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NYC and Teachers Union Reach Tentative $2.1-Billion Labor Deal

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10/11/2018 | 07:54pm CEST

By Leslie Brody

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and the New York City teachers union have reached a tentative deal on a contract after months of negotiations, officials said Thursday.

The contract with the United Federation of Teachers would give members compounded wage increases of 2% in February, 2.5% in May 2020, and 3% in May 2021. It would expire in September 2022.

City officials said the total cost of the tentative agreement through fiscal year 2022 is $2.1 billion, which would be offset by health-care savings and funding already in the City's Labor Reserve, for a new net budget impact of $572 million.

"We couldn't be happier with the outcome" of intensive negotiations, Mr. de Blasio said in a news conference. "Every conversation was about how to make schools better," he added.

The mayor said the new contract includes incentives to recruit and retain teachers in up to 180 low-performing schools with high staff turnover, mostly in the Bronx, with extra pay for hard-to-staff subjects. Union members would be eligible for an additional $5,000 to $8,000 in salary a year in these schools.

Union president Michael Mulgrew thanked city officials for showing respect to teachers and a desire to better support them, including through more professional development. "That is not a conversation you hear in many places in this country," Mr. Mulgrew said, alluding to teacher strikes for better pay in some states.

Union officials said the contract covers about 129,000 employees at the city Department of Education, including teachers, guidance counselors, classroom paraprofessionals and psychologists. The current contract expires in February.

The early settlement reflects the strong alliance between the union and mayor, in contrast to the high-conflict relationship between the union and former mayor Michael Bloomberg. The tentative deal must still be approved by the union's delegate assembly and ratified by a vote of members.

The union marked a victory in June, when it won six weeks of paid parental leave for teachers, in return for an extension of the contract by several months to February 2019.

The current nine-year contract was approved in June 2014, with retroactive pay going back to 2009, and so lasted past the date when Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, faced re-election in fall 2017.

Write to Leslie Brody at leslie.brody@wsj.com

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