NYC Teachers Contract Agreement Reached, Costing City Billions

Friday, 02 May 2014 09:42 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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New York City's largest teachers union has reached a sweeping contract agreement with the city government, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that new nine-year contract will be retroactive to 2009 when the old contract lapsed under Mayor Bloomberg, and it will last through de Blasio's anticipated re-election campaign to 2018. It will give 110,000 union members salary increases totaling 18 percent, costing the city $5.5 billion.

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"This agreement will be a gateway to great progress in our school system," de Blasio said at a news conference where he hugged union president Michael Mulgrew.

City officials anticipate the net cost of the deal will total $3.3 billion. The mayor's administration said there is potential for billions in savings on healthcare, but did not provide any detail on how they intend to bring it about. They are expected to outline the savings plan next week.

Any healthcare plan drawn up will need approval from a union umbrella group, the Municipal Labor Committee. The potential for a no vote and its potential impact was not discussed during the announcement.

Bloomberg News reported that "teachers’ pay starts at $45,530 for those with a bachelor’s degree and no prior teaching experience, and $51,425 for those with a master’s degree" under the contract. $74,796 is the maximum starting salary for those with 7.5 years of experience.

The contract includes new rules that would allow the Department of Education to remove poor performing teachers, as well as reward effective teachers with increased compensation ranging from $7,000 to $20,000 a year.

Nearly 150 city labor unions have been working under expired contracts according to The Associated Press, and both union and city officials say the new contract affecting 1.1 million students may act as a template for upcoming negotiations.

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