Teachers Give Bloomberg Contract Ultimatum

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

After working for more than two years without a contract, the city's public school teachers are giving Mayor Bloomberg until early October to offer them what they say is a fair contract. WNYC's Dan Blumberg has more.

The United Federation of Teachers is turning up the heat just as Mayor Bloomberg' reelection campaign is fully underway. Even though it is illegal under state law, the teachers are threatening to strike if they don't get the pay increase they say they deserve.

Or they may endorse Bloomberg's Democratic opponent Fernando Ferrer. That could prove embarrassing for the Mayor who has made education reform one of his signature issues. The teachers union threatened a strike during their negotiations with the Bloomberg administration three years ago, only to pull back when they won a 22% raise.

Recently a state arbiter suggested increasing teacher pay by 11 percent over three years in exchange for productivity increases. The recommendations are non-binding. Mayor Bloomberg has said he'd like to pay teachers more, but that the city's budget is strapped as it is.

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