Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teachers union supports protest from their Wall Street windows.

By Dean Kalahar

Since the United Federation of Teachers is working directly with the Occupy Wall Street protestors, I wonder if the OWS folks know that the UFT is located at 50 and 52 Broadway, which is in the heart of Wall Street? The AFT is not operating a store front; we are talking 20+ story buildings in the heart of NY’s financial district.

Either the hypocrisy from both the teachers union and Occupy Wall Street crowd is stunning or their ignorance is overwhelming. Let’s look deeper into the pockets of the self proclaimed “victims” in the crowd to see where “greed” really resides.

Mike Antonucci of the EIA reports an article from The New York Times, September 15, 2002.

At the start of this year, the union (AFT) paid $53.75 million for the
340,000-square-foot mostly occupied building at 50 Broadway, near Exchange
Place, and net leased the adjacent and recently empty 400,000-square-foot
building at 52 Broadway. The union will lease at 52 Broadway, where it also
secured a minority equity position in the building, for 32 years with two
20-year renewal options…

The union alone will relocate 400 employees. Based on incentives
currently being offered to employers that move jobs downtown, the union expects
to receive $3,500 per employee, or a total of $1.4 million.

Three affiliated union groups that have been tenants in the Midtown
South buildings -- the New York State United Teachers, a statewide teachers'
union; the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O.; and the U.F.T. Welfare Fund -- will
also move to the two Broadway buildings, where they will be subletting space
from the union…

In all, the union is giving up the 310,000 square feet it owned in
Midtown South for 740,000 square feet in the downtown buildings, which will
undergo a $40 million renovation, beginning in February. The work will include
joining the buildings at certain floors and providing such long-sought amenities
as a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 20,000-square-foot conference center, high-tech
wiring and a cafeteria as well as on-site parking for 40 cars. There will also
be a separate entrance and lobby for the union and its members at 52 Broadway,
where most of the new amenities will be housed…

The terms of the lease also included some $20 million in free rent,
work allowance and improvements -- from building out the auditorium and garage
to upgrading the technology -- that the landlord will provide.

Leo Casey of Edwise writes:

UFT President Mulgrew has been at Zuccotti Park a number of times, speaking
to the assembly, and was joined by AFT President Weingarten on one occasion. Our
headquarters are a few blocks away from Zuccotti, and we have provided space for
meetings of different groups supporting OWS. We have also given over a major
section of our street level space to storage for OWS, for donations of materials
and supplies sent to them and for the stowing of personal belongings on the
morning when Bloomberg threatened to “cleanse” Zuccotti…

Oh, and last weekend, we sent forty sandwiches left from our conference
for charter school educators over to Zuccotti. I had not thought much of that
donation until Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino
called the UFT on Monday… Why, he demanded to know, was the UFT providing
sustenance to violent revolutionaries? Confronted with the results of
Gasparino’s crackerjack investigative reporting, I decided that it is time to
confess. Yes, I authorized that sandwich smuggling operation.

To further support the hypocrisy, the EIA also uncovered how the UFT is boosting the performance (profits) of Goldman Sachs’ commercial mortgage portfolio of pass-through certificates. The statement notes the positive performance of the underlying collateral pool most notably because:

The largest loan of the pool (10.1%) is secured by a 399,935 square
feet (SF) class B office property in the Financial District submarket
of Manhattan, NY. The property is 100% occupied by the United Federation
of Teachers (UFT) under a long-term lease which expires in August 2034.
UFT also holds 9.9% ownership interest in the building. The loan
is structured with a letter of credit (LOC) which can be drawn upon
to cover debt service shortfalls.

Up to now, the agenda of the Occupy Wall Street crowd has been hard to pin point. This means either the protestors are in fact a rag tag group of burned out malcontents, or they are being used as proxies of organized labor to do their dirty work. After all, if public labor unions spoke with honesty and clarity, it would expose the naked truth of their agenda, greed for power.

The union game of blaming “wall street greed” is beyond irony; it’s the audacity of contempt! Greed for wealth through the creation of capital is far different than greed for power used to seize the hard earned wealth and property of others.

In a nutshell, OWS is an organized plan to define a false villain and create class warfare among America’s electorate so the President and Democrats can win in 2012 and continue feeding the voracious public sector unions their due.

The ends justify the means for the unions and they will stop at nothing to retain their power. Let’s hope the proxy protestors are not pushed into violence. If they are, I’m sure we will hear how horrified the UFT is as they watch the riots from their cushy digs on Broadway.

Shameful is the only word that comes to mind.

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