Teacher boost

Pact hikes pay up to 3%, plus Bronx bonus


Top teach­ers union of­fi­cials ap­proved a new multi­bil­lion-dol­lar teach­ers union con­tract at a Thurs­day morn­ing meet­ing at the United Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers' head­quar­ters.

The ten­ta­tive 43-month con­tract fol­lows the same wages ne­go­ti­ated by Dis­trict Coun­cil 37 in June.

If rat­i­fied, UFT mem­bers will re­ceive wage hikes of 2% in Fe­bru­ary, 2.5% in May 2020, and 3% in May 2021.

But of­fi­cials fo­cused Thurs­day on other as­pects of the la­bor deal — namely, a pro­gram dubbed the “Bronx Plan” aimed at im­prov­ing per­for­mance at 180 strug­gling schools in the Bronx by en­cour­ag­ing teach­ers to work in, and stay at, those schools by pro­vid­ing a “hard-to-staff pay dif­fer­en­tial” for cer­tain jobs at those schools, where there has his­tor­i­cally been high turnover.

That should not be mis­taken for a long­time third-rail for the teacher's union: merit pay, of­fi­cials said.

“This is not merit pay — what this is ad­dress­ing an is­sue that we know is im­por­tant to ad­dress,” city Schools Chan­cel­lor Richard Car­ranza said. “This will al­low you now to tar­get, not only re­cruit teach­ers in those hard-to-staff ar­eas, but to keep teach­ers in those hard-to-staff ar­eas as well.”

Once a school iden­ti­fies a sub­ject area where it is strug­gling to at­tract or keep staff — math, for ex­am­ple — the school will be able to give ex­tra pay to math teach­ers at the school in ques­tion.

“This is about all schools who face this chal­lenge of be­ing able to at­tract and re­tain staff, who have con­stant churn of not just the peo­ple who work in the build­ing but of the stu­dents them­selves,” UFT Pres­i­dent Michael Mul­grew said, stress­ing the dif­fer­en­tial is not tied to stu­dent per­for­mance the way merit pay would be.

The deal also ex­pands “teach leader” roles, and changes re­quire­ments for what kinds of post-mas­ter's ed­u­ca­tion can re­sult in in­creased pay for al­ready work­ing teach­ers.

“This is not just about a fair agree­ment for work­ing peo­ple, it is about mak­ing schools bet­ter,” Mayor de Bla­sio said.

While La­bor Com­mis­sioner Bob Linn noted he and Mul­grew had ne­go­ti­ated past 3 a.m. Thurs­day morn­ing, there was no ac­ri­mony be­tween work­ers and man­age­ment in the Blue Room Thurs­day. Car­ranza re­ferred to Mul­grew as his brother from an­other mother.

“In an en­vi­ron­ment where it seems like teach­ers have be­come the pinata of pub­lic dis­course — every­body takes a hit — in the City of New York, we are say­ing that is not the way we view our ed­u­ca­tors,” Car­ranza said.

De Bla­sio's cur­rent con­tract with the city's 75,000 pub­lic school teach­ers ex­pires in Fe­bru­ary.

Mul­grew called for an emer­gency meet­ing of all mem­bers of the union's ne­go­ti­at­ing com­mit­tee with an email sent late Wed­nes­day night.

“The DOE has re­leased all mem­bers of the ne­go­ti­at­ing com­mit­tee to at­tend a cru­cial meet­ing,” Mul­grew's mes­sage read. “I am sorry for the last-minute no­tice. It could not be avoided.”

Sources with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion said that a new con­tract is ex­tremely close to com­ple­tion and its terms are fa­vor­able to teach­ers.

“I'm happy,” one UFT rep said as she left the union's lower Man­hat­tan head­quar­ters.

De Bla­sio's cur­rent con­tract with the city teach­ers union was en­acted in 2014. Talks on the new con­tract be­gan in June.

United Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers Pres­i­dent Michael Mul­grew (left) ne­go­ti­ated past 3 a.m. Thurs­day to reach deal with the city. Cur­rent con­tract with Mayor de Bla­sio is set to ex­pire in Fe­bru­ary.

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