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New contract ratified overwhelmingly

New York Teacher
Women holding up ballots and sign "Bagels for Ballots". Bagels are shown in the
Members stuffing ballot in box

UFT members overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the city Department of Education that gives UFT-represented employees a compounded 7.7 percent pay raise over 43 months, UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced on Nov. 4.

The agreement passed with 87 percent of the nearly 90,000 overall votes, which were counted by the independent American Arbitration Association.

Among the 61,708 teachers who cast ballots, 86 percent voted to ratify their contract. Among the 19,753 paraprofessionals who voted, the approval rate was 90 percent. The contracts for school secretaries, school counselors and most of the union’s other DOE and city job titles were also approved by wide margins.

The only contract not ratified was the one covering school nurses, occupational and physical therapists and supervisors of nurses and therapists. While 95 percent of the 282 school nurses who cast ballots voted in favor of ratification, 64 percent of the 1,251 therapists who cast ballots voted “no.” [See table for details on the ratification vote.] 

The new DOE-UFT contract, which was ratified more than three months before the current contract expires, was hammered out with the full involvement of the union’s 400-member negotiating committee.
“Every win in this contract reflects what the members told us they wanted,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew, referring to the contract surveys that members in every functional chapter and division completed last winter. “Members know this contract empowers them in the classroom to help their students succeed.”

UFT members, depending on their job title, cast their ballots at their schools or through the mail over a two-week period that ended on Oct. 31.

The contract provides a 2 percent salary increase on Feb. 14, 2019, followed by an increase of 2.5 percent on May 14, 2020, and 3 percent on May 14, 2021. Under the agreement, the most experienced teachers will see their base pay rise from $119,471 to $128,657 by the time the contract ends on Sept. 13, 2022. The contract also increases starting salaries for teachers from $56,709 to $61,070 over the course of the deal. Paraprofessionals and UFT-represented employees in other chapters in which the maximum salary was less than $100,000 received additional longevities on top of the across-the-board pay increases.

The agreement gives new authority to chapter leaders and their consultation committees to address workplace issues such as professional development, basic instructional supplies, curriculum and inadequate space.
Among the new contract’s other features:

  • due-process rights for paras that are similar to those of teachers;
  • stronger protection for UFT-represented employees from attempts by a supervisor to retaliate against or harass them when they voice concerns;
  • a bottom-up approach and additional support for up to 120 schools, mainly in the Bronx, that face the most serious challenges;
  • fewer required observations for the vast majority of teachers; and
  • new procedures that will offer faster relief for teachers in oversize classes.

“I want to thank the members of the UFT for their resounding support of this contract,” said Mulgrew. “The new agreement gives UFT-represented educators a larger voice in how their schools are run and shows what we can accomplish when we stand together.”

Job Title



Percent Ratifying

Teachers (all titles covered under teachers' contract)



86 percent




90 percent

School Secretaries



93 percent

Guidance Counselors



87 percent

Psychologists & Social Workers



87 percent

Occupational and physical therapists



36 percent

Staff Nurses



95 percent

Attendance Teachers



98 percent

Hearing Officers



95 percent

Supervisors of School Security



100 percent

Lab Specialists



89 percent

Supervisors of Nurses & Therapists



78 percent

Sign Language Interpreters



100 percent

Directors of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs 7 0 100 percent




67 percent

Related Topics: News Stories, Contract 2018