Analysis: Historic 14-Day Teacher Strike In New Haven, California, Ends With Deal In Which Educators Lost Money
Analysis: Historic 14-Day Teacher Strike in New Haven, California, Ends With Deal in Which Educators Lost Money
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On Sunday, teachers in the New Haven Unified School District in California voted with a majority of 302 to 200 to approve a two-year contract, thereby putting an end to a 14-day strike.
President of the New Haven Teachers Association, Joe Ku’e Angeles, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating, "The solidarity we demonstrated on the picket lines showcased our collective power and resulted in significant gains for our union. We have achieved something historic together."
While the achievement of making history is commendable, the financial implications of the contract are not as favorable.
Under the new contract, teachers will receive a 3 percent salary increase, but this raise will only be effective starting January 1. Additionally, they will receive an additional 3 percent raise in the following year. As a one-time bonus for this year, the district has also granted a 2.5 percent increase.
For instance, if a teacher previously earned $75,000, they would receive a one-time bonus of $1,875, resulting in an effective raise of $1,125 for this year. In the subsequent year, they would receive an additional $2,284 (3 percent of $76,125). Therefore, in total, they would gain $5,284 in additional income.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to this financial arrangement for New Haven teachers. The union’s negotiating chair has acknowledged that the teachers, as a whole, lost 7.5 percent of their salaries during the strike. Consequently, those who retire this year will experience a financial loss.
This loss affects not only retirees but also the $75,000-a-year teacher mentioned earlier. Despite the gains from the contract, they would still have lost $5,625 during the strike, ultimately leaving them $341 in debt even at the end of the second year.
Moreover, it is important to note that the district’s final offer before the strike included a 3 percent bonus and a 1 percent increase. This implies that, without the strike, teachers could have received at least an additional $3,000 in income, depending on whether the increase was allocated for the first or second year.
Regarding the union’s offer before the strike, the proposal was for a 10 percent raise over a two-year period. There is limited information available about any non-salary benefits or concessions that may have been achieved as a result of the strike, as neither the union nor the district have publicized such details.
Taking into account the known figures, it is evident why 200 teachers voted against the contract. However, it is also understandable why 302 teachers voted in favor — as a means of minimizing their losses.
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