NYC “freeze” that keeps raising teachers’ pay

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not putting money for 2 percent raises for New York City teachers in his proposed budget. Despite that, some teachers will automatically get annual raises as high as 11.6 percent.

Bloomberg’s action is characterized as a “slushy freeze” by the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon in his NYFiscalWatch blog (here). He explains that under the Triborough Amendment to the state’s collective bargaining law, teachers continue to receive step (or longevity raises) even after their collective bargaining agreement expires.

E.J.’s blog includes a chart showing the impact of step raises in each year of the expired NYC teachers contract.

…city teachers are eligible for annual pay hikes–above and beyond any base pay increase–during nine of their first 10 consecutive years, and 14 of their first 22 consecutive years. For example, quite apart from any base salary increase, a rookie teacher entering his or her second year is entitled to a longevity increase of 6.4 percent. An eighth-year teacher receives an increase of 11.6 percent, and a teacher moving into his or her twentieth consecutive year receives an increase of 11.5 percent.

On an annual basis, the average teacher salary will increase by 3.3 percent thanks to step raises built in the expired teachers contract, the New York Times reports (here).

Bloomberg announced Wednesday he was withdrawing an implied offer of a two-year, 2 percent pay raise for teachers, to save the jobs of some 4,400 teachers. In a statement, the mayor said, laying off thousands of teachers would “devastate the school system and erase much of the great progress we’ve made” (here).

The most recent United Federation of Teachers contract, which expired in October, can be downloaded on

For other news stories on Bloomberg’s proposed freeze, see hereherehere and here.

For background on the Triborough Amendment, see Taylor Made: The Cost and Consequences of New York’s Public-Sector Labor Laws (here).

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch, June 3, 2010

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