Public school teachers in NYC vote to ratify new contract

Union-represented teachers in New York City voted to move forward with a contract that will increase pay and devote resources to improving needy schools.

Members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) showed their support for a new contract with the city of New York this week by voting overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement that was reached last month.

The union, which includes teachers as well as guidance counselors, school psychologists and other professionals, announced that 87 percent of members who voted were in favor of the new contract. The agreement includes new salary rates as well as other improvements to the teaching environment of New York City public schools.

Salary raises and improved workplace environments

Under the new agreement, teachers represented by UFT will see their salaries increase by about seven percent over the next three years. This will be achieved by a 2% increase in the first year of the contract followed by 2.5% and 3% raises in the latter two years.

According to UFT, by the end of the contract new teachers will earn $61,070 a year. A teacher with a master's degree and ten years of experience will be paid $101,441 per year, and top earners in the union will be making $128,657.

The new contract also provides protection for employees who bring problems in their school to light, aiming to prevent retaliation by administrators.

The "Bronx Plan"

UFT's new agreement with the city also includes a new "Bronx Plan" to help bring staff and resources to schools that need the most help. This plan will include approximately 120 schools and creates committees to help them assess school needs and engage with their communities. Committees will consist of UFT-represented employees as well as other representatives.

This new agreement comes on the heels of another successful campaign in June for paid parental leave, where UFT became the first public-sector union to negotiate such leave in New York City. The 2019-2022 contract makes no changes to the six weeks of paid time off for new parents that was negotiated by UFT in June.

Collective bargaining and negotiation remain an important way for workers in New York to get fair wages and benefits. Teachers in New York's public schools are doing incredibly important work and deserve to have the resources they need.

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