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Arbitrator: NYC must pay $900 million to teachers’ union

| Oct 12, 2020 | New York Labor Law Blog |

Roughly 90,000 active and retired teachers will receive $900 million in deferred wages as part of a deal met on Oct. 9 between New York City and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). An independent arbitrator quashed the city’s effort to avoid paying those deferred wages, ruling in favor of union-member teachers. As part of the arbitrator’s decision, the city must pay half of the amount now and the remaining half next year. In some cases, the deferred teachers’ wages go back a decade.

The case has roots dating back to New York City’s fiscal downturns from 2009 and 2010. Then-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg decided to withhold wage increases from teachers, while other city workers received wage hikes. Soon after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in January 2014, the city agreed to pay the deferred wages over six years in lump sums.

No layoffs remainder of school year

Aspects of the arbitrator’s decision include:

  • The 90,000 active and retired union members will receive half of the final payment of $900 million this month, and the remaining amount in July 2021.
  • The city must pledge to not lay off any UFT members for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, the city must adhere to this no-layoff pledge for the next school year, subject to specific stipulations of a federal stimulus package.
  • Teachers receive a 3% wage increase on May 14, 2021.

The ruling, which took place after a four-hour hearing, declares that New York City must meet its financial obligations to teachers. Educators are some of the most important people who influence students in many ways.