(WNY News Now) – Around 130 local unions in New York are commencing the new school year with expired contracts, raising concerns about fair pay and working conditions, says NYSUT President Melinda Person.
Albany, NY, Sept. 15, 2023 – As students return to classrooms across New York, approximately 130 local unions find themselves beginning the academic year with expired contracts. NYSUT President Melinda Person has emphasized the need for fair pay and working conditions in the education sector, echoing nationwide labor movements.
Person stated, “It is well past time for districts to acknowledge the increasing demands of the education profession and agree to fair contracts that show they value and respect educators as hard-working, dedicated professionals. An investment in our educators and public schools is an investment in our students and communities.”
NYSUT, representing 1,600 local unions in New York, reached numerous contract agreements with districts over the past year, thanks to increased funding from the American Recovery Plan. However, over a hundred local unions still work with expired contracts. Among the most concerning cases are the Lawrence Teachers’ Association, without a new contract for 13 years, and the Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers Association, working for six years without a contract renewal.
Amidst a growing teacher shortage, fair contracts play a vital role in attracting and retaining educators. New York has witnessed a 50% decline in teacher program enrollments since 2009, and more than a third of the state’s teachers are nearing retirement eligibility.