Things got ugly in Buffalo where the teachers union faced a choice: protect jobs of younger teachers or safeguard an unusual perk–face lifts, breast enhancements and other cosmetic surgery–financed by Buffalo taxpayers.

In the cold calculus of union leadership, elective plastic surgery for remaining teachers trumps compassion for younger teachers who will lose their jobs.

Buffalo school officials, facing a $34 million budget gap, say a “worst-case” budget will eliminate the jobs of 200 teachers and 500 other school employees, the Buffalo News reports (here).

“I have never in my career had this type of challenge,” School Superintendent James A. Williams told the Board of Education’s Finance Committee. “Thirty-four million dollars is a very challenging number.”

Williams said more than half of the budget gap could be wiped away “if the unions agreed to $19 million in givebacks without receiving anything in return.”

The union givebacks would require employees to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums and give up coverage for cosmetic surgery.

Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore called the giveback proposal a “nonstarter.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Rumore said of 20 percent premium payments. “It doesn’t need to happen.”

He said the BTF has long been willing to give up the rider for cosmetic surgery, but only as part of a new contract.

That’s no comfort for teachers who will hit the unemployment line this year.

This is not the first time Buffalo teachers chose personal vanity over the livelihoods of their colleagues (here).

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

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