New York City teachers have voted and approved a nine-year labor contract on Tuesday. The contract states that teachers will be given back pay, and their salaries will be increased by 18 percent. However, questions regarding their health benefits are still left unanswered.
About 90,000 votes were cast by union members, and out of those, 77 percent were said to have voted in favor of the contract. The negotiators reached a deal on May 1, almost five years after the labor dispute.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said “The new agreement gives teachers and parents a larger voice in how their schools are run and how they can better serve their students.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that education determines a child’s destiny, and the contract was sought in order to transform public education.
Mulgrew also stated that he fought hard in order for the union members to accept the contract. Some of the members had problems with the deal, since the raises would be paid out over the years and not immediately. The deal also promised to lessen health care costs by as much as $1.3 billion, but members said that number can be achieved through other efficient means.
The United Federation of Teachers only rejected a contract once, when the teachers were asked to take a two-year wage freeze. After a few changes to the contract, they ended up approving the deal.
The majority of the members agreed with the new contract, since they say that it is the best that they can get. Others also agreed to the contract as a way to support de Blasio, as local residents see him as a friendlier mayor, compared to Bloomberg.
Suzette Freedman, a third-grade teacher said, “The last mayor was not very pro-teacher and wasn’t interested in our well-being.
After the results announcement, de Blasio said, “We are going to help good educators stay and grow in this profession, and usher reform that will lift up kids across the whole system.” He continued, “At the same time, we are securing unprecedented health care savings, which makes this a fiscally responsible contract that protects our budgets and our taxpayers.”
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