At schools across the city, there were lunch-time cram sessions — with teachers as the pupils and their labor contract as the subject matter.
“Our staff here and across the city have been incredibly dedicated to the families of this city, and we want to be able to not just support the families in our community but to support our own families,” said Christopher Ahearn, the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy.
Teachers from Ahearn’s school gathered Monday at the Whitney Museum in the West Village, where they had been having a professional development day, to chat about their contract.
“What I’m hearing the most from the chapter is people want a raise to help catch up with inflation and also because we haven’t had a raise for several years and we’ve been working really hard,” Ahearn said.
UFT members last got a raise in May 2021, and their contract expired in September 2022. They’re not alone — most city workers are laboring under expired contracts.
“We’re hoping that in solidarity with our coworkers across the city, but also our brothers and sisters in other unions across the city, that we can all get a fair contract so that all of us as city workers and a city can make this place livable,” Ahearn said.
Mayor Eric Adams has yet to ink any deals after his first year in office. Typically, the city strikes a deal with one union, and then uses that as a pattern for contracts with most other bargaining units.
The process this year has been complicated by a fight over retiree healthcare savings that has been met with pushback and lawsuits.
City Hall and the Depertment of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.