Daniel DiSalvo I June 4, 2014
Some 77 percent of teachers and para-professionals that belong to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) voted to ratify a $9 billion contract that will pay them raises and back pay totaling some 19.5 percent of salary until 2020. Active teachers will receive an immediate $1,000 bonus. About 90,000 of the 106,000 members (69,097 in favor of the and 20,427 opposed) cast yes or no ballots by mail. While this seems like strong support for the contract, some 94 percent of union members backed the first contract under Bloomberg in 2002. Much of the teacher skepticism, as was evident at a recent Q &A with UFT President Michael Mulgrew revealed dissatisfaction that the back pay is not scheduled to be paid now.
Beginning teacher pay will rise from $45,530 to $55,411 by 2018. Top-earning teachers’ salaries will climb to $119,565 from $100,049. The changes in teacher pay are not connected to improvements in the classroom.
The vote is an important, if unsurprising, step for the de Blasio administration. The next big steps will be to use the teacher contract to set the pattern for the other unions. The bigger test will be to get all the unions to agree to billions in healthcare savings.
Down the line, the deal may throw the budget out of balance, if it hasn’t already, and draw in the Financial Control Board. At the very least the deal has doubled the projected 2016 budget deficit to $2.2 billion. Not exactly, a model of fiscal prudence.