Detroit teachers ratify contract, will get 7% raise

DETROIT, MICH. - Detroit teachers have ratified a three-year contract that will give them a 7% increase in their pay over the next two years.

The vote total: 515 yes to 474 no, according to a spokesman for the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

Votes were counted this evening by a company contracted by the union. The union has more than 3,000 members.

Up next: The Detroit Financial Review Commission, which provides financial oversight of the district, must give its approval. It's unclear when that might happen. The commission's next meeting is Monday.

The union came to a tentative agreement with the Detroit Public Schools Community District in June. Teachers had until July 19 to cast their votes for the contract.

The three-year deal will result in a 3% salary increase in January, as well as a 4.13% increase in the second year of the contract.

In the third year, the contract requires the two sides negotiate salaries but guarantees there will be no reduction in pay.

"I am pleased that our members have approved the agreement," Ivy Bailey, the president of the DFT, said in a statement this evening.

"We certainly deserve more but the package offers us the opportunity to build our local, move our school district forward and place students first," she said.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti agreed that teachers deserve more.

"However, it will be rewarding to provide teachers a necessary increase to their salary as the first step in making teacher salaries whole again after nearly a decade of ignoring the fact that our most important employees are teachers," Vitti said.

"We must, and will, prioritize competitive salaries for Detroit teachers as we all work together to rebuild our district," he said.

Other highlights of the contract:

• Teachers at the top of the pay scale will receive a $1,750 bonus at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

• The contract also expands the number of salary steps for all teachers to 15 from 10, which extends the time needed to reach the top of the pay scale. 

Some teachers had expressed reluctance with the proposed contract, saying they want the district to fully restore the 10% pay cuts that were imposed on union members under the state's emergency management.

Health care benefits stay the same and were not negotiated in the agreement because a previous pact, agreed to in September, had a two-year deal on health care that will cover the first year of the tentative agreement.

Contact Lori Higgins: 313-222-6651, lhiggins@freepress.com or @LoriAHiggins

Detroit Free Press


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