After long marches, huge demonstrations and weeks of intense negotiations, the City of New York and the NYC Day Care Council have reached a tentative contract agreement that will benefit more than 4,000 members of Day Care Employees Local 205. At issue is the wide pay gap between teachers who work in community-run preschools — which enroll the bulk of students in the city’s free, universal pre-K program — and those who teach in public school classrooms overseen by the education department.
The new agreement would steadily boost salaries for pre-K teachers over three years, eventually matching what starting teachers in public schools make.
Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the agreement historic, and noted the past difficulties of recruiting and retaining educators at community-based centers.
DC 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina praised the Mayor “for recognizing the need to rectify this on-going problem of paying center-based educators less than their counterparts in the DOE.” Medina also thanked the NYC labor community for their solidarity with child care workers over the years. “Labor’s support was immeasurable,” she said.
She said the contract covered other titles as well, including food and janitorial services.
“For too long the dedicated early childhood educators/DC 1707 members have provided thousands of our children with the caring and vital education they need during their early years – but without the compensation they deserved,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37, which has unified with DC 1707.
“The long struggle is finally over, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and DC 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina are to be commended for their leadership. The DC 37/1707 partnership with the Mayor and the City Council, led by Speaker Johnson, achieved just compensation for the hard dedicated workers of Early Childhood Education.”
Garrido offered welcoming encouragement to non-union day care educators: “Organize. Organize. Organize.”