement. So the union is not “giving this one up” because they never had it in the first place.

  • Brad Aaron

    I can’t tell if you’re deliberately being obtuse, so I’ll clarify: It’s against Streetsblog comment policy to personally attack other commenters. Your Disqus history suggests your mission is trolling Larry Littlefield, on Streetsblog and elsewhere.

    If you disagree with Larry, or anyone here, on the merits, that’s fine. Just keep it on that level.

  • inky799

    No my mission is to point out that Larry has a history of blaming the wrong people and trolls educational sites and hijacks the discussion and uses his website as his sources. He was trolling these site a long time before me. I get what your saying I just pointed out that LL does it all the time I was just wondering if you say the same thing to him?

  • nanter

    It’d be an awful shame if that car somehow got scratched to hell.

  • Larry Littlefield

    In New York, anything that goes on for a while is considered part of normal working conditions, and has the force of permanent deal that can only be changed if the union agrees it is coming out ahead on the deal.

    For example, the Bloomberg Administration discovered that lots and lots of people affiliated with the UFT who were not eligible for family health care were receiving it (people who had split up, etc).

    The UFT went to court and a court ruled that since such abuses had gone on so long without challenge, it was now a right. The city was prohibited for checking if those receiving health insurance were actually entitled to it. Until the UFT agreed to a change in the most recent contract, in exchange for a big up front cash payout for those who were retiring.

    So Ferdinand is right. Anything you take, no matter what, you get to keep, if you are in this system, fair or foul.

  • Vooch

    bird seed also

  • Vooch

    well said !

  • Driver

    Or borrow a floor jack with wheels.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Who should be blamed?

    inky’s point, as best as I can understand it, is that the serfs have no right to discuss, let alone object to on fairness grounds, inequities and deals that are under Omertà. Or to tabulate data showing those inequities. These are supposed to be secret between “employer and employee” and are nobody else’s business.

    The fact that I do so makes me a troll, in his view, while his string of invective makes him a vigilante enforcing the unofficial law. By his definition Streetsblog, by bringing up an issue that is “none of its business” and questioning its fairness, is being a troll.

    It is a common view of those in his generation. They don’t want to hear it. And not just about education, transit, pensions, and parking.

  • inky799

    wrong as usual still telling people what to think. You make up things and support the thinking that there are these great secrets done behind someones back that is just sheer paranoia. You work on the idea of fear and yes you are a troll because you say stupid things. Like its a common view of my generation.I hear you everyday but you just don’t get the fact that no one is listening to you. Your generalization about others borders on sheer prejudice You like to assume that you know it all and paint everyone with the same brush.
    You can point out whatever you wish and I will always be there to show how wrong you are. How can you call yourself a serf when you earn much more then the average teacher? Maybe a better name is hypocrite.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Let’s not go all Long Island here.

  • What have other workers been offered in exchange for not having placards?

    Considering that those other workers never had placards in the first place, the question makes no sense (unless one is intent on simply waging rhetorical war against workers, without any regard for reality).

    In New York, anything that goes on for a while is considered part of normal working conditions, and has the force of permanent deal that can only be changed if the union agrees it is coming out ahead on the deal.

    And rightfully so, for that is what simple fairness demands. If something is continuously allowed, then it may be assumed to be part of the agreement. And the agreement cannot be unilaterally abrogated; any alteration must be achieved by means of bargaining.

    This arrangement is entirely just; it reflects the concept of “customary law”, which is well accepted in all areas of civil law.

    So Ferdinand is right.

    Right about pointing out the appalling intellectual dishonesty and the sloppy reasoning that underlies an ugly anti-worker hate campaign.

  • Whether this benefit was actually written into the contract or or whether it came about as a tradition is not the point. For a union to simply concede something that it has, while getting nothing in return, is strategically unthinkable.

    Placards can be reduced in a way that respects workers’ rights and the spirit of collective bargaining.

  • inky799

    There is a hidden agenda here. Not about the law just anti union anti pension.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I think you miss the point. The bargaining is one-sided. The broader community is not represented. And according to some, they aren’t even allowed to know about what the bargain is. Cannot question it, cannot ask if it is fair, cannot compare it with what other similar workers receive.

    The bargain is political support in exchange for a better deal than other workers receive they have to pay for. Have no choice but to pay for under penalty of law.

    The only thing like public sector bargaining is the bargaining between top executives and their cronies on the board.

    Moreover, the idea that unionized public employees could only get more and more and more worked in an economy where everyone was getting more and more and more, and the pay was up from in cast where everyone could see it. Deals like this are different, and so is the economy. They have ended up taking more from those who have less.

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/chart-5d.jpg

    Is posting that chart part of a hate campaign? The idea that it all “cost nothing” because “Wall Street will pay for it all” was never true, is less true now, and will become less true in the future if there is any fairness in that regard.

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/chart-3c1.jpg

    And, as I noted, who will losing parking spaces? Wall Street? No fig leaf here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “How can you call yourself a serf when you earn much more then the average teacher?”

    How do you know what I earn? In wages AND benefits (including years in retirement) I’m pretty sure I earn quite a bit less PER DAY WORKED than the average NYC teacher, as do virtually everyone I know (except for the teachers). And less than the average transit worker. And FAR LESS than the average teacher or transit worker at the same point in my career. The reason is the enormous cost of retirement at age 55 after just 25 years of work.

    I certainly don’t begrudge the wage portion, or think I’m worth any more. I wouldn’t want to be so out of touch with the lives of other people. But among those who are taking more out, there is zero appreciation for this, nothing but stoked up resentment about how they are being cheated and owe the rest of us less.

    Again, this is indicative of 10,000 things. But the reality is, the city might as well just reserve a whole bunch more parking for those with placards, and stop pretending that they can’t use them during non-work hours. Lying about reality doesn’t improve things.

  • Joe R.

    The problem here is not all those things which were continuously allowed for decades are still assumed to be part of the agreement. As Larry points out, this seems to apply only to those in certain privileged classes like Wall Street or public sector unions. As an example, for decades NYC never enforced traffic laws on cyclists. For decades the NYPD never cared if cyclists rode on sidewalks. For decades lots of other quality of life laws were never or seldom enforced. By your line of reasoning shouldn’t that now be considered part of the agreement? NYC let all these things go on for a long time. Therefore it gave up its right to enforce them. That’s actually the defense I might use if I ever was charged with any of these offenses. And by rights they have to rule in my favor. If they don’t, I could bring up the parking placards, or any number of other abuses or violations which became “customary” because NYC refused to enforce them. Hey, if it’s good enough for the goose it’s good enough for the gander.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Question. The UFT gave up the placards as part of a collective bargaining process, presumably in exchange for something else.

    So what did the children gain in exchange for restoring the placards? Anything?

    I think the deal is that under the old system, teachers were getting some of the spaces. But since the administrators get there first, they’ll take all the spaces under first-come, first serve. That’s why they sued.

    Next up — a grievance to expand areas reserved for placard parking. Isn’t that what “fairness” requires by its constrained definition? Gee, the administrators are getting spaces, we deserve them too.

  • Joe R.

    This is something that the “give the same thing to everyone crowd” fails to see. Guess what? Private sector unions tried for a while to get similar or better pay and benefits than public sector unions. That nearly destroyed the US auto industry. In the end what a business can charge a customer for a product ultimately limits how generous a compensation package can be. Charge too much, customers will take their business elsewhere (or just not buy the product at all if everyone is charging the same high price).

    Public sector unions have yet to get the message that the amount you can tax people to pay for their compensation has limits. If taxes are too high, people vote with their feet and leave. Actually, not 100% true. People are willing to pay somewhat higher taxes if they feel they’re getting something useful to them in exchange, be it reliable subway service, health care, good schools, good roads, etc. Unfortunately, with a lot of the tax money now going for debt service or pensions of those already retired, by definition they’re not getting a good return on those high taxes. Eventually they’ll go elsewhere.

  • inky799

    stocked up resentment and no appreciation are found only in your head. There you go again knowing what other people think. It must be your envy of what other people do. You could have taught but you chose what you did and you did walk away from your pension. Bad case of sour grapes. Funny I never begrudged anyone or really cared but it seems to me that you are obsessed with what other people earn.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Bankruptcy in my opinion is going to be the only way out of this hole we dug ourselves into.”

    My view — not happening here. Taxes will be increased until the tax base starts to shrink. There will be more and more tax exemptions for those with power, like the exemption of public employee pension income from state and local income taxes and the ridiculous 35 years with no property taxes 421a.

    And then services will continue to be cut, starting with maintenance. We see it on subway now. Does anyone remember the announcement of a return to deferred maintenance? There wasn’t one. Other services will be cut the same way. But there will be special schools for the insiders where everyone does a good job or else is transferred elsewhere, as in the 1970s.

    What had been public services people will have to provide for themselves. Privatization, and placardization. You see the public union members know which way mass transit is going. It’s like insider trading.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Stocked up resentment and no appreciation are found only in your head. There you go again knowing what other people think.”

    I hear the announcements by the union leaders, and union backed groups like AFQ. “Cheated out of $4 billion!”

    And read the comments on some of those teacher, cop and transit worker blogs. The attitude is not “this is a real sweet deal we’ve got, and we have an obligation to somehow make it worth it,” I’ll tell you that. The people who have that attitude, and it’s a good thing that for now there are so many, don’t post on the blogs and don’t go to the union meetings. And their views are not reflected in deals like this.

    “Funny I never begrudged anyone.”

    Nope, if you don’t think you are getting a fair deal, you just take your business elsewhere, and if enough people agree, everyone working where they no longer buy things loses their job. See the difference there?

  • inky799

    You just proved the point you know what Unions leaders think. Your just on the wrong side of these issues and thats a choice you made. You chose to ride a bike to work its ok with me. I chose to drive and you don’t like it so you do begrudge other peoples choices. Get over your ego its not healthy.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That is exactly what the 1 percent say! It’s all envy! It’s all class warfare!

    It’s not true in either case. Not for me. Not for anyone else.

    It has long been widely known that public employees get a lot of benefits. Good for them, we chose to do other things, that’s the deal. But when suddenly there are political deals to make those who have more get even more, offering nothing in return for this, and other people become worse off as a result (tax increases, service cuts, less parking), then yes, people get ticked off. Which is why the political/union class wants Omertà.

    As for the executive/financial class, when Occupy Wall Street was camping out and Steve Jobs died, the protester’s attitude wasn’t “die you dirty capitalist pig!” Because the perception is he earned his money by making everyone else better off. Why people object to is the one percenters who enriched themselves by making everyone else worse off, which is why Trump won’t release his tax returns any more than you want a public discussion of this placard deal.

    For me it isn’t just being ripped off personally, which I can deal with because I’m basically well off. It’s anger at seeing ordinary people, and younger generations including my children ripped off (across the board). Particularly in the case of education, where I advocated for more funding and teacher pay (back when it was low) only to pay more and see all the money shifted to Florida.

    Nobody is obsessed with what anyone else gets. Most are concerned with how it affects them. Some are concerned with how it affects everyone.

  • inky799

    my god out of control

  • Larry Littlefield

    Donald Trump = early retired teachers.

    They screwed Tier VI teachers too.

  • inky799

    Stupid stupid comment hypocrite troll protecter of the serfs hahahahahaha
    Sure they will work a few years and leave for higher paying jobs in the suburbs all brought about by your constant trolling. Nice work.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Only the little people pay taxes.

  • inky799

    another stupid comment I guess I’m a little person could that be possible being a 1% and still paying loads of taxes could that make you the king of the serfs be full of s–t. I guess being so knowledgable about nothing makes you an expert. Only to the 1% who care about what you say the other 99% don’t care.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Streets around NYC schools are about to get more chaotic.

Reversing Bloomberg Reforms, City Will Reissue Tens of Thousands of Teacher Parking Placards

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Get ready for a lot more car traffic and illegal parking around New York City schools. The de Blasio administration is returning to a system that enables widespread abuse of parking privileges, with the Department of Education agreeing to hand out parking placards to any school employee who has a car and requests one, reversing reforms instituted during the Bloomberg administration.