City and UFT Reach Tentative Pact, but Many Teachers Want it Voted Down

The tentative five year contract, which beings retroactively in September 2022, calls for annual pay raises, however, some educators point out that the pay increases do not match the rate of inflation. The deal is expected to cost $6.4 billion over the life of the contract.

| 11 Jul 2023 | 11:23

Mayor Eric Adams and the United Federation of Teachers reached a tentative contract agreement on June 13 that would begin retroactively on September 2022 and run through November 2027. The agreement calls for raises of 3% for the first three years, followed by a 3.25% raise in the fourth year and a 3.5% raise in the fifth year.

New teachers will see their starting salary jump from $61,070 to $72,349 — including non-pensionable annual retention payments — by November 2027. In five years, the most experienced teachers will earn up to $151,271. The contract also aims to expand virtual learning opportunities.

“The city’s public-school educators need to be respected, appropriately paid, and have more autonomy in how they do their jobs,” said UFT president Michael Mulgrew following the announcement of the deal which still must be approved by UFT teachers. “This tentative contract accomplishes all these goals,” he claimed.

However, many educators have taken to social media to denounce the new proposed contract — which was not released until a day after the announcement of the agreement — and discourage UFT members from voting in favor of ratification.

Nick Bacon, a co-chair of UFT’s New Action Caucus and member of the UFT High School Executive Board, tweeted, “I was one of the negotiators, and even I am only seeing the full contract now. My point is that the information we were given is flawed. I don’t have enough faith in leadership to excuse major facts being excluded from promotional materials.”

A popular critique of the contract is that the salary increases are effectively a pay cut when taking inflation rates into account. Others have condemned the proposed salaries of paraprofessionals as below a living wage, the 25-minute extension of the work day, ambiguities surrounding healthcare, and a lack of transparency from the UFT itself.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators, a UFT caucus, says that members should consider breaking the Taylor Law and striking for better wages. The caucus points to the recent successful strikes of Los Angeles teachers and NYC nurses who were able to achieve 6-7% annual wage increases over three years.

The pact will cover 115,000 teachers and other full time employees and 5,000 part time employees at the department of education.