Union reports big progress on Miami-Dade teachers’ pay raise agreement

United Teachers of Dade announces favorable tentative agreement with Miami-Dade County Public Schools

MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the United Teachers of Dade reached a tentative agreement Thursday night that will increase the starting salary for new teachers and give current full-time teachers raises between 7% and 10%.

United Teachers of Dade, which represents more than 27,000 MDCPS employees, announced that the union and the school district had reached a favorable tentative agreement. The school board has yet to vote on it.

“Historically, they have always signed every tentative agreement that has been approved,” said Karla Hernández-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade.

Support staff and office personnel will receive a minimum raise of 4%, paraprofessionals will receive 6% raises, and the new starting salary for full-time teachers will be $52,470.

As part of the agreement, the district will continue offering three healthcare plan designs, one of which remains free of charge for all employees.

“This contract is proof of the collective power we have and what we can accomplish when we work together,” Hernández-Mats said while standing behind a podium with a “Unions Matter” sign.

Maria Parra, who works as a secretary for the principal at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School, said that 4% would be a big relief since she has a second job to make ends meet.

“I do have a full-time and a part-time job because it’s not enough,” Parra said.

Starting salaries would also increase by nearly $4,000; special education teachers would also earn an extra $1,000 and the advanced degree compensation would increase by 10%.

“Late (Thursday) evening, we reached an agreement with the UTD Bargaining Unit that credits our employees who successfully nurture and develop the potential of our students, reflecting our commitment to fostering a positive and supportive environment for our educators, while also prioritizing the needs of our students and community,” Superintendent Jose L. Dotres said in a news release Friday. “With the generosity of our community and under the guidance and leadership of our School Board, the District will provide a compensation package for UTD bargaining unit members that truly recognizes and values their contributions to our District.”

This was a hopeful sign for Anna Fusco, who is the president of the Broward Teachers Union since the school board recently voted against a raise proposal.

The Broward County School Board voted 5-4 on Tuesday against a proposal to pay $100,000 to teachers, and $150,000 to principals and assistant principals by 2025.

Broward School Board Member Allen Zeman said he supported the proposal because the BCPS budget had an increase in state funding of a little over 9%, a 13% increase in property values, and a $177 million referendum.

School board members Debi Hixon, Daniel P. Foganholi, and Jeff Holness voted in favor, but Lori Alhadeff, Torey Alston, Brenda Fam, Sarah Leonardi, and Nora Rupert voted against it.

Fusco had a message for the board: “Let’s work on this year, get a solid increase like Dade just did,” adding that the focus needs to be on a take-home pay increase because “that’s the piece the educators understand; that’s the piece that needs to be talked about and it needs to be transparent.”

Florida law requires district school boards to adopt and use a salary schedule that although subject to collective bargaining considers annual performance assessments, professional experience, and educational degree level.

State law also requires the district and union to negotiate wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment, which are included in the collective bargaining agreement, which not only include the salary schedule but also benefits such as health insurance and grievance procedures.

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.