New York City Pubic School Teachers Photo:
New York City Pubic School Teachers

With less than two weeks before ballots are counted, some New York City teachers are still debating whether to ratify the new contract agreement the United Federation of Teachers reached with the city, The New York Times writes.

Online chatter amongst teachers shows opinions are widely fractured, with some relieved to be getting a new contract after a four-year standoff, while other say the pay raises will have little impact and the the contract’s details remain murky.

On the one hand, while most teachers view the contract as a breath of fresh air– with an 18 percent increase in wages, the promise of back pay; and a more relaxed teacher evaluation system– others point out that the retroactive pay will feel negligible, as it is being spread out over 8 years.

In addition, there was no promise or guarantee their healthcare costs would not go up.

And while it’s rare for city employees to vote down contracts, it has happened before. UFT President Michael Mulgrew wants to make sure this contract does, in fact, go through.

(l to r) UFT president Michael Mulgrew, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina

Mulgrew has been touring schools promoting the contract, and last Monday, he took to the Internet, answering about 30 of more than 800 questions submitted by members during an hourlong webinar.

Other union leaders are meeting with teachers one-on-one and in groups to lobby for yes votes, the paper reported.

In an interview, Mr. Mulgrew said it is a “very good contract,” and one he is cautiously optimistic will pass.

He’s asking teachers not to view the new mayor or the chancellor as they did the previous ones, stating: “Little glimmers of sunshine are starting to shine through as we move forward.”

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