Negotiations between the UFT and the city are expected to shift into higher gear now that the members of District Council 37, the city’s largest union, have overwhelmingly ratified a new pattern-setting five-year contract with the city.
The DC 37 agreement provides 3% wage increases in each of the first four years, and a 3.25% raise in the fifth year, plus additional money for salary adjustments, a child care trust fund and a $3,000 ratification bonus.
The UFT has closely analyzed the DC 37 agreement to determine its full value and see how the UFT can maximize that financial package to get the most for its members in its own negotiations. “There is absolutely more value in that contract than just the pattern that we’ve seen,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told delegates at the March 15 Delegate Assembly.
On April 5, the Police Benevolent Association, whose members have been working without a contract for more than six years, reached a tentative eight-year contract with the city. The annual wage increases in the agreement range from 2.25% to 4%, totaling 25.25%. The UFT will be closely analyzing the terms of the PBA contract as well to determine its value.
The UFT continues to push at the bargaining table to improve members’ working conditions. Among the UFT’s bargaining priorities are paperwork reduction, health and safety, time and autonomy, and special education.
The subcommittees of the UFT Negotiating Committee for functional chapters and school divisions have been meeting regularly with their city counterparts for months on their specific demands.
Mulgrew predicted the talks would grow more heated in the weeks ahead. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said, “because you have a mayor right now telling everybody the city is broke.”
In fact, he said, the city’s tax revenue is growing.
The union president urged members to stay engaged in the fight for a fair contract because that activism creates leverage for the union at the bargaining table.