The de Blasio administration July 9 announced a tentative deal with District Council 1707 and the Day Care Council of New York that would give certified Teachers at community-based organization day-care centers the same starting salary as those who work for the Department of Education.

If ratified, by Oct. 1, 2021 certified Teachers with a bachelor’s degree will start at $61,070—$17,435 more than what they are currently paid. Those with a master’s degree over the next 27 months would get a $20,784 bump in pay, earning $68,652.

 

‘Pay Rent, Hold Head High’

“You no longer suffer today…You will now be able to pay your rent, hold your head up high, and be able to go back to school to do more for yourself, for your children and your own home,” said DC 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina during a City Hall press conference.

The union had ramped up its efforts to end the decades-long wage gap, authorizing a strike that was set to take place in May but called off when the city agreed to negotiate more seriously. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson gave added impetus to closing the gap when he made that a contingency for a budget deal last month.

The pay gap, which currently climbs to more than $35,000 after eight years on the job, has contributed to retention issues in community-based day care centers, and some certified Teachers have left to work for the DOE. Previous data showed that the average three-year turnover rate was 37 percent.

“We know that with all certified early-childhood Teachers getting pay raises for the next three years, we will have the ability to recruit and retain the very best. That’s what we celebrate today,” Mayor de Blasio said.

He added that the increases would benefit the Pre-K For All and Universal 3-K initiatives—more than 60 percent of children in the programs attended community-based centers.

‘Will Help All Families’

“We know that the ability of Teachers to devote themselves to this work and know it is sustainable for themselves and their families is going to help all families,” he said.

But a relatively small number of Teachers would benefit from these raises—about 300—while 900 non-certified Teachers, as well as about 3,000 Janitors, Cooks, and other support staff represented by DC 1707’s Local 205, will receive a $1,800 ratification bonus and a 2.75 percent wage increase effective Oct. 1, 2021.

“It’s everyone who services, because they don’t just cook, they work with the children too,” Ms. Medina said. “A Cook can go into any classroom and the children know them by name. So of course everyone should be recognized for the work that they do.”

Speaker Johnson spoke of his mother’s struggle to find child care while working three jobs when he was a child. “We know that this is going to have an immediate impact on the lives of those who teach in these schools and for families all across the city,” he said.

The pact also includes reductions in covered employees’ health-insurance premiums and copays. It extends the current contract by two years and expires Sept. 30, 2022.

Head Start Not Included

The deal does not apply to the more than 2,000 Head Start employees, who are represented by Local 95.

“Once it is ratified, we will start conversations with Local 95. This will be a model, a framework, for moving forward into Local 95 and also non-represented workers,” said Labor Commissioner Renee Campion.

Lisa Caswell, senior policy analyst at the Day Care Council of New York, which represents more than 200 publicly-funded early-childhood education centers, called the deal a “tremendous victory for the Teachers who stayed when they could have made thousands more at the DOE.”

Earlier this year, the organization analyzed the salaries and fringe benefits of unionized and non-unionized early childhood educators to determine that it would cost $83 million to bring them to parity in a year. The de Blasio administration estimated that the tentative pact would cost $15 million.

‘No Longer Second-Class’

District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido assisted in the negotiations after his union and DC 1707 decided to form a partnership last month.

“It not only achieves parity, it ensures health care is taken care of, it improves and lowers copays and premiums and it ensures that workers are treated with respect,” he said. “No longer will we ever tolerate a system that treats workers like second-class citizens in the city of New York.”

The ratification vote will take place Aug. 1 at DC 37’s new headquarters at 55 Water Street.


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