Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city has reached a nine-year preliminary contract agreement with the city's teachers' union that includes raises, benefits reform and changes to school policy. The question now is whether the city can afford it. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
The first of the city's 152 labor unions is striking a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio, and with it, years of acrimony between the teachers' union and City Hall seems to be coming to an end.
"The last five years engendered such frustration, a logjam that seemed so often intractable and so wrong and so unnecessary with so much rancor," de Blasio said.
This contract, the mayor and union president argued, does just that.
It includes retroactive pay raises of 4 percent for 2009 and 2010. From 2013 to 2015, members will get 1 percent raises. The size of the raises will then grow from 2016 to 2018 if the agreement is approved by union members.
"I call this the contract for education," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. "Yes, the teachers and the educators of New York City have gone a long time without getting any proper respect. That changed with the changing of the administration."
Officials said there is room in the city budget to pay for the deal without raising taxes or cutting services. The agreement includes more than $1 billion in health care savings over the next four years, but the details of exactly how the savings will be reached have not been worked out. An umbrella group of city labor unions also need to sign off on the health care savings proposal.
"We are very confident of achieving these savings," de Blasio said. "That's the simplest way I can say it to you."
City officials say the agreement will cost the city in all about $4.2 billion.
This agreement stands to have a significant impact on the city's other labor unions as well. They, too, are working with expired contracts, and should this deal be approved, it may become a model that the de Blasio administration tries to impose on other labor leaders.
NY1 Online: Mayor, Schools Chancellor, Teachers' Union President Discuss Contract
TWC News: City, Teachers Union Reach Preliminary Contract Agreement
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