Monday, October 20, 2014

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Teachers' Union Delegates Vote in Favor of Contract Deal

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TWC News: Teachers' Union Delegates Vote in Favor of Contract Deal
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The teachers contract reached between the union and the city cleared another hurdle Wednesday, as delegates from the teachers' union approved the agreement. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Teachers are still learning the details of the contract deal that their union struck with the city less than a week ago, but the president of their union, Michael Mulgrew, said most of his members are already enthusiastically on board.

"Oh, it was overwhelming," Mulgrew said.

He's talking about yes votes, coming from the union's 3,400 delegates, who represent each school in the city.

Wednesday night, they gathered in the ballroom at the Hilton Hotel and, behind closed doors, voted in favor of the contract deal.

"I think people are very happy," said Judy Gerowitz, a teachers' union district representative. "Would they have like to see more money and the retro money up front? Absolutely."

Since their last contract expired in 2009, teachers had been fighting for years of retroactive pay, as well as raises going forward, and Mayor Bill de Blasio offered them both.

By 2018, teacher salaries will be nearly 20 percent higher than they are now, with first-year teachers seeing an increase from $46,000 to more than $54,000. Those at the top of the scale, who currently make $100,000, are set to eventually take home nearly $120,000.
However, when it comes to the big retroactive payments, the city is kicking the can down the road, with 75 percent of that more than $3 billion payout distributed between October 2018 and 2020.

Some teachers said that's way too long to wait.

"It's grotesquely unfair that the teachers not only don't get the raise that the cops, the firefighters, the sanitation workers and everyone in New York City city got four years ago, but that we have to wait another four years," said teacher Arthur Goldstein.

While those opposed to the contract passed out fliers and held up signs before the vote, the union leadership estimated that 90 percent voted in favor.

The next step is for these delegates to go back and sell the teachers at their schools on the agreement. Then, sometime in the next few weeks, the whole union will vote through a secret ballot. To encourage teachers to vote yes, the city and union added an incentive to the deal. If the contract is ratified, every teacher will immediately receive $1,000.

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