A five-year-long battle between the city and the teachers union may have finally come to an end.
The de Blasio administration and the United Federation of Teachers announced an agreement on a nine-year contract retroactively dated to 2009.
The contract, announced last Thursday, would provide retroactive pay raises for teachers and includes pay raises for each year through 2018. Teachers who have been on the job since 2009 or earlier will get a 4 percent increase for 2009 and 2010, respectively, then a 1 percent increase each year from 2013 through 2015, 1.5 percent for 2016, 2.5 percent for 2017 and 3 percent for 2018. There will be no increase in pay for 2011 and 2012.
The UFT executive board approved the deal on Tuesday, while the 3,400 delegates OK’d the plan Wednesday evening.
“Our administration knows that every child matters, the status quo isn’t working, and we must improve public education across the board. Working together with our dedicated teachers — instead of being locked in rancorous debate — we have found common ground today that moves us closer to those critical objectives,” De Blasio said in a statement.
Teachers had been working without a contract since 2009 and the acrimonious relationship between the Bloomberg administration and the UFT on a number of issues kept the two sides from coming to an agreement for nearly five years.
The contract also mandates 80 minutes each Monday for teacher professional development and 40 minutes each Tuesday for teacher-parent engagement, and increasing the number of parent-teacher conferences to four per year and the time from two and a half hours to three.
It also establishes new incentives to attract and retain quality teachers in high-need schools by offering additional compensation for each instructor at up to 150 schools, selected at the Chancellor’s discretion. It also reduces the number of components in evaluations from 22 to eight and teachers in non-tested subjects or grades will now have the ability to be evaluated only on the performance of students they teach, instead of in school-wide measures that include students they do not teach.
The agreement expands the definition of sexual misconduct to include behaviors like inappropriate texting and for the first time, there will be a clear, effective and expedited process requiring no more than 50 days to permanently remove teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve pool for behavior inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals.
The contract, however, provides no back pay for teachers who have left the profession between 2009 and now. Current members who worked between 2009 and 2011 will need to continue working in schools until 2020, or retire, if they want to collect all of their retroactive benefits for that period.
The deal also includes $3.4 billion in healthcare savings, but doesn’t specify where those cost savings come from. The Municipal Labor Committee approved that part of the plan Monday.
“Mayor de Blasio said we could make the city better if we all worked together in a spirit of respect and cooperation,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew in a statement. “This agreement—which works for students, parents, teachers and the city—is proof that with leadership like his, we can do it.”
The full membership of the UFT is expected to vote on the proposal later this spring.
De Blasio and his allies have argued that the agreement with the UFT will set the tone for other contracts with other municipal unions, many of which have been without contracts for years.
Among them is the police union, where negotiations have hit a brick wall, forcing the discussion to go to a mediator.
At issue is the lack of retroactive pay raises for cops, which have been without a contract since 2010, though sources in the mayor’s office note teachers did not get retroactive pay raises for the same years the city is proposing not to give one to police.