By GREGORY N. HEIRES
By more than a 3-to-1 margin, members of Local 205 — early childhood educators who work for non-profit organizations — voted for a contract extension that puts them on a path to wage parity with their counterparts at the New York City Dept. of Education.
The contract extension covers more than 4,000 members of the local and is the first demonstration of how the recently-announced unification of District Council 1707 and District Council 37 can increase the bargaining and political power of New York City public and private sector workers.
“This is an historic achievement — after decades of hard work, early childhood educators are being recognized as true professionals,” noted Kim Medina, the executive director of DC 1707 who now becomes special assistant to the executive director for the new Non-Profit and Private Sector Division of District Council 37.
The new division now consists of the six local unions that comprised DC 1707, representing employees of non-profit day-care, social service, home care, philanthropic and direct-care agencies, including Head Start. They bring DC 37 membership to approximately 150,000.
Robert Ramos, an early childhood educator with 17 years on the job, said he believed the unification of DC 1707 and DC 37 was an important factor contributing to the contract victory.
“We had a stronger voice [in negotiations],” he noted.
The contract extension — worked out through intensive talks with the Mayor’s Office, the New York City Council and Day Care Council of New York City — provides additional compensation for non-certified teachers and support staff as well as health insurance improvements, including an expanded hospital network and a significant reduction in certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles and co-pays.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “This agreement opens the path for us to extend our fight for economic justice to the thousands of other workers in the day-care centers as well.”
Terms of the Agreement
- The 27-month agreement sets the starting salary of teachers with master’s degrees at $53,581 on Oct. 1, $62,295 on Oct. 1, 2020, and $68,652 on Oct. 1, 2021. With the third raise, the teachers with master’s degrees will enjoy an income that is $20,794 (about 30 percent) above their current rate of pay.
- For teachers with bachelor’s degrees, the new starting salaries will be $48,372 on Oct. 1, $55,651 on Oct. 1, 2021 and $61,070 on Oct. 1, 2021. The third raise is an improvement of $17,435 (about 25 percent) over the current rate.