New York City teachers resoundingly accepted a new nine-year contract that includes back pay and incremental raises, in a deal seen as a victory for Mayor Bill de Blasio who took office on Jan. 1.
The agreement with the teachers, clinched in May and then put to a vote of union members, is likely to serve as a model for other groups among the city's roughly 300,000 public sector workers who have been without contracts as far back as 2009.
Public sector unions had refused to renew contracts with de Blasio's predecessor Michael Bloomberg, who imposed pay freezes in the years after the global financial crisis. Bloomberg had argued that the city could not afford back pay for the teachers.
More than 77 percent of the roughly 90,000 votes cast were in favor of the nine-year contract, which is backdated to 2009 and runs until 2018, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) said late on Tuesday.
"I am proud of our membership and thrilled with this outcome," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "We are entering a new chapter in our school system's history where educators will have a greater say in school-level decisions."
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