Ever wonder why NYC Teachers get so angry with their working conditions? One reason is many of us know and speak to our colleagues who work in surrounding districts.
Let's do a comparison of our salaries in NYC to our friends just north of the Bronx border in Yonkers, NY. As of the 2011-14 contract, here is the Yonkers starting salary (Step 1), their top salary after fifteen years (16) and then the longevity pay for 20, 25 and 30 years.
Longevity: 20 years $2,447 25 years $1,071 30 years $1,371
This information is readily available at See Through New York for most school districts and for other public sector employees in the state.
At the end of 2016, the Yonkers Federation of Teachers signed a new agreement with the their mayor. What was their salary increase?
14.5% over 7 years.
They didn't publish the salary figures but by my simple math calculations it would mean by around 2020 (the last school year of the contract) their starting salary will be $68,148 and the top salary after 16 years but before longevity will rise to $148,951.
Yeah I know they have to pay for some of their medical coverage but that's quite a bit larger salary than we have in the city. I am also aware that their schools might have an at risk student or two, but I think you can see my point on salaries.
When the NYC teachers contract has its final raise in June of 2018, our starting salary will be $56,711 which does not even equal where Yonkers teachers started at in 2013.
Our top salary at the end of this contract in 2018 for someone who has completed 22 years in NYC will be $119,472. That is almost $11,000 behind where Yonkers teachers were in 2013 after only 16 years of teaching (but with more graduate credits than we have to obtain to reach maximum). Add in how we won't be receiving money we worked for from 2009-2011 in full until 2020 and you can see in part why I am opposed to Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus.
We will need a successor contract with around 25% over three years to catch up to Yonkers.
I think a NYC teacher has more of a chance of winning the mega-millions jackpot than we have of the UFT catching up to the Yonkers salary schedule in the near future.
What percentage of Yonkers teachers voted to approve their recent contract?
96% yes vote. Can you blame them?
For the reader who wants two observations per year and a parking placard, Yonkers has a minimum of three but it's still better than our minimum of four for most teachers in NYC. I didn't find anything on parking in their contract (Update: A comment stated they have parking lots). Class size from grades 2-12 is capped at 30 in Yonkers. We have a class size limit of 34 in New York City high schools with loopholes the Department of Education can drive a fleet of trucks through. The school day in Yonkers is 6 hours and 45 minutes for elementary and 7 hours and 4 minutes for secondary; ours is 6 hours and 50 minutes for elementary and secondary. They are entitled to 12 sick days a year while we have 10.
In terms of salary and working conditions, New York City teachers rightfully should compare ourselves to what our peers in surrounding communities earn.
I chose Yonkers because it is a city and it certainly is close by.
We will do comparisons with other communities in future posts if readers would like.