Mayor Bloomberg Announces Tentative Agreement With The United Federation Of Teachers

October 3, 2005

Collective Bargaining Agreement Includes 15% Raise for Teachers and Covers 120,000 Teachers, Paraprofessionals, and other Members of the Department of Education

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that a tentative contract settlement has been reached with the United Federation of Teachers on a contract largely based on the Report and Recommendations of the Fact Finding Panel appointed in the impasse between the United Federation of Teachers and theDepartment of Education. The agreement covers four years, four months and 12 days and includes a 15% raise in exchange for various reforms. They include: substantially increasing the time teachers spend on instruction and support activities by lengthening the school year by two days and teachers working an additional 50 minutes per week; empowering principals by extending their authority over teacher hiring; and improving school safety and disciplinary procedures by having teachers play a larger role in maintaining order in lunchrooms and hallways and expediting the process to remove teachers if misconduct requires it.

"We are encouraged that many of the Panel's recommended reforms and productivity improvements are mainstays of this agreement," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The agreement with the UFT not only raises teacher's salaries but also allows the Department of Education to make meaningful changes to further reform and improve our schools. It will substantially increase the time teachers spend on instruction, especially for struggling students, improve school safety and the discipline process and greatly empower principals to be true education leaders in their schools. The new contract is good for teachers and the City, but most importantly, it is good for New York's 1.1 million schoolchildren."

"This is a good day for our educators and our students," said UFT President Randi Weingarten. "We've worked long and hard to find ways to pay teachers significantly more and to craft the fact-finders' recommendations in a way that works best for kids and their teachers. We said the fact-finders' report had its pluses and minuses. This agreement has turned those minuses into pluses."

The term of the agreement covers a 52-month and 12 day period beginning June 1, 2003 and continuing through October 12, 2007. This collective bargaining agreement comprises two distinct time periods including two contract extensions. The first time period covers from June 1, 2003 through September 30, 2006, inclusive of a three-month extension. The second time period establishes the pattern for the next round of bargaining. The 3.25% wage increase effective October 1, 2006 consists of 3.15% in City funds and extra value generated by a contract extension of twelve days.

The principal features of the settlement, which include total wage increases of 15% for teachers and most titles covered by the agreement, are as follows:

  • 2% effective December 1, 2003
  • 3.5% effective December 1, 2004
  • 5.5% effective November 1, 2005
  • 3.25% effective October 1, 2006

By the end of this contract, a teacher's minimum salary will be $42,512 for new hires as compared to $39,000 under the prior agreement. The maximum salary will be $93,416 as compared to $81,232 previously.

The agreement is funded, in part, through productivity savings generated by teachers working an extra 50 minutes per week. This time will be combined with the additional 100 minutes per week negotiated in the last collective bargaining agreement and aggregated to provide four additional after-school periods. At the discretion of the Chancellor, this additional time shall ordinarily be used for tutorials, test preparation, and/or small-group instruction for students most requiring this assistance with a teacher-student ratio of no more than 1:10.

The agreement also provides that experienced and highly-skilled teachers may be recruited into "lead teacher" positions in high-need schools with a salary differential of $10,000. Teachers will be selected based on merit.

In addition, teachers will now report to work on the Thursday and Friday preceding Labor Day. These two additional days will be used as professional development days and to prepare for the start of classes. Brooklyn-Queens Day will be a third day designated to be used for professional development activities during the school year. Beginning in September 2006, students will start classes on the day following Labor Day.

This agreement also achieves modifications to the teachers' professional activity period insofar as teachers will be offered a specified menu of activities from which they will perform various instructional, professional development, and/or administrative duties.

The agreement also contains a number of reforms recommended by the Fact-Finding Panel regarding discipline including mandatory discharge of tenured pedagogues and others found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor. Tenured pedagogues who plead guilty or are convicted of any felony will be suspended without pay pending the final outcome of a disciplinary proceeding.

Another provision of this agreement affords flexibility to the Department of Education in two areas. Based on a recommendation of the Fact-Finding Panel, the parties have agreed to eliminate the practice by which transfers were based solely on seniority. Principals will now be able to interview all prospective candidates. Furthermore, teachers who are excessed from their school for budgetary reasons or due to a school's closing and are unable to secure a position will be offered substitute positions in their former school or District. They will not, however, be able to displace more junior teachers.

The parties have agreed to eliminate certain grievances and arbitrations thereby streamlining the grievance and arbitration process. They have also agreed to an expedited process for handling cases related to absence and lateness.

A Labor-Management Committee will be created to discuss the Fact-Finding Panel's long term recommendations subject to adequate CFE funding. These recommendations include: bonuses for shortage license areas; school-wide based performance bonuses; reduction in class size.

The agreement comes after a year of record test scores for New York City students. Overall, in 2005, students in Grades 3-8 achieved the highest performance and the largest one-year gains ever in both math and English Language Arts (ELA) on State and City tests combined since standards-based testing began. 52.9% of students in Grades 3-8 met or exceeded math standards, improving 6.2 percentage points from last year and improving 15.6 percentage points from 2002. 51.8% of students in Grades 3-8 met or exceeded ELA standards, improving 10.7 percentage points from last year and improving 12.5 percentage points from 2002.

"I want to thank UFT President Randi Weingarten and her Committee, Deputy Mayor Marc V. Shaw, Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Labor Commissioner James F. Hanley and First Deputy Commissioner Pamela S. Silverblatt and their team, and Budget Director Mark Page and his staff for their efforts in reaching this Agreement," the Mayor concluded.

Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson

(212) 788-2958
Jerry Russo
Department of Education
(212) 374-5141