Newark Teachers Union Approves Contract with Higher Wages and Extended Workday

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A starting salary of $65,000 for fresh educators, an average annual increase of 4.5%, and increased input from educators on curriculum choices represent the updated criteria for Newark Public Schools teachers as per the union contract embraced by members in large numbers this week.

Union members from Newark Teachers Union gathered at the union’s Broad Street office on Thursday to cast their votes on the proposed five-year deal. The tally showed 1,331 votes favoring the contract ratification, while 582 votes opposed it. Nearly 30% of the union’s 7,000 members partook in the voting process.

Moreover, besides the several significant victories termed by the union for its members, the contract will alter the school timetable for educators. This adjustment extends the work hours for all teachers to seven hours, in alignment with the district’s initiative to implement a unified schedule across all schools, as per a district-led push.

The negotiation phase culminated in a provisional agreement between the union and the district in late May following around five months of discussions.

“NTU members endorsed the transformative contract that positions them as genuine partners with the board of education regarding classroom and district policies,” remarked John Abeigon, the union’s president, in a statement. “The negotiation process and the contract itself exemplify the epitome of effective labor-management collaboration.”

The contract is scheduled to be effective starting the 2024-25 academic year.

In the upcoming school year, newly hired teachers will commence with a base salary of $65,000, reaching $75,500 by the fifth year of the contract. Notably, the salary structure indicates that the base salary for new teachers in the contract’s fifth year, i.e., the 2028-29 school year, will amount to $74,000.

The five-year deal encompasses an average annual raise of 4.5%, with individual raises varying based on each member’s position on the salary guide. Comparatively, the average annual salary hike in New Jersey for teachers’ union contracts stands at 3.5%, as per Newark union statistics.

Members will be exempt from increased costs related to health insurance and benefits under the new contract—a privilege not extended in other school districts throughout New Jersey.

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