September 14, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Detroit, MI – Detroit Federation of Teachers members are voting this week on a proposed six-month contract with city schools. The deal, announced Sept. 5, would run from July 1 through Dec. 31.
It would restore step increases for teachers and give raises ranging from $924 to $8,505 a year, but would also increase health-care costs, and the school board taking office in January will have the option to reopen it. “There were no concessions, there were no givebacks,” DFT interim president Ivy Bailey said after a Sept. 6 meeting with members. “The goal was to get everybody at least a couple thousand dollars to put in their pockets.” But math teacher Dwight Walker said the raises weren’t enough for teachers to catch up after several years of stagnant pay. Bailey said that teachers deserved more, but the state government “kind of took advantage of us” in a $617-million package to restructure the Detroit school district enacted in June. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten charged Sept. 7 that the package deliberately underfunding city schools so legislators would have an excuse to replace them with privately run charter schools. “They poison-pilled this bill so much, so they could try to say a few years later, ‘See, we told you so,’” she told WXYZ-TV. Voting on the contract concludes Sept. 14.Read more