May 5, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The United Federation of Teachers, whose members have been working without a contract for five years, announced with Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall on Thursday a new, 9-year contract that has to pass muster with the union’s 200,000 members and the Municipal Labor Committee. Video of UFT Presser at City Hall
Under the proposal, teachers would receive similar raises to those that had been granted by the Bloomberg administration to much of the city workforce of 4 percent each for 2009 and 2010, according to the Mayor’s office. The wage increases will be disbursed in increments from 2015 to 2020. To help sell the contract to the membership, the contract includes a $1,000 ratification payment to each full in-service teacher.
Robert Linn, the city’s Director of Labor Relations, explained during the presser that the city will be able to afford retroactive pay and wage increases vis-à-vis significant health care cost reductions.
“We negotiated a deal that agrees that over four years going forward—FY 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018—we will reach savings in health care of specific targets. If it’s applied city wide, it would save $400 million in the first year, then $700 million, then $1 billion and then $1.43 billion,” said Linn.
The preliminary agreement, should it be ratified, would serve as the model for other city unions to bargain for. But one hitch to the preliminary agreement is that the majority of the city unions who make up the MLC have to vote too on whether they want their own members to accept significant health care increases. If the MLC votes no to the proposal, then the agreement is nullified.
But Michael Mulgrew, the UFT’s prez, said in a video interview he feels pretty good that the MLC will ratify.
“I will work with my colleagues in labor, but I am very optimistic going in,” said Mulgrew.
The wage increments call for a 1 percent raise for May 2013 and a 1 percent raise for May 2014. Then a 1 percent raise in May 2015, followed by raises of 1.5 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The 9-year contract would begin, retroactively, on November 1, 2009 and expire on October 31, 2018.
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