2023 contract gives educators more money and say
Three-quarters of the UFT members who cast ballots ratified a new contract that raises members’ salaries by 17.58% to 20.42% when compounded and gives educators more say over how and where they spend their out-of-classroom time. The agreement marked the end of an eight-month battle for a fair contract.
“The new agreement addresses the major changes sought by our 500-member UFT Negotiating Committee,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. “The contract increases pay, increases educators’ control over their workday, and decreases the noneducational, irrelevant paperwork demands.”
The new contract, which runs from Sept. 14, 2022, to Nov. 28, 2027, contains a 3% pay increase retroactive to Sept. 14. 2022; 3% on Jan. 18, 2024; 3% on Jan. 18, 2025; 3.25% on Sept. 14, 2025; and 3.5% on Sept. 14, 2026.
UFT-represented employees will get a one-time $3,000 ratification bonus in September. The contract establishes a permanent retention bonus, which will be paid out each May, for educators who stay with the Department of Education. The bonus starts at $400 in 2024 and increases to $700 in 2025, $1,000 in 2026 and $1,035 in 2027. The amount will continue to rise with collective bargaining increases.
Mulgrew said the contract addresses some of the membership’s key concerns.
“Our members wanted more time to do the work that brings meaning to the job and actually helps children learn,” he said. “And they wanted to be able to see that they can live in New York City and afford it for themselves and their families.”
He said a contract with this many improvements and no givebacks is due to the hard work of the UFT Negotiating Committee and the school-based Contract Action Teams, which mobilized tens of thousands of members for teach-ins, grade-ins, color days and borough rallies. “Our collective efforts enabled us to arrive at this contract agreement that the membership has now ratified,” he said.
With the pay increases and bonuses, the new top salary for the most experienced teachers will be $151,271, and for veteran paraprofessionals it will be $56,761 by the end of the contract. By that date, the starting salary for new teachers will have risen to $72,349, up from $61,070. The contract cuts in half — from 15 to eight years — the length of time it takes most teachers to reach a salary of $100,000.
Addressing a focal point of the union’s contract campaign, the new contract gives educators more autonomy over how they spend their time when they are not working directly with students. The 155 minutes of extended time each week for professional development, parent engagement and Other Professional Work has been reconfigured to reduce the PD to one hour and to allot 55 minutes for parent engagement that can be done remotely on educators’ own schedules. For teachers in multisession schools and schools with a six-hour, 50-minute workday, professional activity periods will be reduced to four per week, with the fifth professional activity period converted to self-directed Other Professional Work. Teachers will have 14 additional options on the C-6 menu for how they can spend their time during professional activity periods.
The new contract states that wherever administratively possible, elementary school teachers should have no more than three consecutive teaching assignments and no more than four consecutive working assignments (including professional activities) in their programs. High school teachers have had these contractual rights since 1962, and middle school teachers obtained them in 1975.
The agreement ushers in a major expansion of virtual learning. In addition to broadening the existing centrally run pilot program, high schools and grade 6–12 schools will be able to offer school-level virtual programs after school and on weekends for students who are interested. Educator participation will be voluntary. A quarter of high schools and 6–12 schools will be eligible to be selected for the program in this school year, growing to all high schools and 6–12 schools four years from now.
The DOE-UFT contract, ratified on July 10, includes a ratification bonus and new annual retention bonuses in addition to regular across-the-board wage increases. It also boosts reimbursement payments for medical expenses related to an injury on the job and loss of personal property. Here’s what you need to know about these new pocketbook provisions.