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Bloomberg: “I would never use the word ‘demand’”

Responding to the accidental release — first reported on this site — of his administration’s teacher contract wish list, Mayor Bloomberg said the items aren’t demands.

I would never use the word ‘demand,’ Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said during a news conference in the Bronx, saying he did not want to negotiate in public. You will come out of this with an agreement down the road that hopefully both sides can feel, well, we did as well as we could, given the situation. (via New York Times)

Semantics aside, the document that Department of Education officials sent to reporters on Tuesday is titled “contract proposals.” Though the New York Post wrote it had “obtained” the document, the list of demands was part of a complaint the teachers union filed and the DOE released to reporters, not realizing its contract wishes were included.

The three-page document includes negotiation priorities like making it easier to lay off teachers who have been excessed and shrinking the population of teachers who sit in the city’s rubber rooms while they wait for their termination cases to be heard. Though the mayor has repeatedly said he will not negotiate in public, he and Chancellor Joel Klein have been increasingly vocal about the changes they want made to the teachers contract.

The state labor relations board has certified that talks between the city and the union have reached an impasse, meaning that the two sides are headed for arbitration.