Union Talks Set to Resume Between City and Teachers
Formal bargaining between New York City and the 80,000 public school teachers represented by the United Federation of Teachers will start up again after almost a year of deadlock when UFT president and ILR graduate Randi Weingarten, city labor commissioner James Hanley, and members of the Board of Education meet today. Despite Governor Pataki?s promise of an extra $204 million in state funding for NYC school teacher salaries this year (See WIT for Jan. 24, 2002), and the willingness of the UFT to settle for that amount plus the nine percent raise other city unions have accepted, the teachers? demand for a double digit wage increase that will bring them closer to wage parity with suburban school districts will likely remain the primary sticking point in negotiations. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is opposed to using the extra state funds for wage increases---despite his own desire to raise salaries in order to attract the certified teachers needed to bring the city into compliance with a state law that will go into effect at the beginning of the 2003-4 school year----as the extra funding would not be available in the future.