New York educators one step closer to pay parity with their primary teaching peers

by Freya Lucas

July 11

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Day Care Council of New York have reached a tentative contract agreement for those employed in early childhood education and care (ECEC) by the City of New York. 

 

The agreement was reached two days ago, and was made between early childhood care providers, District Council 1707 Local 205 and the Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY). 

 

The contract extension will benefit 4,241 early childhood education employees with over 10,000 children in their care and will serve as the model for remaining certified early childhood education providers, a statement from the Mayor’s office read

 

Additionally, the tentative agreement provides a pathway to pay parity between certified early childhood education teachers and entry-rate New York City Department of Education salaries by 1 October 2021.

 

The developments in New York will be of interest to those in the Australian ECEC sector, given the current case being presented by the Independent Education Union (IEU) in New South Wales, where the Union is seeking to have early childhood teachers employed by six St Nicholas Early Education Centres be paid the same rate as their primary school counterparts, employed by the same organisation. 

 

The New York agreement builds on a deal reached in 2016, which provided the first comprehensive salary increases since 2006 for day care employees.

 

In announcing the agreement, Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the integral function of the early years, saying “there are few things as valuable as early childhood education and our youngest New Yorkers deserve the very best”. 

 

“With this agreement, we’re ensuring whether you’re in one of our schools or teaching in a community based organisation, you get the same starting salary. That means our children and parents can rest assured that they’ll always have our best teachers in the classroom, helping our future leaders develop the skills they need to succeed,” he added. 

 

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the deal will ensure that teachers who work in community based organisations will receive the same starting salary as those employed by the New York City Department of Education, who manage the city’s public school system. 

 

The City School District of the City of New York is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,800 separate schools.

 

“More importantly,” Mr Johnson added, “this deal enhances the educational opportunity of our City’s students by helping to provide stability in their classrooms, instead of losing effective teachers due to the lack of pay parity. All NYC teachers deserve the same pay, the same benefits and the same respect, and when we provide pay parity in education, we provide better educational opportunities for our students.” 

 

Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, commended the Mayor for brokering the agreement, saying that the agreement will address “one of the greatest threats and barriers to educational quality — staff turnover and resulting program instability”.

 

“The pathway to pay parity will help community based organisations recruit and retain qualified staff. Our members and their staff, many of whom are women of colour, provide high quality and crucial child care services to New York City’s families. It is only fitting that these educators be compensated on par with their peers in public schools,” added Andrea Anthony, Day Care Council of New York’s Executive Director.

 

According to the tentative agreement, DC 1707 Local 205 certified teachers will receive the following salary increases over three years (noting figures given are in USD):

The tentative agreement also includes additional compensation for non-certified teachers and support staff. Non-certified teachers and support staff will receive a two-year contract extension, a $USD1,800 ($2,586 AUD) ratification bonus and a 2.75 per cent wage increase on 1 October  2021.

 

At full ramp up, the cost of the tentative DC 1707 Local 205 settlement in Fiscal Year 2023 is approximately $15 million, with a net cumulative cost of $5 million, as $10 million is already reflected in the City’s labour reserve. 

 

“As Education Chair and as a member of the Council’s Budget Negotiation Team under the leadership of Speaker Johnson, we made clear that pay parity for early childhood educators was a top priority in the FY2020 budget,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. 

 

“We made sure to incorporate the resources necessary for the Administration to strike a fair deal with providers and labour to achieve parity. I commend DC37, DC1707, and all stakeholders for their work towards reaching an agreement that will achieve parity.”

 

He thanked the parties involved, and “all of the dedicated advocates” for making the parity agreement possible and for stabilising NYC’s early childhood education system while “honouring equal pay for equal work”.

 

To read further details about the agreement, the initial announcement from Mayor de Blasio may be accessed here. 

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