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United Teachers of Dade approve labor agreement with school board

Raises approved for Miami-Dade teachers, staff

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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The United Teachers of Dade voted to approve a new one-year labor agreement with Miami-Dade County Public Schools on Thursday, according to a media release.

The raises for teachers and staff surpass the 1 percent pay raise authorized by the Florida Legislature this year, the release said. The pay hike is expected to keep health costs stable for the upcoming school year and reward teachers who are rated highly or work in high-poverty areas.

The new contract passed with a margin of 9,521 to 4,139.

"This is a landslide, 70 percent of employees have said we are heading in the right direction," UTD President Karla Hernández-Mats, said, via a media release.  

Key features of the agreement include giving school workers, including clerical staff and security aids, a raise from $8 an hour to $10 an hour and giving most experienced teachers a raise of more than to 3 percent. Teachers at schools with impoverished students will make an additional $100 to $500 annually.

In addition, teachers who earn a high rating in their classroom performance will get a raise of between 3.57 percent and 2.67 percent, and the district will absorb more health care costs for teachers, a move that is expected to save teachers $35 million. 

The proposed agreement was reached after five extensive bargaining sessions, the release said.

"We listened to our members and stayed focused at the bargaining table," Hernández-Mats said a statement. "The result is an agreement for the coming school year that recognizes the hard work of teachers and support staff, and will empower us to improve learning conditions for our students."

Hernández-Mats said that the changes are a good way to start the summer.

The UTD bargaining team is expected to start working in the near future on a three-year agreement that will begin in the 2017-18 school year. 

"Thanks to hard work by our bargaining team and strong support from our members, we were able to negotiate real pay increases for teachers and school employees not offset by concessions or out-of-pocket expenses,"  Hernández-Mats said in a statement. "This is a win for students, parents and our community. We'll have a more stable teaching force and Miami-Dade will be more competitive with other school districts when recruiting new teachers."