Teacher-Contract Negotiations in N.Y.C. Halted

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Negotiations between the United Federation of Teachers, whose contract expired Sept. 30, and the New York City school beard were halted last week after a five-minute session.

Negotiators for the U.F.T. walked out after district officials indicated they wanted the union to make concessions to make up a shortfall in the state legislature's funding of the Excellence in Teaching program, according to Neill Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the teachers' union.

A spokesman for the school board said there would be no comment about the negotiations.

Two weeks ago, U.F.T. delegates voted for only the second time in the union's 30-year history to work past the contract-expiration date and continue discussions for an undefined "reasonable time."

"We are making a temporary exception because the city's labor relations are in total chaos," Sandra Feldman, the union's president, said following the vote. "We've asked our members to be patient for now. But anybody who knows the [union] knows that there is a limit," she said.

The 85,000-member U.F.T. also released two surveys, one showing salaries in surrounding districts and the other showing a teacher-dropout rate of 31 percent after one year, and 71 percent after five years, of teaching in the city schools.

Only one other nearby district's salary range ranked as low as New York City's $26,375 to $52,750, according to the union. All of the districts surveyed provided salary increases of at least 4.5 percent this year.

Elsewhere in the nation, teachers at Roman Catholic high schools in the Camden, N.J., diocese averted a strike when they voted to approve a new contract offer.

The lay teachers from eight Catholic high schools approved a three-year contract offer on Oct. 1 that calls for a 5 percent salary increase in the first year, rising to 6 percent in the third year.

The teachers, who earn an average annual salary of $26,600 with 14 years' experience, had sought an increase of more than 8 percent per year. The approval came following a personal appeal by Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden.

Labor unrest continued in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. As teachers in some districts returned to work, including three Pennsylvania locals out since Sept. 3, those in others walked out, among them Westmont-Hilltop, Pa., waging its third selective strike of the school year.--K.D.

Vol. 11, Issue 06, Page 10

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