After operating without a contract for the past five years, the United Federation of Teachers has reached a deal with Mayor de Blasio that will net them $3.4 billion in back pay in exchange for scaled back health care costs and classroom rules.
The deal, which is the Mayor's first major labor contract negotiation, offers teachers retroactive pay dating all the way back to October 2009. The payments will be doled out over the course of nine years, and teachers will also receive raises adding up to about 10 percent over seven years, marking a stark difference from former Mayor Bloomberg's push for pay freezes.
The union has agreed to cut a proposed $1.3 billion in health care costs, that will be redirected toward wage hikes. "Our administration knows that every child matters, the status quo isn’t working, and we must improve public education across the board," De Blasio said in a statement today. "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."
The UFT deal may set a precedent for the rest of the city's labor contracts, since about 151 other workers' unions are set to negotiate their open contracts farther down the line. Not that everyone considers the Teachers Union deal a fair one: "There is no ‘one contract fits all,' ” a spokesman for Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch told the Times, noting the policemen they represent “have different and specific needs for their members.”
The agreement has to be ratified by the UFT's 100,000 members before it can become solidified.