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Members ratify historic 9-year contract

An impressive 90,459 ballots cast
New York Teacher

Employees of the independent American Arbitration Association counted the roughly 90,000 ballots on June 3.

Members ratify historic 9-year contract
Bruce Cotler

Ballots are removed from envelopes and stacked by title.

UFT members overwhelmingly ratified a groundbreaking nine-year contract with the Department of Education on June 3. The contract passed with more than 77 percent of the 90,459 votes, which were counted by the independent American Arbitration Association.

Teachers approved their contract by a vote of 75 percent to 25 percent. The contracts for paraprofessionals, secretaries, guidance counselors, occupational and physical therapists and most of the union’s other DOE job titles were approved by even wider margins. [See chart at right.]

The ratification vote sets in motion a series of changes to take effect in September that are designed to improve education and strengthen members’ professional voice in school-level decisions.

“I am proud of our membership and thrilled with this outcome,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “The UFT and all other city workers were badly served by the previous mayor. We are entering a new chapter in our school system’s history where educators will have a greater say in school-level decisions.”

With the agreement now ratified, members will get raises totaling 19.4 percent compounded over the life of the contract with retroactive pay going back to 2009. The most experienced teachers will see their base pay rise from $100,049 to $119,471 by the time the contract ends in 2018. The contract also increases starting salaries for teachers from $45,530 to $56,709 over the course of the deal.

For teachers, the contract will repurpose time in the workday for training, parent engagement and other professional activities and provide an expanded career ladder. One provision of the contract will allow up to 200 schools to put in place teacher-led innovations through modifications to certain Chancellor’s Regulations and UFT contract provisions.

In 2009, the UFT rejected what it saw as insulting contract offers from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In ratifying the new contract, negotiated with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña, UFT members displayed hope that the union can replace a decade of antagonism with a new era of partnership and respect.

Ratification by the numbers
Category # Yes # No Percent
Teachers 47,874 16,358 75%
Paraprofessionals 15,200 2,834 84%
School secretaries 2,125 411 84%
Guidance counselors 1,806 459 80%
Psychologists and social workers 1,307 265 83%
Occupational/physical therapists 1,058 263 80%
Staff nurses 315 22 93%
Lab specialists and technicians 57 19 75%
Supervisors of school security 38 3 93%
Supervisor nurses/therapists 22 6 79%
Sign language interpreters 11 3 79%
Directors of alcohol/substance abuse programs 66% 
Total 69,815 20,644 77%
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