I hear all kinds of talk about the proposed new teachers' contract that since salaries went up last June and then will go up again in Feburary, it is better than an annual salary increase. This statement is kind of incomplete. What I want to do in this post is make sure that the discussion of the proposed contract has some context with the previous contracts in terms of salary.
The 2007-2009 contract ended on October 31, 2009. Its final raise that moved the top teacher salary to $100,049 was on May 19, 2008. Let's see how top NYC teacher salaries have fared since that time. Before our analysis, please be aware that it takes teachers 22 years experience and earning a Masters degree and then 30 credits beyond that master's before one reaches maximum salary. It is no easy feat surviving that long in NYC schools.
In 2008, DC37 set a pattern that other city unions followed with 4% raises for two years. Mayor Michael Bloomberg denied UFT members those raises for years. Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to give the teachers $1,000 for our troubles in 2014 and he said we could have those two 4% raises with a huge catch. We would only get the money piecemeal added to our salaries between 2015-2018 and we would have to wait for the money we earned from 2009-2011 that should have been in our salaries since then, but instead is being paid to us in five installments between 2015 and 2020 without any interest. The third installment of our loan repayment was paid back to active teachers yesterday. The final two payments will come in 2019 and 2020. The remainder of the last contract was 7 years for a total of 10%. The contract was then extended twice: once for a month to pay lump sum payments in 2014 for 2009 to 2014 retirees ( we also had to defer the 2018 raise for six weeks) and a second time for 2.5 months to pay for Paid Parental Leave. We can now add on 7.5% over 43 months if the next contract is approved as it almost certainly will be.
To get a true picture of how we are doing, we must also note the interest on the fixed TDA was reduced by 1.25% in 2009 while our bosses kept their rate steady as did CUNY teachers while our healthcare costs keep rising and will continue to do so as we pointed out in a previous post.
Over the period from 2008-2022, a top salaried teacher (it's just easier to figure it out at the top) will have gone up from $100,049 to $128,657 in fourteen years and four months.
You are welcome to praise the UFT since their 2% raises have been enough for us to up with some of the suburbs and NYC top salaries are ahead of other major cities in the United States. However, the cost of living in NYC is greater than most places in this country and the city has billions of dollars in surplus funds and a booming economy. In addition, we don't have to deal with the 2% property tax hike limit in NYC like the rest of the state. Add in that inflation, with the Trump tax cut pumping a stimulus into the economy and Trump tariffs going into effect, is very likely to increase. It is very doubtful that these teacher pay hikes will keep pace with inflation.
I don't see NYC teachers doing horribly but I don't think we are doing all that well either financially.
To see what our top NYC teacher salaries look like from 2008 to 2022 in the current contract and into the proposed new contract, we have broken it down.
Date Increase Top Salary Pension Calculation Increase
May 19, 2008 5% $100,049 5%
May 19, 2009* 0% $100,049 0%
Nov 1, 2009 0% $100,049 4%= $104,051
Nov 1, 2010 0% $100,049 4%=$108,213
Nov 1, 2011 0% $100,049 0%=$108,213
Nov 1, 2012 0% $100,049 0%=$108,213
May 1, 2013 1% $101,050 1%=$109,295
May 1, 2014 1% $102,060 1%=$110,388
May 1, 2015 1%+ 2% from 2009-11 $105,142 1%=$111,492
May 1, 2016 1.5% + 2% from 2009-11 $108,811 1.5%=$113,164
May 1, 2017 2.5% + 2% from 2009-11 $113,762 2.5%=$115,993
May 1, 2018 2% from 2009-11 $115,993 0%=$115,993
June 15, 2018 3% $119,472 3%-$119,472
Oct 31, 2018-Nov 30 2018 0% Contract extension 1 to pay 2009-2014 retiree lump sum payments.
Dec 1, 2018-Feb 13, 2019 0% Contract extension 2 to pay for Paid Family Leave.
Date Increase Top Salary
**Feb14, 2019 2% $121,862
Feb 14, 2020 0% $121,862
May 14, 2020 2.5% $124,809
May 14, 2021 3% $128,657
May 14-Sept 13, 2022 0% $128,657
In the final analysis we should be making Yonkers money, not being second to anyone, if we truly had the most powerful union on the planet as we are so often told the UFT is but we are not in poverty either.
We will deal with more of the non-financial issues a little later.
*Starting date of 2009-18 Contract
**Starting date of 2018-22 Contract